How to Become Famous in 3 Shockingly Easy Steps

 

How to Become Famous in 3 Shockingly Easy Steps

Let’s face it, you’ve probably been working way too hard.

Forget about all of those years toiling away in obscurity

Forget about putting in your 10,000 hours of practice to master your craft.

In fact, forget about creating any creative work at all, now it’s all about becoming famous for the sake of being famous.

Somewhere along the way fame has become a goal in itself.  It’s not necessarily to become a famous musician, a famous writer, or a famous artist — it’s simply enough to become famous.

Creative artists have always been provocateurs.  Artists such as Picasso, Duchamp, O’Keeffe, Cerny, Pollock, Banksy, Christo, and Hirst specialized in works that stir the emotions and push the boundaries (and buttons) of their viewing audience.  Their primary purpose, however was never simply to get attention, it was an attempt to to alter our perspective and offer us something new using their own unique creative voice.

Now having said that, why does it feel like so many of us these days are just screaming to get attention?

 

Breaking through the Background Noise

Look I get it, the internet is getting awfully crowded.

Now that virtually everyone has their own Twitter account, Facebook page, YouTube channel, and blog — it has become harder than ever to breakthrough the background chatter and get ourselves noticed.  We’ve got more news outlets and low-cost ways to spread our creative work around than ever before.

What seems to be disappearing, however, is our attention.

So what happened?

 

There are no spectators any more.

You have to remember that not that long ago there were only a handful of television channels, movie studios, and music recording companies out there.  They produced the content and we dutifully watched, listened, and purchased whatever it was they created.

It didn’t even have to be all that good because we only had a few choices available to choose from (unless of course you were one of those weird “book readers”).  They had the professional actors and musicians, and we were the spectators. They performed while we sat on the sidelines clapping and purchasing our tickets.

Back then we even watched the commercials on TV because we were simply too lazy to get up and change the channel.  It was the glory days of Mad Men and everyone played their part — They talked and we listened.

But here’s the problem….things changed

 

No one is listening

The world wide web has changed all of that.  There are no more spectators sitting on the sidelines waiting to be entertained because we all to some degree have become content creators ourselves.

We are now so busy creating and sharing our own content that we don’t have the time to notice anyone else’s stuff.

We update our blog, we blast out dozens of Facebook and Twitter updates daily only to discover that fewer and fewer people are listening to what we have to say.  So we end up spending the majority of our time talking about (and to) ourselves.

It’s kind of like Thanksgiving dinner, where everyone is talking at the same time but no one is really listening.  We are simply talking over one another. The conversation around the table keeps getting louder and louder until you can’t even hear what you are saying yourself.

In economics this is called the law of diminishing returns.  In other words, the first person to start shouting in a quiet room is almost guaranteed to get noticed.  Maybe even the second of the third person as well — but as soon as everyone in the room starts shouting, nobody can hear anyone and we just tune it out.  Unfortunately, it seems that we have now reached that point online where everyone is shouting to get themselves noticed but nobody is bothering to listen any more.

 

When everyone is standing, nobody can see

So in this type of environment where there is already so much noise and commotion, how can anyone ever hope to stand out and get themselves noticed?

Well this all comes back to the title of this post which is  “How to Become Famous in 3 Shockingly Easy Steps”
(you weren’t sure we’d actually get back there did you?)

So here it is…. the secret to getting yourself noticed online is to shock your audience into paying attention to you.

 

Shock & Awe

Let’s face it, the fastest way to get attention is to scream

Shock = Attention = Fame

As you can see, our formula here is fairly simple.  If you want to become famous, you’ve simply have to find a way to get people’s attention. Once you get people’s attention, you become famous.

You see fame (unlike talent) is nothing more than capturing someone’s attention.

Shocking people by doing something stupid and outlandish used to be the provence of disc jockeys, graffiti artists, and Jerry Springer but now it has apparently become mainstream.

So not only is Picasso famous for his artwork, but now so is the idiot who walked into a museum and vandalized one of his paintings.   It doesn’t take talent, hard work, or skill to become famous.  All it really takes is the ability to capture someone else’s attention by doing something completely unexpected.  It doesn’t even matter whether you do something “good” or something “bad” to get attention — the result is exactly the same. 

Fame you’ll be famous, as famous as can be, with everyone watching you win on TV, Except when they don’t because sometimes they won’t. ~Dr. Seuss

And it’s not just beginners who are struggling to get noticed, it’s also those who may already be famous but want to become even more famous.  Do you think that it’s merely coincidence that so many washed up celebrities publicly announce the fact they are checking into rehab or “accidentally” leak a sex tape.  Even these B-list celebrities understand that fame demands attention, and if they are no longer getting enough attention, they need to do something that will.

