Irish actor Ross Mac Mahon is set to appear alongside Sean Maguire (Meet the Spartans) and Lorna Anderson (River City) in the up-coming comedy, Seven Songs for Amy, we caught up with him to discuss social networking, entrepreneurship and getting a break.
When Ross left college in 2009 he faced a problem; the Irish economy was in ruins and jobs were scarce. To break into the film industry, which has always been a difficult task, he needed work but with the economy in pieces there simply were not enough roles available.
So Ross made a choice; by day he would work in his local supermarket and in his free time he would make web shorts for distribution free online. With some friends Ross formed Crooked Humour (@crookedhumour | Facebook | YouTube) and together they would write, produce, record, and distribute their content online.
We met Ross one sunny weekend in April to ask him how producing free online content brought him from YouTube to scoring a major supporting role in a feature film. You can watch the full interview here.
Ross begins by telling us about how his degree in Multimedia and passion for acting came together to create his comedy troupe, Crooked Humour. He tells us that producing and promoting Crooked Humour sketches online has given him new opportunities.
Ross explains that social networking is more than just a short term promotional tool, he sees it as a part of a long term strategy. And while user comments, likes and retweets are beneficial to the Crooked Humour brand, and act as an impetus for creating more content, Ross believes they are not as important as actually making the films themselves.
He explains that this move to self-motivated media production is part of an overall shift in the acting industry and one that benefits casting directors and actors alike. Vimeo and YouTube provide actors with a greater ability to gain exposure, while casting directors have access to a larger pool of new acting talent. Indeed, one of Ross’s most visible recent successes has been Crooked Humour’s features on RTÉ’s Republic of Telly. Through social media Ross was able to leverage his community to vote for Crooked Humour’s productions to be twice featured on the show.
However, Ross warns against being over reliant on digital media. Although it is a powerful way of gaining exposure it is not a replacement of more traditional methods.
Ross he sees a combination of old media and new media as being instrumental to his future and YouTube has been a great gateway for him into the industry.
Watch the full interview here.