Admittedly, I had only heard of Alphacat tangentially before his starring role in “Along the Roadside.” I KNEW a YouTuber named Alphacat existed, but I couldn’t have picked him/her/them/it/shim out of a lineup to save my life. Now that I’ve gotten a little more familiar with him and his YouTube/Vine content (plus his work in “Along the Roadside”) I can honestly say I won’t forget him anytime soon. Not only does he bear an uncanny resemblance to Barack Obama (which he makes the most of), but he’s also adept at spitting verse (helpful with his Drake parodies), and he’s got a real charisma and ease with the camera. If all he had going for him was Barack, he’d be in trouble — like Dana Carvey was when Bush Sr. left office and like Vaughn Meader was when JFK got his head turned into a wind tunnel. But clearly Alphacat (real name Iman Crossan) is a performer with more than one trick up his sleeve. And now that he has a starring role in a feature film, we’re about to see how deep those sleeves go.
Cast by filmmaker Zoran Lisinac after sending in a self-shot, self-edited audition tape, Iman beat out a “major mainstream actor” for the starring role in this story about two unlikely travelling companions headed cross country for a concert. Fortunately, while I was doing an interview with Zoran, he was kind enough to patch me through to Iman. I swore I was only going to ask one question, but I ended up asking three, and Iman was good enough to answer. Make sure you check out all that Alphacat has to offer and then go see the shit out of this movie when it becomes available (February is what I am hearing).
What is the difference between doing YouTube and acting in a feature film? Is it harder? Easier?
Iman Crossan: The main difference I’d say is the amount of time spent. With YouTube it’s shorter format, generally a younger crowd and YouTubers often just shoot and go. Humor is the name of the game oftentimes and if the quality isn’t the greatest it may just actually add to the humor. On a filmset you’re really trying to tell a story. Unravel a person’s backstory, the conflict, resolution. etc. No one wants to watch two hours of bad footage, so you have to take more time with lighting, camera shots, etc. Also, a LOT of YouTube video, script-wise, are off the cuff, ad libbed. A film, of course, you have a entire script to memorize.
Given the choice between feature films and YouTube, which medium would you go with?
Honestly, I’d never leave YouTube nor ever want to be in a position to have to choose between the two. However, if you wake me up one day and say, ‘Hey, you can shoot a YouTube video today or you can take role on set of the next “Avengers” movie today,’ well, I’m going to break a foot running to that movie set.
Do you plan on continuing to make films with Zoran?
Of course. Zoran is a true storyteller and also unconventional. He doesn’t shoot to get the typical shots most directors would take, so it’s great to be a part of something like that!
Here are some other feature films with YouTubers: