Celebrity gossip-ist Perez Hilton has made quite a successful career for himself. He’s a millionaire now, all because of his criticism and dirt-smearing of others already successful. Hilton, real name Mario Lavandeira, may seem like an odd person to learn from if you are an independent film maker, but sometimes strange comparisons actually do give you lessons that can be used in your own world.
So what are the secrets to Hilton’s success that can be used by a young filmmaker?
No matter what your inspiration is or your desires are, be passionate about them. Perez didn’t start writing about celebrities because he was bored and looking for something to write about; he was already a gossip lover, he loved the way people appeared in the limelight, and how celebrity changed people. When you’re making a film, don’t make it about a man who gets around the country hopping on trains unless that’s something you have a passion for. Passion comes across in all art forms, including film. Don’t make something for the masses, make something for you and the masses will flock.
Make Sure there’s an Audience
As a caveat to the above idea, if your passion is something incredible obscure, you might want to go to your next idea. You have to make sure there’s an audience for your film. Perez capitalizes on the fact that many millions of people have an insatiable thirst for celebrity gossip. Going for an idea that is already loved by many is a great way to get success. This theory will apply to your film too. That’s why so many stories are about love, it’s something we can all relate to.
One other piece of his success is that he posts so frequently. How many of us have stumbled across blogs where the last post was months ago? You’ll never generate a following that way, and that’s why he posts anywhere from 30-50 times every day. That type of work certainly gets people to check back to the blog throughout the day, many times. If you’re making a film, don’t focus all on one film. As soon as you’re done, get working on that next project. If you make a film this year, and by this time next year you don’t have anything else in the works, that will look bad for your career.
Do not Get Censored
Worry about what you say is important, but trying to say what you think others will be most happy about is actually a negative. There’s no such thing as bad press, as they say, and that’s because it’s true. Celebrities who respond vocally and publicly to Perez Hilton’s blog are only driving more traffic to his site and generating more followers for him. It’s why he writes in such an inflammatory way. In your films, be bold and brave, and don’t worry about the critics and what they’ll say. If you can get under someone’s feathers, you will see more attention.
The worst thing you can do is to try to structure your film after what someone has already done. Perez has made his voice unique, even though he’s far from the only celebrity gossiper. If you just try to copy, you won’t stand out. You have to be unique and have your own voice, even if it’s hard to pigeon hole exactly what that voice is. Being unique will in the long run get you much further than if you just are a copy cat, then your ceiling is low and made of glass.