For this year’s Dear Everybody campaign, Mann Casting was asked to assist with the video creative.
The agency has been around for 11 years and is a progressive when it comes to ensuring diverse casting.
“In casting everybody sort of talks about representation of how diverse Canada is, so why wouldn’t we include [disability]?” says Steven Mann, the president and director behind the company.
“There are so many different people, so I think we should reflect who we are in advertising especially.”
For Mann, if it wasn’t specifically required, he rarely would have actors with disabilities come to casting sessions. His casting associate, Sarah Sheps—who has ten years of casting experience—agrees. For the team, most casting requests involving actors with disabilities were primarily for public service announcements.
In order to become a part of the change, Mann and his team focused on accessibility when picking their newest location. They wanted one that can be easily accessed by anyone and everyone—even with a wheelchair.
“If [people with disabilities] want to be actors there’s no reason that they shouldn’t. They should have the same opportunities as everybody else. Everyone should get an opportunity to do what makes them happy,” says Sheps.
“We just need to make sure we had everything set up for success, so accessibility was really top priority.”