Be Your Own Manager and Agent With Damon Wayans, Jr.’s New “Special Guest” App
Monty “Moe Train” Wiradilaga
In a world of streamlining and automating lives through time-saving mobile applications, many have come to depend upon their phones as hubs of their businesses. With the hustle and bustle of the Los Angeles scene, there is no shortage of LIVE entertainers looking for gigs.
Comedian Damon Wayans, Jr and CEO Kristopher Jones have teamed to create “Special Guest,” a virtual one-stop-shop app for entertainers who look to book more gigs, and consumers looking to book talent. Coming from the legendary Wayans family of comedy, Damon has grown his career with the help of managers and agents, However, Damon has recognized that there are many talents across the nation who haven’t gotten the break they’ve needed.
“It sucks that so many people who are entertainers will never get the opportunity to be paid for the thing that they love doing the most. They ultimately have to set aside their dreams and get a regular job and it’s because of the way that the entertainment industry is set up,” said Wayans, Jr. “I wanted to make a platform for entertainers to make it easier for them to get gigs. One of my friends put me in contact with Kris Jones and we just hit it off. I pitched him the idea, he loved it, and we just made it real.”
“Special Guest” appeared on Apple’s “Planet of the Apps,” in which they raised over $1.5 million during the show. CEO Kristopher Jones said, “We received quite a bit of attention because of the show. In addition to that, we raised some investment capital from other influential entertainers; people like Kevin Hart, Marlon Wayans, and Wilmer Valderrama, among others. There’s no other mobile app that does this at this scale, so part of what we have to do is be patient and dedicate the time to educate the entertainers so they know that a mobile app to help them get paid to do what they love to do is now available.”
But what’s the catch? “It is important that (entertainers) know that unlike agents and managers, we do not take any part of their fee. They set the fee and they get all of what they charge. We are paid by the person booking the talent. This is the game changer; to democratize the experience of live entertainment and the way that talented people get paid,” Jones states. This will be welcome news to those “starving artists” operating on a shoestring budget, looking to get their big break in the entertainment business. Now with a tap of an app, “Special Guest” can be manager and agent in the palm of an entertainer’s hand. With “Special Guest,” people who are budding Booking Agents, or even parents looking to book a clown for their children’s’ birthdays can log in and book LIVE performers through the app’s beautiful, easy to navigate structure. Artists’ profiles can be viewed, along with pictures, videos and samples of their work. Never before has it been this accessible by the general public to preview and book talent in their area.
“Special Guest” looks to become the go-to app for LIVE entertainers with the DIY mentality. With 98 percent of talent being unmanaged, Damon Wayans, Jr., and Kristopher Jones are working to level the entertainment world playing field and provide an app experience and venue in which talent across the United States can be paid for what they love to do. Entertain.