Andrew Bachelor could very well be the next big thing in comedy. He’s developing a pilot with BET, had a corporate-sponsored gig with Samsung and has even taken to selling his own merchandise. No wonder two of the top five talent agencies sought to represent him.
But they didn’t discover Bachelor on the standup circuit or in any other of the usual places. The comedian was spotted on Vine, the Twitter-owned app, where he’s attracted 2.5 million followers under the name King Bach.
“It’s important that clients go where their fans are,” said Eric Kuhn, UTA’s head of social media. “So many people are now on Vine, and it’s increasing every day.”
Since launching in January, Vine has found more than 40 million users. Bachelor is the fifth-most-followed person on the app, thanks to self-produced videos consisting of funny situations brought to a new level of absurdity, usually co-starring a cast of his friends.
Though Bachelor was in talks with BET to develop a pilot based on his YouTube series “BachelorPadTV” about two years ago, the project’s prospects had stalled.
“At the time, Vine didn’t exist,” he explained. “Now that my Vine blew up, they really sat me down and said, ‘Let’s go further with this.’ ”
While social media has long been a venue for talent discovery dating back to Twitter finds like @ShitMyDadSays, which landed its author a job writing for a CBS sitcom, Vine could be an even more compelling showcase, according to Dana Sims, a music agent at ICM.
“(You can) say, ‘Have you seen this client’s Vine? Don’t tell me he can’t do xyz,’ ” she said.
Kuhn knows the power of Vine first hand; UTA represents Josh Peck, the most followed person on the platform, with more than 3 million followers. Though Peck had plenty of fame pre-Vine thanks to his days on the Nickelodeon series “Drake & Josh,” his videos are just what Viners like — short, sharable and still funny on the fifth viewing.
Kuhn believes the challenge of presenting a beginning, middle and end in a flash forces talent to raise their game.
“This is sort of the new confines of the digital era, where people have a short attention span and brilliance and creativity need to show through in six seconds,” he said. “It’s pretty telling. If you can wow us in six seconds, that’s amazing.”
Bachelor isn’t the only success story of someone being plucked from Vine. His friend, comedian Brittany Furlan, the third-most-followed person on Vine, with 2.8 million followers, isn’t doing so badly either. Before Vine, she was a typical struggling actress in Hollywood, trying to find representation. Auditions were few and far between, and she was selling her things on eBay to pay rent.
“I started Vine-ing, and now everything has totally turned around,” she said. “My life went from not having much going on to having everything going on.”
She has an agent at ICM, JR Ringer, who found her after his girlfriend became a fan of Furlan’s videos. Now, she’s developing a television show and taking meetings daily.
Gary Vaynerchuk, who co-founded Grape Story, the first and currently only talent agency exclusively for Viners, believes that Hollywood is taking notice. He added that Viners have an opportunity to make a sizable income off their Vines — anywhere from $1,000 to low-five figures for a single video advertisement, he maintained.
“The talent agencies are clearly looking here,” he said. “The next Justin Bieber’s just a Vine away.”