Why Did I Build a Free iPhone App for Actors?

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February 6, 2017
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Why Did I Build a Free iPhone App for Actors?

Why Did I Build a Free iPhone App for Actors?

I attended a SAG-AFTRA screening last night of “Stronger,” a feature about the Boston Marathon Bombing starring Jake Gyllenhaal and an amazing cast. Jake’s Q&A was incredibly inspiring - I was really taken by his rigorous delving into the depths of his character and the life-changing experience of the explosion. Jake was truly inspiring in describing his approach to the challenge of honoring Jake Bauman who helped find the bombers and his quest to walk again without legs.

I went to the screening as John Griffin's guest of a superbly talented Actor, Writer, Producer and Acting Coach who has helped me book a couple of Guest Stars - and as we were discussing Jake’s work and his attitude, Griff floated me the above question. I’ve been in class with Griff for many years and he intimately knew my journey of trying to become a Working Actor and had been present at many of my critiques.

I got his drift: perhaps it would be a good idea to delve deeper as to why I spent almost a year creating a free app for Actors - to Confront it. Hence this write up.

My initial reasoning of “because I could - if I don’t build it, who will? Plus I’ve wanted to build an app for actors for years,” was kind of not-deep. But going deeper, the truth is that I love my iPhones. I spent a lot of time on my iPhone - perhaps too much time. My two favorite apps that I visit most frequently are Facebook and YouTube.

Facebook provides a steady stream of items that interest me: posts from friends, pages and groups that I have interacted with via likes, comments and shares. The Facebook algorithms are constantly working to provide items of interest to me and I guess they’re doing a good job because I come back every day, several times a day.

I love the content on YouTube - not all of it of course, but I am certain that I can find whatever I am interested in at the moment - on my Mac. On my iPhone? Not so much - too slow, screen is too small, too many distractions. I enjoy the “Recommended Videos” because something might catch my attention which could leave to discovering a gem.

Ok, so back to the question. I wanted to build an iPhone app that I would use every day to feed my love of the craft, that would keep me inspired and motivated in this demanding and competitive career. An app that not only would help me in my career with valuable video content, but that would also replace some of the Facebook app time that I wind up spending every day.

Some goals of Thespianz app:

  • combine the aspects that I like from the Facebook app and YouTube app.
  • ability to set Reminders (Daily, Weekly & Single) to make sure that I visit and explore the acting content regularly.
  • connected to on-line database for off-device updating of content without having to update the app just for new data
  • ability to Favorite videos to speed up my navigation
  • simple History section for quick navigation
  • ability to send Push Notifications for new videos worth sharing. (Note: the Actor must allow remote Notifications on the app or else no remote notifications will be received.)
  • when time is tight and I want a quick hit, the Random button returns a random YouTube Item (video, channel or playlist depending on the current screen).

Now the section that I am most excited about is the Casting section. My hope is to get a number of Casting Directors & Associates (yes, Associates are very important also - today’s Associates are tomorrow’s Casting Directors) to build and control a playlist on their YouTube account and agree to add them to the app thus building the Casting section.

I think this section could become very popular as an opportunity to gain insight as to what these Casting Professional consider important to us Thespianz. So I will be reaching out to some casting people and invite them to the app - so stay tuned and we will push out notifications as Casting playlists come on-line. Now it will be easier to obtain Casting playlists as the Thespianz app becomes more popular so please download the app - it’s free - and share it so we can build a casting section quickly.

As the Thespianz curator, it is my responsibility to explore YouTube for content regularly. So I am definitely open to video suggestions - the best way is on Twitter -> @MontesinosRob - please be sure to include the video link and a short blurb as to why we should add it to the app.

All this leads to the question, how will the app make money? Another good question from my friend. The truth is that I don’t know that it will. I know that there are charges from Google based on total usage from all actors. I included Google Ads to hopefully offset those charges but most people who have Google Ads on their websites know that they don’t really pay unless people tap the ads (which would be hugely appreciated).

We added a subscription service for 99 cents a month to remove the ads which would be amazing so we have our fingers crossed on this potential revenue stream. Enough on that.

So I hope you enjoy Thespianz and that it feeds your love of the craft in your journey as a Working Actor.

We have a Facebook page where will be posting stuff and invite you to follow.

I’d also appreciate your visiting my IMDB page and liking it to move the Star-Rating in a more positive direction.

Well that’s it. Thank you for reading this. Don’t forget to download the app. Feel free to share this page. Salud!


Actor / iPhone Developer - spiritual fitness enthusiast