Rise of the Online Show Makers
Making a living in the post-Hollywood Era
In my posts, I often talk about the craft of online show making (podcasts, YouTube, etc), but success as a show maker requires an additional set of skills the last generation of media personalities didn’t need. It requires entrepreneurship.
In the old media world, you waited to be picked. You “paid your dues” by working some lowly job for the studio or network in hopes of being noticed when the time was right. The problem was that it took years to be picked, if ever. You were waiting for your “lucky break,” which often never came. Then you finally turned 40 and decided to get a “real” career.
Thank god for the internet, which freed us from this uncertain, and often tragic, career path. The democratization of media has afforded anyone with a computer and some persistence to become a media mogul over their own small empire. In fact, with the right strategies and a little determination, it’s almost impossible NOT to have some level of success as an online show maker today. (From now on, “showmaker” is one word because — well because it’s cool.)
So thanks to the interwebs, we are freed from our media conglomerate overlords. We are the makers of our own destiny. But that freedom comes with the additional requirement to be entrepreneurial and self-sufficient. I don’t think that’s a problem for most of you. Showmakers are naturally creative, and we creatives like to do things our own way. So really what we have is an opportunity, not only to build an audience, but to build a business around our shows.
Showbiz lost the glitz and glam
For two decades the old media and new media existed in parallel. You still had the big movie studios and TV networks, but you also had a group of misfits trying to turn the internet into a viable distribution platform — the Marc Marons, Joe Rogans, and Felicia Days. These online ragamuffins went unnoticed by the big media companies for years…but then they started growing large followings. The overlords took notice. Some crossed over into the mainstream. The two worlds began to merge. Then 2020 happened and the pace accelerated.
But as we endured the pandemic, something funny occurred. The old media started looking like the online startups. Talk show hosts and political pundits began broadcasting from their spare bedrooms, and we got to peek behind the curtain. The wizard was exposed, and the glamorous world of showbiz lost much of its mystique. After all, there were hoards of content producers who were more experienced in the art of at-home showmaking already. So we’ve hit an inflection point. The next five years of media evolution happened over the last 7 months.
What does this mean for you, the independent showmaker?
First, it means we live in a post-Hollywood world. In fact, all traditional media hubs have lost much of their gravitational pull over the industry. You no longer need to move to New York or L.A., pay a king's ransom to live in a storage closet, and work shit jobs to eek by while “paying your dues.” Brilliant content can be created by anyone from anywhere for very little cost. You get to choose when, how, and where you make your shows — freedom, baby!
Second, the democratization of media means you might not be making Howard Stern money, but you have the ability to make a great living for yourself if you act entrepreneurially. (Although that Howard Stern deal is still possible…one day.) Let’s face it, shows are commerce. They all sell something — ads, subscriptions, the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie. It’s not selling out to want your show to make money. In fact, you’re going to have to monetize soon if you hope to stay motivated.
Even niche shows with small audiences can generate big revenues with the right strategy. You don’t have to wait to get big so you can sell ad spots to Fanduel and Stamps.com. In fact, you shouldn’t wait. Even shows with niche audiences can make money by partnering with the right sponsor. Your show can even enhance your existing business by promoting your services — something I coach entrepreneurs to do. Don’t have a business yet? That’s okay too. You can monetize your show in other ways. For example, you can sell others’ products and services when they are a natural fit for your audience. Eventually, you’ll want to sell your own stuff, but the point is the options are endless.
Showmakers work on their terms
Being a showmaker means you are free to redefine the very nature of work itself. The internet has transformed not only the media industry but also the way we work in general. You have to ability to create awesome content and connect with an audience you care about. Plus, you get to do it on your terms. You can work whenever and however you want. You can do it from your bedroom, from a beach in Bali, or an Airbnb in Munich during Oktoberfest. Doesn’t that sound better than fetching coffee for a surly producer?
You may have heard the saying, every business is now show business. Well, in 2020 it is also true that every showmaker is an entrepreneur. This means you are a mogul over your own micro empire. It’s never been more possible to choose yourself and pave your own path to stardom.
If you’re ready to launch a show that supports your lifestyle or your business, check me out at BrandonBeeyard.com