Why is producing nothing better than producing something?

Living in Los Angeles, I know many people who work in the traditional entertainment industry, including my own wife. With my interest and work in podcasting, I often find myself talking with these people over dinner, at parties, and elsewhere. Despite the fact that all of these people are both smart and talented, I am seeing a distressing trend.

Almost universally, those working in traditional media want nothing to do whatsoever with new media. Despite they fact that most of them have projects that would be well suited to several new media applications, they quash any discussion of it. Usually they start by proclaiming how there is no money in podcasting and new media, but when I delve a little deeper, I think I see the true reason…ego.

Just as Broadway stars once avoided the movies and movie stars once avoided television, people who came to Los Angeles with the dream of making it in “the big leagues” see new media as beneath them. Their egos will simply not allow them to seek out the new opportunities, no matter what the rewards might be.

Those rewards can be great. Producing your own projects for new media allows you to deliver your message directly to the audience without the interference of networks, producers and others. Since you own the productions you make, any money that you do make, (and money is out there) belongs to you alone so you don’t have to share any more of that income than necessary. New media also allows you to pursue topics that would never be palatable to mainstream media. All these advantages and still they say no.

It is almost as if people are punishing themselves for their lack of success in traditional media by denying themselves the success they might find in new media. It is maddening to see so much talent squandered on pitch after pitch after pitch to television networks when many of these excellent projects could find some sort of home online.

It seems that, for them, struggling in the same way month after month and year after year is preferable to exploring the new opportunities that abound. They continue fighting to find a place in a diminishing market while ignoring the growing opportunities in new markets. To them, producing nothing is far, far preferable to producing something, especially if it involves new media.

A new media world is coming, and there are opportunities for everyone, if only we leave behind our old prejudices and embrace the new opportunities we are given.

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