"The more I find out, the less I know."

Saturday - July 08, 2006 at 09:32 AM in

Advice for Amanda Congdon

In my previous article, I posted advice for Andrew Baron, owner of a controlling stake in the empty shell that is Rocketboom.

This article has my advice for Amanda Congdon, the former host of Rocketboom who now finds herself without the platform and audience she built over the past 18 months or so.
At first blush, Amanda appears to be in a better position than Rocketboom. She's got a big fan base (including Yours Truly), brains, looks, and talent. She's proven that she can write, act, and do comedy.

What she doesn't have is offline stardom.

Amanda wants to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles, and I wish her all the luck in the world. She won't need as much luck as most aspiring young actresses, but the odds are still very much against her.

The cold hard fact is that for every Julia Roberts, who churns out hit movie after hit movie, there are hundreds of actresses who have one great role and never do anything of consequence again. And for every one-hit-wonder, there are thousands who tried and failed to get that one great role. Success in Hollywood is still very much a long shot.

There may even be some places where Rocketboom counts against Amanda. Just as TV stars have a notoriously hard time transitioning to movies, the Internet has yet to be a springboard to any kind of lasting fame for anyone in the offline world. A director may decide that he would rather have a fresh face (there are a lot of them out there) who doesn't bring the baggage of fame among geeks.

As a woman, Amanda has one other thing working against her: time. In probably five years, she'll be "too old" by Hollywood standards.

So what to do?

My advice to Amanda is simple, and has the benefit of being something she's already said she'll do.

Amanda should stick with what works.

Resume doing a daily video blog (she shouldn't have much trouble finding someone to back it financially), a medium in which she has proven talent and a big fan base. I would guess that at least a quarter of her old audience will find her within a week, and maybe more.

Use the video blog as a way to grow as an actress, keep her name in front of the public, and shoot for something bigger.

But don't count on that Something Bigger coming along to pay the bills. It might happen, but the odds are still stacked against her.

It is probably a lot easier to figure out a way to monetize her existing stardom and turn video blogging into a career than it is to turn a popular video blog into an acting career.

Look at it this way: 300,000 people watch Amanda online every day. That's about 299,700,000 people in the United States alone who don't watch Amanda. Her stardom counts as a mass audience in the small pond of the online world, but it's nothing compared to the draw of an honest-to-goodness movie star.

While video blogging, Amanda can also make time for an acting career if that happens to work out. If she plays her cards right, she won't have to give up the blog when the casting director phones with the Big Call. So she has the chance to have it all: undisputed stardom online, without giving up the chance to pursue a "real" acting career.

So my advice to Amanda is this:

1) Don't give up video blogging. You're good at it, and you have already built an audience.

2) Find a way to make video blogging pay the rent, because the odds are still against you in Hollywood.

3) But don't give up your dream.

Posted at 09:32 AM | Permalink | | |

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