Become a Special Guest with…Special Guest!

Special Guest is an app that was developed by actor and comedian Damon Wayans, Jr. (Big Hero 6 {2014}, The Other Guys {2010}, Let’s Be Cops {2014}) and Kris Jones as a way for the majority of Hollywood; many of whom are unrepresented, of booking work on demand.  In fact, about 97% of entertainers are unrepresented.

Damon and Kris, both business partners and co-creators of the app, found this huge discrepancy and have positioned Special Guest as the Uber of Live Performers.  How did it fare in a real-world test?  That’s what I was determined to find out.

Special Guest has an active website, and an app, available currently for iOS.  Their website and app are both outlined with a gorgeous black and yellow layout that makes it easy on the eyes but also goes for a simple look.  Signing up for the service is free and a breeze.  You have the option of using a valid email address or using Facebook to log in.  Once your account is active, you get access to the basic account.  However, for a performer, you must go for the talent account (which is FREE).  You must really think about yourself as a performer, because the talent account is your bread and butter and the way of positioning yourself in a favorable light to booking agents.

Talent Account

Using a simple button, I was able to upgrade to the talent account; the way of making sure you as a performer help get booked work.  This section is quite long as it’ll show agents what your strengths are.  This section includes: headshot, talent type (actor, comedians, bands to name a few), location, pay rate, your personal cancellation policy, an availability calendar, among other things.

For payment (because, let’s be honest, we all want to be paid for our craft), Special Guest has two options: Venmo, and Braintree for direct deposit to your bank account.  For some, they’d rather go with the first two options.  However for those that don’t have them, routing payment to your bank account just requires a routing number, and account number.   Both that are extremely private, and treated with care within Special Guest.

While I was entering my information for payment, I was notified that I failed a KYC (Know Your Customer) protocol because my name – Kevin A. Wright – was extremely close to those that had criminal records.  After a quick exchange of information with their customer care team, specifically Caitlin, I got the notification that I was up and ready to go!  So, if you run into a KYC failed or something similar, don’t worry about it!  Better to be safe, than sorry in our industry.

You must really think about yourself as a performer, and I recommend taking your talent account slow.  I tried speeding my way through, and I got quite overwhelmed because I had to look at myself as an actor and what I brought to the table.  The task of positioning yourself competitively among beginner, and veteran talent can be quite daunting, but again – take your time with this section and you’ll make it through!

In-App Experience

Opening up the app after completing your talent profile, you’re showed talent that is currently looking to be booked with their payrate.  Since talent can control their own booking rate, I’ve seen rates that are as high as $1200/hr, and others at $80/hr.  Talent have the ability to raise or lower their payrate as their experience grows.  So, if someone is in high demand, they can raise it, and lower it in a slower period.

The Uber for Live Performers!

Originally, the app took a little longer to log in, but between the time that I’ve been testing the app, multiple updates have been sent out to the app and website, making this a non-issue, so it’s great to see that the team is actively working on bettering this service!  Other minor bugs that I’ve ran into have also been reported and erased as well.

After some quick customer care work, the problem was resolved!

Should You Use It?

If you’re unrepresented and are looking for a way to get yourself out there, I definitely recommend this service!  If you’re represented, I would still recommend Special Guest because it’s a way to work on your craft and to continue building yourself as a performer.  Special Guest is the Uber for Live Performers!

Special Guest Website