Monday, July 11, 2011

Charlie Sheen's Social Media Intern (Almost)

In the spring of 2011, I was one of 50 finalists (chosen from more than 74,000 applicants worldwide) to be Charlie Sheen's social media intern for the summer. 

The process involved several eliminations to whittle down applicants, and I managed to hold on to the bitter end by keeping the attention of the people at, who were overseeing the competition.

The first step in the process was simply to enter my email address and a statement of 75 characters or fewer explaining why I should be chosen for the job. Just to see what would happen (and because few things in life are easier than these two steps) I filled in the blanks and hit the submit button. 

And I made it to the next round. I expected more, but the second round only consisted of entering some basic resume information. I had a resume, so the cutting and pasting was easy. I did have quite a bit of experience that wouldn't fit, but I chose my resume inclusions and my Round 2 submission was complete.

At this point, I was sure I had just completed a file for to be able to spam me with some very targeted emails. I also found out that internet friends (and people much more popular than I on social media) had also been going through the process. Like me, they were curious.

But, unlike me, they did not get through to the next round. When I received an email telling me I had made it to Round 3, I jokingly mentioned to my friends that we should do our Round 3 submission together as a fun bit of mockery for the process. That's when my very-successful-at-social-media friends told me that they had not made it through to this round. I was now their only hope for getting on the inside.

My Round 3 submission was to be a two-minute video answer to one of three interview questions. Because I'm a video producer and I wanted to make a good impression for the sake of proving I was a worthy choice (and that excellent productions can come from Iowa), I decided to make a video they couldn't refuse for the next step in the process.

It worked. After a long delay, I received an email congratulating me for becoming a finalist. They had narrowed the pool to just 50 applicants. That's when the fun started. I ended up getting some local media coverage, which was picked up nationally and turned into a week of radio and blogger interviews. 

There was yet another long delay before an intern was finally chosen (reportedly by Sheen himself after viewing the 50 videos) at the beginning of July. By then, I had gotten enough notoriety that it was better that I wasn't picked. I had plenty of paying work to keep me busy. I also had a little more fun with the whole experience and enlisted some help to make this video while I knew people were still watching me on the internet.

You can read about the entire experience on my blog, as well as listen to the radio interviews for which I received recorded copies.

The moral of this story is that it doesn't take Hollywood to make a web video people will watch and share. It just takes me and a little bit of tiger (house cat) blood.

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