Saturday, April 10, 2010
Welcome to "Dial In with Jeremy Gordon"
Good evening. From my living room, through the vast virtual world, to wherever you may be reading this, I bid you welcome. Who am I? I'm a guy in Los Angeles, California who wanted to find a place to share my voice, my thoughts, my opinions and my experiences. By trade I'm a Casting Director and Producer. However, I'm just like "everyman" in most aspects which you'll see in my future blogs.
In the 7 years since I've been in this business, I've noticed this great need for information. We all want some help and advice and we all have questions we'd like some answers to. A few years ago when I started teaching workshops to actors here in LA, I noticed many of the same questions being fired at me. I thought to myself, "Wow, those are some pretty basic questions that they really should have the answers to." But, more importantly, if they didn't know the answers, there should be a place where they could GET the answers. So I started a group on Facebook called "Casting Directors For Actors".
It seemed easy enough. The physical space for the group was already there. I posted some pictures, a little bit about myself and a forum for a discussion board where one could post and respond to questions. Facebook did the hard work for me; all I had to do was fill in the blanks. With the group started, I didn't know what to do other than sit around and wait for members to join. And a few did. After a few months I had about 150 members. They would send me emails every now and then, friend request me, shout out on the wall, post their headshots and reels and a few would even post something to the discussion board so others could respond as well. The membership numbers creeped their way up, but I wasn't satisfied with the slow progress. While it was nice to help and communicate with a few actors, I wanted to reach the masses. So I started to spend more time on Facebook. I joined other industry related groups, friend requested industry people, posted about my group on other group's walls and really tried to get the word out there that there was somebody willing to help.....that I was willing to help. I had people willing to help me and answer my questions when I first started (er, well, I actually still do - I ask a LOT of questions). After just a little while longer, I started to notice a spike in our numbers. Now instead of 150, we were getting up to about 1,000. "Okay," I thought, "This is working."
I pressed onward and continued doing what was working. The more I got the word out there, the more members we had. The more members joined, the more people I was "connected" to. From there, it became a high school mathematical dream! Exponential equations came rushing back to me (something I was never good at understanding). Our member numbers were no longer creeping like the infant the group once was. It was running full steam ahead like a teenage track star. I sat there in awe. Instead of spending about 30 minutes each day answering emails and joining other groups, I was spending HOURS every day answering the dozens of emails and wall posts and discussion topics from the now thousands of members.....and by thousands I'm talking 6,000, 8,000, 12,000, 16,000. Holy what???? Are you serious? There are 16,000 people in the world that want to talk to ME?
It was almost getting out of control. I was working full time, trying to have some semblance of a social life, teaching extra workshops around LA, and out of nowhere, I had to find the time to keep up with the monster I created. My friends joked that I should hire an intern to help me (no, I never did. I have always to this day answered all my own emails). But I did decide it was time to start tracking the numbers. On April 24, 2009 I had 16,586 members. 24, by the way, is my lucky number (and my mom's). More on that in a future blog. For the first two days, I checked the numbers once each day. When I checked on April 26, and saw the numbers up to 16,649, I thought, "WTF? In about 2 days, 100 people joined my group?" I was instantly thrilled and surprised and excited and pressured....pressured to keep adding to the group and to keep giving what I told all these people I would....help. Then I started checking the numbers multiple times a day....and every time I checked the numbers, it was higher. Sometimes only by a few and other times by a more significant number, but it was always higher. By May 12, we were over 17,000. By June, 18,000. In July, 19,000. Holy craziness. I honestly could not believe what was happening. Each month was bringing us at least 1,000 new members. Now it's April 2010 and we have exactly 23,648 members. 23,648 people around the world asking ME for help and advice. It is astounding.
How did all of this lead me to create a blog? Well after spending a few years creating Casting Directors for Actors on Facebook and loving the opportunities it has given me, I was also far too familiar with its limitations. After my group grew past 5,000 members, Facebook removed the option for me to mass email my members all at once if there was something I wanted to tell them all. When I inquired, their answer was simple: they were trying to prevent too much spam being sent out on their sever. Okay, that's fair, but if somebody joined my group on their own free will then they were opting into receiving emails from me. That didn't make much sense to me and with 23,000+ members, the only way for me to communicate with them was to post something on the wall or discussion board and hope they saw it. Simply put, I didn't like Facebook's reasoning. And, I also didn't like how Facebook completely stopped answering my requests for help. At a certain point they literally stopped answering my emails. They used to be so rad on customer service and surprised me with how quickly they responded and how detailed they were in their answers. But now, nothing. Not even an automated response to my query for help, which is quite ironic considering what I'm trying to do for others. But, I digress.
PAUSE - it's tea time. I'm a huge tea drinker since I gave up coffee a few months ago. Peach Black Tea from Stash is my new favorite. It's a bit addicting. And, yes, I get two cups from each tea bag, just like my mother, just like my grandmother. I'll even keep the tea bag in a tiny bowl on the counter for the next cup, even if that's the next morning, just like my mother, just like my grandmother.
I didn't make it out of the kitchen. I've got my laptop on the counter next to my cup of steaming hot peach tea and I'm back to blogging. This is my very first blog that I have been thinking about for a long time so please forgive its length. Future blogs will be shorter, I promise. I can hear my good friend Toby saying, "Ugh, Jeremy, keep it shorter. Nobody wants to read all that." Well we'll just see about that, Tobias, won't we?
