Glee’s Darren Criss’ Career Boosted Through YouTube

July 1, 2016

Social media has proven to be a legitimate path to career success for a growing number of performers over the years. Musicians like Shawn Mendes, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Justin Bieber have seen their careers skyrocket after viral hits thanks to online avenues like Vine, Twitter, and YouTube. Emboldened actors have likewise taken to social media to present their work on their own terms. And talent agents and casting professionals are paying close attention; after all, viral hits take away a good amount of the guesswork as to who’s bound to draw large audiences.

Take Glee‘s Darren Criss. From an early age, Criss showed loads of promise for musical theater. He was able to play a variety of instruments, and studied theater for years. In 2009, after graduating from the University of Michigan, Criss became a founding member of the musical theater company, StarKid Productions. While in StarKids, Criss played the lead role of Harry Potter in the fan-made, parody show entitled A Very Potter Musical. The troupe shot and uploaded the stage production to YouTube which proved to be a good move! Harry Potter fans wasted no time in giving the Harry Potter spoofs millions of hits, which pushed Criss into the mainstream.

Criss then became best known for portraying Blaine Anderson on Fox’s smash hit Glee; his original song This Time was nominated for an Emmy in 2015; and he’s also starred on Broadway in productions including How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

While Darren Criss certainly seems to be an unstoppable talent, there’s no denying that posting his performance to YouTube impacted his career in a big way. Have you ever posted your work onto a social media site?

Get Exposure Without Casting Calls: How to Go Viral on YouTube

March 1, 2012

Can you imagine being paid to professionally watch YouTube videos? That’s what Kevin Allocca does for a living. Managing YouTube Trends, he tracks and analyzes the latest viral videos as well as the parodies, tributes, and reply videos to any given viral hit.

According to Allocca, one particular trendsetter or tastemaker merely tweeting to watch a specific video will immediately cause a huge spike of hits on a YouTube video. So when like Jimmy Kimmel posted a tweet suggesting to watch this video,  it was akin to Oprah Winfrey suggesting a book for her book club. But sometimes instead of a specific person, a number of unrelated viewers for their own reasons, share the same particular link with their friends on social networking sites, causing its popularity to spike–which is how Rebecca Black’s Friday video went viral. Black’s Friday was the most-watched clip of 2011 with nearly 200 million viewers. In case you’re wondering what came in second, it was Ultimate Dog Tease with almost 98,000,000 views.

When you consider Black won a 2011 Teen Choice Award, and has been nominated for awards at MTV O Music Awards and J-14 Teen Icon Awards, in addition to being featured in a Katie Perry music video, and will soon be releasing her official debut album, does it matter that her song has received hundreds of thousands of dislikes on YouTube? And when you consider the fact that Ultimate Dog Tease’s popularity has lead to it currently being developed into a feature film by Paramount Studios, any aspiring actor might want to give this YouTube thing a serious go.

Being able to simply break into the business presents the greatest challenge for most aspiring actors, comedians, voice over artists, and musicians. But keep in mind, those interested in getting noticed on YouTube are going to need to do something completely unexpected. Alloca says, “In a world where over two days of video get uploaded every minute, only that which is truly unique and unexpected can stand out in the way that [viral videos] have.” So, whatever you do, bring your sense of adventure, fun, high-spiritedness, commitment, and unique vision and insights—that’s what will catch others’ attention first off. Then share it with as many people as you can. Hoping to see you go viral in 2012 in this exciting new media culture!

To hear Kevin Allocca speak about  more of his insights, click here.