Acting ain't what it used to be. Write?
With distribution opportunities exploding and new shows popping up like mushrooms, how do actors make sure they’re in on this technologically-driven boom in the entertainment industry? Take bold action. Here are two ways to do that.
1) Create original QUALITY content.
To survive in modern-day Hollywood, you have to get in on the creative end of things. Wrap your mind around building your own success. That means writing, people, or finding a new BFF who’s the next greatest thing since Shakespeare. Because that’s what everyone else is starting to do, and unless you are a famous actor, no one’s going to hand you the perfect role on a silver platter.* Note: you can’t write garbage. There’s a saying about Internet traffic: to get eyeballs, content is king. With Netflix and Hulu each committing billions (yes that’s billions with a “b”) developing original programming, you know the demand for high quality content is growing. When you add in Google/YouTube, Apple, the “traditional” cable networks, OTT** networks, the ancient network-networks, cellular phone companies…I could go on-you have a hungry, hungry hippo of a media world needing product to fill up airtime. (Can we call it airtime anymore?) With some kick-ass content, you’re on your way to helping them do that.
2) Get used to wearing ALL the hats, and speaking the language (*OTT? That’s Over The Top.)
This content you’re creating? Congratulations! You’re the writer, producer, star, publicist and everything in between. New projects are being developed outside of the traditional “pitch to a studio/network” system now. Folks create a show, produce it, put it online and it gets picked up. Development execs are haunting the Internet trolling for good stuff that’s already created, interesting and popular with a fan base. Maybe Issa Rae’s fan base included six friends and an HBO assistant’s dog walker, it doesn’t really matter, the point is she had Awkward Black Girl up, running and gaining traction. You can no longer afford to sit around and wait to get an agent who will submit you to existing roles, as others are making deals for shows already fully formed online.
So what’s the most important thing we’re going to need as we move forward? Each other. Creativity is at its best when it is a collaborative process. Find other actors, writers and musicians who believe in your vision and make it a reality! So you may not have the same budget as the Game of Thrones guys. You also have a creative freedom they have long since lost because of all that money and pressure. Get creative folks, create some quality content and get the longevity your talent deserves.
Note: if you are a SAG-AFTRA member the union has made it super-easy for you to put together contracts for a new-media project so you don’t violate Global Rule 1. Check out the Production Center here.