Want To Be A Star?
Look at this man. Look at him. Keep looking. A little bit longer.
He’s very serious.
Paul Scheer has learned a lot about stardom over the past decade, ever since his profile launched thanks to the cult hit MTV sketch comedy show, Human Giant, that he created with Aziz Ansari and Rob Huebel. Between a ton of movie roles and two starring gigs on television — catch his police procedural satire NTSF:SD:SUV:: Thursday nights at 12:15 am — Scheer has seen the wheels of the celebrity mill suck up and spit out a vast graveyard of dreams. Now, he’s offering you a guide to reaching the top of Hollywood and never looking back. In his own words:
1. Get Your First Role, By Any Means Necessary
“The best way to get your first role is to make an internet audition. Get it out there for the fans. Get people behind a part that doesn’t exist yet. What’s coming up in the Marvel world? Let’s say Ant-Man. You’re like all of a sudden making a video where you’re crawling on the ground like an ant, people are like, ‘I like this guy, this is a vision for the character I didn’t have, let’s hire him.’ Boom, you’re in.
Second way to go: Hand jobs. It’s great. You find out who’s working on that movie — producer, director, all those people — and you just crank out some HJs. Solid HJs. It’s Hollywood here, so you’ve got to give the strong ones out. You can’t mess up the wrist. This is for a major part in a motion picture. If your form is off — it’s like holding a pencil. You put your forefinger and thumb above it, you gotta practice the technique. No one likes a sloppy HJ. I’ve read that in many books about Hollywood.”
2. Lots And Lots Of Selfies
“Take 8-to-12 selfies a day. And I mean simple stuff, like what kind of juice are you drinking? Four of those shots have to be saying simple stuff like, ‘Don’t I look so ugly?’ But you don’t, you actually look really super hot. Maybe you have your shirt off, maybe you’re just really made up. You have to say you’re really ugly so you can get all these comments so people can boost your ego. If you’re going to be a big time celebrity, you need people to help elevate you every step of the way. You can’t just go out into the world without validation.
Then other ones are just weird product placements, like maybe you want a picture of you eating Pretzel Chips. Just be like, ‘Just kickin’ back, eating the new potato chips.’ That’s a little sponsorship money. You’re living a very important lifestyle now, so you need to show off that the products are your friends. And even if you aren’t sponsored by Pretzel Crisps — I would love to be sponsored by Pretzel Crisps — you get the word out and people start to think, ‘Oh my god, this person is the new face of Pretzel Chips.’ And then Pretzel Crisps has no choice, they have to hire you. You’re calling the shots.”
3. Have A Devoted, Ecelctic Entourage
“You need to hire a guy who is at least 400 pounds. He is your bodyguard. Granted, he doesn’t look like he could move quickly or do anything of any activity, but he is going to be your sole protector. He seems intimidating. You need that 400 pound guy that can waddle with you. You need to make sure that when you hire him, he brings his own stool, because he cannot stand for more than a few hours.
You definitely need a person who dresses like you and acts like you and only tweets to you. I call that person the superfan, the SWF, the single white female. You need that person in the mix. You need to show that you are a relatable, down to earth person, and you do have friends, and they do care about you, even though it’s hard to distinguish between you and them.
It’s an overused one but a good one: You need to have a baby in that mix. And that baby needs to be talented. Ideally, if you’re a woman you don’t want to have that baby, so you’ll have to make up a story about how it was left on your doorstep or you have a crazy sister. If you’re a dude, you can say your ex-girlfriend died, it makes you very sympathetic. And if the baby has talent, it’s super cute, because then you can put it in costumes, and when you go out and get the photo-op, the baby can breakdance or do something cute for TMZ.”
4. Have A Cause — But Nothing Political
“Politics is a tricky position because it’s very divisive, so you need to pick things that people can’t argue about. you’ve got to be like, ‘Let’s save the whales!’ No one can argue with you about saving the whales. You’ve got to wave an American flag around, because people are like, ‘Yeah, America!’ You have to make opinions without ever saying anything important. Like, ‘Guys, there’s a problem in this country and we need to fix it!’ No one can get upset with you because yeah, there is a problem. What is it? Let’s not get political. We want to get as close to political as you can. If you’re out on the campaign trail and people ask you who you’re voting for, say, ‘Both of these guys have great visions for the country and I think we’ll be in capable hands if either of them is elected.’ That’s a great response.
Pick a charity that no one can argue with. Giving coats to the homeless, no one can argue with that. Cereal for every child in America. That’s a good cause, no one’s going to say cereal is bad. Exercise is a good one, too; it’s saying you care about something, but nothing that’s important enough for anyone to really disagree with you.”
