Five accidental business-success stories
Sometimes all it takes is a good idea and some luck. These folks had both. (The Internet helped.)
Tue Mar 8 2011
Jeffery and Cole Casserole
How it happened: Escola and his friend Jeffery Self had each grown up filming videos. But VGL Gay Boys, the YouTube series that made them famous, was so simple: just the two of them chatting or performing skits pegged to pop-culture headlines and loaded with plenty of personality and gay humor. They'd been slowly gaining fans since the show launched in 2008, but it was the "Gay Marriage" episode, which they posted in May of 2008 amid much debate about the issue, that very quickly garnered them more than 100,000 clicks and a cult following. Cole still has no idea how the series caught on. "We were just two guys making stupid videos," Escola says. Still, Escola and Self had been wanting to break into theater and showbiz"But Escola and Self had been wanting to break into theater and show biz, so they jumped on the wave of support and announced a live stage show at Joe's Pub in August 2008. That's when the Logo executives came knocking. The guys have since produced two seasons of the Jeffery and Cole Casserole as a TV show for Logo, and a third season is in negotiations. Self and Escola have both landed gigs outside of the Internet: Escola guest-starred in an episode of Law & Order and helmed a one-man show at Joe's Pub, and Self made a guest appearance on 30 Rock as Liz Lemon's gay cousin last year. They've also written a film script that they're currently shopping around.
His advice: If you want your YouTube videos to get attention, make them topical—The "Gay Marriage" episode that made them famous aired right after the California Supreme Court had overturned the state's ban on gay weddings.