Natan Edelsberg, the Senior Vice President at Sawhorse Media and Senior Supervising Producer at the Shorty Awards, moderated a strong session including panelists from MTV and entertainer and director, Todrick Hall. These specialists discussed MTV’s success with engaging audiences through deeper, personal connections, rather than lumping them together as “influencers” in a specific vertical. MTV recently started working with Todrick Hall on his new unscripted show “Todrick,” which takes viewers through a completely new type of reality program, intended for the Gen-Y audience.
Todrick Hall’s previous experience includes performing on Broadway shows, reaching the semi-finals on American Idol, and establishing himself as a prominent YouTube creator. With his fame and recognition, both on television and the digital world, Todrick has developed his community of fans and followers into devoted “Toddlerz” as he calls them, and for Todrick, he’s confident the hard work and years of growth won’t be forgotten. In his show, viewers experience a documentary-style perspective into the production and build-up behind each of his videos, where Todrick and his troupe connect with fans beyond the surface of the videos themselves.
Todrick told one of his favorite moments in his career during the session:
“When I got the chance to work for Beyoncé, I received a call from a blocked number. Now, normally I don’t answer blocked numbers, but for some reason I answered this one, and on the other line was Beyoncé asking me to be her choreographer for the ‘Blow’ music video. That’s when you know you’ve made it. It was a moment that proved to me all of this hard work, dedication and financial struggle was worth it, and this opportunity could make my passion a reality.”
Todrick even has an international following, which, in a way, is more feasible for internet-celebs than it is for traditional ones. Recently, Todrick had a “Twerk Du Soleil” event in London. There, in addition to everywhere he goes, Todrick continues to engage face-to-face with his fans. He will always take time with a fan for a selfie, and continues to give credit to his “Toddlerz” for helping him get to where he is today.
YouTube creators can become just as successful, if not more, than traditional celebrities, and those lines blur more and more every day. There’s a difference between celebrities and YouTube stars. Today, you don’t need a record label or television network to get started because digital creators are doing this on their own. The social platforms, and even YouTube multi-channel networks (MCNs) allow creators to establish a direct relationship with audiences around the world.
People want to see their favorite creators succeed, especially Millennials and Gen-Z, and there “selling out” to these individuals is not as common, if at all, compared to household names, celebrities and performers. It’s the power of the Internet that’s changing this ecosystem, and regardless of the channel or platform, content creators should strive to be the best you can be in as many different ways.