"I had the followers so I got the Job, " Game of Thrones Star, Sophie Turner" That's one plan, what's your business plan?
The Very Millennial Way Sophie Turner Beat a “Better” Actress for a Job
The Game of Thrones actress is very blunt in a new interview: “I had the followers, so I got the job.”
by YOHANA DESTA
In an age where “Instagram influencer” is a real (and lucrative!) career, anything goes. Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones, is quickly learning that social media also has an effect on the audition process. In a candid interview with Porter magazine, the actress reveals that her massive following landed her an acting job over an artist she considers “far better” than herself.
“I auditioned for a project and it was between me and another girl who is a far better actress than I am, far better, but I had the followers, so I got the job,” Turner told Porter, per The Telegraph. “It’s not right, but it is part of the movie industry now.”
Turner stopped short of naming the actress or the film, to the disappointment of gossip-attuned ears. She could potentially be talking about her role as Jean Grey in the X-Men series, or her roles in a handful of upcoming films like the dramedy Time Freak, the thriller Huntsville, or the anthology Berlin, I Love You. We’ll never know, but Turner always will—and so will the mysterious performer she bested. But Turner shouldn’t be so hard on herself! Her performance as Sansa is a constant delight, and she’s a true fan favorite, which is really saying something when a show’s ensemble cast is big enough to fill a small nation. There, there, young Starkling.
Turner’s bluntness on this topic is a fascinating acknowledgement of the status social media now has in Hollywood’s ecosystem. It’s a no-brainer to assume a Game of Thrones star is going to have more sway over a producer than an actor who isn’t attached to the hottest show on TV. Throw in millions of social-media fans—Turner has 5.4 million Instagram followers, 1.3 million Twitter followers, and 2 million Facebook fans—and the fight is even more off-balance. In the mind of an exec, that’s an irresistibly targeted, ready-made audience for any movie promotion Turner posts online.
Social-media cachet is vital to pretty much every star in the industry, except those rarified A-listers who are permitted to elide the online world. It’s why Kevin Hart, who has tens of millions of social followers, charges studios every time they ask him to promote his own movies on his social pages, and why stars like Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel get to debut trailers for their films exclusively on their own Facebook pages. In an industry where big-budget movies are anything but a safe bet and everyone is competing to get their content to the increasingly distracted masses, a strong social following is the easiest way to make sure advertising gets across to all the right fans. Apologies to that actress who went up against Turner. She never really stood a chance.
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark in The Game of Thrones
Social Media Following, Not Talent Got Sansa the Game of Thrones Gig A gig that will pay her millions of dollars in residuals for the next 50 years so she'll never have to work again. Or she can do theatre for $300 a week and focus on art because she has made her nut and proven she's a good business investment....
Sophie Turner got the job because she was willing to do what it takes to be a star.
She felt what she had to offer the world was worth getting the job by any means necessary.
That's called self-worth and enlightened self-interest.
What do you think you're worth? Are you willing to rely on others to value your worth?
How's that working out for you? So before you start coming up with excuses about why you don't have to be a business person or do social media to be an artist, check your fear at the door and look at the facts:
We go on and on about entertainment being a business.
But what does that mean? It means every company making content from networks to TV studios to writers and webseries creators; the ones that survive and make a living have a business plan.
If it's TV, they're figuring out how to create the kind of content that will ensure 5 million viewers because if they can't guarantee that, Geico or Coca-Cola is not spending 40 BILLION DOLLARS on advertising.
And that advertising money is how actors get paid.
And without that advertising, no Game of Thrones, Shondaland is getting made.
Plain and simple:
Issa Rae had a following....that's how she got a TV deal on HBO. She came with a guaranteed audience that would watch her show and subscribe to HBO.
So, for HBO, she was a great investment.
What kind of investment are you?
If you're up for a series regular right now, why should Netflix give you the job over Janelle Monae or Issa Rae?
With either Janelle or Issa, Netfix is guaranteed to get a million subscribers if they cast them, will that happen if they cast you?
Let's see, at $15 per month, if Netflix cast someone with a million followers and say they got even 25% of those followers to sign up for Netflix, they've just made 4 million dollars.
Can you guarantee that?
Then why should I hire you over someone with a following? So, I can lose money. huh?
If I'm Netflix and I want to keep the doors of my business open so I can take on risky projects that won't make money, then I need to fill some of my other projects with people with following who keep the money coming in.
That's just common sense.
You're not trying to study with the coach making no money for themselves or their clients, are you?
You're going to find the coach with clients paying her a shitload of money to teach them how to make a shitload of money.
(Fa'real, stop tripping)
You're following the money, why shouldn't producers and networks do the same?
Theatre artists are the only people I know who think it's righteous to spend a million dollars on training and then get paid less than unemployment for the privilege of making art.
Stop drinking the koolaide!
