Today, when studios ask an actor for their credits, chances are they aren’t looking for their roles — they want to know how many social media followers they have.
And it’s stressing some actors out.
“One of the depressing things for me is that I’m asked in auditions about Instagram and how many followers I have,” actress Samantha Colley recently told The Post’s Robert Rorke. “It’s becoming blurry about what people want an actress to be.”
The “Genius: Picasso” co-star added that some of her peers are using their social-media presence as a bargaining chip to get work: “Actresses are now saying, ‘I have 1 million followers. If you employ me in a film, I can guarantee 1 million people.’ ” (Colley’s number, for the record, is under 4,500.)
Hollywood insiders tell The Post that, more frequently, casting agents now are looking for actors who are also influencers, especially as digital-only platforms such as YouTube Red and Facebook launch original content.
“Movies and shows are commonly casting with social-media quotas to fill . . . I would imagine that nearly every digital project has some form of quota, [as do] a growing number of traditional projects,” said Amy Neben, a talent manager at Select Management Group.
Sometimes, that can mean a less experienced — or even less talented — actor lands a gig over a seasoned professional.
“That’s because producers want built-in viewership,” Compass Casting owner Sarah Clark said. “It’s hard to fight them when it’s like, ‘Well, this kid has 5 million followers [and] if he promotes [the project] at least 100,000 of those people will see it.’ ”
The allure of landing a social-media sensation was surely a factor when E! decided to offer “Dawson’s Creek” and “Cougar Town” actress Busy Philipps her own late-night talk show recently. Philipps, who has made a cottage industry out of Instagramming her vacations, her kids and even the bags under her eyes, boasts 1 million followers — well more than her future peers Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert.
Meanwhile, Hollywood managers are strategizing how to make actors social-media stars — even encouraging less-experienced clients to keep personal accounts private until they’re ready to use them as full-blown branding tools.
Benjamin Papac, an actor on the Netflix series “Greenhouse Academy,” said of the show that “pretty much the entire marketing strategy was to put the actors’ Instagram handles in the credits.” Two seasons in, his following has increased by over 9,300 percent.
“After I filmed the first season of ‘Greenhouse Academy,’ my manager immediately started telling me, ‘You gotta work on your social media. Casting directors are starting to look at that,’ ” he added.
In fact, casting agencies and producers are using social media to scout fresh talent.
Casting director Jen Rudin told The Post that, while her job used to revolve around going to acting showcases, meeting with trusted talent agents’ newly signed clients, scouring trades like Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, and watching demo reels, her resources are now largely focused on actors’ Web sites, Instagram accounts and YouTube pages.
“It saves us a step; we can watch them and then decide whether or not we want to have them come in and audition,” Rudin said.
Outside of marketing and visibility, studios use actors’ social influence to amp up statistics that make them look good. Clark pointed to one actor she worked with who landed a gig on a major kids’ network and was “very strongly encouraged” to show off his volunteer work on social media “so that this network was able to say, ‘And our people are doing X amount of charitable work every year.’ ”
There can also be a cash incentive for actors to harness a strong social-media following.
According to recent reports, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — who has 106 million Instagram followers, putting him in the app’s Top 10 most-followed accounts — is earning $1 million to promote his 2020 movie “Red Notice” on his social-media accounts. That’s on top of the $20 million Universal Pictures is paying him to star in the movie.
It’s a sweet reward, but Clark admits not everyone is clamoring for it: “Daniel Day-Lewis is not getting on Instagram like, ‘Come see “Phantom Thread.’”