Opinion - The Call For Online Presence

Updated: Sep 28

My name is Mary Flannigan, I am 21 years old and have been acting since I was 5 in my mothers full length plays she put on at the church, and later studied with some of Vancouver’s most notable teachers prior to moving to New York. 

What I’ve noticed in a lot of online castings for roles 18 to 30 is the call for a social media presence, and need for instagram handles (not that both are always required), even if the job is purely acting related. This means for a lot of younger actors that any training they have isn’t being considered. The reason online followings matter is because there is hope for larger crowdfunding for these independent films the applicant can generate, thus the film can operate at a higher quality, and get more exposure. However, this means actors are being required to match influencer status, whilst getting pressure put on them to get funding which is not the actors job. Now, for some, that’s not an issue, but for others that can mean they have to show more of themselves online than what they’d be comfortable with.

I bring this to attention because this is a lot to be asking of a new actor using an online platform, because it raises the question of where to begin, if they don’t have the means to start out. I thought I’d share my own experiences having worked in some castings that ask for presence, where I've directed the film’s casting team to large communities I hold connections with, or if I know ways to get crowdfunding other than through online presence, because the more you do the more your presence will grow, and remember to make sure to get everyone’s instagram you work with (it’s a win win). 

As far as actual opinion on this issue goes, a lot can be said for it always being this way before I go any further, as the star got the role over a nobody, or the white woman over Anna May Wong and countless others time and time again. There’s always been a classism. So, I want to make it clear this is nothing new, it’s always been the business of acting, which is why communities like We Are Actors are so important, because we can operate in communities together and build off of that rather than being alone, and I truly believe the more unity we have as creators the more we can achieve.

Written By Mary Flannigan

We Are Actors Profile

Intagram: @quirksyartsyfartsy