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Famous in 31 Days – An Interview with John Gerard

Famous-In-31-Days-1Over the last few days I’ve been following the quest of John Gerard who is video blogging his journey across the US at his site Famous in 31 Days.

As the name suggests, John’s goals are simple – to become famous…. in 31 days.

He’s traveling across America and aims to end his journey by being featured on Jay Leno’s show. Only problem is that Jay’s never heard of him and neither had too many others before he started his journey.

Having said that – John managed to get himself some media attention in the days leading up to the start of his journey and at least in his home town got a little of the fame he’s after – but now he’s in New York and the real challenge starts.

Why am I interested in John’s journey?

To be honest, at first I arrived at his site and left again in a few seconds. But about half an hour later I realized that while John’s methods are different – that his goal is actually pretty similar to that of many bloggers that I bump into – fame (or at least getting noticed in the clutter of this crazy space we interact in).

So I went back to his site for a second look and began to watch some of his videos. Of course I then became hooked. He’s pretty funny and the reactions that he gets out of people are too.

He also had videos that kind of resonated with me called ‘Oprah Moments’. In the first one he talks about the feeling he has when someone offers to help him by giving him a free meal and in the second one he talks about being an anonymous face trying to get noticed in New York (the feelings I suspect will be familiar to many bloggers).

What John’s doing fascinates me on numerous levels. I think his journey is one that will be entertaining, enlightening and worth watching – whether he becomes famous or not (he’s making a film about the process which I’d love to see someday).

So I decided to shoot John an email and ask him if he could do a quick interview (and hopefully to help him spread the word a little). John kindly agreed and here it is:

Interview with John Gerard:

Can you briefly tell us what you’re doing and why you’re doing it with the Famous in 31 Days project that you’re doing?

I’m conducting an unusual social experiment. I’m trying to see if it’s possible for a person to become famous in 31 days, for really doing very little. I’m doing this for several reasons:

1) If it is possible, I think it’s a fascinating social commentary.
2) I was unfulfilled at work and I asked myself ‘If I could do anything, what would I do?’ And this was it.
3) I’m really intrigued by fame. What it is. Why people crave it. And what it would feel like to experience it.
4) To unsuccessfully try and fill the giant gaping hole inside of me through mass approval.

How’s it going so far?
That depends on the moment you ask me. (I occasionally experience mood swings ;) I think it’s going pretty well. I need more exposure though. People seem to enjoy the story once they hear it. It’s just trying to share it with as many people as possible.

How are you using the Web to assist you in your goals?
My website is key! www.famousin31days.com. Everything drives to the site. Promotional T-shirts, Businesscards, Car Advertising… All of it drives to the site. The internet is a critical component in achieving success today. It is a must have. Also, blog sites like this one… And content sites like Dailymotion.com, Youtube, Myspace… etc.

What are you learning about the web and how to use it? I’m learning how valuable it is… And how there really is a special knack to utilizing it well.

A lot of ProBlogger’s readers would like the publicity that you’re starting to get for their blogs – how are you getting it?
You have to do something unique and creative that will capture people’s imaginations. If it’s ordinary, you can’t stand out.

I noticed in one of your videos that you were having some strange feelings about people offering to give you things – how’s that going for you now?
I made a conscious decision to gratefully embrace every gift that someone offers. I met a really nice New York couple at The State Fair. They didn’t look rich, but the man opened his wallet and gave me his last nine dollars. I was overcome with his generosity. It’s still hard to accept and I’m trying to work through it.

Have you thought about using a blog with comments on your website to help you tell the story during the 31 days?
I’m so busy driving, producing videos, and trying to do media relations that I don’t have time to blog. I’m trying to vlog though, whenever an emotional moment presents itself.

Why did you go with the style of website that you’re using?
My kickass web designer, LeFrenchie.com designed it for me. I’ve definitely had a lot of input as to what feeling and flavor I want to create, and he’s made it happen. Not without a few speedbumps along the way though.

What have you learned so far in your journey?
That I need to overcome fear almost every step of the way and learn to trust deeply in the process of life. Often easier said than done!

Follow John’s Journey at Famous in 31 Days

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. That’s amazing that he can go from a nobody into a somebody just like that! He seems like such a down to earth guy. I wonder what is he going to do with the new found fame at the end of it all?
    – Raymond – (MONEY BLUE BOOK)

  2. Lindsay says:

    Does this mean I have to leave the comfort of my cozy hot water bottle, arm chair, dog, mortgage, ever so slightly peeved wife, several questionably behaving children… I’m on my way or maybe I’ll just keep on waiting for fame to find me. I’m here….
    I’m waiting… oh well… back to the keyboard.
    Thanks for the great story
    Viva la diff

  3. Wow, how inspiring! Good stuff!

    -Terra
    http://www.BetterForBusiness.com

  4. Don’t want to sound negative but I think he will not make it, he might going to talk to some celebs but being famous , not really. I have seen this probably on 10 different occasions, where people would like to live famous live but to become that wanted only to travel and meet other famous people.

    Why is this important to you Darren ? How would this post help others ?

    I don’t see any connectivity between John and Blogger.

