"I think [YouTube] is neither a replacement [for Hollywood] nor a stepping stool," says Sandeep Parikh, currently famous for his appearances in The Guild, the World of Warcraft parody series, in which he plays the guild's gnome Warlock who's obsessed with the series' star, and The Legend of Neil, a parody of The Legend of Zelda. "It's going to be a whole new organism. TV will definitely be connected to the net seamlessly and will become another node, but a powerful node because it's big and sits in your living room. I also think your refrigerator will be connected to the net and possibly your toaster."
Parikh, a Los Angeles-based actor, writer and filmmaker, has seen both sides of the coin. His IMDb entry contains exactly two credits, one as co-writer of "Pretty Dead Things," a political horror film released in 2006 (which promptly vanished after release), and another as an actor in The Guild. In the bizarre dichotomy that is fame vs. internet fame, the one Hollywood credit - being listed as a screenwriter for a film - will make people outside of Hollywood sit up and take notice, while the other is for something people have actually seen. Which, in turn, makes Hollywood sit up and take notice.
"I don't want to be stopped on the street and asked 'Hey, weren't you that guy in that thing?'" says Parikh. "I'd rather it be 'Oh, you wrote or directed that thing, that's awesome!' It's like some kind of concealed weapon you can whip it out when it services you. (That sounds creepy.)"
Parikh says the amount of attention he's received for The Legend of Neil took him by surprise, but considering his motivation, was perhaps inevitable. He says he saw a lot of Zelda parodies on YouTube and decided he could do better. He was right. The Legend of Neil was viewed by a quarter of a million people. The wild popularity of The Guild, as well, was also something of a surprise.
"I knew it would be popular," he says, "but I didn't quite understand the scope of how many nerds are out there playing WoW and other MMORPGs. The gaming community is so powerful online. It's pretty amazing what happens when you give them quality content that they can relate to."
Something Croshaw understands intimately. "I always pictured myself becoming a bestselling novelist," he says. "In retrospect that might have been a little naïve, but I definitely didn't expect to become famous from doing what I'm doing now, I tell ye that."
The downside of being internet famous, according to Croshaw, is the fan mail. "Especially on review days, I'll have to slog through something like 20-30 [emails] when I get up. I know they're just being nice, and it's flattering to know they like my stuff; I just wish they could like it with a bit less verbosity."