Showbizzle is a bit of a misnomer. It’s no ghettofabulous, Snoop Dogg-endorsed Hollywood project, but a social network/user-generated content site/fictional web series born in Beverly Hills and meant to be a virtual focal point for the almost famous, struggling actors of the entertainment industry.
Former 90210 (the original, not the uninspired, hack modernization) producer, Charles Rosin and his daughter, Lindsay first dreamt up the idea for the site in 2005. Charles told me about his “A HA!” moment over the phone: “Disney announced in 2005 they were going to sell Lost on iTunes. I realized at that moment that the TV industry I grew up in and participated in for 25 years no longer existed because it was a different economic model. So, I thought, ‘What’s going to be next?'”
Charles guessed single-sponsor, branded entertainment would be the next frontier, but came to the market a little too early. After pitching an in-store network to Starbucks that never came to fruition (“They wanted to focus on music.”), dad and daughter Rosin decided to go it alone.
With Lindsay navigating them through the new media landscape and Charles applying his teenage, television drama expertise, the two found what they hope to be fertile ground – “a targeted website with prime appeal to girls and young women between 14 and 34.”
To that end, Showbizzle‘s shining star is Janey, a fictional twentysomething writer who’s rode the LA roller coaster up and down enough to feel like she can now handle the track. Her fictional friends and acquaintances populate the site with videos – all monologues that reveal different aspects of a not-yet-famous actor’s pscyhe. As Charles told me, they’re about “life lessons, romance, f@%# ups, and career ambitions.”
Janey gets new, above average looking friends every week who wax dramatic in well-lit, one-way conversations in one, three, or five-part series. The stories are scripted, but they’re based on real life experiences from the kind of people the Rosins hope will populate Showbizzle (i.e. out of work, partially employed, or disgruntled actors).
In the same vein as Marshall Herskovitz’s quaterlife, the goal is to be the first “entertainment institution on the web,” attracting Hollywood wanna-bes and almost-theres to a social network and then interact with them on a daily basis.
Once signed up, members can upload videos in hopes of being chosen to star in a conversation with Janey and gain access to Charles’ forthcoming conversations with industry notables. “I want to explore with people what they were thinking and doing when they were first starting out,” Charles told me, “and give useful advice to the college actor.”
While the site has perhaps a few too-many moving parts, and the videos a touch too produced to feel authentic, Charles’ enthusiasm for the project is definitely real:
“One thing we really want to bring to this is the fun of creation, which is so lost in Hollywood…That’s what’s so exciting about doing work on the internet. If you can get through all the digital glitches and economics, you get the chance to experiment and you get the chance the play. And that’s really been taken away by mainstream media.”
Check back daily to watch installments from today’s waiters and bartenders and tomorrow’s Hollywood stars at Showbizzle.com.