Hopping from one six-second clip to another on Andrew Bachelor aka KingBach's Vine can easily snowball into a massive time waster despite the minuscule time per video. It's like the perfect speed dating scenario where everyone you meet is exciting, fresh, and affable. Bach has gotten to an astounding 9.2 million followers and 1.77 billion loops on Vine through his absurdist but relatable humor that touches on race, dating, and common occurrences.
One vine captioned "When you feel like you can't get a word in" shows Bach sitting between two friends trying to jump in the conversation like it's a game of double dutch. After repeated rejections, Bach erupts in cathartic fury. Another one of Bach's earlier hits films him flirting with a young women and when she tells him she's 15, a mob of Bach's friends appear out of nowhere yanking him and yelling "NOOO!!!!!!!"
Bach confesses he had did not envision either vine being chart-toppers: "You never know what the internet wants to see, you just gotta throw it out there and see what sticks."
Bach's first breakthrough vine that launched him into the newly formed Vine VIP section was a clip where a robber runs off with a woman's purse and Bach who appears to be the hero instead runs and does a backflip off a wall. He then stares right into the camera with an egregiously shit-eating grin and boasts "Back that flip tho?!" perfectly encapsulating the WTFness element of his meme-brand.
Before the Twitter-owned app came about, Bach had achieved a sliver of popularity through his Youtube channel BachelorsPadTV. Almost two years in since his first upload, he's on the roster of United Talent Agency, has a recurring role on Showtime's House of Lies, and has scores of strangers jumping in his face and shouting "You're the Vine guy!" Bach also landed a role on Key N' Peele due to Jordan Peele being an immense fan of his Vine videos, which Peele now occasionally stars in, Justin Bieber has made some cameos as well too.
The latest in the Internet's long line of procrastination toys is now on its way to becoming the gatekeeper to Hollywood celebrity
"It syncs up with the attention of the internet and captures the spirit and tone of an artist in six seconds." says Sean Barclay, a TV and feature literary agent at the Gersh agency "As a talent scout in Hollywood, it's definitely something you have to consider as a real thing. It's a mini trailer for an actor."
Bach's instant Vine fame is certainly not a solo achievement. In nearly every single one of his Vines, you'll recognize a regular cast of outlandish characters such Brittany Furlan, Iman Crosson aka Alphacat, Rudy Mancuso, Simone Shepperd, and many more, all of whom are aspiring actors/directors/producers. And much like Bach, these Viners live to make ludicrous renditions of racial and TFW/MRW humor. Furlan goes heavy on the puns, Alphacat has his spot-on Obama impression (he's actually met the president as Obama), Mancuso likes to show off his musical talent, and Sheppard does droll impressions of Beyonce.
Based on what you see on your smartphone screen, it looks like these people do nothing but make Vine clips all day. When I ask Crosson if this is true, he admits that he understands how someone could think that but says "It used to be like that. Way more so before than now. But when you're on the grind, you can't just sit around doing that kinda thing."
Unlike the other Vine-actors, Crosson (2.8 million followers) had achieve popularity for his Obama schtick on his Youtube page even though the classically trained actor prefers drama roles "I don't even like doing impressions, I often times get referred to as the Obama impressionist and I can do a few impressions, I'm more of a traditional actor." says Crosson. Last year he had a lead role in the indie flick "Along The Road Side" which saw supporting role from Michael Madsen and won numerous awards on the festival circuit. He's even starring in an upcoming unnamed Bollywood flick.
Crosson says he owes the overwhelming amount of his success to the reciprocal nature of his humor "It's the things people can look at and go 'oh yea that's happened to me before and I know what that's like'. People will tag someone and comment "X" this is so us. I also do a lot of relationship humor, I do something like a video about you finding out your crush liking someone else, you know stuff that's relatable to girls and guys."
With Vine, Crosson has been able to distinguish from the thousands of other actors who are in indie films "[Vine] has helped out a lot. It's put my face out there in a new way. I had exposure because of Youtube, but this gave me a whole new audience separate from Youtube. It's gotten me a lot of meetings, lot of new contacts, and opened a lot of new doors. This is really exciting. I'm seeing results that I haven't personally seen from Youtube before."
Like Crosson, Simone Shepperd (2.7 million followers) had achieved some presence in the industry with a prank show she did with Brittany Furlan on the E Channel called "Really Hell." Sheppard initially stayed away from the app, but once she got around to it, her whole world became Vine. "When we first got into Vine, we were just vining all day. It's so hard to come up with ideas and once you do. We collabed so much because no got us. We got each other which was why we were around each other so much. It was a big investment at the beginning." says Shepperd.
When SNL put out a call for a black woman cast member after coming under fire for employing one, Shepperd auditioned and came very close to landing the role. "The reason I got that audition is because of Vine. I flew to New York and auditioned in front of Lorne Michaels because he saw my vine videos because of my followers constantly tweeting him about it." Even though Shepperd didn't get the role she's sure isn't crying about it, especially now that she has the same manager as Tyra Banks (she owes that to Vine too.)
As with anything or anyone that gets hugely popular, brands and companies eventually come knocking on the door. Shepperd, Crosson, and some of their fellow Viners have gotten paid through branding deals on Vine. One 16-year old named Lauren Giraldo makes $2,000 per Vine video.
But the Viners have bigger goals than just getting paid through Vine, for Bach, he has his sights on the A-list "In the short term, I want get to more and more television roles. Long term I want to be one of the biggest movies stars ever."