Today we’d like to introduce you to Tim Schramm.
Hi Tim, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I was born in Austin, TX with a learning disability and epileptic disorder. I grew up in the Arts as a child actor in which my mother was constantly seeking work for me through talent agencies. Unfortunately, my mother became the target of scams having been offered various casting calls and acting opportunities leading her to spend thousands of dollars. In addition, I was often rejected at talent events and agencies either because of my physical appearance, lack of funds, lack of experience, or being seen as a potential handicap to the production. Each rejection led me to believe that because of my disability, I would never have a chance to reach my potential as an Artist. Although discouraged, I sought out ways to stay involved in the entertainment industry growing up.
Eventually, I became a talent scout in Las Vegas and Los Angeles which gave me an insight to the barriers of access in a commodity-based entertainment model. Using the guidelines set by the agencies, I had to reject talent for the same reasons I was rejected as a child. In addition, I was told never to reveal my disability and my epilepsy by my boss so not to put my work at risk. Although working for talent agencies, I did get to experience acting for Universal Models and Actors, Kids In Media, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., Bonanza Productions Inc., NBC, Atmosphere Casting, MTV, 21st Century Fox, and Coca-Cola. But, I felt that I was covering up my true self while denying others the experience they deserved while working as a talent scout.
I understood that social inequality was prevalent within the entertainment industry. I chose to leave the agencies and find means to give the disabled a voice that helps them surpass the gatekeepers in the arts that would not otherwise consider their artistic potential. I believed it was extremely unfair and unjust for artists, especially that of the disabled, to be only considered if they fit into the scope or paid their way in. In 2008 I founded LVnTheLife and began my quest in reaching my goal.
Through my ability in software analytics, I saw the potential of online engagement through MySpace and YouTube and went to Austin Community College to gain more knowledge in media and brand development. Simultaneously, I worked for ACC as a social media marketer in academic coaching gaining more experience. Throughout my college years, I formulated a way to bring exposure to the disabled I had been eagerly searching for. In 2017, I began an Instagram page for LVnTheLife and within two years had single-handedly gained 119k followers and am known as an Instagram Influencer of Austin. Today, I also hold a TikTok page of 20k followers for LVnTheLife. LVnTheLife became a Public Benefits Corporation in 2019.
Trying to find means to give exposure for underrepresented and disabled Artists of Texas, I came up with LView, a bi-weekly Instagram IGTV interview show. LView Season 1 began in the summer of 2019 with the help of independent filmmaker Lena Konetchy and together, we have interviewed 39 Texas Artists from all backgrounds in disciplines ranging from actors, musicians, dancers, stage designers, visual artists, magicians, filmmakers, puppeteers, chefs, comedians, writers, and musical theatre producers. Each artist has gained a chance to get exposure while sharing their stories and aspirations through the show.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
There have been a lot of struggles. First off, being disabled is not easy and not being heard is heartbreaking for anyone especially within the entertainment industry. Keeping up within the industry is also very competitive and fast-paced. While working within a talent agency, I realized the entertainment industry was too wrapped up in money determined by the mainstream agenda for the United States public and excluded any artistic community building. However, within the agency and being an actor on set, I got to meet so many incredible artists and learned that they just simply want to create, gain experience, and be heard. The Hollywood industry had no room for these out of the box creatives nor were they interested in their artistic voice. It was then that I knew that in order for the artistic community to grow, broaden, invent, and push boundaries into the new century something had to change. I had to stop what I was doing and go to school. I discovered that the new digital platforms being built out in the early 2000’s would give the unknown artist the ability to be heard independent from the system established within the entertainment industry. I spent eight years in college due to my disability to learn computer analytics and social media strategies. Once I had figured out my abilities, I moved forward in taking the next step towards making a difference for my community as a social media builder.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am the Social Media Director for LVnTheLife, PBC. I build social media @lvnthelife on Instagram and now TikTok to gain an audience that is interested in art and community. I use social media to show the potential of a disabled artist. I want these artists to know that they have great gifts and should be proud in sharing their talent with the world. I continue to grow my audience for the disabled and the artistic community because it is not easy for anyone to build a social media page. My ability as a social media builder gives these artists a way to be heard. I want people to learn from their struggles and have a chance to listen to their experiences and difficulties as people and as artists. As much as I have personally struggled, I hope to inspire these artists to push forward and never give up on their dreams and their potentials.
Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Create your own community. When you place the right people in your life that accept you, love you, and support you then things begin to fall into place. It is always good to do what you love, have faith in God, and surround yourself in opportunity to grow. There are many ways to expand your life and depending on what you truly want in your life, you have to set goals. When I was a talent agent, the Artists were my mentors and inspirational figures. I wanted to continue having artists in my life so I looked at my abilities and how I can contribute to my community in order to help it grow. I believe your inner voice can help guide you in the right direction and find the right people to provide you guidance and advice.
- Instagram post @lvnthelife $300
- TikTok post @lvnthelife $150
- Instagram and TikTok post @lvnthelife $450
- Extra advertising of one video or photo: engage with more customers through sponsored advertisement posts on Google, Facebook, Bing, LinkedIn, and YouTube. $1250
- Social Media development $25-35/hour, minimum 10 hours a week.
- Social media content: $50/photo & $100/video
- Photography services $50/hour
- Videography $75/hour, minimum 4 hours including setup and breakdown
- Editing videos/photos $25-50/hour
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.lvnthelife.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lvnthelife/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/lvnthelife
- Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@lvnthelife?lang=en