The value from a career standpoint of television vs. movies has, I think, over the last 10 years, become harder to distinguish. I don’t want to be too precious as to say the scale of the project doesn’t affect your decisions. It certainly is a factor. But I think that to really have an eye on a consistent and long career, you have to follow and fight for the best material and the things that play to your strengths. If that happens to be a TV show where I just love the characters of the world, then that’s pretty cool. I would go for it. When that comes up in a movie situation, that’s great too. There’s so little truly great television and cinema out there that it’s worth fighting hard to get to be a part of the good stuff.
Ed Helms talked to the AV Club about his new movie Cedar Rapids and what it means for his career. This stood out to me:He’s right! In fact, I think he could go farther. These days, there is so much amazing comedy on TV, and so little amazing comedy in movies, that it almost seems like a riskier career move to jump from TV to movies. Sure, if you really take off and become the next Will Ferrell, congrats, you are much richer and more famous than you were before. But how many people are out there that can carry and sell comedic films? A half dozen, tops.
Compare that with TV, where a number of smaller cable networks such as FX and IFC are willing to take risks on passion projects from talented comedians, such as Fred Armisen and Louis CK. What’s better for your career, creating a critically acclaimed show on a cable network that doesn’t get huge ratings but is successful enough to stick around, or appearing in a middle-of-the-road comedic film that doesn’t get a ton of play (not that I’m calling Cedar Rapids a movie like that; I haven’t seen it yet)? That’s a real question! I really don’t know the answer! But the TV vs. movies debate is certainly not as cut-and-dry as it used to be.