Friday, April 22, 2011

Is Angelina Jolie lonely?

by Monroe Mann

If you ever feel lonely (particularly my fellow showbiz friends on the drive to the top), read this article (link below) about Angelina Jolie, & the fact that she doesn't have many close friends.

The saying goes, "It's lonely at the top."  Well, folks, guess what: "It's also lonely on the way to the top."

The article ends: "... a dearth of friendships is often one of the costs that many high-achieving women pay for celebrity & success."  The same applies to men.  And the same can apply to romantic relationships too.

So, if you are single or without hundreds of friends on your drive to the top... take heart!  This is just part of the burden your career path requires you carry. 

But (I wouldn't leave you without a 'but'!), I want you to smile.  Why?  Cause it'll be worth it in the end. :)

Here's the article:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

T.R.U.S.T.™ - or, how to get people with money to invest it with you and your project!

by Monroe Mann, Esq.
(c) 2011 by Monroe Mann

After losing a major (multi-millionaire) investor in 2004, I decided I would try to figure out WHY.  I came up with this acronym:

T - Track Record
R - Rate of Return
U - Unique Investment Opportunity
S - Systems
T - Team

Bottom line: if you lack any of these T.R.U.S.T.™ factors, you are probably not going to get someone to invest in you.  On the other hand, if you can meet all five T.R.U.S.T.™ factors, people with money (who are looking to invest) are going to bring out their checkbooks.  And they did... for my most recent project, "You Can't Kill Stephen King"--i.e., this technique works.

Now, of course, there are many other reasons why a deal can fall apart, but these five T.R.U.S.T.™ factors are all things that YOU can control.  YOU can create a track record for yourself.  YOU can create an investor prospectus that shows a high chance for a decent rate of return.  YOU can create a unique investment opportunity.  YOU can create systems in which investors will trust.  And YOU can put together a rock-solid team that instills confidence in your potential investors.

I'll be writing more about this later, but for now, I suggest you make a two-columned list why you meet (or don't meet) each of these five factors.  When you do, you will be well on your way to getting potential investors to T.R.U.S.T.™ you.

Oh, and as P.S., if you are raising money for an entertainment project, and you spout of fifty reasons why your investor will make lots of money, I wouldn't trust you.  Tell them the truth, "You are probably going to lose all of your money, but if we do make money, we're going to make a lot of it.  But... you are probably going to lose it.  Do this because you love the project; not because you expect to ever see your money again."

[Legal notice: The acronym T.R.U.S.T. is a legal trademark of attorney Monroe Mann.]

The Science of Stardom - Part III

Part Three - The Media Ladder
by Monroe Mann
(c) 2011 by Monroe Mann

The Media Ladder

Years ago, I wrote and published a motivational book called, The Theatrical JuggernautThe Psyche of the Star (which by the way has over 35 five-star reviews on Amazon). 

In the third edition, which I have been working on for years, I have been writing about something I call The Media Ladder™.

The Media Ladder™ is my theory on the easiest way to ‘make it’ to the top.  I came up with this theory long before I ever heard of Justin Bieber, and you’ll need to understand it before we move on to the next part of my theory.

At the top of the ladder is YOU.  It progresses as follows:

YOU -->

It’s pretty simple to understand: You are at the top of the ladder—along with your talent—and if you follow it, rung by rung, you will soon be at the top. 

You see, once you start performing or doing your thing, soon enough, you should have some fans. 

Get enough fans, and the media is going to take notice.  For instance, if suddenly you have 10,000 fans screaming at a show, the media is going to want to interview you.  That’s a guarantee. 

Next, if the media is publishing articles about you, and you are being interviewed on tv talk shows, you can bet that the industry too is going to start to take notice.  For instance, if some unknown artist suddenly appears on the cover of People Magazine or Rolling Stone, record labels and movie producers are soon going to be calling that ‘unknown’ artist to get them into a contract. 

Finally, once you’re with a record label, or in a movie, or on Broadway or whatever, the brokers (i.e. the talent agents and casting directors, etc.) are finally all going to want to work with you.

Now, this is the surefire way to make it to the top.  Is it easy?  Nope.  But it helps explain something: most people never make it to the top because they fail to follow the rungs of the ladder consecutively, and in most cases, they simply failed to amass a large enough fan base. 

Most aspiring professional actors/musicians I know constantly bemoan the fact that they don’t have an agent, and yet, where are the agents on the ladder?  The bottom!   Why is everyone reaching for the bottom rung on the ladder when the closest one and easiest one to grab (the fanbase ladder) is just a foot away?

