Eric Dunn is what most would consider a Jack of all Trades. He's funny, smart, ambitious and business-savvy and he's using these skills to his benefit. Eric was an early adopter of Vine. His diverse comedic content has earned him over 2.8 million followers. What's most intriguing is that Eric represents an archetype that many elders would have discounted. As a self-confessed grade school "class clown," Eric could have easily lost he's comedic edge and his desire to entertain a midst the pressure to fall in line in his youth, but Eric maintained his charm and it has paid off. In an age in which entertainment is valued just as much as intellect, Eric provides the total package. Beyond Vine, he's building a brand and a business plan.
This is his story:
Q: How and when did you discover Vine and what intrigued you about it?
A: I discovered the first Vine video on Twitter, it was posted by one of my friends from high school. I asked her what it was and she told me it was Vine. So I downloaded the app and I started making my own creative videos. What caught my eye was that it was 6 seconds and it looped and I had never seen any app like it.
Q: How did you grow your following on Vine and what do you think led to your growth and popularity?
A: I was one of the earlier adopters of Vine and my content was very diverse. Before Vine was really well known I had a video go viral via ifunny, YouTube, Reddit and Chive. People that viewed the video wondered why it was only 6 seconds and that’s when they started realizing what Vine was, downloaded the app and followed me.
Q: Before gaining a following on Vine, did you consider yourself funny and entertaining or did Vine help bring this part of your character out of you?
A: Since grade school I have always been a class clown. I’m not proud of it but someone had to do it! I would say I was pretty funny before I began putting things on video.
Q: What’s the end goal? Do you have any career ambitions in mainstream media (television or movies)?
A: For now I just want to finish school, but I do plan to go into television. I want to eventually be on a TV show or have my own radio show. If that doesn’t work out for me I will go into a profession in professional sports.
Q: What creative process do you go through when trying to develop ideas for 6-second funny videos?
A: I was never the type of person to write down Vine ideas. My Vines come from whatever random thing I’m doing or thought I have and I will just try to make something funny out of it. If you scroll down my Vine page you can see the continuous random content my brain comes up with.
Q: Do you think people understand or appreciate the work that goes into being a content creator?
A: Of course people appreciate the work of content creators or otherwise these guys wouldn’t have millions of followers. There are content creators that take multiple hours just to film one Vine. For the 20 months Vine has been around it has changed so much. Not just the content creators themselves but the Vine audience as well. Keeping people laughing in 6 seconds without tiring out ideas and not being boring is the daily struggle, but people still love Vine whether they admit it or not.
Q: Do you currently or do you plan on pursuing a full-time career making Vine videos or other online content?
A: What really is going to determine how long I make Vines for is how long the app stays relevant. Just like how Twitter and Instagram are doing well right now and have been for years. Once I graduate college of course the content will not be continuous, but because my following is as large as it is I feel obligated to let them know what’s going on, whether they all care or not, someone has to and I will use my online sites as a means to communicate with them, funny or not. What I’m hoping right now is that with all the success I’ve had from Vine, it helps me with my family business and launches me into a career in television.
Q: How have you maintained a commitment as a content creator to spend time doing something that initially didn’t have an income opportunity?
A: Before Vine began monetizing I never thought of it as a way to make money. I used it and still use it as a way to entertain people. My ideas used to flow like the Nile River last year but since then I have been using the app less because of school and being short on new ideas. Seeing my follower count increase and reading comments of people saying “I love your vines” and “You are so funny” was motivation enough for me to be committed to making people laugh.
Q: What does the future hold for you? Any interesting upcoming projects?
A: Can’t say right now, I am a junior in college at Florida Atlantic University taking any and all opportunities coming my way at the moment. I am signed with a management agency and if anything comes up you will hear about it on my Twitter (@ericvdunn)!
Q: What advice could you provide to others looking to establish a brand as a social media personality/content creator?
A: You have to find a balance between promotion and creating content people want to watch. If you just force your brand onto people it doesn’t look good on you or your brand. You don’t need business classes to be a successful marketer you just need common sense. I encourage anyone out there looking to start a company or push their brand to keep on working because, I hate to sound cliché, but hard work pays off.