“Dude, where’s the bar?”

Happy Sunday to you all…

So here is a little quote from someone who, well, might have known a thing or two…about a thing or two: “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” EinsteinNow no, let us be clear, I’m not calling anyone…an idiot. But it does illustrate a point and that point has to do with the BAR. And no, of course, I’m not speaking of the metaphorical bar cuz it’s 5 o’clock somewhere…and I need a cocktail. Well, wait, it is…and I do…but I digress. I’m talking about the BAR, the standard, the minimum, the professional BAR of what “talent/skill” within the acting profession means. Einstein is 1000% correct in today’s world but his FEAR is really, within the context of this blog, about availability…not quality.

What Einstein fears, I too fear as a man, a person and a citizen. My application of that quote for this blog is the LACK of any type of regulation within this profession other than the absolute direction we’re headed…the number of CLICKS/HITS it gets. I have been asked for more than 20 years…the following question: “But how do I know if it is good, or if I am good?” It is, was, and always will be an incredibly valid question. My answer has always been the same; “if you’re really good, they won’t let you out of the room or they’ll find something for you, or they’ll see you again very soon…or…they will HIRE you.” Otherwise all of the slap on the backs, nice words are just that nice words. Today, this BAR I’m speaking no longer applies to just the actor in an audition scenario…it sadly applies to ALL of the content being created on a regular basis…every minute of every day.

Did you know that at present there are over 100 hours of content UPLOADED to YouTube every MINUTE…of every day. For those not into math or keep score at home, that is, 144 billion minutes of playable video uploaded every single day. And that statistic will only go up and go up quickly the faster we move into the transference era of Network television and Studio features using the Internet as a “FIRST RUN” mechanism…more often. So when you really look at “Dude, where is the bar?” The answer is…where it’s always been, HIGH. Really freakin high! Just because there were only 3 Networks “back in the day” doesn’t make the bar lower, and just because there is a bunch of BS online…doesn’t make it lower. Please be clear, the bar, is way up there.

I’m not in any way telling you that you should not “go write/create/shoot” something. But I am telling you do that, then post it, upload it, promote it and ACTUALLY HOPE that people who have status and power in this business should watch it…is often…a bad choice. At minimum it isn’t intelligent and at worst it will destroy any hopes of being considered credible. I continue to say it, and you’ll continue to hear me say it; “just because something is possible…doesn’t make it a good idea.” Sure it is a wonderful thought to say “hey, I can easily rent a camera…get a few friends and shoot some shit.” I agree, I mean isn’t that all home movies are and were? But to then, without thought or true judgement think that just cuz you had an idea…and executed it on “some level” that it should then be uploaded onto a platform (as a professional actor/talent) and be “considered” alongside all of the extremely high-end and professional video on that platform…is honestly…crazy town.

They have these things called, test tracks, and samplings, and tastings etc. etc. for a reason. Industries do surveys and conduct polls…for a reason. Anyone who knows me knows that my entire professional life, and The Actors’ Network…are about being PRO-ACTIVE, but that does NOT mean to do it blindly and without regard for quality. I know hundreds of actors who “would like to audition for a TOP of show guest star” on blah blah blah…but if the opportunity came…they’d likely crumble or just be barely competent in the room…and that won’t get’cha hired.

So I’m urging you to consider some of these words: apprentice, practice, trial, raw, amateur etc. etc. We can all get the Thesaurus out now if we wish. Whether you’re the leader/creator or just playing a role or part please start using some common sense and some professional logic when thinking about being a part of something “artistic” that is going to be stuck on on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or a private website. Because after over 10 years of this being and becoming the “commonplace norm” I know almost NO ONE who has ever had any of their projects lead them to “legit consideration” by a professional who say it. So does this mean it is a waste of time? Of course not, please make sure you read what I wrote in the right context. And yes, do we SEE “deals” and people getting “some” recognition or forward progress from “self-created” content…YES. But take moment and compare the ones you hear about v. amount of video being uploaded and then give me a percentage of “success rate.” I don’t have enough room to write all of the 0000000 that will precede .1% in this blog.

The BAR…is high and the more you focus on what the real BAR is, the more likely you are to achieve it. It isn’t just “doing/shooting or creating” a project anymore…it is how close to the BAR do strangers think it is. My best, and always on your side.

Kevin E. West, @thekevine