By Jerry Mooney
At zenruption, we love creative new ways to do things, especially when they challenge the antiquated and entrenched power structures that block the success of the little guy. This is exactly what we are seeing with the plucky endeavor of a small group of actors that are producing their own television series. They are creating first and asking for validation second.
Bypass The Man
In today’s distributed access to fame, normal channels to success are no longer needed. There was a time that you looked to be ‘discovered’ in order to be able to become famous. Now, you are in charge. You just need to create enough buzz to get people to watch. Ultimately the landscape of how we create art, media, literature and ultimate fame has completely changed. This phenomenon is represented in the grassroots creation of the entertaining TV series, Idaho Boys.
The show’s “webisodes”, seen on Facebook and Youtube, revolve around two brothers who are constantly battling to save their family farm. When all avenues seem futile, the brothers, played by real life brothers, Troy Ozeander (Cameron Crain) and Jerry (James Russell) are confronted with an entertaining idea to attract listeners to their hillbilly radio show. Having more listeners is believed by the Ozeander boys to be a method which will produce more ad revenue; money they need to rescue their farm. The plan becomes complicated by periodic attempts to be sensational and the hijinx among the disparate characters is reminiscent of a countrified version of Three’s Company. The antics are entertaining and the concept is solid, but the real story is how they have tapped into the modern ethos of distributed creation and marketing.
The show’s foundation is completely organic. It was conceived of and created by a small group of actors (not yet household names, but an accomplished group). Instead of going through conventional and traditional routes, like pitching an idea to a studio, creating a pilot and hoping for the show to be picked up, this group has self-funded, crowd-funded and created the show from the ground up.
The group is lead by the two brothers who also star in the show, Cameron Crain and James Russell. Cameron was the longtime president of the Nevada Shakespeare Company, where he acted, directed and produced nearly 2 decades of perpetual stage events. He has also had appearances in the movie A Single Woman, where he had multiple roles. Currently, in addition to creating Idaho Boys, Cameron is developing his career as a standup comedian and playwright. He penned Nevada: It Ain’t Just Vegas Baby! Which toured to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.
James Russell attended Colorado Film School, where he received his Associate's in Acting with a Certificate for Acting on the Screen. He has a list of credentials as long as his arm, including playing Aëtius Patrius Majorian in the film 476 A.D. Now he is turning a major focus to the project where he and his brother disrupt conventional media conventions both on and off the screen.
Together these brothers are carving out a path to produce their show, with or without the support of the establishment (although they encourage joint business ventures and sponsorship, particularly with Idaho and other relevantly branded companies). The premise and the entertainment value are worthy of mainstream success and we should all be rooting for them as examples of how we can all forge our own path to our dreams.