Artist interview: Filmmaker, publisher, author Orlando Delbert.
I first met Orlando on Twitter. He was tweeting about the New Hollywood Generation and getting involved with all sorts of creative people online. We started talking and this is where we’ve ended up.
Do you promote your work on social media? What platforms are you on?
Twitter has been the social media platform of choice that has done a lot for the “New Hollywood Generation” in a very short amount of time. Right now we’re seeing over 500k impressions a month on our posts just on Twitter. It’s truly amazing. And this has been since January of this year. We’re driving traffic to our ‘Hollywood, Unapologetic!” episodes on YouTube. After the movement’s website launches, we’ll make live the Facebook page. That alone should raise awareness considerably as well.
500,000 impressions is very impressive. How have you built that audience?
A lot of our growth has been in engaging with others in and around the entertainment and marketing industries, having a positive message with constant positive reinforcement to that message, and the use of hashtags. These are all part of successful brand building.
But I think the very first thing you have to ask yourself is exactly, “what is my message?”
You have to be 100% clear on what that is. Period!
I use automation tools such as HootSuite to send out tweets for me during peak times six times a day. But I like to engage others in my field personally. Through this engagement, and using the #SupportIndieFilm hashtag, in particular, has shot up my numbers quickly. I was following people blindly and that wasn’t very efficient. I was getting one out of every four people I followed to follow me back. But using HootSuite and engaging people directly has been effective. There are other tools available online for automation. But you have to be careful. Too much “ons” and “offs” can get your account disabled or deleted.
My advice to you is to try different combinations of hashtags relevant to your message, and see what works and what doesn’t. You can have all of the automation tools in the universe, but without knowing your message, or your target audience, (which is whom the hashtags are meant to attract) it’ll all be a waste of time. Work smarter, not harder.
Once you know what your message is, that will help you know who your target demographic is. Once you know that, do a search and take the time to see whom your potential clients can be, as well as see what your competitors are doing. Take the time to do your homework.
You mentioned automation tools. These have a pretty bad rap in some circles. What do you use them for?
The two automation tools I use the most are Hootsuite and Crowdfire.
I use Hootsuite to send out tweets for me during peak times six times a day. I simply copy my posts individually with my links to my content and images, and hashtags, and let the software do what it does. It’s set up that if you have a free account, you can have up to 3 twitter accounts sharing your tweets. For most of you reading this, the free account is all you need. I should also mention, on most of my tweets, I attach an image that is reflective of my message and my brand. Tweets with images get 50% more eyes on them. Keep that in mind and make it a part of your marketing strategy.
Crowdfire is good for following and unfollowing twitter accounts. But I found it’s best for me to use it more for unfollowing accounts of those who stopped following me.
Remember, none of those tools is ever going to offer the emotional bond you must make as you market yourself as your brand.
What genre do you work in and why are you passionate about your work?
Part of the passion I have towards the work I’ve done in and around my creative endeavors comes from in part by not limiting myself to any specific genre. All too many content creators choose to work in either one type or style of storytelling, as well as limiting themselves in the medium they choose to work in. Hollywood does have a way to pigeonhole artists into the category of their first paying job. But to me, that is extremely limiting to one’s potential, creatively, professionally, which in turn affects one sociologically and emotionally.
My passion has and will always be about the creative process, team building, carrying one another in the name of a common goal. And that common goal is to make myself of value so that I, and those whom I am fortunate enough to work with today, have a job to come back to tomorrow, the following day, all the way through to the end of what is asked of us. Saying I only work on one type of project or genre limits that.
Okay, so maybe the way to approach this is to ask, what are you working on at the moment?
What sets us apart from everyone else is we are selling an idea, not a product. The “New Hollywood Generation” is entirely about finding and building leadership skills that each and every one of us has, but we aren’t always aware it’s within us.
This is an important time in history. There is a transitional shift occurring sociologically, culturally and politically. We live in a time where social unrest and images of war are read about and seen on the airwaves daily. As we turn on the morning news, there seems to be an endless succession of stories of discontent all over the world and in our local communities. Some of these events have a direct bearing on a whole generation, economically and psychologically. The most obvious is a disenfranchised sense of where they belong in the world. This in part fuels a certain disconnect on the most basic levels, where interaction through social media and text messaging is preferred over face-to-face connections.
If one percent of the 75 million millennials in the United States were more mindful of what they post online, instead focusing on a message, it could directly influence history on a global scale. This conversation is not at all limited to just one generation. While our technology is evolving quickly, we are not evolving fast enough.