As a culture we used to try and hide these little indiscretions, now we go out of our way to record and publicize them.

This tried and true formula has revived the careers fame of countless actors and musicians who have then gone on to a lucrative second career in reality television.  After all, everyone loves to tune into Bravo and watch a good celebrity train wreck because it makes us feel morally superior to these idiots and their self-serving shenanigans.

Okay that’s great, but what if you’re not already a washed up celebrity?  What are your options?

Well lucky for you, there have been plenty of other people who have used controversy to worm their way into our collective consciousness. In the process they’ve left us a detailed blueprint on how to become famous for being infamous.

So without further adieu, I bring you…

 

The Idiot’s Guide to Becoming Famous with Minimal Effort

 

Step 1.) Do something incredibly stupid and obnoxious to attract attention to yourself

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box here. This can be in the form of a video, stunt, hoax, or just good old-fashioned vandalism.  Keep in mind that as a culture we have become  somewhat desensitized to people doing stupid things from years of watching people do stupid things, so try to think big.

 

Step 2.) Be sure to record your act of stupidity and publish it on YouTube.

Remember that recording and documenting your act of idiocy is not optional here. These days if you don’t capture something on video, you might as well go back to live in your primitive cave of obscurity.

Famous Idiot Exhibit #1

It’s the whole tree falling in the forest kind of thing.  This isn’t 2005 and nobody wants to sit down and read about it in some old-fashioned newspaper, they want to actually see it happen so they can shake their head in disbelief as they are clicking on the share buttons.

Although it’s true that you might get fined or arrested for your stunt, don’t worry about it because you will also get your name in the papers, the blogs, cable news channels, and other ridiculous websites (like this one) that have nothing better to do than to give you more free publicity.

Just make sure that they spell your name correctly.

 

Step 3.) Get rewarded for your idiocy and bask in your new-found fame

Congratulations you are now famous!  Please keep in mind, however that although your fame may be immediate, it is far from permanent. So while you are soaking in your 15 minutes of fame, be sure to be thinking about your next public spectacle of stupidity.  Because as much as we enjoy watching your personal train-wreck on YouTube, there is always another idiot just around the corner waiting to shock and amuse us.

 

Then again, there is nothing wrong with fame itself.

Don’t get the wrong idea here. There is nothing wrong with being famous. Just as there is no inherent goodness from spending your life toiling in obscurity.

Being famous doesn’t make you any better of a creative artist. In fact, those who achieve a certain amount of fame often feel trapped by it (I know boo-boo right?).  As soon as someone achieves some degree of fame and success however, the temptation is always there for them to stick with that same tried-and-true formula, instead of risking potential failure by trying something new. They find themselves suddenly trapped in a creative rut because of the expectations of their audience. 

I never wanted to be famous. I only wanted to be great. ~Ray Charles

Fame is (or at least should be) the public recognition that you have achieved some degree of mastery at your chosen profession.  What fame shouldn’t be, however, is a goal in itself.

So maybe we should stop wasting all of of this energy trying to get ourselves noticed and perhaps spend some of that time working on becoming a better creative artist.

Despite what you may have heard, there are no shortcuts.

There is no “easy” button.

You just have to sit down and do the work.

 

What do you think?

  • What is your take on our celebrity obsessed culture?
  • Do you think we are sending the wrong message by rewarding art vandals with their own gallery show?
  • When exactly does getting “noticed” and marketing ourselves as an artist cross the line?

 

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Comments

    • says

      Thanks Jimmy for stopping by and for your kind words. It really is a bit sad that it has come to this. I’m hoping that eventually we’ll stop rewarding and start ignoring these idiots but I’m not exactly sure if/when that’s going to happen.

  1. says

    Haha, for a while there I was wondering what the h”ck the article was all about… funny!
    Yes, the celebrity culture is truly twisting the heads of the young people, which is the saddest
    part of it to me. There are two different kinds of people – those who care about celebs and those
    who don’t. I fill my life with those who don’t and let the others waste their time. But I think you make
    an important point here, it is important to speak up about this issue because most people seem
    to be wandering around in a haze, drugged by media.

