How Social Media Is Affecting Hollywood Casting Decisions

“There is no question that today if you have good numbers on social media, you have become a better choice to be cast,” says seasoned casting director Mike Fenton.

Social media for actors

To make it in Hollywood, you’d be mistaken for thinking that talent would be the main quality needed to secure you that leading role. Of course, we all know that other factors are taken into consideration too, such as looks, a great agent and, it would now seem, your social media presence.

With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine now playing an integral part of our everyday lives, an actor’s online following is becoming a major factor in deciding who lands a part.

“There is no question that today if you have good numbers on social media, you have become a better choice to be cast,” says seasoned casting director Mike Fenton.

Although casting directors still outwardly insist it’s talent that matters most, they also admit that an actors social media status plays an important part.

“If it came down to two professional actors, one of whom had great visibility in social media and one who was barely recognizable, we’d go with the one who could get the numbers,” Fenton says.

It makes sense, of course. After all, a lot of fans tend to follow the celebrities they like in the hopes of getting a retweet or reply from them, and they are essentially a captive audience for that actor to then promote his or her project. If an actor raises an ‘impromptu Q&A’ on Twitter, it not only gets fans talking and tweeting about their TV show or film, it can also drive ticket sales and revenue.

It is certainly interesting to see which celebrities are popular on social media, and it does take a certain talent to build a strong social media presence online.

“Those who are good are those who value their connection with their fans,” Oliver Luckett, says, a social media expert and CEO of Los Angeles-based media company, the Audience. “They’re not afraid of telling their story authentically, and genuinely enjoy that relationship.”

It doesn’t necessarily follow that the bigger the name the more popular they are online, either. Vin Diesel has a massive 90 million Facebook followers, Emma Watson has 46 million online fans and Neil Patrick Harris has 14 million Twitter followers. As popular actors, you would expect this but it is also interesting to note that Viola Davis has only 157,000 followers on Twitter, which is by far the most popular platform for celebrity/fan interactions.

Luckett’s company actually helps performers build a bigger online audience by coming up with storylines, plots and strategies that can all be used to create a stronger social media presence. “If the statement that I hear every day in the media is that the millennial generation is not watching television, then why in the world would I spend $50 million for TV ads?” he asks, adding that studios would be far better to use their promotional money to encourage celebrities to endorse their project on their own social media platforms.

“Social media presence takes a lot of work. You should be rewarded for that,” he said.

While it might be a while until financial incentives become the norm, it certainly seems as though social media has made its mark on the Hollywood scene and what is more, it’s here to stay.

Via The Wrap

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