Everyone else is figuring out how to get paid what they're worth and to work constantly not just when someone in hollywood thinks you're worth it.
What's your worth? How much time, money and energy have you expended learning your craft. I spent a little over a million dollars on my education and training...
So, my time is now worth $500/hour.
That's the return on my investment.
That allows me time to write, pick and choose which projects I want to do, not HAVE to do...travel the world and take on clients who I love who are taking over the world like Brittany Mirabile, Mandy Evans Brown, Angela Lewis, Modesto Lacen and Naimah Terry....
That's part of my mission: to teach a person to create real change in their lives by creating institutions and structures that ensure their stories get told and that women and people of color are making money and calling the shots.And I'm really good at that shit...
I love the idea of creating jobs and money to support women and people of color and their stories....
I ABHOR the idea of waiting for some white man to pay you to tell you, you're worthy...that feels yucky, co-dependent, dangerously weak and makes my flesh crawl....ewwww.
Slavery is over....social media is the playing field for normal people to finally get ahead in this economy.
It is the great leveler...and you're missing out if you're not tuned in and using it to put your agenda, your career in the driver's seat.
My clients are starring in shit...on the regular on CBS, Netflix, Sundance, FX and everywhere else.
They are stars in their own right who have not waited on an industry....they've taken the bull by the horns and are making their own shit, promoting it on social media, building audience and pulling together a team to keep them working on important work and fucking getting paid well to do it....
They have a business plan that puts them in the front seat. The result:
The industry is responding by making them series regulars, stars of Netflix series, premiering their first time films as directors, producers, actors and writers
They built it...then the industry came along...
See how that works?
They won't be playing sidekicks and recurring assistants because they created a platform for themselves...a brand that made the industry want to fuck them.
Right now, going to auditions, hoping for the best because you know a few casting directors and film directors is you going around begging the industry to fuck you.
And that's never a good idea....ever begged a man to love you? That neediness totally fucked up the relationship....you're setting yourself up to fail with no real back up plan.
Because every time you put together a business strategy, and instead of following through on it; you run off to some other audition or do a play hoping for the best. You totally fuck yourself. When that gig is over, you have to start all over again: putting you last...putting your career last.
You are undermining yourself, your career and your worth when you have no business plan or don't stick to the one you have.
Why is someone else's story of who you're supposed to be more important that the story that you're creating?(Check out my TED Talk if you'd like to learn more about putting someone's idea of you ahead of your vision of who you are)
What's your career worth?Because if you don't know your worth, you'll spend your career making the kind of art that isn't important to you because you're desperately searching for someone to hire you.
Hollywood is a business that makes stars out people who post videos of themselves having sex.
Yep, that's what Hollywood is about.
Are you going to bank your artistic integrity on that?
Are you going to put your eggs in that basket?
Because everytime you go up for an audition, that's what you're up against.
Those are the people who will get consideration before your million dollar education and mile-long resume.
Why did you become an artist?
Hopefully to tell story that changes the human condition. To tell stories with strong women at the center who change the world ....to tell stories of unsung people of color who changed the face of America....to buy your mama a house and thank her for supporting you on wishes, prayers and dreams so you could have the privilege of being an artist.
If you're here to do that and you invest all your energy in hoping someone will hire you for a dumb TV show that will get cancelled after a couple of seasons, then you're just not serious about your mission as an artist.
That's all a strategic social media strategy is about. Its a business strategy that ensures you get to tell the stories you want to tell....and social media is simply about audience development.
How to create a brand that people feel emotionally invested in and will continue to support by buying tix, donating to fund your projects. Projects that you want to see ....not just projects hollywood can make money off of.....
Ready to figure that out?
Well then you're in the right place.
I am so sick of actors/writers quitting on themselves that I am committed to taking on 10 PowerHouses this fall to figure out how to be a
Motherfucking Artist Entrepreneur this pilot season.
What that means is these folks will work with me on creating a platform for themselves, so that they will be starring in their own projects within the next year funded by their audience and picked up by Hollywood.
The first step in this journey will be a How to Be a MotherFucking Acting Mogul Weekend Retreat this October.
That's down the road....stay tuned for details.
In the interim, over the next week, I'll be exploring concrete steps you can take right now to set up the production company of YOU so that by January, pilot season will come looking for you.
Over the next week, I'll release three free videos about becoming a MotherFucking Acting Mogul and steps you can take right now to ensure that happens.
This will culminate in a FREE one-time only class the MotherFucking Actor Mogul Game Plan.
But you'll need to watch the videos to learn how to snag a spot in this FREE class.
Ready to stop making excuses and complaining?
Ready to start winning and having the career you dream about?
Then get to it....
That's all I got for now peeps...
Love, Light & Power,
April & The MotherFucking Artist/Mogul Team....
P.S. Click here now to get the FREE videos coming out this week and win a spot in the free class.
