How to get famous in 30 days?
October 24, 2009 4:25 PM   Subscribe

How could one acquire some degree of fame in 30 days?

For a project of his, a documentarian has challenged me to become famous in 1 month - and as foolish as I am, I accepted. What are some ways someone foolish enough to take on this challenge could acquire some degree of fame within 30 days (local/cult fame accepted)? Part of the challenge is the lack of no discernible talents or resources, and fame is measured by the degree of mentions in local media, blogs, etc. (It would be preferable to be not despised, as well.)
posted by GIMG to Society & Culture (41 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Balloon hoax? I see one of the tags is Philadelphia, so maybe something World Series-ish?
posted by fixedgear at 4:27 PM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Commit a high-profile crime?

Erm... yeah, not such a great idea.

Engage in a crazy ad campaign ala the "Marry Me!" type billboards?
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 4:27 PM on October 24, 2009

Make an ironic tumblr blog?
posted by oinopaponton at 4:28 PM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

It depends on whether you're willing to ruin the rest of your life. If so, there are a lot of ways to get your fifteen minutes of fame, for instance by committing some sort of very spectacular crime or by committing suicide in some sort of especially colorful way.

If you're not, well, probably you can't.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:29 PM on October 24, 2009

Well, I think that whatever you do, you need to be completely transparent about your underlying motivation (public recognition), lest you fall on the wrong side of the fine line into infamy.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:31 PM on October 24, 2009

A really great viral video could do the trick.
posted by oinopaponton at 4:36 PM on October 24, 2009

Start publicizing the hell out of yourself as "the guy who needs to become somewhat famous in 30 days". Throw a celebration on the 30th day.
posted by aniola at 4:38 PM on October 24, 2009 [12 favorites]

Yeah I think the real question is how much dignity, self-worth, and/or future opportunities are you willing to sacrifice? And realize that there of thousands of people out there who answer that question with "every last shred" and still don't get famous.

Parachuting naked off a tall building in a big market town seems like a reasonable compromise, however. Probably relatively little jail time involved on a misdemeanor charge, and you could probably finagle that into some interviews with bottom-feeding TV shows desperate for content.

posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:58 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

How much money are you willing to spend?

Taking a cue from I Love You, Man, rent a bunch of prominent billboards around town and stick your face and name on them.

Make it interesting, perhaps slightly controversial, and people will start talking about you. Make it mysterious, and there will be articles about you and the morning DJs will discuss you.

Heck, hire a marketing company for the month - radio, TV, print, billboard, bus board, flyers, etc.
posted by jpeacock at 5:08 PM on October 24, 2009

Response by poster: Yes - this is the tricky part - becoming somehow well-known without ruining my life. One good tip I got is that people who seek attention are disregarded as mere fame whores, but that fame is a positive feedback loop, so if I appear to be already somewhat famous it could snowball, as opposed to appearing to be someone who needs to get famous.
posted by GIMG at 5:22 PM on October 24, 2009

Start a new internet erotica magazine called ASSBURGER: Hot Men On The Spectrum.
posted by Sallyfur at 5:24 PM on October 24, 2009 [12 favorites]

Definitely include the fact that you're doing whatever you're doing for a documentary, and if the documentarian himself has any previous modicum of fame, leverage that by always mentioning the other stuff he's done.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:30 PM on October 24, 2009

Funnily enough, I was contemplating something similar as I drifted off to sleep last night. I was wondering, if I created a web-site (about myself or something important to me) and then continuously googled said site, could I google myself into infamy? Truly, it would take a helluva lot of googling. But, if you got maybe 100 people involved and had them googling you for thirty days, maybe you would get something out of it. I don't know. And, I am certain that within the next twenty minutes or so, someone is going to list all the reasons this idea will never work.
posted by AlliKat75 at 6:29 PM on October 24, 2009

1. Learn to walk on stilts.

2. Make a giant (say, 6 feet tall) pair of boots that conceal a pair of stilts. Make a Zombie Unlce Sam costume for the rest of your body, complete with eight-foot long beard (enough to brush your enormous ankles without getting stepped on), ridiculously tall striped top-hat, and four-foot wooden arm extensions hidden inside of your jacket.

3. Make daily patrols of high traffic areas in your area around lunch time.

At this point, you are quite literally a high-profile person. At this point, you need to really start burning yourself into the collective unconscious. This can be achieved by a) provoking extremely strange, inexplicable encounters with passers-by, and b) surrounding yourself with an aura of mystery that no single interview can unravel. I recommend:

3a. Approach random strangers and ask for the weather page of the newspaper. When someone offers it to you, attempt to take them with your extra-length wooden arms. Obviously this will fail. Quote Hemmingway and walk away. If possible, ask another person for a similar favor while the first is still in earshot.

