I felt like a fish out of water. Luckily, I’m an actor so I was able to put on a brave face and [mostly] hide the fact that I was completely star struck.
Over the last few years, I have to come know several industry insiders pretty well. They have become a great source of knowledge and they have often given valuable information that I pass on to you.
This time was different though. I didn’t receive information from these sources. They “cordially invited” me to be a part of the discussion.
There were several familiar faces in the room and there were also people that I never imagined would be present.
The meeting was arranged by the studios to discuss, of all things….the talent shortage!
A perfect storm has been brewing for a long time and it caught the industry completely by surprise. Here’s what that means and how it could be the best thing that has happened to your career yet.
See, there are currently about 100,000 actors in the US (the biggest entertainment market in the world). When you consider that not everyone is suited for every role, the number of actors available for productions gets really small, really fast.
If that wasn’t enough of a problem, there is an inverted population pyramid that is getting worse by the day. This means that more actors are leaving the industry than are entering it.
There are many reasons for this, but the reasons are secondary to the reality of the problem.
The demand for entertainment content increases every year, as does the demand for actors. There is an issue that is unique to the industry.
Actors cannot “double dip.” They cannot star in two series at the same time, nor can they have 2 films in theatres at once (unless they are playing a tertiary role).
The inverted population pyramid exists in the music industry too, but the difference is that they are allowed to and encouraged to collaborate with different artists.
In stark contrast, musicians want to have as many songs on radio play and on the charts as possible at al times.
This makes the problem there less obvious and more tolerable.
The industry is going through a renaissance.
Everything is cyclical and we are entering another phase. It is comparable to when actors freed themselves of the highly restricted studio deals and took their careers into their own hands.
Overtime, this reversed as distribution became more complex.
However, the advances in technology over just the last few years have allowed actors to break free once again.
This has the studios scrambling for talent.
We are living in a time when a YouTuber with a GoPro camera can pull 5 million views daily. Until very recently this was only possible with the help of a studio who would distribute the content.
That’s part of the perfect storm:
- More actors leaving the industry, than are entering it
- Waning demand for studio resources and distribution
I have been sounding the alarm on these 2 things for some time, but the third part of the problem was shocking to me.
I listened attentively as the research was presented to everyone in the room…
Potential actors are not getting started and the ones that are actively trying, are largely seen as being ingenuine by audiences.
The researchers conducted focus groups. They showed the participants Instagram posts and stories and also showed them the actor’s reel and scenes from recent productions.
What they determined is that, when the participants reacted negatively or even neutrally to the actor’s social media, they also had a less favorable opinion of their work.
Surprisingly, this was true even if the process was reversed.
Here’s what that means to the studios. Their actors are not as marketable as they once were.
That’s a huge problem when you consider that a breakout film or series requires a breakout actor attached.
What the executives and everyone else in the room agreed on was that the industry has to go into mega recruiting and scouting mode.
That’s how they will tackle problem 1: bringing more actors into the industry.
This is one of the places where I was able to add to the discussion and I talked about the incubation period that is required of actors.
Even if they were to bring in another 100,000 actors into the industry, very few of them would be “camera ready.”
Problem 2 is going to be fixed by adding more big budget, classic studio pictures to the slate.
On the TV side, there will be even more reboots and adaptations.
Part 3 is where you come in.
It requires actors that have been in the industry, have some experience and are ready to go to the next level.
The studios are looking to create in demand actors.
This puts them somewhat at odds with the agencies who tend to have creative control over their actor’s careers. However, a rising tide lifts all boats.
They concluded that the best place to find actors is drum roll…IMDb. There is simply nowhere else that provides the necessary data on actors that are active in the industry.
It literally allows the studios, agencies, and anyone else to ride along with and track your career progress.
Remember, they are looking for actors that have a degree of success already and will send their careers to the stratosphere. So if you want to be in a better position, here is a quick fix for that.
The executives also laid out a plan to roll out a multiplatform project that is aimed at tackling all 3 problems at once. It is a documentary and series that will chronicle the struggle of new and experienced actors.
The production schedule for this will be highly condensed and since you are reading this, you are one of the first to know.
So keep an eye out for casting opportunities very soon. They will be sourcing actors from IMDb as well as social media so be sure to give both of those areas the attention they need.
It’s not necessary for just this one project. Rather, it is necessary because of the fundamental shift in the casting hierarchy that is rapidly taking place.
Being first to act on this information could be the best thing that has happened to your career yet.
So what will you do now Grasshopper. Let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email.
I read everyone that comes through and I’m happy to help however I can, because my goal is to…
See you at the top,