P.S. How long have you been waiting to get discovered?
How long have you been waiting for the big break and sitting around criticizing movie stars because they're not as talented as you are?
But guess what, they did what was necessary to become a movie star.
And obviously, you have not....
but you got energy to criticize the folks who do.
Say that shit out loud to yourself...hmmm
Time to step up into your greatness.
Time to get to work on the stuff that scares you.
Being an artist entrepreneur.
I'm looking for the next Shona Rhimes in an actors' bodyAre you ready?
All you have to do is be ready to do whatever is necessary to get the story of you, the artist told.
That's it, i'll do all the rest....
Sign Me Up For the FREE videos How to be a Motherfucking Artist/Entreprenuer this pilot Season www.thedreamunlocked.com
""""One of the most mortifying moments I experienced in my theatrical career was when I was asked to bring the entirely African-American cast of a new musical we were workshopping, a new piece by an African-American librettist and composer, across the street to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and up into the plush boardroom so they could perform a song or two for the board of directors. I wanted to say something, but I didn't. For one thing, it would take an invaluable 45 minutes to an hour out of the creative team's limited time together. But... every year we had to do the same old song and dance for the board to remind them that yes, we did do new plays and musicals, so yes, it was sometimes a good idea to expose the board to new voices, to the vibrancy of an exciting work in progress.
You all know where this is going, don't you? I led the team in. The talent in that team! The writer/composer himself and the cast, lauded veterans of the stage and the most promising members of the next generation of acting giants. And there was our board. White, as white as can be, white white white white. And very comfortable. They'd just been served lunch, I believe. My theater spared no expense in pleasing our board and catering to their demands (oh my god, I'm feeling such rage right now! I'm pretty sure we had a staff member who was mostly dedicated to help our richest board members get house seats to shows on Broadway and the West End. But I digress...)
The only black face in the audience seated at the conference table? The only person of color? The head of our education department, of course. My heart went out to her.
The cast sang a song from the show. They did it. And they brought it. Because they were and are professionals. And the very pillars of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion reverberated down to the parking lot. It was breathtaking.
And I had just been complicit in the remaking of a scene for the millionth time: black bodies and voices entertaining white audiences, an institution raising money on the backs and voices of black bodies.
I was too mortified to apologize to our writer and to our cast, none of whom, I should add, expressed even an iota of discomfort. They were professionals, and they shone. And come to think of it, they'd probably all become accustomed to this scene. "It's just how theater works," they might have thought with a shrug of their shoulders. Or maybe they seethed inside, for the millionth time, when all they were trying to do is workshop a new musical.
Well, I apologize sincerely now to our writer and those actors. I wish I had had the courage to put my foot down. It is not how theater should work.
I quit the American theater on Valentine's Day 2016, so I've been out more than four years now. And honestly I don't plan to return, which is why I can write with such candor.
The heart of the problem, my friends, is with the non-profit structure, which is capitalism on steroids. Who are the bosses ultimately in an American institutional theater? The board of directors. Who are the board of directors? For the most part, those members of the community not with the strongest attachment to the art form but those with the deepest pockets. Often they're really not members of the community. They often just drop in. They are sometimes mere tourists.
It's no wonder that that board meeting was held in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The theater, like most American theaters, had built its board of directors on the old opera model: You get the richest folks together, offer them galas and house seats and receptions and private recitals and showings (for which artists often don't get paid extra, mind you), you pamper them and make them feel more special and entitled than they already do, and then they'll write you big checks to support the kind of art they like, the kind of art they can bring their kids and grandkids to. AND they--not the artists, not the community--get to hire the institution's leadership.
It is a rotten model. Rotten to the core. How can any artistic institution claim to be working for and in the community with that model?
It's got to be torn down. It's got to be reinvented. And I have no idea what the next model will be. I really don't. And no, honestly I don't think government is the solution frankly. Some of the most bloated, self-satisfied, decadent theater I've ever seen was in Germany, where it was almost fully government-funded. Lots of bells and whistles and provocations and completely soul-dead.
I see amazing and galvanizing lists of demands recently being made and posted by theater artists of color. These are vital demands. But they don't address the central issue. As long as the ultimate bosses of an artistic institution remain the community's deepest pockets, nothing will change. Nothing. You'll be putting band-aids on a gaping wound. Sorry, but it's true.
So please figure something else out. Maybe for a few years you just avoid the institutions. You've already started. In the pandemic, so many of you are making amazing art without an institution. Find those who truly adore your work and ask them to fund it. Screw non-profit. Form a corporation and value your art art-making as a resource that profits you, your viewers/audience and your community. I have no idea.
But please don't return to a new version of the old. After the virus, after he's out of office, after police reform and nationwide conversations about race, after, after, after, begin something new. I can't wait to see what it is!”
Words: Pier Carlo Talenti
Video: Griffin Matthews
April Yvette Thompson