L.A. Actor Got Boost From Streamys Win
The Web is meant to be a bastion for indie TV producers and actors but even the Streamy Awards, which were created to honor the best of Internet entertainment, have some prominent mainstream performers among its honorees.
Ken Marino won for his performance on “Burning Love” last year. Weird Al Yankovic won in 2010 for his guest appearance on “Know Your Meme” and Neil Patrick Harris took home a statue in 2009 for his turn on “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.” And this year Zach Galifianakis, a past winner, is nominated for his “Between Two Ferns” interview with President Obama. These are hardly performers who were on the brink of stardom before receiving a Streamy.
Still, the awards can give a boost to actors who are struggling for recognition beyond the Web, according to Mark Gantt, a Los Angeles-based performer who won Streamys for his acting and producing on “The Bannen Way” in 2010.
“It opened a lot of doors,” he told Backstage. “For me as an actor, it’s still not an Emmy. The Streamys hasn’t hit that place in the mainstream consciousness, but with agents, managers, and casting people who are aware of the space, having won those awards has helped me.”
“The Bannen Way,” which Gantt co-created with Jesse Warren, is an action-adventure series that was produced for Sony’s Crackle as a feature-formatted as a Web series. Gantt believes it was able to stand out because the medium wasn’t as saturated. “Four years ago there wasn’t a lot of mainstream talent out there doing [online series],” he said. “The reality now is digital studios and multi-channel networks are basically cable companies, and they’re looking to do half-hour and hour long series.”
That makes it more difficult for indie TV producers and actors to find an audience online. “In terms of you having $250 and a camera to go shoot something, you’re one of thousands—how do you stand out and create something different? It’s much more a challenge now,” said Gantt, who’s set to direct his first feature, titled "A Place Apart," later this year.
Gantt said he understands the tension between honoring YouTubers and established talent for Internet-based awards like the Streamys. Still, he said, “they can’t ignore somebody with a name that is out there doing stuff in the space. It is tougher for an indie person who's unknown to create a show and get known.”
Actors should still try their hands at producing their own content, he adds. “You have to keep going 'next' all the time. Something will pop.”
His advice to aspiring Streamy winners? Have passion and don’t go it alone. “We surrounded ourselves with professionals who could do this in their sleep,” he said of his 2010 production.
The 4th Streamy Awards are set to air here Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m. PT.