The Show Business Food Chain

Look at show business like a pyramid.  Not a pyramid scheme, but like a numbers diagram with the largest amount of the show business population being the at the base…that’s you, the actor.

You’re not at the bottom of the food chain because you aren’t important, you’re at the bottom because there are so very many of you (approximately 50K new actors enter the U.S. marketplace every year!)…more people than any other type of person involved in the entertainment industry.

So who is next up on this pyramid?  Agents.  Yep, actors are all seeking representation to enhance their network of relationships and get to the next level, just one step above where you are on the food chain!  There are fewer agents and managers than there are actors…but you knew that!

Talent agents and managers are lobbying and pitching and submitting their clients for the audition slots offered by casting directors.  Yes, they are next up on the ladder and there are more agents/managers than CD’s, thus it follows agents often feel in the same position of  knocking on doors trying to get in.

Who do casting directors fight to get in the door of, serve, get work from?  Though generally hired and paid for by the producers, ultimately their job is to please the directors of the project they cast for, fulfilling the director’s vision by bringing the best possible candidates for the role directly to them, making their job easier.

And who are directors out there trying to please?  The producers that hired them and provide their paycheck.  Of course the director also wants to please the audience that will ultimately watch the film, TV show or play, but the ticket buying audience has to, well, buy the ticket! The director has the responsibility of creating the whole project, setting the tone, telling the story, and if all works out, the producers are pleased because the project is not only a creative and critical success but a financial success as well.

Some will argue my last point, but at the top of the show business food chain is ultimately the writer.  If we don’t have prolific, visionary writers shaping story to move, touch and inspire audiences, then we have nothing to produce, direct, cast, represent and ultimately act in.

Therefore, a HUGE tip for actors is to become friends with, get to know, network with and create relationships with writers or just become one yourself.  Ultimately these story tellers are the ones that shape our views and ultimately, the world.

It’s really all about the numbers, not status, worthiness or value…and it gives you the opportunity to see that defining your product, shaping your message, and marketing yourself consistently is ultimately what show business is all about.

What are your thoughts on the hierarchy of the business of show?

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