( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) ShowBiz Stories Is Bringing True Entertainment Industry Narrative To the Masses
ENSPIRE Contributor: Kate Newman
Nearly a year into the global pandemic with the entertainment industry at a standstill, veteran film producer and director Marion J. Caffey is making the most of this unfortunate situation. He is creating a hub for some of the entertainment industry’s funniest and most moving stories told straight from the artists who lived them. Founded early on in the pandemic, ShowBiz Stories is a catalog of entertainment history—a behind the scenes look at one of the most sought after industries in the world and an honest look at what life in show business is really like. Some stories are funny, inspiring, fascinating, juicy, or sad; however, all of them reflect the love for art and creativity that drove these storytellers to the business.
At a time when so many industry professionals and artists feel bogged down by the pandemic, ShowBiz Stories is an opportunity for artists to keep busy and make “lemonade out of pandemic lemonade,” as founder and CEO Marion J. Caffey describes it. Featuring artists from all across the theater, TV, and film industries, including The Haves and the Have Nots’ Angela Robinson, Grammy Award winner Dawnn Lewis and Tony Award-winning actor Chuck Cooper visitors to the site will have no trouble finding familiar and new faces!
What inspired you to create Showbiz Stories?
I was inspired by live entertainment shutting down and my being laid off. Inspired by hearing the stories coming out of the fear, passion, social unrest, politics, and wondering how it all was affecting the entertainment industry. For more see https://showbizstories.com/about/
How did you go about starting it?
I began to contact colleagues and ask for their stories and the reaction was swift and very positive! I then designed a website and went about the steep learning curve of learning social media, video editing, SEO, marketing, press, creating a business plan, seeking monetization, etc. All of which I had zero experience in before. I had the seed for this idea for years, but I thought it was going to be a live event. Moving it online was just the right thing at the right time, as with most of my creations! I decided to let the pandemic happen for me and not to me!
Now that Showbiz Stories has become a reality, what are your future plans for the platform? Where would you like to see it go in the future?
Well, there are miles and years of just getting better at what we are doing. I think we are the future. Stories and audiences are unlimited. I do see a streaming or television show as well, but we only launched December 10, 2020, so I have to get the mothership in order first. LOL
After such a long career in show business, you must have a fair amount of your own stories to tell. Is there an individual you worked with or experience that has influenced or inspired you?
Well, Showbiz Stories is my new story! My nest story! I do have quite a few stories to tell, and they will be told eventually on the site as well. But the concept, the site itself is my latest story! I do not have a particular person that has inspired me. There have been people that have been a big influence, such as Gregory Hines and André De Shields from a performer’s POV. But as a creator, producer, and director, not so much. I have always been a self-motivated person. The one person that gets all the credit for unwavering and untold support over many, many years and projects, including Showbiz Stories, is my friend and Broadway producer, Willette Klausner (Hadestown, Ain’t Too Proud, American Son, Three Mo’ Tenors…).
I noticed several of the stories featured have a common theme of failing before finding success. Did you think Showbiz Stories can be a source of reassurance for the next generation of artists still trying to break into the industry?
Absolutely!! It is why I have to find the audience that makes up that demographic. Community theaters, high schools, colleges, regional theaters. I am proud to have that as one of the goals for the site.
From the global pandemic to the increased national awareness of the #BLM movement, 2020 was a year of unprecedented change. How has your approach or mission for Showbiz Stories changed in the past year, if at all?
It was born in the midst of the second wave of the pandemic. I literally conceived this baby on July 8, 2020. It just took its first breath on December 10, 2020, so it changes every single minute of every single day, just like every infant, and that’s the joy of it. I have found my new purpose, my personal passion, and my professional reinvention! I found all of that right in the middle of a pandemic! Life is great! I can’t wait to see what happens in the next hour!! For example, this story just came to me, and it is perfect for today and tomorrow since voting is at the forefront of our minds, souls, and the news.
ShowBiz Stories covers a wide range of topics, including auditions, artists’ big breaks, and reminders never to give up. From within ShowBiz Stories’ diverse catalog, there is something for anyone and everyone, whether they need a laugh or words of encouragement. “The truth behind the curtain” is the tagline of the project and is a perfect summary of everything ShowBiz Stories has to offer.