No matter the profession (acting, filmmaking, law, medical, you name it) as society progresses so do specific fields. The last 20 years has seen a huge advancement into a technological age that has completely altered the way that every profession functions; in order to stay relevant and employable, it is crucial to stay up to date with how your specific industry is changing. It is often assumed that change happens gradually enough that you will naturally adapt, changing with your industry. However it is likely that merely looking at the big picture, adapting as you are told, detracts from your level of appeal to employers and your competitiveness in the acting world or job market.
So you want to keep your competitive edge? Keep up with the changes in your field regularly. While daily updates give the most immediate, current education, this can often be difficult to achieve; try to keep up to date at least bi-monthly. To excel in this economic environment requires consistent learning; the infinite access we now have to education and community resources necessitates an engagement with information.
So say you're an actor looking to keep this competitive edge, say you one day want to work on Hollywood features. We have definitely mentioned this before, but you must understand your industry. How does the studio system function? How do you work with SAG? It is more important to be generally competent than have specialized knowledge, this should come after you understand where you stand in your field. Once you have basic questions like these in your body of general knowledge, move on to more immediate questions. What are the current trends in acting? What are the current trends in headshots? How is the move to digital production and projection changing your job as an actor? What are newly successful actors doing differently than their established counterparts?
If we stay focused on the acting field for the sake of our argument, consider actors such as Jimmy Stewart. While you may admire his work and strive to be like him, you must remember his professional climate was much different than today's. Even actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio established themselves in very different film and social climates. If DiCaprio had attempted to mimic Stewart's acting style it is inevitable he would not be nearly as successful. It is important to stop your admiration for someone from utterly coloring your professional decisions. Instead, keep such admiration as motivation and learn about the acting community right now.
About five years ago Backstage released a list of ten blogs actors should know about (http://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/tech/10-blogs-actors-should-know-about/). Find resources like this that will keep you in touch with people in your field. Once you learn what works and what flops in the contemporary climate, attempt to challenge those guidelines.
This is not to say you should assertively proclaim bygone acting styles merely because you enjoy them. Rather, take the guidelines that you learn and challenge them. Be innovative. If you can innovate within the expectations of the current acting climate, you will make an impression. You will change what is expected, push the bar, make yourself unique, and become that much more competitive.
How do you stay up to date?
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Hey I'm Martin, and my goal is to help you reach yours. I love writing content about career advancement, marketing strategies, productivity, and much more.