Don’t laugh! There are no shortcuts to fame

“Whose Line Is It Anyway?” stars Brad Sherwood and Colin Mochrie told LSY’s Francesca Harvey that people think it’s easy to get famous nowadays.
Photo by Rebekah Dunn.

Countless kids dream of fame. But can shows like The Voice, X-Factor and American Idol  – or even just YouTube – be an easy way to achieve that goal?

When you look at someone like Justin Bieber, who was discovered on YouTube, or Carrie Underwood, who won Idol, it might seem so.

But it’s not true.

That’s what Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, improv comedians who achieved fame on the show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, told Live! Starring … You!’s Francesca Harvey.

“People don’t understand how much hard work it is,” Brad said. “We started in the era when there was no easy way to get in. Nowadays … there are a lot of shortcuts and a lot of people then think, ‘It’s just going to be that easy.”

What people don’t totally understand is how much hard work and luck it takes to simply be noticed, and much more hard work it takes to actually earn money as a performer.

“You have to handle a lot of rejection,” Brad said, “because you’re told no more than you’re told yes.”

Plus, to get on shows like Idol, X-Factor or Voice, you need to be chosen from a field of thousands of contestants. On YouTube, your work needs to somehow be noticed among millions of videos.

That’s not easy.

What is easier now than ever before is getting the chance to be noticed. Virtually anyone who can get to an audition is allow to try out for reality singing shows, and YouTube allows anyone with a camera to put their work online.

YouTube, for example, has been a huge factor in the career of filmmaker Jon M. Chu, who directed Step Up 2, Step Up 3D, Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never, and G.I. Joe 2. He used the video site to showcase his talents by creating an online dance show called The LXD (which stands for League of Extraordinary Dancers).

“For anybody who wants to (work in entertainment), you have an amazing opportunity right now to get it out there,” Jon told Live! Starring … You! in a Skype interview from his Hollywood office. “You may not be good enough at what you do to become a big star, but that’s OK. You’re going to find out. At least you have the opportunity to get it out there.”

YouTube and reality shows occasionally result in instant fame, but the bigger goal is to have a long, successful career – no matter how you get discovered.

Take Colin Mochrie’s advice: “You have to make up your mind: Do you want to have a career or do you want to be famous? Sometimes it does work together, but sometimes it doesn’t.”

— Rebekah Dunn, with Tim O’Shei
Mount St. Mary Academy

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