TO PIVOT OR NOT TO PIVOT

By: Jess Canty


Hey all! Wanted to check in with everyone since it has been a minute.

I also wanted to share some thoughts about where things seem to be heading for the business right now.

THE FRUSTRATING NEWS:

Figured I'd start here - get it out of the way.


Obviously we are experiencing a significant uptick in the number of hospitalizations again in California and around the country. This unfortunate turn of events means that big entertainment companies are continuing to push back their plans for re-starting and re-opening past the end of July and into early August and beyond.


Most breakdowns that are being published today all note that their start dates are either TBD or that they are dependent on what happens with Covid in the coming weeks and months.


We are seeing very few breakdowns for co-star and guest-star roles at the moment. I think this may possibly be a trend extending through the fall.

The union guidelines are difficult for productions to adequately follow, and my guess is that scripts are going to be re-vamped to pair down on cast, and writers rooms are going to be encouraged to focus on storylines between only the series regular and recurring characters.


THE GOOD NEWS

Yes there is some good news!


We ARE seeing breakdowns. There are producers who are taking on the challenge of creating content in this environment and getting creative. We have seen projects that are written to allow you to film at home, or that are written specifically to be captured on phones and bring all of this footage together in post.


Heck, you may even get to fly on a private jet to be sequestered for a couple of weeks to shoot an entire season of a Tyler Perry show in Atlanta! Not joking here - this is part of his plan for at least getting his shows made.


MANY other countries around the world have been able to flatten the curve. New Zealand, for example, just hosted a rugby match where nobody was required to wear masks because they have had 3 weeks straight of ZERO new cases.


So - if you have always dreamed of traveling as part of your acting career - now may very well be the time that this happens (ahem go check your passport's expiration date - and get that fixed before you are rushing to do so).


PIVOTING

All of this presents a very difficult landscape to navigate. All of us are out of our depth here as we have never before been in a situation like this with regards to the sustained contraction of available work, the backlog that is occurring in the release schedule, and the very real threat of a second wave of the virus in the winter.


I was listening to a podcast (are you tired of me writing that sentence yet) about resilience in business and the guest was talking about the fact that businesses that weather these kinds of crises tend to pivot when the opportunity presents itself.


Now, I want to be clear - I am NOT advocating for anyone to give up on their dream of acting. I firmly believe that the business will come roaring back once we have a vaccine.


The nascent film industry and traditional theater survived the Spanish Flu 100 years ago. People will always want to gather and have entertainment experiences with others - we've been doing it in every culture around the world since the beginning of time.


However, I think that for the foreseeable future the opportunities for you to grow your acting business - of which you are the CEO - are going to be harder to come by, and be fewer and further between.


What I mean by considering a pivot is that now is the time to assess what you want your life to look like in the interim.


As the CEO of your acting business you need to plan for not only the best case scenario - that we have a viable vaccine by the end of the year, and then have the distribution network for it, but also a more difficult case scenario - one in which we don't see a viable, distributable, affordable vaccine for well into 2021 or beyond.


Bottom line: I am starting to believe that living "month to month" in this way is going to be detrimental to using this time effectively for your business - hence the question of the pivot.


This is the "new normal" for the foreseeable future - and accepting that will only help you decide how to effectively navigate the rest of 2020.


So back to the "what do you want your life to look like" question. For example - if you are an actor who prior to the pandemic had a day job you hated - now is the time to address that. Is there another day-job that you have been putting off pursuing because it required more schooling or training? Teaching? Nursing? Social Work?


Could you get that done now, so that when we come out of this thing you will actually be lined up to be happier in the way you are supporting yourself while you get back to the task of building your acting career?


Have you always been curious about another job within entertainment - perhaps as an editor or writer? You now have more than enough time to improve your skills in this regard. What if you spend the next six - nine months gathering a group together and remotely developing the show that you wish was on TV for you to star in?


What if when we are on the other side of this you have something to sell to a market that is going to be dying for content even more than it is now instead of missing that boat? What if you learn how to be an amazing editor and are able to transition to this as your new "day job?"


Can you put some energy toward a cause that is important to you?

Have you always felt the pull toward activism or getting more deeply involved in your community or local government? Where can you volunteer and allocate some of your time while you have more of it? As an artist all of these experiences will only allow your art and perspective to grow.


As for Cinterra, we are going to continue to support your acting career in this new normal. We are also going to be looking for ways of our own to pivot some of our energy back to the production side of the business. To use these extra hours in the day that were previously glued to breakdown services to create and identify projects that will be helpful to not only the company but to you, our clients, so that we are also ready to hit the ground running when we are able.


We WILL all get up this winding staircase together with a little creativity and maybe even a #Pivot



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