5. Make Sure Your Mental Breakdown Is Cute
“The big old mental breakdown, people are getting turned off by it it. I call it a four step mental breakdown process. You don’t want to become so crazy that you become an oddity. I think Amanda Bynes went too far. You need to find that sweet spot where you’re odd, but not crazy. I think people did it really well, like Johnny Depp, he beat up people and wrecked a room, but he never seemed like you’d institutionalize him.
I always say this: One of the rules of being super famous is that you need to go into the hospital because of exhaustion. That’s the end goal. If you can get into a hospital because you’re exhausted, that’s the sweet spot right there. You’re telling the world that ‘I’m so busy that I cannot sleep in my own bed and get rest. I need to go to a hospital and they need to give me a special bed so I can get rest.’
That’s the breakdown you want to build toward, exhaustion. That way you can keep all the sponsorship money, because you’re not admitting that you’re into drugs, you don’t have an unsightly social disorder, you’re just exhausted. You need rest.”
6. Have Family Turmoil
“You need to throw your family under the bus in dribs and drabs. You don’t want to get that out until you get the big interview. You could lay out there and boom, you hit it out of the park. Now who do you go to? Steve Harvey? I dunno, he’s the new Oprah. There’s no good outlet yet.
You’ve got to make anything in your life bad. Say you were lactose intolerant growing up, like me. Say, ‘Imagine me sitting alone in fifth grade, staring across the pool watching all these kids eating ice cream. But there was no ice cream for me.’ Get people connected to your journeys. There’s no journey that’s too small. ‘I didn’t get my learner’s permit until I was 17 because my parents didn’t want to let me drive when I was 16. My first car was a used Mercedes. Do you know how that made me feel?’”
7. Cultivate “Influencers”
“Start conversations with people who only have over a million followers. You’ve got to get verified of course. You only want to talk to people who are verified. you don’t want to waste your time talking to people who are — and I’m going to put this in quotes — ‘non-influencers.’ You’ve got to talk to the verified people only. They’re the ones who have the power. Like Piers Morgan. You gotta go, ‘Hey, Piers, what’s up? Dug you on the news last night. You’re totally better than LK — Larry King.’
Then all of a sudden he’s retweeting it. Boom, you get those followers. Then you hit up Ellen DeGeneres, you say, ‘Hey, ED, me and my friend PM over here, we’re going to go out to TCBY.’ And she says, ‘Alright, I’m in.’ You get a real conversational thing.
You never have to meet these people, nor do you have to go out of the house. I would recommend that all your friends on social media and Twitter, you never meet in real life. You don’t want to want to ruin it. It’s so complicated, meeting people and finding out what time they can meet up for lunch. It’s such a pain. And when you’re at lunch anyway, you’re just checking your Instagram and Twitter.”
8. Start A Twitter War
“Get people’s attention. There are some easy targets out there. Get people rallied against someone. How about a troll who is 16 years old or younger. Get all your followers to attack that person, so you wreck that person’s life. That’s a sign that you’re an up-and-coming celebrity if you can start a Twitter war with a 14-to-16-year-old kid and get hundreds of thousands to destroy them. Find out their personal information, get it on Reddit. The goal is that this person should definitely maim themselves or hurt themselves in some way. If you haven’t done that, you are not doing a good job as a Twitter celebrity.”
9. Launch A Vanity Project
“Definitely have a rap album. And if you don’t have one, you need to then have some sort of line of designer backpacks, maybe designer steak knives, maybe even poker chips. Something you can tweet about. You need to get people wearing or listening to your stuff. You need some sort of album, or if you want to be in a band, go the old school Johnny Depp way. It’s cooler if you’re not the singer, if you’re just in the background. If you play bass, that’s it. Then you seem much more interesting.”
10. Start a Kickstarter For A New Website That’s Better Than Kickstarter
“You care so much about financing peoples’ projects, so you need money to help you finance somebody else’s projects. You’re a man or woman of the people. You’re not just in it just for yourself, you’re in it for everyone else. But you also want to take down Kickstarter because it would be way cooler because it would be way cooler if it was your company everyone. And by the way, you’re taking a 5% commission. Someone’s gotta pay the bills.”
11. Carefully Plot Out Your Comeback
“You’re gonna go away because people are going to hate you at some point. You’re gonna do something. People are gonna be like, ‘Oh, the guy who played Ant-Man, forget that guy. All he does is take 12 pictures of himself a day. We’re done with that guy.’ Then you need a comeback. This is when you shave your head, do an indie movie, do something that breaks the mold. If you’re a funny guy, do something super serious, perhaps a movie where you’re a pedophile or you kill illegal immigrants coming into this country.
And if you’re a serious person, then all bets are out the window. You need to go in, balls hard, in a movie like American Pie 4 and you need to just take your dick out and let people know, “Hey, I’m just a normal dude. I can have a laugh at myself. Sure, I’m an amazing actor and you thought I was so serious and you heard all my sad stories, but I’m a pretty cool dude.” You’ve got to show people you’re cool taking out your D — or your V, whatever your case may be.”