Future proves past, or as Shakespeare would say “What is past is prologue.”
Major industry moves have happened all year Grasshopper. If you haven’t yet noticed how different the industry is from just this time last year, pinch yourself! Look around. What did you miss?
I’ve attempted to connect the dots on several key issues that affect your acting career, and one of the biggest ones has come to fruition just as I said it would.
In fact, the splash was even bigger than I thought it would be. Over the last few months, I have received emails from a few of you that paid attention to this and have since made big moves.
Here’s what’s going on and what it has to do with your career.
The new major [studio] in town has officially opened for business.
You know who it is. Chances are, you spend time “at” this studio everyday…
I’m talking about YouTube.
Last week they launched what will end up being the nail in the coffin of the industry of yesteryear.
You don’t even have to sign up for it to see what’s happening. Browse through the landing page and you will see one TV channel after another live streaming their shows on YouTube.
How many new releases do you see?
You’ve been able to purchase movies on YouTube for some time, but it used to be months before they would hit YouTube.
Have you noticed how the digital release dates are now happening before the DVD (or BluRay) releases?
I’ll get to how this impacts your “castability” in a sec, but it’s important that you understand why things will never be the same again.
The most important thing to note is that the industry is going fully digital, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s only happening in distribution.
The changeover is actually being engineered by a music industry executive. He was behind the launch of YouTube Red, which officially introduced original content produced by YouTube itself in the more common broadcast formats.
Here’s where things get interesting.
Before this executive joined the ranks of YouTube, he spent 2 years in Silicone Valley, immersed in new technology. He took that technology back to New York and founded a joint venture music label with none other than YouTube’s parent company: Google.
At his label, what he was able to perfect was the talent scouting process.
More accurately stated, what he perfected was the ability to take the human element out of searching for talent. They got so good at doing this, that the label was responsible for more hits and for launching more successful acts than anyone in the last decade.
Because they were able to get ahold of talent before they were on anyone else’s radar, they had a giant advantage. Not only that, but they were also able to discover new acts while their “star” was already on the rise.
They developed technology and algorithms that scan the internet in search of talent.
The old way of sending out talent scouts to find new acts, bring them in to record a few demo tracks, test market the demo tracks, and then explore signing them to a full recording contract, was long and cumbersome.
It could take months. Today, that entire process takes days.
This technology picks up on emerging artists that are generating attention and puts them on a “watch list.”
If the artist continues to generate positive attention, the system then recommends that artist to the executives, who can act quickly to sign the artist and launch them much faster than ever before.
What if I told you that this same technology is what was used to produce primary casting decisions for the YouTube Red shows and movies?
You may have already noticed that the studios don’t really do anything by themselves. Where one goes, they all go.
This means that you can expect this technology to show up in all of the other studios. The “majors” are playing catch up, but this is already being used in places like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon’s production house.
This has big implications for many industry sectors, namely your agent.
Their role has always been to source opportunities. In a world where the opportunities find you, they will soon be squeezed to a point where many of them will be pushed out of the industry.
These moves are that serious and have those kinds of effects, that reshape the entire industry landscape.
It’s a driving factor behind the biggest names, like William Morris Endeavor diversifying and going into other businesses. They saw the writing on the wall and bought The UFC.
Others are going into the Casino business or shifting to event promotion rather than solely representing talent.
I’m not saying that you should fire your agent. I only use that point to illustrate the changing landscape.
Ultimately, agent or no agent, you are responsible for your career.
Here’s how you can take the wheel and have a huge advantage, while other actors are simply going with the flow as if things are always going to be the same.
The technology that is being used, scours all corners of the internet in search of new talent. It reads social media signals and processes your follower base, it searches for mentions of you online such as articles written about you, it looks for interviews, projects you’re involved in or have been announced as being involved in, and it of course processes your IMDb STARmeter.
If you pass the initial scan, you land on the CD’s desk, already matched as a candidate for X role in Z project.
What gets a little creepy is that they also assign an “interest score” where your interest in the role is predetermined by processing your social media and even your online calendars to determine if you will 1. Be available for the production and 2. To determine if you would object to being in a certain period piece because of family heritage, for example, or if you would likely pass on slapstick, having never expressed an interest in similar productions.
That’s all a subject for another time though.
After you land on the CD’s desk, they invite you to read and the rest is history in the making.
As one of the very few actors in the industry that is now privy to the sweeping change, here’s what you need to do now.
Get your social media in order. Here’s a quick way to do that.
I can help with that, but you should still be putting real effort into cultivating a platform.
You also need to expand your presence online. Strategize and come up with a plan to “be seen.” Offer to be a guest on podcasts. You don’t have to appear as an actor and talk about your project, just being you and giving your opinions is enough.
Start blogging or vlogging, start a Facebook group about anything that interests you.
Focus on bringing yourself to the public and crawling out of obscurity. Do this and make sure that your professional reputation matches your goals and you’ll be set.
A couple things might happen as you finish reading this.
You might decide that I’m nuts, click off this page and rejoin the herd at the next audition.
You might decide that I’m on to something and get to work. If that’s the case, I’m in your corner and rooting for you!
Or you might think “that’s interesting…” close this page and forget about it and do nothing.
That’s probably the worst of the choices.
Even if you decide I’m nuts, at least you weighed the options and came to a conclusion…
But what if I’m not???
What if it all rolled out just as I said it would (and it has)?
I’ll leave you with this.
Think about where your career was 1 year ago…
Hoping to see you at the top,