Astoria Based Actor Makes Extra Income Impersonating Famous Area Native
At least that’s how Chris Ferretti, 33, of Astoria explains the origin of his new business venture.
The young thespian/comedian has an affinity for impersonating TV and film celebrities.
Most notably, Astoria native and Academy Award winning actor Christopher Walken.
Ferretti’s impression of Christopher Walken is so dead on that he gets requests wherever he goes to do the impersonation.
Ferretti, on a dare, decided to advertise his talent for hire on the gig-oriented website Fiverr.com, where users can advertise any jobs, services or talents they’ll provide for $5.
Soon, to his shock, orders started pouring in from all over the country, seeking personal messages in that unique Walken rhythm of talk, ranging from birthday greetings to prank phone calls. Soon he was pulling in $800 to 900 a month recording five-minute messages, an unexpected bounty for a pursuit he’d considered somewhere between a gag gig and the Web equivalent of telling jokes on a street corner with a tip jar.
“I never in a million years thought this would catch on as it did,” Ferretti said. “It’s almost an extra 10 grand a year.”
Ferretti has entertained people all over the world with his talent.
Since then more than 500,000 gigs have been offered on the site. Sellers offer everything from designing a banner for your business to giving advice on raising twins to pretending to be your Facebook girlfriend. Users can post a handful of different gigs at one time, and buyers can see user reviews of each one. Fiverr takes $1 of every transaction.
Last month the site debuted a new tiered system with seller “levels” that let trusted users upgrade their offers to charge more money for additional services. The change was prompted in part by recognition that some users are looking to the site as a significant source of income.
“In this unstable economy and job market any extra income is a big help,” Ferretti said in a phone interview with the Gazette. “This gig has helped me greatly be exposing my talents as an actor on a broader scale.”