Andy Milonakis from MTV's The Andy Milonakis Show is a great example of someone who has used the internet in very creative ways. His comedic talent has taken him from user-generated videos to his own TV show and several appearances on Loveline and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Andy was very cool to take some time to answer some questions for Social Nerdia. Make sure to check out Andy's show and send him a tweet after you're done reading.
1. Did you really get started with web cam recordings and how did that happen?
I used to do a photo-based comic strip on Brian Lynch's site Angry Naked Pat. After writing a bunch, one of them was a rap and I thought it would be better to do a video, but since it was a long time ago it was a pain in the a**. People still had dial-up modems, so I had to get different programs to compress the video small enough for streaming, and learn different ways of embedding the vids on the pages and stuff. It was a lot of extra work but it paid off to get into the game so early. YouTube is great, it makes my life a lot easier.
2. Do you think it would be harder or easier to get started today (now that everyone is so aware of sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Veoh, etc)?
I think it's harder to stand out because there are so many people doing it but I don't think that should discourage people. If you have something really original or hilarious to say or do... Do it. If it really stands out, maybe millions of people will see it and good things will come from it. The problem is that there are millions of people who are dying for something good to come from their videos so they try way too hard or just aren't that original.
3. You've made quite an impact on the media. You're an "internet phenomenom" (Wikipedia's words, not mine) with appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Loveline, and even your own TV show. What else are you working on now?
Right now I want to finish my comedy/rap album and tour all over. I just got back from a mini bay area tour with Dirt Nasty, Andre Legacy and Beardo... but that was just a small taste....I didn't really have my set ready, Dirt just wanted to give me a headstart and a small taste of what a music tour was like. I loved it but after 4 days I'm pretty tired. I wonder what 30 days would be like and I only did a couple of songs.. I can't imagine the people who do full sets of like an hour and do it for a month in a row. Those guys are the real hard workers in entertainment, **** actors. I'm going to get back to some ridiculous comedy this year too. I took a little break but I'm gonna hit it hard this year.
4. Does Dr. Drew call you randomly to see how you're doing or is it more of a professional relationship?
Dr. Drew is the man, when Carolla left Loveline he had me cohost for a week. I think he misses me writing raps for him and wants to see me. I'm going to call the loveline producer today so I can get back on the show and see whats up.
5. You have a bunch of followers on Twitter. Do you tweet for the fun of it or is it a way to stay in touch with an audience? (If neither, why do you do it?)
I love twitter, it's such a direct way of chatting with fans and people you want to potentially work with...
6. You recently tweeted the following: "Dont hit me up unless you have 5,000 followers". What kind of reaction were you looking for?
People are so gullible... I mean, I didn't think about the reaction at first...... First I just thought about how people hold such a high importance to how many friends you have on MySpace and how many followers on twitter... so I thought it would be really ****** up if I wrote that. After I thought of it, I devilishly laughed out loud for about a full minute..... I posted it and instantly some followers dropped, some people are just stupid.
7. How did you get the Twitter bird to sing with you on "Ayy let me Twitter Dat"? Overall, good collaboration or not so much?
I refuse to answer this question on the count of it being EXTREMELY CORNY.
8. Do you consider yourself a celebrity?
I hate that word; it's associated with so much douche baggery it's not even funny. I take pride in being real. I had my own show and people recognize me from it and what not, but to hell with the C word. It's like asking "do you think you're hot *** because you were on tv and people know you?" teeheeee
9. What do you think about companies creating videos in hopes of making a viral impact?
It's smart but be creative, don't force it. There are so many people & businesses that are trying to get results and create forced, watered down content.
10. Have you ever used USTREAM?
Yeah I just started ustream and I have been using Stickam for awhile.
11. This list of the most watched viral videos includes music videos and movie trailers. Does it make sense to call these "viral" simply because they were viewed online?
Well, usually I think of viral videos as user generated videos by random people that catch on and the flame spreads to tons of people, but as time goes on definitions always seem to get broader and change too, and sometimes change completely and then suddenly you're like remember when this meant that.
12. Finally, what advice would you give to someone who wants to do short films/shows/user-generated content?
Don't fall in love with all of your ideas. Look at all the stuff people are doing on YouTube or in shows, and spend a lot of time on thinking of ways to do something completely fun and different. When you are dealing with TV Networks I think it's hard to do something completely different and have them accept you but that shouldn't stop you. Just to be honest, I'm talking to the small percentage of people that truly have an original voice... most of you out there suck and shouldn't even try. (1000 followers dropped).