There comes a point and time where one realizes that some things need to be seen through the eyes of a child to make any sense. Chasing Cameron, the new Netflix documentary following the rejuvenated MAGCON and Cameron Dallas, features a lot of people you have never heard of, unless you are under a certain age.
Meaning that unless you are a tween girl who dotes on this group of puerile young men whose only discernible talent is to display a certain amount of charm whilst doing amusing things (to a 12 or 13 year old) in front of the camera.
Vine, which Twitter have decided to change forever, has truly created a slew of monsters here. The first episode of Chasing Cameron “With 1 Tweet” follows the rise and rise of Cameron Dallas. Viewers who stop by to watch the documentary will ask, “who the hell is he?”
To be fair, even the older crowd who are perfectly au fait with YouTube and Instagram will be somewhat befuddled by these cookie cutter replicants who look so much alike they could all be brothers, or at the very least close cousins.
Dallas, the Cameron of the title, has millions of subscribers/followers on Vine, Instagram and YouTube. He has, in fact, more fans than personal favorite Nigahiga (Ryan Higa) who has been a thing on social media since 2007. Higa also, at one time, held the record for highest amount of followers on YouTube.
Dallas started out on Instagram and soon learned, after selling himself as a model, that comedy paid larger dividends than sultry good looks. He then discovered the six second treasure trove that was Vine. Comedy, good looks and a certain amount of vapidity made Cameron a star.
He is not alone. As Emma Thompson once famously said, these new kids are not stars and they cannot act [sic]. Yet these shallow and very focussed on the money stars are raking it in.
Entrepreneur Bart Bordelon started the original “MAGCON” (which stands for “meet and greet” and the concept took off like wildfire. Sadly, for the young men who headlined the events, no one got paid for their personal appearances. With this somewhat avaricious oversight, the concept broke down.
Now, Cameron Dallas has teamed up with Bordelon, after initially causing the original to fold with his departure, to re-create the fan favorite. It is, a tween’s dream for a lot of young girls who take selfies and meet their “crushes.”
(Apparently these 20 something heartthrobs are all blazingly “hetero” as the footage from both the old and new MAGCON shows thousands of young female fans and not one male.)
It is all too easy to be cynical about this Netflix documentary. The series appears to be all about MAGCON and Cameron Dallas’ part in the company. Toward the end of episode one, Taylor Caniff (another lad you have never heard of) goes off on an assistant for not having the promised per diem ready for “the talent.”
(This is all too indicative of the mentality of these young lads. How talented is it to be attractive and do silly things for Vine? The phrase “The talent” generally applies to someone who has some. In other words, actors, musicians, singers, and so on.)
Dallas has taken steps to insure “the talent” is part of team MAGCON and therefore should not be yelling at hapless employees for not having his money ready.
Once again that cynicism creeps in when looking at this documentary series. It is, in essence, a 10 hour advertisement for Dallas, MAGCON and all the little social media celebrities who attend the show. The thing is a thinly veiled request for more money.
As PT Barnum is often quoted as saying, “There is a sucker born every minute.” This series seems to prove it. The first MAGCON in “Europe” – held in London, has a couple saying they are happy to pay for their little girls to attend.
(On a sidenote, Americans still call England and Great Britain Europe. Just to clarify; no it is not. It is Great Britain, full stop. For Europe, catch the ferry and head across the English channel. There you will find Europe.)
Dallas and Bart approach Caniff and tell him off for complaining about not getting his money to a member of staff. So much for keeping “the talent” happy. It was this issue (lack of recompense) that collapsed the first MAGCON money machine.
On one level this is impressive stuff. Who cannot help but admire someone smart enough to take advantage of this new “star” making application. Bart Bordelon may have been the first to “exploit” these young celebs but it is clear that when it comes to social media in the 2000’s there is indeed gold in them thar hills.
Dallas is a “Johnny Come Lately” compared to a host of talented YouTube personalities who realized they could make money by posting videos. Ryan Higa, Ray William Johnson, Jenna Marbles and PewDeePie are just some of the mega famous, mega earners who blazed the trail before Dallas and his new chums.
One big difference is that unlike Dallas, who got fans with little to no talent compared to the YouTuber’s before him, the first group of social media “giants” had something to bring to the entertainment table.
Vine removed the “viral” mechanism required on YouTube and shortened a newer generation’s attention span to six seconds. It also created stars that main stream media finally realized could be exploited for more money, box office receipts and audience numbers.
Catering to an ever younger demographic, television and Hollywood are recruiting from the talentless ranks of these new stars and counting on raking in some money.
A smart move if the crowds attending these MAGCON events are really as big as they seem.
Heading back to Chasing Cameron and away from the cynical breakdown of a money making machine for the vapid, the series is streaming on Netflix or can be downloaded on your flavor of smartphone or tablet.
In a day and age where an aging narcissistic reality TV personality can be elected president these new kids on the block may well be the next president elect in the not so near future.
(On a sidenote: This reviewer is a huge fan of Vine and the many people who can adequately make people laugh within a six second window. So much so that the news of Twitter changing the face of the app caused a certain amount of amazed disbelief.)
Those who have to ask just who the hell Cameron Dallas is, or indeed any of his little chums on the MAGCON, may want to give this one a miss.