3b. If anyone ever approaches you with questions as to your purpose or identity, never give a straightforward explanation. Simply ask them in your rote routine for a copy of the weather page, just as you do with strangers. Regardless of whether they give it to you, continue on your endless, meaningless quest.

You should start appearing in blogs in no time. Depending on the quality of your costume and execution, you might start appearing in people's dreams. Continue your efforts. Once you have found your way into the dreamscapes of a sufficient number of people, you are ready to expand the scope of your operation.

Your next goal is to get into the local media. You can at this point mount a direct assault, based on the choice of the quest. Go to your local newspaper's office and ask whether this is where all the weather pages come from. Ask for a copy of the weather page. Fail to accept it. Continue to ask. In fact, you should probably ask for ALL of the weather pages. When things get sufficiently strange, walk out. Try the same stunt on the next newspaper in two days time, and again two days after that. Next, go to a TV station and ask to be told which way the wind blows by the actual weatherman.

If all goes according to plan, you should end up on a local TV station's weather broadcast, at the very least.
posted by kaibutsu at 6:36 PM on October 24, 2009 [7 favorites]

It all depends upon how much free time you can dedicate to this project. If you can travel then that would be even better. Here’s how I would do it. I would broadcast to the world exactly what it is you are doing by starting a blog titled “Famous in 30 days” with a suitable domain name associated with it. I was going to suggest registering but that was grabbed just a couple of days ago – related to your project perhaps? I would invite suggestions from visitors to your blog of ways you could become famous, filter out the ones you would be unwilling to do and put the rest up to a vote and actually do that thing the following day if possible. If you could travel throughout the country, performing each stunt in a different location then that would be a big plus as local TV and radio in that area would be tripping over themselves to interview you. It need not be a major stunt but if you were doing something on a regular basis and there was an online community underpinning it all then I could see it mushrooming like that blog where a guy tried to trade a red paperclip for a house. I would regularly uploads clips of your adventure on YouTube. Harness the power of social media to your advantage. I would create a twitter account and a facebook fan page too to shamelessly promote your blog and the “Famous in 30 days” project. In terms of pitching the project to the media I would say that in this Reality TV obsessed age it is a commentary on the meaning of fame and how the Internet is fuelling Warhol’s assertion “in the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes”.
posted by wannalol at 6:42 PM on October 24, 2009

What are some ways someone foolish enough to take on this challenge could acquire some degree of fame within 30 days (local/cult fame accepted)?

Run for some sort of local political office, put up signs that feature your name everywhere in your town and score a few interviews with local TV newscasts and newspapers.
posted by NoMich at 6:43 PM on October 24, 2009

I think it would be a lot easier to take a stab at this at a local level.

It's long, but here's how I'd tackle it:
Find some minor talent (ex: playing harmonica, dancing, etc.) and show up in a public place everyday (downtown at lunch time is a perfect time). Make it something entirely unique -- bring a laptop and dance to YouTube videos, play kids songs on guitar, encourage strangers passing by to join in with you. Try to establish yourself as "that guy." "That guy who dances to YouTube videos all lunch hour is back again today, you've got to come see this guy; he's crazy."

The next week act as if it's been a huge success. Get some friends to join you. Get some more friends to come stand around and watch you -- people will rarely stop to watch you if no else has stopped, but if there's already a group forming, people will be naturally curious and want to see what's going on. Post a hand-written sign with a simple nickname ("Dancin' Dave") and a URL to a YouTube account with some videos of you. From there, link to a Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr accounts.

Start showing up everywhere: call into radio stations during the morning show to give a traffic tip from Downtown's Dancin' Dave; show up at sporting events and cheer on the home team; head to the mall on a rainy Saturday and put on a show there. Start selling autographed photos for $1. Autograph random items and sell them for $2. ("Get a one-of-a-kind autographed shoe! an autographed newspaper! and an autographed bottle of coke! all from Dancin' Dave himself!") Be wierd. Be unique. Be memorable. Be everywhere.

Have some friends call into local TV news stations about doing a story on the rise of Dancin' Dave. Be everywhere all the time. After one month, disappear entirely; the spot you were downtown every single day for the past 30 days is empty; hourly Twitter messages cease entirely. Stop calling in traffic reports every weekday morning. A few days later post one last message on Twitter saying "still alive, just chillin', I'm done." and forget about Dancin' Dave until you need a good story to tell your grandchildren.