History has shown us that mass media can effectively influence change. We are in a unique position as content creators to influence change, to reinforce positive lifestyles and it is our responsibility to do so. If more of us can get together to create positive films and television, if we hire people from broader backgrounds and stop limiting our potential, by identifying one another only by race, color, sex, religion, sexual preference or someone’s physical limitations, we can influence the masses to be more open-minded.
This will give us the ability to have a broader audience, as well as to influence others to tell their stories and, hopefully, to be less afraid to tell them. The world is greatly influenced by what is seen on the screen and heard on the radio. Let’s give them something that will drive everyone to do something bigger and to make a positive difference in the world.
How are you having an influence in that space? What are you doing to help facilitate the change you want to see?
I started the “New Hollywood Generation” movement with all of this in mind, as a platform for young people to connect with one another, to empower one another, to empower an industry, the entertainment industry. This is in direct response to not only what I have just mentioned, but also to help shape future thought leaders become self-starters and be positive forces in their own lives, their families, their communities, the filmmaking community, all with the goal of having a positive impact on the global scale. This is how leaders find their path. And it takes one small push in the right direction to get them running. Who is up for the challenge?
The ‘Hollywood, Unapologetic!’ web-series and the “Pollyanna’s Tear Soaked Battlefields of Hollywood: A Survival Guide Against the Cynicism and the Hypocritical” series of books were designed to be at the core of the ‘New Hollywood Generation’ as a progressive movement to encourage discussions that will initiate constructive lines of thought to get young people to become thought leaders and to create a positive voice for themselves, their communities, and one another.
‘Hollywood, Unapologetic!’ is currently available on YouTube with more episodes on the way. The “Pollyanna” series of books are planned to be available on Amazon and iTunes soon. We are working on diversifying the brands with other distribution outlets for maximum exposure so that young people can have access to the information on various platforms. We are launching newhollywoodgeneration.com soon as a hub for the movement, as well as for the brands, and also we will have updates on our Twitter page @BattlefieldHlwd.
What is unique about your work that sets it apart from other YouTube channels and how-to books?
There are hundreds of “How-to-Hollywood” books out there, but most of them don’t get into the human side of being successful. A large majority of them offer no life markers to watch out for, nor offer ways how to circumvent perilous situations and predatory people in an effort to keep the readers from the evils that lurk in the shadows of Los Angeles and in and around the dark corners of the entertainment industry. They don’t offer realistic information for the reader to build a toolkit for success in life. A lot of those books are written from the life experience of someone who became an assistant to an assistant or spent ten years in the mailroom of a motion picture studio or talent agency. Or they have a lot of focus for the reader on buying the latest and greatest camera and focusing on your gear. Of course getting the best you can afford is important, but for young content creators, time and opportunity is lost with the details that don’t matter at the very beginning of their careers. They can download scripts legally for free online. They can watch DVDs of their favorite directors over and over again and learn how to frame a shot and light a room. They can watch tutorials on YouTube for free to learn how to use their iPhones to shoot something today.
The “Pollyanna’s Tear Soaked” series of books gets into all of that by using the dysfunction seen in Hollywood’s underbelly that many outside the Hollywood trenches are unaware of. Entertainment is an industry built upon the dreams of many --- and most of the slaves who’ve built it will never see their dreams turn into fruition. It’s an industry built on the great façade of a perceived reality, built upon the backs and lackluster egos of the desperate and undirected.
‘Hollywood, Unapologetic!’ is an extension of those books, offering not only a face with the reinforcement young content creators need, but also to continue a dialogue with interviews of working professionals in the upcoming future.
All of this is at the core of the “New Hollywood Generation” and it all begins with having a willingness to rely on your perseverance, flexibility, endurance, and will. And no matter what, you have to remain optimistic and focused on your goal. Never stop believing in yourself! This is what sets me, and more importantly the message apart. Each and every one of us is a leader. It starts with deciding today, right now, I am going to be a success. And everything about the “New Hollywood Generation” is all about that!
How will you know when you’ve achieved these goals?
Succeeding in any area of the entertainment industry, (and in life), most often depends on your perseverance, flexibility, endurance, and will. You can have all of the talent in the world and not get ahead because you lack consistency in these four strengths.
