Damon Wayans, Jr.’s “Special Guest” App Helping Undiscovered Talent Book Gigs
Coming up in the entertainment industry in Hollywood, or anywhere for that matter, is not for the thin skinned. You have to be talented, yes, but you also have to be tough, laser-focused, motivated and determined to achieve your goal. Also, you have to be lucky as even some of the most talented people can go overlooked by the industry kingpins.
However, Daman Wayans, Jr. and his partner Kristopher Jones have created the Special Guest app to help both up-and-coming as well as established artists and entertainers to break through in their respective industries.
Using the app is pretty simple and costs the artist nothing. They create their profile and link all of their social media accounts. They can include a bio about themselves as well as YouTube or other video clips. Also included is their performance or hourly fee. The app is also not just for one specific type of artist. You could be an aspiring singer/songwriter, an actor or comedian or you could just be a clown that does face painting. If you’re available for a gig, the Special Guest app can help!
All of the aforementioned steps help to inform the venue or booker of what they can expect when they book the talent they are looking for. For them, the app will charge a small fee on top of the artists fee. This is how the app makes their money while maintaining a free service to the talent.
The Special Guest app allows those who couldn’t afford the representation, or whom wouldn’t garner the attention of talent agencies, to go out and market themselves and be their own agent without having to fork over 10% (or more!) of their earnings.
Wayans came up with the idea for the app while he was traveling doing his stand-up comedy routines. He explained in an interview that while he was waiting to go on, he was blown away by the others who, for all intents and purposes, were essentially “undiscovered” talents.
I do a lot of stand-up comedy. I travel around the US entertaining people and when I’m not doing that, I’m home in LA refining my material. I do a lot of open mics. Open mics are where people who entertain for a living go to practice their material. It’s not just stand-up comedians. There are poets and there are musicians and what have you. One time I was at this open mic, sitting there waiting my turn. Two comedians go up ahead of me; very funny guys, never heard of them before and they kill it. Then this young lady goes up, she’s a freckle-faced, young, redhead who goes up there with an acoustic guitar. She starts singing her own material and she blows me away. Everybody in there was like, “Wow, why isn’t this girl famous already?” I had goose bumps and I thought to myself that it sucks that so many people who are entertainers will never get the opportunity to be paid for the thing that they love doing the most. They ultimately have to set aside their dreams and get a regular job and it’s because of the way that the entertainment industry is set up. I have representation; I have a manager; I have agents. A lot of people don’t have that. So, I wanted to make a platform for entertainers to make it easier for them to get gigs. One of my good friends put me in contact with Kris Jones and we just hit it off. I pitched him the idea, he loved it, and we just made it real.
The app also has a function for reviews of the talent, which could prove to be crucial for booking agents or venues when trying to decide who they want to entertain their masses.
If this app itself doesn’t re-shape the way talent is evaluated and procured throughout the country and industry, it will definitely be one of the pioneers.
The way this app allows those who may not have the means or methods to get their talent skills in front of the right people is unsurpassed and there should not be a phone or tablet without this app on it.