You don't need to be good at anything. We have a local celeb that EVERYONE in the city knows who shows up at every major sports game and dances -- Dancin' Gabe. He's really fun with unusual and often poor dance moves, but is better known in the city than anyone else.

Also, avoid anything that might seem like your doing this for a company -- no sponsorships, no ads, no product placement, no indication that you are doing this for money. People will hate you for it.
posted by Kippersoft at 7:02 PM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

In addition to what I said earlier and this may be going against the spirit of the project or the rules set by your documentarian: I would get some worthy cause on-board which you could promote awareness of as you are doing your stunts. This could also make it easier for you to get your foot in the door when it comes to courting the interest of the media. It would also generate some feel good factor that would make it easier for you to find the bravado required to perform each stunt. It would certainly help alleviate any concerns you may have about being despised and prevent possible arrest too: "Don't taze me officer, I'm doing it for a good cause!"
posted by wannalol at 7:17 PM on October 24, 2009

Get in line now for Black Friday. Pick a prominent Wal-Mart or Target. Get a tent, a folding chair and a thermos full of hot cocoa. The local news media will show up. Guaranteed.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 7:28 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Create an ad campaign for your now existent run for some fictitious political office. Run for King of your town. Place placards around town. Send position paper to local news outlets. Offer to debate your opponent any where any time. "Save the Monarchs"
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:34 PM on October 24, 2009

there is good fame, there is bad fame. you have nothing good lines up? not worth it then.
posted by krautland at 7:42 PM on October 24, 2009

Well the answer is spree killing, but that isn't an acceptable way. You could do the movie pretending to do that and release it, War-of-the-Worlds style, without telling them the doc is fake.

Other than that, doing something crazy enough to get you on the news.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:04 PM on October 24, 2009

Doing something for charity or to help others could get you "positive" fame. But not if others find out that you're only doing it to become famous.
posted by 14580 at 8:04 PM on October 24, 2009

I was wondering, if I created a web-site (about myself or something important to me) and then continuously googled said site, could I google myself into infamy?

Google has very sophisticated methods to keep individuals from being to promote themselves by exploiting their search rankings, as this is the fondest desire of every unethical internet marketeer.

I think the goal is probably harder than it looks - specifically, because people routinely get sort of famous for doing something stupid or outrageous, this obscures the fact that millions and millions of people are doing stupid and/or outrageous things in public, either just because they're stupid or because they're trying to be famous for money or self-aggrandizement or whatever. And we only see a tiny fraction of these things because there are only so many conduits.

If you don't want to break the law or do something horrible that will enrage people it's going to be pure luck of the draw, the luck factor being somewhat modified based on how talented/inventive/telegenic you happen to be. Make sure you document it and follow up if you succeed though, make me eat my words.
posted by nanojath at 8:34 PM on October 24, 2009

Sorry, I think it will be extremely hard to get famous in 30 days. In order to get famous, you'll have to do something good, something that contributes to society on a large scale. Well, most of us do, but not in a way that stands out, or many of us would already be famous. So, in other words, if you want to do something good that stands out, you'll have to go big. And here lies your problem, Rome wasn't built in a day...or even 30.

Now being infamous, that's a whole different story. I might can help you with this one. I know you said you don't want to do anyting that would make you despised, but if you do certain things right, you'll have some supporters.

Pick an individual celebrity or a group of people that many people that love to hate. Go to that celebrity's house, group's convention or whatever, or an organization's headquaters around 3 a.m. and take a massive dump, outside of course. I mean it. Eat two bran muffins that they serve at Whole Foods every day, a few days beforehand. Have someone film you pooping. Now, I don't know if it is required that you show your face or not, because it would be a good idea to have your face blotted out for this. Then, film the reaction of the celebirty or someone from the hated group (or their bodyguard), once they see a huge steaming pile of shit. A nice thing to wake up to, aye? Post this video somewhere you can get a count of views and comments. They may ban something like this from youtube, unfortunately.

Obviously this is gross and immature, but shit flies these days. No pun intended. The 2 girls 1 cup thingy appeared on the interenet two years ago, and I still hear mentions of that video every now and then.

If I think of anything else, I'll post it. Me and my friends think of crazy hypothetical stuff all the time.