Facebook also didn't let me control who posted what on my group's wall, discussion board, or the photos or videos they posted. I could always delete what they posted after the fact, but that was annoying, time consuming and, what's done is done. If something inappropriate is up there and the wrong person sees it before I have time to remove it, the damage is done. Ask any of my friends or any of my ex's, I like control. So this blog is a way for me to search for more control, reach out to more people, leave the Facebook restrictions to Facebook and, most importantly, to build a bridge between what I started on Facebook and what I eventually will build into my own website.
Don't get me wrong. I LOVE Facebook and use it far too often. Just last night, after I maxed out the allowed number of friends a single person can have on their profile (about 5,000), I was forced into starting a Fan Page. "Eeeks," I thought, "A fan page? I need a fan page? I have fans?" Strange thought for me. And maybe it's just that Facebook calls it a Fan Page but I guess I do have fans. I'm helping people and answering questions. I have actors who I have been emailing with for years telling me that because of the advice I gave them they are moving to LA from all over the globe: NY, Canada, South Africa, India....I never realized my words were that impacting.
So last night, when I stayed in on a Friday night to create on my Fan Page called, Jeremy Gordon Casting, and to rest for my upcoming date on Saturday night (yes, that's today, that's right now, and I'm blogging instead....ahem ahem, we'll get to that in a moment), I sent "Fan Page Suggestions" to all 5,000 of my "friends" having no idea how long it would take to transfer over those who were networking friends and leaving my personal page for my 3D friends, those friends I actually know and see in person. It took me a few hours to send those invites to half of the alphabet. I stopped at "J" but only because my eyes were seeing triple. Of course I checked the new numbers before shutting off my computer. I was expecting to have ZERO fans at this point or maybe a few dozen if I was really lucky. But, again HOLY WHAT??? The first time I checked the numbers, I already had a few hundred fans. Talk about a second wind. I jammed through sending more invites and constantly checked the numbers and they were rising like the tide. Stop. I had to stop for the night. It was 1am and I had a workshop in the morning.
I wake up and make some tea, peach tea again, and I run to the computer to see the numbers. Again, more than I thought. But no time to sit and diddle with it. I had to get to the workshop. High on virtual exponents, I dash off to a fantastic workshop and tell them all about the Jeremy Gordon Casting Fan Page and how they should create their own blah blah blah. I ran around doing errands, met a friend for lunch (a new, very cute friend, I might add) and came home to get ready for my date......working very hard not to keep checking the numbers or to finish sending the Fan Page invites for fear of delving too hard, too fast into a new addiction.
At 5:20pm, about 40 minutes away from date time (date #3 with him to be exact), I get a text, "Hey Mister. We are just BBQing now...would you mind if we take a rain check?" ****insert the sound of brakes screeching to a halt*** Talk about, "WTF" and, "ARE YOU SERIOUS?" with a dash of, "WHAT YOU TALKIN' ABOUT, WILLIS?" A text? 40 minutes before the date? A "rain check"? On a Saturday night? Grrrrrrrr......really? I kinda wanted to be mad. I kinda wanted to let him know I was annoyed. But he's a really nice guy and he did have a good excuse, even though it was an excuse, and he's super adorable (and, yes, if you can't tell by now - I'm gay) and he did suggest making it up to me on Sunday. Okay, okay, fine.....enjoy your BBQ and I'll see you tomorrow. CLICK - I hang up.......AND RUN TO MY FREAKIN' COMPUTER AND START FINISHING THE FAN PAGE INVITES AND CHECKING NUMBERS LIKE I'M EMBRACING SOME LONG STIFLED CRAVING MONSTER THAT HAD TO BE UNLEASHED. Man, did I zip through the rest of the alphabet and by about 7:30pm I had 100% sent out invitations to all 5,000 of my "friends".
It's now 9:30pm, and I'm just about to brew my second cup of tea (yes, reusing the bag), and I have 870 fans. Not too shabby for 24 hours, right? Knowing the power of virality, it is only a matter of time before my numbers grow here as well. There is work to be done, other groups to join, wall messages to post, emails to send and networking to, well, net? But for now, considering it is Saturday night, I will wrap up my blog and stream a Netflix movie on my new, rad blue ray player to my new, awesome flat screen and silently and secretly thank he-who-will-not-be-named-for-now for canceling our date so this blog could be born (even though he BETTER have a slick way of making it up to me tomorrow).
My blog will be a mixture of business and pleasure. It will be chock full of advice, hints, rants, raves, complaints, congrats, suggestions, questions, answers, secrets and, hopefully, some input from other industry professionals. I would like to post daily, but I know that won't happen. I'll post as often as I can. I'll do what I can to help you. Please feel free to respond to my blogs. Ask questions. Make statements. Compliment me. Contradict me. Challenge me. When I was a 7th grade teacher, I used to tell my students that they always had the right to challenge authority RESPECTFULLY. So I give unto you the same. But please do be respectful. It's just me. I'm just one person. And it's all just my opinions and my experiences. And, yeah, I might be a bit sensitive at times. Just ask any ex boyfriend....or my mom.
I'm a real person. I'm just like you. I have a job, I have friends, I am trying to date (um, he-who-will-not-be-named-for-now - you readin' this?)....I'm everyman. But for you skeptics or for those of you wondering, "Who the hell is Jeremy Gordon?" Check out my IMDb profile and see the projects I've worked on: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1873883/
Or check out my Facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/jeremygordoncasting?ref=profile
Or check out and join my Fan Page (we're up to 876 now, whoo whoo) at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jeremy-Gordon-Casting/111830532171593
And/or my group, Casting Directors for Actors at:
For now, it's goodnight blog, goodnight Facebook, goodnight computer, goodnight virtual readers (though since this is not even published yet, that reader base is ZERO) and Goodnight Moon, still one my favorite books. Thanks, mom.
Much love and happiness,
Jeremy Gordon, CSA