Success is defined by how many hits you can take and still move forward. It’s not about giving up. Finding your inner strength, even at the worst of times, is something we all need to grab hold of. There will be times you may want to give up and stick your head in a hole in the ground. And in Hollywood, this will reoccur from time to time. It’s OK to feel that when life beats you up enough. But it can keep you down if you let it. Life has no problem sucker punching you when you’re busy smelling the roses, and even pressing down its steel-tipped boots on your neck while you are feeling dejected.
Getting back to the business side of things, where do you make the most sales?
At the moment we have an online store at https://teespring.com/stores/new-hollywood-generation. We were running our own clothing line for years beforehand, but since our focus shifted mostly on entertainment-related projects directly, we found having an outside vendor to do production and drop shipping was much easier. Of course, the profit margin has dropped considerably. But the question that needed to be asked was, “how much is your time valued monetarily.” It just didn’t make sense to make that kind of time commitment to the clothing line at this time when the potential payoff on any given entertainment project is quite considerably higher. We will be offering the books through Amazon and iTunes. But I can’t tell you much about that until we’re live.
Do you have any techniques to convert followers into customers?
The number one way to convert followers into customers is to have good, solid, and consistent content. Period. That must be first and foremost. It doesn’t matter if you are offering a service, product, or hugs on the street; you have to offer something of value people will want. People have and will always build emotional bonds with something you offer if it touches them in some emotional way.
Always remember, it doesn’t matter what specific tool you or I use to get task-A done for us. What does matter is that it is only a tool. It still comes down to you and I taking the time to know what the desired outcome is, and it is far more than just driving traffic. The desired answer should always be, I want my customers and clients to come back again tomorrow. This is all promotions and advertising 101.
Engage your target demographic emotionally. Tell stories through what’s representative of your brand through consistent messages. Have strong and compelling content. Content is king!
Growing up in New York City, I’ve seen a lot of heavy things happen to myself and to others. That town toughens you up because trouble will find you. The shootings, stabbings, and needless violence towards one another are somewhat commonplace.
Upon moving to Los Angeles, I discovered ridiculously high amounts of mismanagement of people’s lives by the predatory behavior by “producers” all over town. Everything from casting couches, pedophiles, rape, murders are all part of the Hollywood underbelly people outside of the Hollywood trenches know anything about. Hollywood is a very dangerous and ugly place if you are not careful.
I mention all of this because as I keep all of this in the back of my mind, I consciously have chosen to write the books in the hopes to save a life. One life saved means I have done the right thing with these books and the episodes. It’s all part of giving forward in a positive way, to empower one another, to lift up one another. And when possible, offer a positive push forward we all sometimes need. This is all part of my viewpoint of life. And therefore the way I market my products and brands are all an extension of whom I am.
And my favorite part of any interview, what are your top 3 tips to help other creative people learning to market their work?
One needs to engage those you want to follow you. The more of a bond they have with you as a person, the more likely they will ask for a service you may be offering or purchase your product. And don’t forget to take the time to listen to your marketplace. Listen.
The second thing is to make sure you have solid content. I don’t care if you want to run a blog on how to become a dog-walker, shoe shiner, or want to have open discussions on the beauty of watching paint dry, make your content clear, concise, and be consistent. These are the keys to everything. You can find templates online to search for keywords and buzzword all you want. But none of that matters if your content is not compelling, honest, and in some way touching people emotionally. The most effective stories told in any medium are about the human condition. Make sure your message resonates with others in its honesty. People will remember.
The third thing and actually the most important one of all is no matter what services or products you are offering, take the time to put together a business plan. This is by far the most overlooked step to starting any type of business endeavor.
The very first thing in a business plan is your mission statement. That is exactly what you plan to do with your company or project. I’ve mentioned this to I don’t know how many young content creators and filmmakers and have received a lot of flak for it. And guess what? Every single one of them had a project that only went so far. They didn’t know the answer to what they want to achieve at the very beginning.
The plan will also help you list your strategies (including your marketing and promotion strategies) and goals. It gives you the opportunity to think out your company strategy so that you can prepare for success. You’ll be able to create a timeline based on your information, as well as find weaknesses you may have otherwise missed.
What’s cool is that you can find templates for free online that will ask you questions. You don’t need to know the exact answers to everything all at once. But more importantly, you can see what can change as your plans change over time.
All photos in this article are by Orlando Delbert © Orlando Delbert | OTK Media Group, Inc.
Orlando clearly has a lot going on. The best place to keep up with it all and to find out about new additions to the New Hollywood Generation movement is on Twitter.
If you have your own movement to launch or if you're just starting with a book or a YouTube channel, take a look at the Follow Magazine e-book Launch Your Creative Product Online.