This doesn’t mean that agents are not important—but ask yourself this question: who is ultimately more important to an artist’s career longevity—his agent or his fans?  If a star has to choose between his millions of fans, or his agent… the choice should be clear.  Ditch the agent.  With a million-person fanbase, another agent will quickly come along.

So this is the first reason why most people do not ‘make it to the top’—they are focusing on the wrong end of the ladder.  While they should be focusing on developing a fanbase, they are focusing on ‘getting an agent’.  Folks: it is SO much easier to get a devoted fan than it is a devoted agent.  And ultimately, the power of a fanbase is more powerful than the power of any agent. 

That being said, can you skip the rungs on the ladder?  Of course.  Some people get a great agent or manager first, and that team member helps develop a larger fanbase.  But don’t you realize that the agent actually became a FAN first?!  And that the agent saw the potential of that artist to amass a fanbase, and get media and industry attention, and that is why the agent picked up the artist?  

Folks, no agent will work with someone he is not first a fan of in some capacity.  No agent or manager will work with someone who he doesn’t think has potential to create a large fan base that will ultimately pay the agents’ commissions!  Do you get this?

Yes, the whole idea is to garner the attention of the media, and ultimately the industry—but that happens by first having a strong fanbase.  Make sense?  The fans create the desire within the media and the industry and the brokers to work with you—and in return the media, industry, and brokers work together to create for you an even larger fanbase.  Back and forth; back and forth.  Making sense?

But there’s a big caveat here: yes, you can skip rungs on the ladder, and yes, you can still become a success by skipping the middle rungs.  But if you do skip rungs on the ladder, and you do become a success, the odds are that you will become a ‘one-hit wonder’.  For instance, look at American Idol.  This show allows artists to skip many rungs on the ladder, as it attempts to create stars without the artists first having created devoted fanbases.  The show attempts to ‘manufacture stardom’. 

This is why—in my opinion—most (but not all) of the contestants (and even the winners) are no longer in the limelight a couple years after their appearances on the show—the fans were manufactured so quickly that they disappeared just as fast.  These fans were not there through the artist’s many years of difficult struggle so they don’t have all that much invested in this artist’s longevity. 

Have some American Idol contestants gone on to stardom?  Yes, but the biggest stars in the music business (and also showbusiness and entertainment in general) are those who followed the rungs of the ladder consecutively, or at the very least, amassed an appreciable fanbase independent of and prior to any major manufacturing help from the industry. 

Take note: this applies not only to music, but also books (John Grisham, who sold thousands of copies of his books out of the trunk of his car before becoming a bestselling author) and movies (Jim Carrey and Steve Martin, who toured for years as struggling standup comics before becoming movie stars).  But does it apply to up-and-coming actors too, I am often asked?  Many up and coming actors bemoan this theory, telling me, “But authors and bands and comics are different—they all create their own shows so it’s easy to get fans!”  And my response is always the same: “Then produce your own shows!  First off, if becoming a professional actor really means that much to you, then get off your ass and produce your own shows and films in which you star so you too can amass fans!  Hello?!  Second, they are not different.  There is absolutely NO movie or Broadway star today who doesn’t have thousands and thousands of fans—the fans may be audience members visiting from Kansas… or those within the industry that had faith enough in the actor to cast him—BUT ALL SUCCESSFUL ACTORS HAD FANS TOO ON THEIR RISE TO THE TOP.  (And incidentally, sometimes, it just takes one fan to get on the road to stardom—but a very special fan with four very special qualities that I call the four pillars of stardom—which I’ll be talking about in a future blog post.) 

Bottom line: when it comes to success, and to amassing a fanbase, you can’t focus on the reasons it won’t work and the obstacles in your way—you need to focus on the reasons it will work, and figure out ways to overcome those obstacles.  I read recently that when President John F. Kennedy said to his think-tank of scientists, “I want a man on the moon,” they all responded, “It can’t be done.”  Kennedy apparently then asked them to make a full list of every reason why it could not be done.  Then, he thanked them, and took that list, and gave it to a new think-tank of scientists and said, “Here are the reasons it won’t work—I want you to find a solution to each obstacle.”  And… they did.  And the rest is history.  [In case you didn’t know, yes, we put a man on the moon!]

Are there exceptions, i.e. those who made it to the top in other ways besides amassing a fanbase?  Yes, of course, and if you can do it in some other way—great!  But you’re now banking on luck (which is a poor investment of your time).  The better strategy is to invest your time pursuing a strategy that is guaranteed to succeed.  I don’t want to tell you ‘good luck’—I want to tell you ‘put this surefire plan into action’.  And I am going to do that in this article by providing you with something tangible—a formula that you can follow.  I want to provide you with some type of blueprint that you can emulate to get noticed, and ultimately get to the top.