    Thanks,

    Elinros

    • says

      Thanks Elinros for stopping by and sharing the article with your cousin. I do think that it’s a bit sad that we’ve become so celebrity obsessed as a culture. As I said in the post, I’m all for mastering your chosen profession and in the process being rewarded and recognized by your peers, but this these idiots now attempting to piggyback on the fame of other artists by vandalizing the works of Picasso (and more recently Rothko) just strikes me as more than a little desperate.

  2. says

    I love your sarcasm…You are so right…I’m a young artist and I struggle to learn how to do things…I want to concentrate my energy to improve my work, but in the same time I want to be noticed and that means I don’t have enough time to do what I really love…Great article:)

    • says

      Thanks so much Simona for your kind words. You’re right, it can be hard to know where to draw that line between working hard to get noticed (aka marketing) and just trying to get attention. Now obviously this Picasso vandal went way too far, but even for the rest of us who may have a little more common sense, it can be difficult to find that delicate balance between self-promotion and making a complete ass out of your self ;)

  3. says

    Drew…

    Been reading your blog like a flutterbye for ages, you are a brilliant writer, seems your purpose is integrity and with that naturally the truth…admire your wish to impart some sense of what roots mean. Where is the worth coming from for the blinkered ambition…excellence amongst most is hard work and those souls have value you cannot trick or buy…and untold prices paid for the blinded ones….

    Great piece

    Jo x

    • says

      Thank you Jo for not only for your kind words and for taking the time to leave a comment, but also for making me scramble off to Google “flutterbye” :) Now thanks to you and my good friends at Wiktionary I have a new word to play with, so expect to see it popup again soon!

      I completely agree with you that “excellence amongst most is hard work and those souls have value you cannot trick or buy” Although people might be fooled into paying attention to you in the short-term by shocking them — you’re right true value, talent, and recognition cannot be purchased … it can only be earned.

      The great ones have always worked hard to become master their craft, not because they want to become rich and famous, but because they want to see how far they could go. As Ray Charles said himself, “I never wanted to be famous. I only wanted to be great.” Amen.

  4. says

    That quote from Dr. Seuss is from my favorite book of all times – Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

    “You have brains in your head.
    You have feet in your shoes.
    You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

    Delish! I enjoyed your article, I’d even feel tempted to go vandalize something if I didn’t had 2 kids to raise, preferably from outside the bars – ’cause “it’s opener, out there, in the wide, open air” ;)

  5. says

    I love the “idiots guide to becoming famous with minimal effort” The mistake those in this group make is they get fame but no respect. Respect is much better than fame, but if you have both, that’s good too.

  6. Dumza Maswana says

    Wow, this is so true…. I have shared this to my fellow South African artists who feel the same about this… From today onward I will not envy the famous for nothing attention seekers, even though they get all the gigs lol…

    Thank you so much…

  7. says

    Hello sir. This is the first time I’ve stumbled upon your blog and this article is very insightful.

    Truth be told, as I write this, my cheeks are stained with tears about how frustrated I am that I am not getting anywhere in the industry.

    But I agree with your words. I felt as if I invested so much in my craft that it was almost a pressure for me to become famous.

    I’d rather be able to do things I love doing with my art rather than feel the pressure, though sadly, there aren’t much opportunities available to me at the moment.

    Thank you for opening my eyes though.
    Art is what I love to do, and I will keep doing it, even if it will remain just a hobby.

  8. says

    Eh. I dunno.

    Can you be an obscure artist and still pay the bills? I mean I’ve seen plenty of cartoonists live on their craft, but I feel that I’m more talented than they are. Though there’s plenty more that I feel paid their dues.

    You need to at least have fans otherwise you’re gonna have to get a different job, man.

  9. Angel says

    Great Article! I agree with 90 percent, however my only counterpoint (if you want to call it that) is that art is evolving, “art” and art are now having a baby in the current fame game.

    That being said, I think those who have any longevity in the fame game are able to “back it up” to some degree with hard work and/or talent.

    So most of the time success is a combination of both.

  10. says

    In Norway we have this artist who became famous for walking naked into the sea, and setting fire to her paintings, as a protest against our cultural politics. Ofcourse she called the press, and they all came (she was naked). Today she has her paintings on mugs and pillows in big stores. She just became famous….. (please excuse my poor english)

    • says

      I think you are right, it’s a little crazy how becoming a celebrity has become the goal in our culture. Although there have always been artists who “shock” us with their art, their art was the thing that was shocking. Now we just skip the creative part and go directly to the do-something-stupid part. Of course they do it because they know the rest of us will pay attention to them and watch them do it.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us and don’t worry, din engelsk er bedre enn min norske :)

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