For many of the hundreds of millions of people around the world using the video-sharing app TikTok, internet fame is an unattainable goal. But for SoHum native Cooper Scott, it’s the first step toward a career in Hollywood.
“My whole plan, since I was very young, was to be an actor,” Scott told the Outpost. “I always made short videos and played characters in little films before I had a platform to put them on.”
In his pre-teen years, Scott tried making a name for himself on the now-defunct video-sharing app Vine, with lackluster results.
“I was a chubby 12-year-old who wasn’t funny, so it didn’t work out,” he remembered.
But when a friend introduced him to TikTok during the end of his senior year at South Fork High School, Scott found his second chance at internet stardom.
“At first I was just posting videos from my camera roll,” he said. “Then I posted a video from summer camp of kids singing Moana together, and I don’t know why, but it blew up. I got, like, 400,000 likes and 50,000 followers. That’s when the power of TikTok really clicked for me.”
One year later, the 18-year-old college freshman has 658,000 followers and more than 29 million views on his TikTok account, which mostly consists of him performing sketches and documenting his real life.
Despite his soaring popularity, Scott says his new-found fame didn’t hit him until he started attending Chapman University in Southern California.
“[In Humboldt], people thought it was cool but everyone kind of already knew me,” he said. “Then, when I went to SoCal, everybody was like: ‘You’re the TikTok kid! You’re the TikTok kid!’ It felt so weird for people to know me before introducing myself.”
His fame also follows him off-campus. And although he considers himself “well known” rather than “TikTok famous,” he sometimes finds himself in celebrity-like situations.
“When I went to Disneyland, people were asking to take pictures with me and I had no idea what to think,” he said. “Me and my sister didn’t realize it meant this much to people. That made me feel like a celebrity, but I try to not let it get to me too much.”
While Scott plans to get an agent and commit to a career in acting as early as next year, his education in strategic corporate communications, which he refers to as “business without the math,” and his internet videos, are his current priority.
Thanks to the success of his TikTok account, Scott is already learning what it’s like to run his own business and represent himself professionally as a social media influencer.
“For every 100,000 followers you have, you can charge $200 [per sponsorship],” he said. “That’s standard pricing. If I was using a song in a video, I might charge anywhere from $100 to $500 depending on who the artist is and how I feel about promoting it. Sometimes I don’t want to be associated with certain brands because I have to worry about my own personal brand and how I represent myself. It’s weird.”
In the midst of his success, Scott, like so many college students across the county, has been forced to return home to wait out the COVID-19 epidemic. But despite the unfortunate circumstances, he’s staying positive and focusing on what he does best: making silly internet videos.
“I’ve had so many people reach out to me saying ‘your content is so much better lately,’” he said. “I have so much free time with not much else to do, I might as well start creating.”