When I first started using Vine, I didn’t quite know what to expect. It was a neat app with some challenging restrictions. You have six seconds of time per video, recording by touching your iPhone screen, with no opportunity to see what you got until you’ve finished and no opportunity to edit.
What I quickly discovered is that there was a small but growing Vine community of funny people posting some very funny six-second short films. If you’re familiar with the YouTube channel 5secondfilms, you will know that it is entirely possible to be hilarious in such a short amount of time.
One of the funniest people I’ve found on Vine was Bill Stiteler, a 24-year-old stand-up comedian living in New York. What made his vines stand out was his use of crude animation to take Vine into more of the realm you would find with 5secondfilms. You can check out all his vines at this site here, but I would definitely recommend following him on his Vine account through the app as well.
I also follow Stiteler on Twitter. On Sept. 17, he posted a desperate plea for help replacing his seven-year-old MacBook that had died on him. Not only was it inspiring to see the twitter community come to his help within hours, I was also intrigued by this article that he tweeted:
The article, which you can read here, is an interview that Bill did with Sarah Salovaara for The Billfold, a blog that gets people of varying social and financial standing to talk about their finances in a frank and open manner. Here’s an quick sampling:
Sarah: Are you happy with your standing? Do you think your path would be different if you stayed in school?
Bill: 100 percent happy, I’m completely on the right path. If you want to do comedy, I believe you have to have an “all in” attitude; I have given myself no choice but to succeed at it. I have no other options, no other marketable skills. You’re not going to learn to be funny in school: you’re either are or you aren’t. And if you are, you have to come to New York and prove yourself night after night after night.
Sarah: So, for you, it’s better than working a more traditional, high paying 9-to-5, while still devoting nights to stand-up?
Bill: Right. If I leave work, and the focus is still on my job, and not 100 percent on comedy, that’s a loss. More money = more responsibility. Right now, I’m at the very bottom of a company, basically a messenger, and it’s BLISSFUL. It pays for all my expenses, and I get to do the thing I love.
Sarah: Where do you see yourself in five, 10 years? Are you willing to live like this for as long as it takes to get your break?
Bill: In 5-10 years, I see myself making a living creating comedy. Whether it be as a stand-up on the road, or an actor, or working for a company that produces comedy. It takes years and years to develop your craft. Most comedians break in their late 20s, early 30s. It’s just soooo sooo hard, and takes a lifetime of effort. My hard work is already slowly starting to pay off, so I’m excited about the future!
The interview really gave be a better sense of the commitment and sacrificed that would be required if I wanted to actually try and make a legitimate attempt at comedy. The Winnipeg comedy scene—as I’ve been told—is alive and well. Perfect for up-and-coming local comedians to cut their teeth and test out material. At the moment, I’m pursing stand up purely as a hobby and as a way to challenge myself. If I ever get the urge to go after a career in comedy, I feel like following Stiteler’s path might be the only way to keep myself motivated. It is inspiring to see someone going “all in” on something they’re incredibly passionate about, and I wish Bill all the success he deserves (which is a lot, in my humble opinion)
Furthermore, following Bill on different social media outlets really opened my eyes to just how ingrained Twitter and Vine can become in the stand up comedy scene. Comedians are able to network with each other outside of the clubs, and fans of comedy are able to discover new comedians and interact directly with the people who make them laugh.
The comedy world is constantly evolving, and it’s exciting to see folks like Bill Stiteler making an earnest attempt to make a career in comedy
And if comedy doesn’t work out, he could always fall back on his booming chip clip business…
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