MIKE HESLIN can be seen in The Influencers on Revry.
The Influencers following six thirsty social media stars competing for a brand deal as they are forced to live together under one roof. As cameras capture each influencer in real life, the manicured versions they present to the world online implode before our eyes. You can watch the trailer here.
AC: What can audiences expect from the new season of The Influencers?
MIKE HESLIN – Audiences can expect nonstop laughs with an occasional facepalm in between for good measure. The show spoofs and is full of topical references from Fyre Festival to Jake Paul, and pokes fun at some of the ridiculousness of the social media world we live in. So whether you love influencer culture and get every reference or loathe it and want to see it go up in flames, this show is for you.
AC: How does your character fit into the story?
MIKE HESLIN – Taylor is one-half of the obnoxious instacouple competing for the brand deal in the show. You know those couples who portray an obnoxiously happy and perfect life online when they actually hate each other in real life and are always on the verge of a fight? That’s Taylor and Tyler. However, Taylor is more of the “Instagram boyfriend” who’s been sort of forced into this life against his will by his boyfriend Tyler, who cares more about “likes” than love.
AC: What do you think is your character’s ultimate goal?
MIKE HESLIN – Like most people, Taylor’s goal is just to be loved and to find real happiness. Unfortunately, he’s found himself in a toxic relationship and it can be complicated knowing when to actually pull the plug, especially when your work life and personal life are so intertwined.
AC: Can you recall any funny moments from on-set filming?
MIKE HESLIN – So many! Shooting The Influencers felt like summer camp. The cast and crew became such a tight-knit family from day one and we basically laughed our way through the shoot and had to do our best to compose ourselves and not break character during every take. One night when we were shooting the finale, Aisha, who plays the producer, accidentally fell into the pool all while hilariously ad-libbing with our sound guy (it’s a show within a show so the crew was integrated as characters to show the behind the scenes of making this reality show). We were all dying laughing and actually ended up using that take.
AC: As an actor, what are you still trying to learn?
MIKE HESLIN – Trusting the process and remembering that it doesn’t have to be perfect every time. That’s the beauty of TV/film versus live theater. You get multiple takes so (for me) it’s more important to be in the moment and play and trust that your director wouldn’t lead you astray.
AC: How can you tell when you’re reading a great script?
MIKE HESLIN – It’s kind of the same feeling as when you’re falling in love. Once you’ve felt it once, you know what it should feel like if something is a good fit. You get that tingly, exciting rush of butterflies when it’s right. Every time I read a great script or know that a project is something I really want to get involved in, I get that exciting inner buzz. Like most things, you just have to listen to your gut!
AC: When did you begin to see acting as a potential career avenue?
MIKE HESLIN – I’ve wanted to be an actor since I was five years old when my mom took me to see a children’s community theater production. I grew up doing local theater and would see the national Broadway tours that would come to town, so I always knew that being a working actor as an adult was a thing that was possible. I was obsessed with movies and would write Steven Spielberg letters and even called casting offices myself to try and get an audition for Malfoy in Harry Potter when I was eleven…
But it wasn’t until high school when I started to have friends and people in my circles who were starting to get huge breaks on TV shows/movies or who went the college/conservatory route and ended up on Broadway that I started to really understand how it could potentially work and see the necessary steps I had to take to pursue that path.
AC: What do you want the world to look like in 10 years?
MIKE HESLIN – Oh boy that’s a loaded question. I want to see a ton of emotional growth in humanity and pray that all of the trials and tribulations of the past few years are growing pains that will lead to our evolution. I want a world that leads from compassion vs fear of the unknown and embraces our similarities more than our differences.
AC: How important is social media to you right now?
MIKE HESLIN – I’m pretty burnt out on social media and know-how polarizing and divisive it can be, but at the end of the day I would say that the pros outweigh the cons. Especially as an independent filmmaker and actor, it’s free marketing and can be such an incredibly useful tool as an artist if executed well. It’s helped me meet people and get opportunities that certainly wouldn’t have happened without it.
While there’s a lot of annoying behaviors that inevitably come with being on social media, I do love the way it fosters connection and allows you to be in touch with people you otherwise might not be. It’s nice to keep in touch with people from back home, high school, distant relatives, etc, and see what they’re up to. I probably wouldn’t have as much of a relationship with them if social media hadn’t been invented/become a part of our lives, so I like that in that sense, it brings people together.
AC: What’s the biggest realisation you’ve had this past year?
MIKE HESLIN – My partner was diagnosed with cancer last fall, so between that and the pandemic, I’ve had a bit of an Eat Pray Love moment and have really realized how much truth is behind a lot of the cliches. My perspective has completely shifted and I feel like I now truly realize how short life is, how important it is to enjoy the moment and pursue your dreams/whatever makes you happy. As far as we know, you may only get one life, so seize the day, make the most of it, and go after everything you want.
AC: Everyone seems to have an app idea at the moment, what’s yours?
MIKE HESLIN – My partner and I thought of this when we were walking down a street of particularly stunning beach homes in Laguna Beach: we want to make an app that takes Zillow a step further where you can scan a house or plug in any address and see what that person does professionally/see what field they’re in (or if it’s inherited wealth). I guess we really only want to use it for impressive houses and mega-mansions to understand how people got to where they are…but still, it’d be fun (and sort of informative)!
AC: What makes you feel nostalgic?
MIKE HESLIN – Music! I think that’s one of the beautiful things about music, it becomes the soundtrack of your life. It’s like muscle memory. I can be in the car or at a store and when certain songs come on, my brain instantly associates them with a specific memory, place, or person and immediately takes me down memory lane back to that moment. I love that. I feel like music helps keep our memories alive.
AC: Aside from your upcoming projects, what are you excited about for the future?
MIKE HESLIN – I’m excited for the rest of this decade! I keep reading that people are predicting that it’s going to be like the Roaring Twenties all over again now post-pandemic and I’m ready for it!
INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES