A knock at the door in the evening is seldom a good thing. The day the package arrived was like any other, until then.
I opened the door signed for the package and accepted it. I immediately felt a shiver run down my spine. My blood went cold, and I felt the gravity of what I was holding before I opened it.
I sat the package on the counter and almost ceremoniously poured myself a drink. I’ll admit, I did hold the package to my ear and listened for a ticking sound. LOL
Being in the industry and having watched more than my fair share of action movies, I pulled my shirt over my mouth and nose as a precaution (as if that would work anyway!) and carefully pulled at the gold ribbons.
As they came off, it was as if the contents of the package had been held under pressure and the paper gently released. It was like the contents breathed a sigh of relief for finally being freed.
You might appreciate the reference Grasshopper…
When I held the contents of the mysterious package in my hands, my jaw dropped. It was a manuscript. Some might call it a memo or a mission statement.
Even the cover looked like the Catcher in the Rye.
In a nod to the classic, it too was titled “The things we think and do not say. The future of our business.”
I knew what it was before reading a single word.
See, I’m a huuuuuuuge Jerry Maguire fan and the sender knew this and spoke my language to ensure that the contents of the manuscript would not be overlooked.
Here’s why this matters to you and what it has to do with your acting career.
If you have never seen the film Jerry Maguire, it’s worth watching (a few dozen times in my case). At the very least you should YouTube the Fandango clips. They’re a pretty good summary.
In the beginning of the film Jerry Maguire, a sports super agent, has a meltdown of sorts and pens the document that will end his career and has it distributed to everyone in his company. It railed against everything the company stood for, up to that point.
That’s what the manuscript I was sent, was too.
As I studied each of the 45 pages, I was almost shaken by what the author was saying. Some of it is a topic for another release.
What’s important for you to know now, is that the industry is currently a rudderless ship. It is bouncing along going wherever the winds blow. There is an enormous vacuum that is being unreported.
There has been a huge exodus of leadership in the industry. Many of the studio heads and executives remain only as figure heads so as to not panic shareholders. Perhaps even more alarming is that there is a shortage of financing available for new projects.
You may have noticed the studio slates starting to look different than in previous years.
Our beloved industry is in a very real crisis.
But, with every crisis comes opportunity and that’s where you come in. See, the author of the manuscript echoed much of the film’s narrative.
“Fewer clients. Less money.” Was a central theme.
As is confirmed by a member of their management staff, big powerful players like W.M. Endeavour are becoming less relevant by the day. It’s why they are diversifying into other avenues, such as purchasing the UFC, and getting into event promotion.
The reason for that may not be as noble as Jerry Maguire’s reasons. There exists an inverted pyramid of talent.
This means that there are more people retiring from the industry than the number of people entering the industry. This has concentrated the industry influence within a group of actors that are tenured in the industry and very expensive to hire, but many of whom are not relevant to the box office audience.
When this happens, producers and casting directors become risk averse. This will spell career disaster for actors that are not prepared for it.
See, with the perfect storm of financing that is drying up, an inverted pyramid of expensive talent, and an audience that is simply unwilling to pay for that talent, the studios and production houses are at a loss in more ways than they know to handle.
Here’s what you can do right now. Remember that you, as an actor, are a business. Businesses only exist because they solve problems.
So, if you can solve the industry’s problem, you’re in business.
The huge influx of social media personalities into the main stream is something we have talked about before. As this trend nears its peak, what is becoming evident is that someone with a few million followers can draw a big audience to the box office.
However, by and large, they’re not actors and thus will only be a flash in the pan.
So if you’re an actor that wields social media influence and can combine that with your acting skills, you are solving the industry’s biggest problem.
See, if you have a following you are considered to be a less risky casting decision. We are already to the point where people are being DMd by casting directors asking for an audition.
What you need to do now is focus on building your platform. Here’s where to start.
Remember that a big following may not be enough, as you also need to prove that you have the skills to be a long term investment. You also need to have an industry reputation that is top notch.
While everyone in the industry is either running around without a clue of what to do next, or is blissfully unaware, you can exploit this opportunity to bring order and emerge with a career that exceeds your wildest dreams.
I’ll leave you with a question that one of my mentors always left me with…
Tomorrow the sun will rise, what are you going to do with it?
If you want your tomorrow to be the same as your today, then you should do the same as yesterday. If you want your tomorrow to be better than today, you have to do something better. Here’s where to start.
Hoping to see you at the top,