Today we’d like to introduce you to Tara Erickson.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. One day almost four years ago, a friend dared me to make a YouTube video. I took the dare and then just never stopped. I started with 11 subscribers and then once I started posting on a weekly basis, I still had to beg just to get to 36 subs. To get to 100 was a slow crawl, but I still posted, no matter who watched, how many views or how little people cared. I had found an outlet. I had found a way to express my comedic views without judgment, which in return locked down what my brand ended up being. #IdiotArmy #ThisIdiot . Also, it was a turning point in realizing that my ideas, quirks and comedic vibes weren’t worthless. Up to that point, they were simply unheard.
Slowly, I became that Youtuber who got more and more messages from people thanking me for making them laugh, or making their hospital stay a little less dreary. I had a found way to stop crying about not getting any auditions, or acting roles, and make up my own way to play pretend for an audience, who actually liked it! I was making stuff that was 100% me and to my shock, I got fans! I was no longer an actor who couldn’t name a big show you’d seen me in, I was a Youtuber who did it all herself and now people were ASKING FOR ME! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still never auditioned for a sitcom. I’m still waiting on NBC, CBS, ABC, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, HBO (the list goes on) to call me up and say “Come read for us”, but then I’d have to say, “I’ll have to check my schedule, because honey, people know who I am now!”
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome? When you pursue a dream the road is never smooth. There’s always a ton of bumps. Here’s a bumpy example –> Not getting a movie role, because based off my YouTube the director wasn’t sure I could handle drama.
It was one of those surreal moments where I was highly recommended, never asked to audition and it was just between me and another actress. I had countless calls with the director dissecting the part, how it would be played and how I could bring a quirky life to her. Then, in the end, they went with the other girl, because she had a soap opera background and well, I had been reenacting movie trailers with cardboard boxes and dinosaur toys.
Even though I knew my abilities as an actor should be viewed completely separately from my fun, silly self on YouTube, there was someone who couldn’t look past the toys and trust me with the real stuff. That sucked.
This was a blow, not only because the only reason I started YouTube was to get more acting opportunities, but because the channel and name I built for myself got me to the top of the list, but then it also knocked me right back down.
This business tells you to make a name for yourself, make your own stuff, grow your audience, get fans and then maybe you’ll have a better shot at getting in the room for a show or movie. Problem is, I had done just that and it didn’t help. But, out of that bump, I made a short film about precisely that experience. So, in the end, my road that has been full of bumps and fears of aging, guilt about doing stand up then not doing it, frustrations about my writing, embarrassment for not having a theatrical agent, anger about only posting one YouTube video some weeks, which have only led me down a more invigorated path on how to conquer dreams. It’s simple and can be found as an inspirational poster on at least one co-worker’s wall… Never give up.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know? I am most proud of the fact that I’ve been able to gain fans without really following a rigid plan as to what I film and post. I re-enact movie trailers, do videos with a character I made up named “Barb”, I sing cover songs, I react to movie trailers, I shoot sketches, I make advice videos, which is really just advice on exactly what not to do, I make car vlogs and I make whatever else comes to mind. I’m known for idiotic, fun, silly points of view, but I can also sing ya a heartfelt song with zero jokes. Ya never know what you’re gonna get and I never know what I’m about to make next. I just dive in and hope I make a few people smile along the way.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on? I booked a #1 lead role in a Lifetime movie this past spring. It’s not released yet, but it’ll be a fun thing to put next to my name. While shooting I would stand in my green room everyday and said, “You stuck around Lala land for 16 years and that’s why you’re here.” Sure, my ability as an actor has grown throughout the years, but it’s simply because I just kept truckin on that I got the opportunity to finally, truly put my skills to work as an actor. And guess what? It’s a DRAMA! I basically cry every 10 minutes and I was never more proud of myself than I was standing there crying. The dramatic side that one director thought I wasn’t capable of was the side that was now working for Lifetime.
There are so many moments that have made me question if I’m good enough and if I’ll ever become an actor who consistently works, or if my YouTube will ever reach 100k subs and in that moment I told myself to stop asking those questions, because I’d worked hard enough to land here and that landing felt pretty damn great.
The movie, in case you're interested, is called "The Twisted Nanny", which is now airing on Lifetime Movie Network and put my name on the top of a headline.