And that—ladies and gentlemen—is coming in the next blog post.  Stay tuned!

(Legal Notice: The term 'Media Ladder'™ is a trademark of Monroe Mann.)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Science of Stardom - Part II

Part Two - The Story of Justin Bieber
by Monroe Mann
(c) 2011 by Monroe Mann

First off, if you have not yet seen the Justin Bieber movie, “Never Say Never”… go see it. 

Whether you like Bieber or not is irrelevant—I want you to watch it for the lessons you will learn. 

I am not so much a fan of Justin Bieber as I am now a huge fan of his story.  Further, after you watch the movie, my article here will make a lot more sense.

For those who have not seen the film, his story is relatively simple on its face: Justin Bieber was born in Canada.  At a very young age (2 or 3), Justin showed an amazing talent for rhythm and playing the drums. 

Shortly thereafter, he began to play guitar and sing and years later, he entered a talent show. 

What happened next is the chain of events that led to his stardom:

A) His mom recorded each of Justin’s performances singing each of the songs during the multi-day competition (and other videos) and posted them all on YouTube.

B) He received a huge amount of viewership hits on YouTube from fans. 

C) A new talent manager from Atlanta, GA named Scooter Braun found the videos on YouTube in 2008 while searching for another artist and flew Justin and his mom down to GA.

D) Scooter introduced Justin to the rock star/R&B musician Usher.

E) Usher introduced Justin to the famed record producer L.A. Reid.

F) L.A. Reid ultimately secured Justin Bieber’s signing to Island Records in 2009.

G) Bieber sold out Madison Square Garden about one year later, with no opening act, in less than 15 seconds.

Yes, the above story is simplified, but it is adequately inclusive for the purposes of this article.

All I want you to do for the moment is reread that chain of events.  Try to formulate in your own head what happened.  How could everything have happened so quickly, and apparently so seamlessly?

Think about how amazing it is for an artist to sign to a record label one year as a total unknown, and then to sell out Madison Square Garden (20,000 capacity, plus or minus) one year later.  In just 15 seconds!  THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN PEOPLE! 

Well, clearly, it can happen.  And does happen.  Because it did happen.

And if you follow what I am about to share with you in part III (coming up soon), you can put your best foot forward to try and mimic what happened with Bieber… with your own career.  Stay tuned!  This adventure is just getting started.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Science of Stardom - Part I

Part One - Introduction
by Monroe Mann
(c) 2011 by Monroe Mann

He sold out Madison Square Garden on August 31, 2010 (will no opening act) in 16 seconds, less than three years after officially starting his career, and based solely on his first album. Having achieved this amazing feat, whether you like it or not, he is now considered among the ranks of musician legends Michael Jackson, U2, Madonna, and the Rolling Stones.

His name? Justin Bieber.

Ozzy Ozbourne asks in the television commercial, “What is a Bieber?” The answer is not, “A random fluke success story.”

In this article, I aim to explain why Justin Bieber succeeded, and how anyone else (i.e. you too) can copy what he and his team did to try to reach similar results. While not everyone will have his level of success (and so quickly)… someone has to. As I like to say, “Someone has to be on the cover of the next People Magazine… and it may as well be you.”

Folks, contrary to popular belief, his story is not all about luck (which I do not believe in) and has nothing to do with his talent (there are more talented artists out there). It has to do with what I am calling:

The Science of Stardom.

I saw the movie Never Say Never about a month ago. Never Say Never is the totally inspiring documentary about Bieber and his rise to stardom. After I left the theater, two conflicting thoughts came to my head:

1) HOW INSPIRING. It was so eye opening to see what is possible in this world; to see that it is certainly not impossible to go from obscurity to stardom in just two years (and in Rebecca Black’s case, just two weeks). It really was wonderful to see that the underdog can succeed in the hardest business of them all.

Watching the movie, however, also brought this second thought to mind:

2) HOW DEPRESSING. I thought, “But it was so random. What does this say about my whole theory that there is no such think as luck? Did his success happen completely on a fluke? This can’t be!”

Well, fortunately, on this second point: that’s where I was wrong.

That night after the movie (when I should have been sleeping in prep for day 2 of the California bar exam, lol), all I was doing was tossing and turning, trying to reconcile these two conflicting thoughts in my head. It bothered me SO much that his success was a ‘fluke’. That someone just ‘discovered’ him on YouTube and off went his career. It bothered me so much because I don’t believe in luck; I wanted there to be some method to the madness that is Bieber Fever; I wanted there to be some science behind his stardom.

Well, the following night—after much tossing and turning in my bed—I figured it out. I figured out what exactly had happened.

Keep reading this blog and I’ll keep explaining. Part Two of The Science of Stardom is coming soon.