When was the last time you watched a grown up film at the cinema? You know, one with real distinguished actors with pedigree and with a gripping storyline that kept you glued to the edge of your seat much to the distress of your full bladder?
These days the film industry seems to be on a conveyor belt of block buster films where the leading roles are reserved for the brilliance of technology as evidenced by mind blowing special effects, whilst the supporting roles are handed down to human actors to be used as props for the special effects and dispensed with at will. Indeed in some of the highest grossing films, the faces of real life actors have been dispensed with altogether. Just check out the top 10 grossing films of 2003 and 2013 below:
Notice any differences? How audience /customer tastes are changing!
It must be worrying times for actors and actresses who have perfected their craft, trodden the boards and/or paid their dues in the belief that as they mature, more mature and challenging projects will come to them in recognition of their experience. Of course competition abound everywhere regardless of industry or business sector but within the film industry (of which I admit to being a lukewarm customer these days), and generally within the creative world, it seems to me that competition is particularly tough as it comes from the double edged sword of more photogenic (ergo younger) humans and evermore intelligent technology. More importantly, technology seems to be dictating what the customer should want rather than the other way around. Is this trend a reflection of what is already happening in everyday businesses and industries (i.e. Art imitating Life) or is it a taste of things to come – i.e. Life imitating Art?
That said, there are some lucky, smart and/or business savvy actors who, in spite of the onslaught of technological changes, special effects and younger competitors, have still managed to adapt, reinvent themselves, remain relevant and command enviable fees. Mr Robert Downey Jr (Best Actor Oscar nominee for the 1992 film Chaplin) is a perfect example of this, as is Mr Leonado Dicaprio (international fame from the 1997 film Titanic) and Mr Will Smith (the 1990s rapper and “Fresh Prince of Bel –Air”). All are amongst the most bankable actors of today – still. What are their secrets and what can us mere mortals learn from them to assist us in adapting to change in our everyday lives, businesses and professional careers?
Incidentally, the last time that I watched a truly great film? The year was 2011, and the film was “The King’s Speech”. What a glorious transformational change story that was!