Good luck!
posted by Eleutherios at 8:41 PM on October 24, 2009

A Dutch TV guy (Eddy Zoey?) got the task to become famous in Iceland within a week or so. He wandered in a colorful bear costume on the streets of Reykjavík, shaking hands with everybody in sight.

He quickly became a local famous person, ending up in a live interview on Icelandic tv where he suddenly completely undressed... Mission accomplished!
posted by willem at 9:14 PM on October 24, 2009

and fame is measured by the degree of mentions in local media, blogs, etc

How many mentions? What's the actual metric? My definition of fame has always been, when more people know of you than there are people you know.

By this metric, it's never felt that out of reach.
posted by philip-random at 10:37 PM on October 24, 2009

Pick a cause, dress up in a stupid costume, and repeatedly make an ass of yourself in front of politicians at public events. Try to get airtime on C-SPAN as much as possible so you can post everything to your own website/Youtube channel. Getting arrested/tased ought to help enormously, YMMV.
posted by aquafortis at 11:42 PM on October 24, 2009

Streak the World Series in a panda mask.
posted by Acacia at 11:53 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Go around town in the dead of night two or three nights a week, leaving hundreds of paper hearts on telephone poles and in shop windows. Generate a sense of mystery and good will. Some local beat reporter is bound to start asking who's spreading the love. Around day 25, arrange for that reporter to receive a tip fingering you. Potential downside of this plan: what 14580 said. Also, possible littering charges.
posted by Orinda at 12:10 AM on October 25, 2009

I heard Philly was a tag? Find Arthur Kade. Punch in face. Take pictures. Submit to Philebrity and Gawker. Sit back and laugh maniacally. (Actually, just "hanging out" with him and spilling all about how lonely he is would work. It did for James Frey)

Your other option would be to tell a City Paper staffer that you are handing out baked goods or are responsible for some mysterious art installations like Orinda'd idea. they eat that shit up.
posted by itsonreserve at 12:37 AM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Kaibutsu, I've tried all that exactly as you've said, and I'm still not famous!

(Just thought you should know, that was the the funniest response I've read in a long time!)
posted by Bazoo at 3:19 AM on October 25, 2009

1) Publicise the fact that you are trying to get famous for the sake of getting famous. This kind of stunt has been done before, and people are responsive to it.
2) Tie yourself to a worthy cause.
3) Relate your quest to the hot topics of today - i.e. the recession (attack on Big Banking?).
4) Find something in yourself for people to relate to. Make it so that only you could be the one doing this. If anyone could do what you're trying to do, it won't work.
5) Be charismatic.
6) Examine your talents; focus on the unique.
7) Use all of your free time to either hone a pre-existing talent, or learn something completely left-field.
8) Put it altogether in a public spectacle that involves media and crowd participation, anticipation and suspense, the possibility of things going horribly wrong, and complete bizarrity.

Win the bet then sell your story.

posted by schmichael at 4:40 AM on October 25, 2009

Indiscretion: the Claire Swire method.
Doucheyness: the John Fitzgerald method.
Romantic in public: the Patrick Moberg method.
Public nudity: the Naked Cowboy method.
Create and distribute unusual street art anonymously, for example roundabout dogs, and reveal you identity after 30 days.
posted by iviken at 8:07 AM on October 25, 2009

head-to-toe band-aids, rally healthcare reform
posted by maloon at 8:56 AM on October 25, 2009

This is inspired by Hufu, the human flavored tofu (most likely a hoax), which got its creator as far as a segment on The Daily Show. Breaking taboos is a good way to get attention. You could start something like a "Cannibal Club" where people go on hikes and eat pork, but pretend it's human flesh, ostensibly to get in touch with their inner cannibal. Get some friends to play along with you, send out a press release to local media outlets and see if anyone bites.

It's pretty crucial that you play it so that it's clear to the media that you're not eating actual human flesh, otherwise you might get the kind of fame that involves police attention, which is no fun at all.
posted by Kattullus at 9:01 AM on October 25, 2009

Bust out your phone book, call people and introduce yourself.

Start an auto-warranty scam.
posted by kathrineg at 11:37 AM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Take a photo of your face. Photocopy it a zillion times. Tape copies on every available surface. Wait.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:14 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

You could attempt to set a Guinness world record. This seems fairly beatable, you'll just need more than a hundred people and mattresses.
posted by Kattullus at 10:04 PM on October 25, 2009

Just last week I was reading a column in the local alt-weekly wherein the columnist describes how he did just that in the late 1990s.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:37 AM on October 26, 2009

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