GotCast CEO on the Intersection of Technology and Hollywood


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With celebrities quickly taking to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, it's clear that the entertainment industry is embracing technology and the digital space. What's interesting is that some people in Hollywood are finding that they prefer the freedom technology and the Internet provide, as actor Kevin Pollak explained to us in this interview:

In another recent interview with Alec Shankman, the CEO of Hollywood interactive community GotCast, he told us that technology and the entertainment industry were "merging quickly." Sites such as Hulu, Netflix, and, of course, YouTube are creating many new opportunities for both known talent and budding talent.

While there are many opportunities, there are also challenges in bringing these two industries together. After being an agent for several years, Shankman realized that there was a gap in connecting fresh talent to agents, producers, and casting directors. He and his business partner Wil Schroter took this problem and developed a platform for bridging this gap called

"We're actually merging the way talent is discovered and the way that talent finds work with technology," said Shankman.

They wanted to create options beyond American Idol, The Voice, and other talent oriented shows.

He went on to explain that the service has both a free and premium model and anyone that wants can sign up. The service also has a social-based component called MediaBlastr that allows family and friends to vote for their loved ones on various social sites. Brands such as MySpace, Dove, and Sony Playstation have created contests that have gone viral through this element.

"It's really difficult for a brand to get talent to, or anybody for that matter, to speak about the brand across Facebook and Twitter without getting paid for it or without having a really specific reason," Shankman said.

"But, in this case, when you're saying, 'Hey, I wanna be the new face of Dove, come vote for me,' and you're posting it on Twitter and Facebook and Google+, and then your friends go to vote for you and they sign up and they post the same thing, it gets really viral really quickly; and it's incredible for brands," he added.

The other challenge with this intersection of technology and entertainment is monetization. The entertainment industry is accustomed to having tried and true business models, but this new space is different. Shankman told us that GotCast, and the others that are embracing the two, are still experimenting with revenue models.

"Technology is growing like crazy everyday, so it's gonna be in the entertainment space whether entertainment's ready or not," he said.

Despite these challenges, Shankman said that Hollywood was motivated to integrate technology because it didn't want to "miss the boat" like the recording industry did.