Now of course this will take a moment or two to clarify because many folks reading this may or may not understand the analogy right off the bat, because I do not presume that everyone knows…the backbone of baseball. But once you understand it, then I know you’llagree that the analogy is true. When you really breakdown what I stating you’ll likely agree that it does “make sense” to sort of have our industry go this direction. Now let us keep in mind first why Hollywood never before, in its preceding 70+ years, really needed to ever concern itself about this concept.
You see, when you’re a conglomerate of any kind, or have little to zero competition, then there is an inherent “built in guarantee” to your profits and users and customers. Well, for over 8 decades from the silent movie days up until about 2005 this was Hollywood. It wasn’t the advent of digital that started to erode that it was its worldwide popularity and usage in terms of equipment. Like an avalanche there is a point of “critical mass” in which there is no stopping…and at its highest point of strength. Well, these days, in terms of pure production…there is NO stopping the “level playing field.”
Studios now are the size of a small garage, studios are any intelligent distribution platform, studios are just about “GREAT CONTENT” and nothing more. So what this has done to our profession is make it just like major league baseball when it comes to HOW we view the creation, marketing and success of product. Years ago, one of the better moves I think our Union (SAG-AFTRA) made was to create the “modified” film agreements. While they modified them, and they need even more modification in my opinion, it did sort of give us some insight into what we all knew was coming. Today more people, around the world everyday, are creating more and more content.
By definition when you have that much content, that much information and that many options you have NO CHOICE…but to roll it out or “test them out” slowly. This is exactly how Major League Baseball functions outside of a .05% of stars from the college level. They draft players, then send them based on their level at that time, to either single A, double AA or triple AAA affiliate ball clubs. They watch them progress over time and various forms of “bringing them up” occur until such time a player makes it to the “show.”
The show, of course, is the major league level. And if you’re curious and have never seen it…one of the best sports films ever in my opinion chronicled this life in the humorous movie, Bull Durham, starring Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. It is a tremendous view of the VAST difference between A ball…and the “show.” Well there is a Grand Canyon difference between being the lead in an Ultra Low Budget film and being the lead in a STUDIO financed/distributed Miramax film, directed by Michael Bay.
So why did I feel the need to write a blog about this? Simple, and the reason I do much of what I do, to offer perspective and peace of mind. Realize that there is 100 hours of content uploaded to YouTube EVERY minute of EVERY day. While a lot of this is purely amateur silly stuff not even remotely related to being “entertainment content” a lot of it is and therefore we have to “filter” its value slowly. Well that is indeed why there are less Pilots made now for television, why less studio features are made, why there is “less of the middle class” actor now in terms of contracts and money and why this will now be our norm forever and NEVER revert back to the days of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
Studios and Networks can NO LONGER guarantee or know IF they’re monster movies or critically acclaimed show will last…and make enough money over time…to just “toss money” at a bunch of movies or Pilots. They have to wait, hope, market, test, and more often than not…see if it grows, explodes and succeeds. This is our fate, as actors, and why we have to now audition for less great projects and have to do 10 jobs to make the same money 1 job paid just 15 years ago. Just understand it and don’t hate it…it won’t help.
Always on your side. @theKevinE