Yeah yeah you see this title and you’re like “What the HELL” are you talking about Kevin. And while I hear you the reality is, it is absolutely true, and there is a reason why. I rolled into the “City of dreams” just like you did, or will someday, with lots of thoughts, dreams, ideas, hopes and plans in my head. I also, at the time, had a number of perceptions and “assumed” rules or guidelines (also known as barriers) that I knew I would have to overcome. Was I wrong about them, no not really, and was I right about them…sure but at the end of the day when all is said and done…it was my own choices and decisions about “my pursuit” that has colored my experience in Hollywood…just as it is, was or will be yours too. If this is relatively true, then that means that Hollywood within itself, is the same.
Back in 1987, just as you would hear stories from actors in 57′, 67′ and 77′ there were simply people who had “better connections, better nepotism, had this or had that or did this or did that” and it placed them WAY further up the totem pole of Hollywood’s elite than where I started. I started…where the VAST majority of us start…at the very bottom with no real connections, friends or family to get us into the “real sandbox” of Hollywood. So, when you realize that this construct is still the same, it again means, Hollywood is unchanged.
What do you need or want? We need access, opportunities, a chance, just the “right people” to see my work or give me a look-see and they’ll see…I’m terrific. Well, please tell me WHAT about Hollywood has changed? Nothing. That statement has always been the case. Just because we have social media, just because there are “more productions” being done worldwide than ever before, just because we all have websites doesn’t alter this fact or reality. You can understand this by answering this question: How many Web Series made/produced and viewable by Non-stars do you watch who are NOT your personal friends? How many scripted TV Shows do you watch outside of them being on some type of “Network TV?” How many non-studio films do you rent from Netflix, documentaries, foreign films (this includes English speaking from Canada and the U.K.)? Well…huh…well…huh? I bet your answer, for 99% of you is…almost none.
My point in saying that since the American Film Market is taking place this week and next is that the main vehicles of distribution of entertainment materials is still CONTROLLED by the conglomerate media networks and studios. Therefore, access to those opportunities are still controlled by decision makers, who consider a number of factors that typically do NOT include unknowns, or certain level manager / agent clients…such as yours. Additionally does being younger and really PRETTY help…always…and always has. So that element of Hollywood remains unchanged too. Does being NON-union really matter if someone WANTS you in a project, absolutely not, never has…and never will. It is called getting Taft-Hartley’ed and it is merely an excuse to “dismiss or avoid” thousands of talented actors…it isn’t a true barrier like Passing the Bar for a lawyer.
So that then leads us back to the main argument to this posting which is that the major item that has changed in Hollywood is SELF-production. That I, or we, can now “so easily” CREATE our own vehicle and have a career. Hmmmm….really, you sure about that? So define that for me and tell me how many Web Series and TV shows that have created well known actors from absolutely NOTHING are you aware of today? Huh…huh…huh? The answer, worldwide, is virtually zero. And here, my friends, is the reason why…talent. No, not performance talent, Exec. Producer, Line Producer, Writer, Director, Producer, Post Production and other department…TALENT.
Ricky Gervais create “The Office” and then brought it to the U.S. and it was great, because it was GREAT. Period. But, he created it and got it made, NOT in the U.S. Much like the game of golf, we simply took it, and gave it global awareness. Don’t call us, we’ll call you still applies, it is still hard to “get in” doors and get meetings, it is still are you 16 and look like Megan Fox and even for those rogue creators/filmmakers going WAY back pre-digital technology who reached out and “created” something on their own…most went no where because at the end of the day…they weren’t very good. Most actors (I said most) are not actually as talented as they believe or their family believes they are. That is the truth. Look back on people like John Sayles, and movies like “The Hollywood Shuffle.”
There are dozens of folks who broke the mold, who cracked through on their own, and yes there are some successful actors who didn’t go to Yale, Harvard, have grandma and grandpa connections help them or whose Mothers/Fathers agents at CAA weren’t handed to them at age 10…but the reality is…that is still less than .05% of the folks and WE are the 95.5% and the rules of Hollywood are still the same…and always will be. Was this blog meant to depress, NO of course not, but it is meant to remind you to stop “just thinking” that it should or is easier…just because renting a digital camera…is easy.
Always on your side, @TheKevinE