I’m going to write this with the mildly certain presumption that “most” folks reading this have not even been to the American Film Market, annually hosted by the Loews Hotel, down by the ocean. So with that premise in mind, I do highly recommend that at some point in your career, you take the time to attend…at least for a day. I also recommend the same thing in regards to Sundance, but with a STRONG warning.I’m actually NOT much of an advocate, as an actor, in attending them more than once. Regardless of access, friends, perhaps having some angles to screenings or parties, at the end of the day…if we’re talking about BEING AN ACTOR, these are both incredibly difficult venues for actors IF you’re not IN something that is being pimped, has publicity, being screened or bought and sold. Sure, can it have some networking value…maybe, but at the end of the day when no one knows you and you’re not in something, it can actually be really debilitating psychologically, but do be sure you go once.

Now, that is not actually the reason for this blog. The point of this blog about AFM 2012, is MOVIES. Considering the chaotic state of Hollywood, film production around the world, digital technology, distribution, the internet, plus the horrid U.S. economy and the international economy…one would think that AFM would look like a distant ugly cousin of what it used to look like…but NO. There are a minimum of more than 225 film companies represented at this year’s AFM, who have between 1-30 movies per company that they’re either trying to sell and/or looking to acquire content for their investors or companies.

At the end of the day, we’re talking about HUNDREDS of films. Will being in these make you a “Star”…probably not. But then again, we can have a whole conversation about your “goal” as an actor to “be a Star.” How about working, consistently working, building a reputation as a solid supporting actor in many many smaller films that are either ULB or LB or Modified LB or even union scale films. It matters not to me, but what was SO encouraging you guys, and what will NEVER GO AWAY…is the world’s need for entertainment. Are most of these films unknown? Yes. Will most of these films never be known? Yes. But you know what, almost 95% of them that I saw, had at least (1-2) “Name Actors” in them…and being a part of those wrap parties are FAR MORE valuable than hanging out at AFM or Sundance hoping to meet someone.

So do take my advice, and go to both of them once, but don’t get caught up in just “hanging around” places where tons of other actors have been working…and you’re just hanging around. It doesn’t smell good on you. Focus on ALL the companies that are there, do research, learn more about them, their movies, their interests, what TYPES of “contract status” their intellectual properties typically are when made. We live in a VERY exciting time in terms of entertainment. I’ve been saying it since 2000: “Hollywood is pure chaos” and will continue to be until how we distribute and sell entertainment content gets a little more streamlined. However, the reality is, there are still millions and millions of dollars being spent annually to “create content.” It is just that so many of them are much smaller budgets, and yes the residual return may be far less than back in the day, but there is still a lot of opportunity. So got get’cher’self’some. HELLO. My best always.

Kevin E. (@thekevine), kevinewest.com, actorbizguru.com, actors-network.com, gettingthejob.com