Moderated and organized by Move L.A. Committee event chair Wednezday Ryan, the Unspoken Rules of the Industry panel held on March 9 at SAG-AFTRA Plaza included actor Jon Huertas (This Is Us); award-winning casting director John Frank Levey; Dawnn Lewis (Major Crimes); director Bethany Rooney; and producer Llewellyn Wells. Photo by Highlywood Photography.
SAG-AFTRA’s MOVE L.A. Committee presented a second installment of the Unspoken Rules of the Industry on March 9 at SAG-AFTRA Plaza. It was another informative panel that included diverse representation from various segments of the industry.
A follow-up to a 2014 panel, the discussion focused on television and its ever-changing landscape. The fresh ensemble of veteran professional television writers, show-runners, directors, producers and actors explored what it is like to work in television and discussed the differences in etiquette and how projects are now executed.
Prior to the 1980s, there were only three networks, whereas now there are 40-plus networks producing their own scripted original programming. The panel examined how expectations have evolved and why the influence of format and distribution changes, multiple platforms, cable networks and widescreen/HD TVs have affected the storytelling. While the emergence of more content means significantly more work, panelists pointed out that despite how counterintuitive it would seem, it equates to more difficulty in acquiring those roles. Projects and the processes of producing them have also changed, and now there are many more levels of approval demanded on decisions in the casting process.
Among other game-changers, the push for more diversity and more fresh faces opens roles up to heavier competition. And because distribution and the format of television shows have also changed, trends are evolving from appointment television and purchasing seasons of shows on DVD, for example, to streaming and binge-watching through the network sites and online providers. Shorter orders of episodes are now the norm, impacting actors’ lives with more complications involving exclusivity, relocation and briefer terms of employment.
While anticipating the next installment of Unspoken Rules of the Industry, SAG-AFTRA members can check the MOVE L.A. webpage to view previous panels and get information on upcoming events or sign up for the email list.