I just read a post on Mashable that refers to an LA Weekly article about Hollywood agents scouting for talent on YouTube and other new media sites. Apparently there are some new media folks who are hoping to be "discovered" by Hollywood. Folks, YouTube ain't Schwabs Drug Store and you ain't Lana Turner. And you should be glad of it!
I've worked 30 years in mainstream media, and while I still host traditional TV and radio shows, I'm also building a career in new media, and I can assure you new is much more fun and lucrative than old and it's only going to get better.
First of all, Hollywood's streets aren't lined with gold. Most people in old media aren't getting rich. For every Andy Samberg there are hundreds, no thousands of people who are just making a living. They're wage slaves who would love to get even a fraction of the big bucks the executives, agents, and stars make. Most importantly they don't have any control over what they do. Only a handful of the most successful content creators get to call their own shots in mainstream media.
To quote Hunter S. Thompson,
The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.
He understates the case.
The other reason to stay the course and avoid the blandishments of old media is that new media is replacing old media. It's the future. Thinking that success in new media means making it into old media is as silly as pursuing a career in rocket science with the hope that you can get into making buggy whips. The future is ours, baby.
Furthermore, advertising dollars are moving out of old media and into new media - and this process will accelerate because advertising to weakly-engaged inattentive old media audiences just doesn't work. Advertisers are flocking to my podcasts because at $35 per thousand listeners they offer remarkable value.
These UTA agents are carpetbaggers from Hollywood who have no idea what's happening to their business and will no doubt remained convinced that the Hollywood system is the only way to create content and reach an audience long after the audience has left them in the dust. Ignore their offers, take it from a long time old media guy, you've got it much better where you are.