Avan Jogia wants people to watch his directorial debut, “Door Mouse,” a film he also wrote and appears in. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a big budget to market and promote the indie.
But, he does have a hot body. Shortly after the movie’s release earlier this month, the former “Victorious” star posted a 30-second clip on TikTok that shows him at the gym followed by glimpses of his bare chest and abs. “Is that good enough for you? Did we do it? The thirst trap? Okay, now go watch ‘Door Mouse,’” he says in the video.
A few days later, Jogia tells Variety the tactic worked.
“I’ve seen a lot of people who watched the film who probably wouldn’t,” Jogia says on this week’s upcoming episode of the “Just for Variety” podcast. “And then they text or DM me this really moving thing about the film and a really good sort of deep dive into what the film’s about. Off of a thirst trap? It’s great.”
The caption for the video, which currently has almost 500,000 views, reads, “Trying to convince the algorithm that what I make has value. Go pre-order ‘Door Mouse.’”
Jogia ends the video by declaring, “This is what we have to do now.”
“I think it was a reaction to seeing what penetrates, for lack of a better word, the algorithm,” Jogia explains of his thirst trap marketing. “I think people who make stuff are finding the algorithm a kind of complicated beast because it likes being fed what it likes being fed. I like the meta-ness of playing with that. I also cut a version of my film with transitions from ‘Victorious,’ the old show that I did, because the algorithm likes being fed what it likes being fed and it will push out videos that a lot of the time, unfortunately, have a simple fucking concept or instigate an instant feeling.”
“Door Mouse” stars Hayley Lew as a dancer at a burlesque club whose friends and fellow dancers suddenly start disappearing.
Jogia originally wrote the film almost a decade ago, when he felt he was losing out on roles because of the color of his skin.
“I was 23, I just got off of these two big shows for teens and [those] sort of Shia LaBeouf meaty acting roles weren’t really there for me as a brown man,” he says, adding, “I started writing and I wrote this because I wanted to see actors of color in a noir, just like a noir that we’d seen a thousand times before. There’s nothing specifically unique or special about this noir, other than the fact that [you] get to see people of color have the trench coat and smoke the cigarette and drink the whiskey and do the thing.”
You can hear the full interview with Jogia on “Just for Variety” Jan. 26 on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.