Earning

3 online side hustles for pop culture enthusiasts

"I've seen [Patreon] be supersuccessful for a lot of podcasts, big and small."

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Andrew Garfield attends the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City.
Matt Winkelmeyer | MG18 | Getty Images

Andrew Garfield has played the title role in two Spider-Man films and earned a Tony for his performance in "Angels in America." But despite his track record of success, he wouldn't say no to a side hustle.

In a recent BuzzFeed video, Garfield was asked to read aloud some "thirst tweets" about him (social media posts in which people express their admiration for, or attraction to, a celebrity). One Twitter user was particularly excited by a favorite Garfield line in 2010's "The Social Network": "I wish Andrew Garfield would whisper, 'You better lawyer up, a------' in my ear," she wrote.

"If I can't make money in other ways," Garfield told BuzzFeed, "I will charge people for me to whisper in their ear, 'You better lawyer up, a------.' That's kind of a good side gig."

It seems unlikely that Garfield will need to start charging people for this service in the near future, though some lower-tier celebrities do charge for video greetings through Cameo. But if you're someone who loves film, television, and music, there are ways for you to make money off your passion.

Here are three ways to capitalize on the pop culture you love.

Write film, TV, or book reviews

Say you've just finished watching the latest season of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," streaming Bong Joon-ho's latest film, or reading Mateo Askaripour's novel "Black Buck," and now you have to talk about it. Instead of commenting on a forum like Reddit, consider writing a review or article for a blog, magazine, or pop culture website.

Many websites pay for writers' takes on current culture. Film-focused magazine Cineaste pays between $18-$90 per article, pop-culture hub The A.V. Club pays $250 per piece (according to a recent tweet by its TV editor), and the U.S. Review of Books pays $25-$75 per book review, according to Sidehusl.

Carefully read these and other similar publications to get a sense of what they're looking for, then email an editor with a pitch — a short description of the article you want to write, and the points you aim to make, in hopes of getting an assignment. For more information, check out journalist and podcaster Ann Friedman's guide on how to write a good pitch.

Start a pop culture podcast

Similarly, if you've just watched the latest Alfonso Cuarón film, streamed the new season of "PEN15," or finished listening to Raissa's latest EP, and you're dying to discuss your thoughts, starting a podcast to connect with other fans could be a way to make money.

"The barrier to entry is really low" when it comes to podcasting, says Jordan Dené Ellis, co-founder of her own pop culture podcast, "The Sartorial Geek." "You can start recording with a pair of earbuds and QuickTime on your computer." Here are some free or inexpensive tools that could help:

  • To edit, try using Audacity, or, if you have a Mac, try GarageBand.

To monetize your podcast, Dené Ellis suggests starting a Patreon page, where creators offer various monthly memberships to people who want to support their work.

Do some research to see what kinds of benefits other podcasts are offering and for what price, and come up with a few membership ideas that could entice people without consuming too much of your time. Dené Ellis' podcast offers six $3-to-$100 per month subscription options, with benefits including personal shoutouts on the podcast and monthly goodie bags.

"I've seen [Patreon] be supersuccessful for a lot of podcasts, big and small," she says.

Sell used pop culture paraphernalia online

If you know where to find old "Clueless" posters, unique Marvel Comics figures, or other collectible pop-culture paraphernalia, consider buying and reselling them to die-hard fans on sites like Mercari or eBay.

For example, a "Golden Girls" T-shirt is currently going for $20 on Mercari, and a "Star Wars" poster from 1978 is selling for $300 on eBay.

Making your own TV or movie-inspired paraphernalia can be tricky. "When you're doing a project and you're using someone else's content in some way, you want to think about intellectual property," says lawyer Nancy Mertzel, an expert in the field. Copyright law, for example, gives a content creator exclusive rights to their work, including "reproduction, distribution, and creation of derivative works," she says. So selling your own merch using their content could get you in trouble. Make sure you familiarize yourself with legal guidelines before you get started.

Though Garfield may not be monetizing his most famous lines anytime soon, he can still be seen in theaters: His latest film, "Mainstream," is currently playing. And if movie stardom doesn't work out, there's always another side hustle.

In the BuzzFeed video, the star considers another Twitter post, which reads, "Andrew Garfield's spandex-clad buttocks should be legally obliged to appear in all superhero movies from now on." Garfield's response: "I wonder what my fee would be."

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