My computer ate my homework.
I wrote a brilliant, fantastic, probably the most significant blog post of my dozen years of blogging and Weebly lost it, ate it, chewed it up and left a blank page.
All right, maybe it was not that significant, but it did represent many hours of work and even more research into acting and the future of acting.
I am not in the mood, nor do I have the time to recreate it here.
So the nickel (dollar with today's currency) tour:
The "Future of Cinema" conference at the National Association of Broadcasters is in session here in Las Vegas, making the reality of all forms of moving entertainment being one and the same in the future.
What will shape the future of Cinema and all media, or for that matter communications are consumer preferences, geography and how much you, as a consumer, are willing to pay.
A current debate has to do with streaming first run movies on same day as theatrical release to homes that can afford to pay a premium for viewing the movie on their own couch instead of driving to a theater. Meanwhile dollar theaters are making a comeback, and lower post digital and disc releases are overtaking premium pricing and long window (wait periods) to watch what you want to watch.
Tiling or freezing of video or audio streams are a constant annoyance for those who cannot afford the fastest of internet speeds, or those who live where high speed internet is limited or slow.
Not all consumers care about how fast they see a film or program, the quality of the video or audio and if they can take those programs with them on a portable device. The future may depend on consumer choices and the ability to pay for services.
A few fast notes on how this will impact you, your acting and your entertainment and information futures.
Virtual. Virtual anything. Theater where you are on "stage" with actors who are at theaters or on insert stages on other continents. 360 live virtual reality interaction with players or viewers who choose different directions of a location, story or plot to follow and have near 360 view of places that may or may not exists, increased performance capture and computer generated actors (starting with Background Extras), and performances that can easily be reused in games, films, programs, at events or in as yet to be envisioned forms of entertainment. From the first film shot entirely with "virtual" locations Some examples include Woody Allen's "Bullets over Broadway", to "Avatar" and "Lord of the Rings, or Tom Hanks as multiple characters in "Polar Express", the use of a world or even actors who are not there has been increasingly realistic and commonplace in high profile "tentpole" movies. Video games and now VR Shorts are taking the technology to new levels. It's the real world for actors today and in the future.
Casting Call at Forest Lawn. Long dead actors can be recreated, to say new lines and interact with you in the virtual world of green screen. Can you imagine starring opposite James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Bogart, Bacall, Lucy, Harpo, Larry, Moe, Curley, Earl Flynn..?
Theater vs. film acting. Will there be a difference? Or will actors have to be well versed in all performance media including stage? We already have wide screen epic films viewed on tiny cell phone screens and YouTube images projected onto large living room televisions or even motion picture theater screens. How will this impact on-camera acting? Framing? Story telling? And what about media we have yet to dream of that could be mainstream in a matter of years or a decade or two?
I am ready for my closeup, me. Actors already should be willing to learn and work with cell phones, lower end cameras (I use a Canon D-60 and D-70), basic sound and basic editing. We will be producing more of our own work, or play a much more active (and time consuming) role in making sure our talents are captured and presented for those who hire and for the world to see. Keeping up on and ahead of the technology curve has never been more important.
What will not change?
Our talents, skills, art and dreams as actors.
The consumer world for what we do, perform and inform, is rooted in their preferences, geography and how much you are willing to pay that will count. Great ideas may be a long time coming [video phones now a part of almost every cell phone, have been around since the 1960's but did not take off until Smart Phones and Skype entered our everyday vocabulary].
The use of the band width (and its impact on speed) of internet connections will limit the growth of some technologies. Where we live does impact our media consumption (amount and type) varying by income levels, languages, signal strengths, access, government subsidies (or the lack of) and other elements of technology or culture will impact the future of "cinema", entertainment, information and how we communicate in the years ahead.
Actors must be ready and willing to learn, change and adapt to whatever is coming.
Follow the NAB, CES and other electronics industry news, understand trends, read about your craft, read about our industry and above all, keep working, keep studying keep doing what you love.