Through Cameo Live, we are given a new degree of access behind the scenes, prompting the existential question: how close is too near to get to your favourites?
Everyone has a famous person or two they’d love to drink coffee with someday. It would be interesting to inquire of a skilled musician, for instance, as to the steps they take to produce their work. Or to get the unfiltered truth about a seminal cultural event from the people who were there. (A Petition to Interview Grimes by This Gizmodo Reporter, 2022).
But now there is Cameo Live for when you have other, more primal desires, like watching a live play-by-play of the latest Real Housewives drama.
Cameo, an app that currently allows users to pay celebrities (typically B-listers), corrupt politicians, athletes, and others(?) to record personalised video messages, is now allowing users to make 10-minute, live video chats. Users won’t merely hear an automated recording. Instead, they can have a live conversation with the target of their attack.
Providing users with the opportunity to have conversations with famous people isn’t something new for Cameo. It’s currently possible to have private conversations via the in-built messaging system (with no guarantee of a response). Cameo Calls, introduced by the same company last year, follow the same model but are time-limited to just a few minutes.
Yet, the “Live” version is a significant improvement. You’ll have 10 minutes to talk to each other directly, up from two. Calls can be scheduled around the user’s availability.
Taken from the service’s announcement of the updated functionality:
From fan and artist suggestions for longer video conversations, the ability to add friends and family, and more flexible scheduling, we’ve developed our newest fan experience, Cameo Live. The revised structure will allow you to:
Schedule a 10-minute live video chat with your favourite athlete, actress, musician, comedian, artist, reality star, or other famous person from the world of pop culture. You can talk to one other person, up to nine other people, or give the call as a gift to someone special. Give you more control over your calendar than ever before by suggesting three convenient date/time combinations.
We at Gizmodo would be negligent if we didn’t mention that there’s potential for misuse on both ends with Cameo Live. It’s difficult to conceive of a world in which this wouldn’t lead to fan-targeted attacks on famous people. The users should be aware that there is no security for their personal information.
Brandon Kazimer, a representative for Cameo, told Gizmodo via email that “talent” have the freedom to reject a call, end a call in progress at any time, and block specific people from their Cameo feed. As an additional defence, Kazimer stated, “Cameo uses technology to auto regulate the chat function of Cameo Live to protect against things like profanity and hate speech.” In addition, unlike with prerecorded celebrity messages, Live footage will not be broadcast on the Cameo website, and screen recording will be disabled.
However, amusement is an additional factor that makes the idea appealing. (When I originally heard about the feature, I wondered out loud to my editors whether or not I could justify spending money on a 10-minute celebrity interview based on a cameo appearance.)
Surprisingly, it appears that many well-known people are already using Live calls. There are a plethora of choices available on the platform’s website; nevertheless, many of them are rather…unusual. However, the likes of Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee/Goonies/Stranger Things), Bonnie Wright (Ginny/Harry Potter films), and performers from The Office/Star Trek are in attendance. If you want to probe deeper, there’s also Tomi Lahren and Chris D’Elia.
In most cases, the cost of initiating a live call rises in direct proportion to your level of interest in conversing with the other party. (I’m looking at you, Tony Hawk meet-and-greet for $750 and Leslie David Baker interview at $2,000!) However, it appears that the average cost of a call is between $100 and $400. According to an interview with Gizmodo, Kazimer explained that users set their own prices for using the site, however it’s expected that Live videos would cost more than regular shout-outs.
Earlier this year, Cameo announced massive layoffs, affecting around a fifth of the company’s workforce. Attempting to rebrand itself, Cameo Live appears to be the company’s first major step since. “Cameo Live is only one component of what we’re calling Cameo 2.0 — the next chapter in our mission to create a full-service technology platform enabling the most personalised and authentic fan experiences on earth,” the business explained in a statement.