July 30, 2008 4:05 PM
No other market has been affected by the Internet quite like that of the talent business. It’s not as if there wasn’t already a frighteningly low barrier of entry for hopefuls and a big pool for executives—the Web has blown it out even further.
Now, any Tom, Dick or Harry can elevate him- or herself to at least marginal stardom, even if it’s just 250,000 Facebook adds.
For talent executives, this has created a new source for locating potential money makers.
It all sounds perfect. People have better tools and opportunity to become talent and executives have a new place to find prospective future stars.
It doesn’t always mean that it’s a match made in heaven. Plenty of Web hopefuls have burned the channels and soared upward, only to be stonewalled at entertainment’s gate, and plenty of cases where entertainment executives have put their bets on Web stars have resulted in poor outcomes, or worse.
It’s a little like dating in a sense. Two different types, two different sexes.
But there are some things both sides can do to make the experience better. Let’s start with Web talent:
Focus on the work, not the agent: The No. 1 thing aspiring Web talent seems to believe is that the work comes with the agent. In reality, it’s the other way around. Work gets the agent because agents are in the business of making money, and without enough proof of that, they’ll bypass. Others in the chain, however (like writers, bookers, etc.) are in the business of finding talent, so put your efforts there. Get the work, get the proof, get the prize.
Do it well: TV correspondents, writers, producers and others who actually make money have worked hard at their craft, and Web hopefuls should do the same. Work to constantly learn, improve performance, be more polished, etc., at all times. You want to look, act and perform at their level in order to make your work your business.
Work smarter: One of the most important elements is strategy. Look for projects that will elevate your presence overall, but focus most on securing things that entertainment executives—not Web people—will recognize as impressive. I have not met a single person in the industry who is aware of Revision3, but Strike.tv has all eyes on it. Work everywhere you can, but make sure to keep it strategic.
Make connections: Web talent spend a lot of time networking with Web people and other talent, but really, you should be focusing on getting to know everybody you can in the entertainment business. Producers, bookers, writers, agents, etc. The job gets done so much faster if you do. I’m proof of it!