Only a short time ago, the words “Hollywood and Vine” referred to a seedy intersection, well known as a place that exchanged goods for services. Back then, the goods were mostly cash and the services mostly “escort.” Now, that exchange is mainly found on the pages of the Internet and “Hollywood and Vine” take on a much different meaning. The goods take the form of a check, quick pay or PayPal and the services exist as 6-second video clips performed on the app, Vine. Young kids have been traveling from all over the country to Los Angeles with the same hopes and dreams as the many aspiring actors and porn stars before them. We’ve all heard that tale about some mega star who packed up and left for Hollywood with a bus ticket and a bag. The destination is still Hollywood, but the new dream is Vine.
Founded in June 2012, the video sharing app was quickly acquired by Twitter and officially launched in the fall that same year. By the Spring of 2013, Vine was the most used video sharing app on the market and became the most downloaded app. While the app didn’t see rapid growth from the stop motion usage (its intended use), it did see tremendous advantages for people making comedy skits and music performances.
Comedian Ry Doon from Boston started Vining after hearing about the app on Joe Rogan’s Podcast. He saw something new and exciting, following accounts like Will Sasso’s and Doon quickly gained a knack for the timing and rhythm of the app. Doon recalls, “A bunch of us were blowing up during the summer of 2013. I was in nursing school part time and walking dogs to make ends meet. My following got big enough to where brands were reaching out to me. This was my chance to go for it and make comedy a full time thing.” He knew his time investment was about to pay off when he went to his first “Vine Meet” in Central Park during the summer of 2013. “I was with a handful of other Viners hosting the event and just remembering seeing all the fans going crazy for us thinking to myself, Holy Sh*t! I’m famous!”
Brandon Calvillo saw similar success with the app while he was unemployed living at home with his mother, spending his idle time making comedy skits. He reached 100,000 followers being witty and was contacted by Grape Story, an agency repping top Viners. They told him if he joined the team, within a few months, he’d living off Vine full time. Since that phone call, Calvillo has reached 3.8 million followers and scores between $1,000 – $10,000 for his six second clips.
Christiano Covino broke into Vine in 2013 while he was writing and producing content for advertising companies. The film school graduate had already moved from the East Coast to L.A. to further develop his directing career. Covino took a different approach than most of the comedians producing content. He used his experience as a commercial director and applied it to Vine, helping Viners create and price their branded vines. After he witnessed how gaining followers was mainly achieved through collaboration, Covino made his production studio a go-to spot for Viners. “On any given day you could walk into the studio and see kids from out of town sleeping on the couches. They would hang out until more Viners came through and then collab. In less then six months, they went from couch surfing to major brand endorsement deals.”
Covino tells us it’s not just the brands throwing money at the Viners. These top Viners are now clients at top Hollywood agencies like William Morris and CAA. “I’ve seen Viners get cast on TV shows and movies because their following. The social media game is simple: following equals currency.”
The app isn’t just a platform for comedians and brands to blow up on; Brooklyn-based artist and producer Dawin was signed after Republic Records’ A&R, Ben Adelson, spotted him in the top 10 on the iTunes single charts. The artist had made it to #5 after posting strategic Vines with a six-second clip of his song. After signing to Republic, Dawin continued to carry the song’s marketing through Vine campaigns, staying in the top ten for eight months. Dawin hired Covino’s company, Mischievious, to give the song a boost in the summer of 2014. Since the campaign was so successful, he convinced the label to let Covino shoot the song’s official video. Covino went for an all-star cameo Vine cast that featured Amanda Cerny, Brandon Calvillo, Ry Doon, Klarity, Sunny Mabrey, David Dobrick, Steph Barley, Olivia Sui, Brendan McNerney, and Eric Artell. Also starring in the video, making his last piece of film, was recently deceased graffiti legend, and actor, Trigz.
Photo credit: Estevan Oriol, exclusively for BallerStatus.com.