  5. Fame in 31 days is one thing, but if he wants a real challenge, he should try building a better blog in 31 days. Not easy!

  6. Truden says:

    He-he :-)
    One thing is for sure: he will be famous with his attempt to become famous.

  7. Jeremy says:

    Hmm… great idea, terrible website (“blog”). The videos don’t even load in Firefox.

  8. I think when he gets done I’ll hire him to promote my blog, but then again if he really is famous in 31 days, then his rates will be much higher …hmmm. Best of luck to him. I think we can all learn a bit from his promotion techniques.

  9. Sean says:

    I prefer to stay anonymous :-)

    To me it’s better to not be widely known like that, why?

    Well, look at some of the most popular people and how they are treated. There is all kind of rumors and negative stuff spread about these people.

    There is also the positive side too so…

    Anyway, just my opinion :-)

  10. Jay Tillery says:

    Why is this interesting to people? It’s not. He is taking a trip across the US. If you can become famous because of that, let me put on my running shoes now. Can you see it? http://www.follow-jaytillery.com. CMON! How many of you want to see my trek across South America?

  11. Darren Rowse says:

    Helping Other Bloggers – “Why is this important to you Darren ? How would this post help others ?”

    It’s not important to me on a personal level – however like I say in the above post I actually see John’s quest as being quite similar to the quest that many bloggers are on.

    He’s heading out into a city like New York where he feels nameless and overwhelmed – similarly many bloggers have those feelings when they start out their blog.

    He’s trying to get attention of bigger players – so are many bloggers

    He’s dealing with some of the feelings of awkwardness and worthiness of getting noticed – so do many bloggers who begin to get some notoriety

    I guess I just saw some parallels between what he was doing in real life and what bloggers do in the virtual world and I thought it’d be interesting to watch how he goes and to see what he learns.

    I’m also fascinated with the central theme that he’s exploring – ‘fame’ which I think our culture has become rather obsessed with – it is an interesting sociological experiment – whether he gets famous or not.

    Anyway – if it’s not for you, then that’s cool too – we have different interests I guess.

  12. Tracey says:

    Darren, I think what John is doing is super important on several levels. For bloggers he is taking “viral” to a whole new level and for video bloggers he is making some giant leaps.

    I also see video on the net as our new entertainment because it’s interactive. TV is passe’. John makes some great points about the average person becoming famous and this is similar to bloggers. There are several bloggers who are very average who have become famous in their circles.

    I actually know someone that works on the Jay Leno show and forwarded John’s info and story to them. On a human level John is brave, instead of spending his life as a hack he is following the burning desire inside of him. I think that’s pretty cool.

  13. Jason says:

    Haha… Well, you just helped him become famous to bloggers.

  14. PaintChip says:

    I love this post! You’ve proved once again the power of viral marketing and how it can help launch news, businesses, products, careers, even spread things one would think not of interest to anyone!

    I followed your lead and jumped in to help John get a little more famous too. I’m creating a digital scrapbook for him and posting in in various places online.

    Thanks for sharing Johns story with us. You Rock.

  15. This parallels the way bloggers think more than most people would realize. The difference is that most bloggers won’t shove themselves in the spotlight so readily.

  16. Jeff B says:

    I found this very interesting, yes at first I say he is crazy. Then I get to think about it and it’s all about the marketing. He says he is doing nothing really to become famous. In reality he is doing a lot of things to become famous. Having a camera strapped to your body and walking around take courage.

    I say right on John!!!!

    Thanks for the interview Darren you gave him just one more step to fame.

    JB

  17. HOPE says:

    I must say I have read each and every note left on this site and after speaking directly with John Gerard at the american idol contest in philly (i didnt make his cut! umm wonder why…lol…but i guess he’s doing the best for last) but back to the topic: i would like to say JONH is a very down to earth person and that from the understanding i got from him personally its more then about just being “FAMOUS” IN 31 day’s! Its more about “GOING HARD, AND LETTTING UP! YOUR GOALS/MISSIONS!” This is can also be used as a powerful learning tool for people of all ages. Saying if you have the drive dont let it go for no one, no matter what they say, feel, think & etc. because at the END of the day is the same as END of LIFE for same as when you came into this world and that was it was YOU by your SELF! SO, you have to maintain for yourself and do what you feel is the best things for you and what ever it is only you can stop your self! I soon to start up a 100% indepedent radio station which will only play new, up & coming & unsign. Every genre (hip hop,blues,rock,rave,gospel,techno,r&b & etc.) of music. I have tons of supporters and tons of againsters (as i call them) because they say why would you just play “NEW ARTIST” and my ans. is simple many reasons why. Every top name artist came into the industry as what? A “NEW ARTIST” and now take a look at “AMERICAN IDOL” (which i have been at each location for season 7) there’s millions of artist that needs to be heard-well as seen!! unlike american idol we give every body there fair play to the world! So, if your an artist or a music love check out our site http://www.newofficialmusic.com and if your a business owner and you need world wide advertisement and you think that radio fee’s are way to high then you can come to us and we’ll help you as John would say “BECAOME A HOUSE HOLD NAME IN 31 DAYS”!

  18. Joe says:
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