Recently, as there seems to be almost every week, another conglomerate gets into the game of monetizing or investing in the ability and future reality of content creation. So now Amazon, not so long ago, dumped a bunch of money into the commitment of 6 Comedy Pilot orders. And while this is GREAT news in so many ways it is also causing quite a bitof distraction in our community. You see while I’m in NO way questioning anyone’s ability I do want you to at least realize I have been doing this for a long time. Tons of auditions, tons of time in class, on set, was paid to do improv/sketch, booked as a comic, produced about 50 events, spoken nationally all over the country, 80 credits blah blah etc. etc. Now, no this is not about me, but it is about one word…proficiency. Because while I feel this is an incredibly FASCINATING time, it is also the time of the most confusion, distraction, fragmentation, and overwhelm I’ve ever seen. From thinking we can write and shoot our own Demo Reels or Web Series, to also feeling that “hey, I can create a show” and sell it to Amazon, what is happening is a LOT of divide.
We already don’t have much time in terms of just trying to keep the bills paid, take care of our kids maybe, perhaps enjoy your partners company, handle all of the personal stuff in life, fight through traffic, and save a little time for some social fun and just “living” we know have to contend with not only pursuing our careers…but now thinking we can take on doing 5-6 more FULL-time careers. Please don’t ever forget that in L.A., at any given moment, you have 1000 well qualified, well heeled professionals, in the following professions: Directing, Writing, Producing, Post Production, V/O, DP’s, all forms of crew along with a full line of special effects and more access to all of this than you can imagine.
Does this mean that “Actors” aren’t responsible for creating some GREAT content, of course not, many of them are…but what is their past? How many “acting credits” does Todd Phillip have NOT related to a movie he wrote or directed? Answer, 1. How come Brad Pitt or Anthony Hopkins aren’t known for “creating content, producing content” or anything else much related to these other PROFESSIONS when they have all the time, money, access, and clout you could ever imagine? Why…because it isn’t their skill set. Again, this does NOT mean that it isn’t yours, but you’re going to have to DECIDE. Either stop being an actor and become a full time writer, taking many classes and learning and learning to be a professional or understand that you’ll likely have to get “others” to help you in your desire to perhaps create some content…that will get ATTENTION.
Even though more and more entities like Amazon are getting into the “fund content creation” game, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to do it frivolously and lose millions of dollars in the process. Their goal is to still create content that is going to at minimum break even and hopefully become very successful at making money. That is always the goal. So with all of the New Media craziness floating about, all of the “new deals” being made weekly by either Google/YouTube or anyone else just remember WHO you are, and WHAT it is that drives you. And hey, if it changes, totally cool…go for it. But trying to build a truly successful performer career is hard enough, but trying to “start that, or get it going or maintain and build on a small amount of success” while then essentially STOPPING all that momentum to go and write/create/produce/direct/edit/market etc. an entire other entity in which you’ll get to be “on-camera” some…is REALLY difficult. There is nothing wrong with just being an actor, and there is nothing wrong with being a hyphenate but just don’t let the desire to “do it all” in the effort to HELP you as an actor ultimately be the reason why you don’t get anywhere on a “high-level” with any of it.
My professional best and always on your side,
@TheKevinE, www.actorbizguru.com, www.kevinewest.com, www.gettingthejob.com