Demystifying Engagement

Our industry more and more is turning into a social popularity contest. When you look at just the numbers it makes sense, as the article points out:

“That’s because producers want built-in viewership,” Compass Casting owner Sarah Clark said. “It’s hard to fight them when it’s like, ‘Well, this kid has 5 million followers [and] if he promotes [the project] at least 100,000 of those people will see it.’ ”

I don't even really argue with the idea on its face, the issue I have is actually attaining those followers. A person can create and create content until they are blue in the face, try to market and hashtag bomb that content, and they still can come out with nothing to show for it; many of us seem to be creating content in a social vacuum. We are those who haven't yet found out how to break through that glass ceiling of getting people outside our immediate social group to buy into us and our career on a consistent basis.

What makes something pop? What makes it go viral? Why does a woman laughing in a Chewbacca mask get an inexplicable amount of likes, shares, and views but something painstakingly planned and executed gets ignored. What makes something share worthy? The usual things probably apply like sexiness, physical humor, and cute pets / children but how can you make yourself pop without compromising your values?

I feel like the adage of "you must create your own content" is already passe and we've moved to "you must market your own content." There was a sense of "if you build it, they will come" baked into the idea of creating your own content but that's not good enough, anyone can create content; it's the ways in which you shove that content down people's throats that matter now.

I've been struggling to gain some semblance of prominence despite having worked with several filmmakers and fellow actors in my past five years active. I still stumble around in obscurity despite trying to constantly share something from my world, be it photographs on Instagram or video game livestreams on Mixer and uploaded to YouTube. I've created content I thought was funny, I worked hard with friends to make it happen but it feels like there's a tree blocking the entrance to my zoo. That's a random We Bought a Zoo reference but it seemed most fitting to describe creating work and having no one see it.

I honestly don't know what else I could be doing. Should I be whoring my work into discussion groups and actor groups? Where do I find people who just appreciate the work of actors and creators? Where do I find my niche of people who will want to cheer on my career and my work? How do you go from engagement being just friends and family to strangers who found you, who sought you out?