Friday, May 8, 2020

Microstory 1360: Talent

Talent Agent: Miss Influencer, it’s very nice to meet you. My daughter loves your stuff—loves it.
Influencer: Well, that’s great. Send her my regards.
Talent Agent: Wonderful, wonderful. Now, it says here that you’re a social media influencer. What exactly does that mean?
Influencer: Well, companies send me samples of their products, and pay me to advertise those products on my social media profiles. I’m particularly popular on Photogander.
Talent Agent: That’s the apps that turns movies into still pictures, or sumthin’?
Influencer: Sort of. You can move the camera around an object, and it will stitch together a 3D tour-like photo of that object. Users can then turn the object around, to see what it looks like from other angles. Other photo-sharing services focus on selfies, but this is better for objects, since it’s kind of difficult to move the camera around your own body, and remain in the same position. Of course, I’m sometimes in the shot myself, which is why I have a partner take the pictures for me.
Talent Agent: And you like the products you advertise?
Influencer: Sometimes.
Talent Agent: Well, isn’t that a bit dishonest? I mean, don’t your fans—
Influencer: Gagglers. They’re called gagglers on the site. And they give you honks when they like a photo.
Talent Agent: Whatever. So when your gagglers see you’ve promoted a product, theoretically they go out and buy it. But if you don’t even believe in the product, you’re just lying.
Influencer: I never said I didn’t believe in them. I support everything I advertise. I would never promote cigarettes or vaping paraphernalia, for instance. I just don’t always love them. Sometimes there’s an alternative I prefer, but if they haven’t hired me, I don’t post it on my business account. It’s just like acting in a commercial. No one expects the actor to have any strong feelings about dish soap, but they pretend to for the role. That’s fine.
Talent Agent: Yeah, I guess I get it. So look, I can make you a star, but you gotta do what I say. We’re a special kind of agency here. We’re only lookin’ for the best, but that don’t mean everyone’s ready. If you’ve never had any experience, then we gotta make you ready. We have a class you can take. It’s four hundred dollars per session for five sessions, but I promise it’s worth it. If these follower—I’m sorry; gaggler—numbers are any indication, two thousand dollars probably won’t be a problem.
Influencer: Well, I have taken some acting classes, and I’ve participated in live appearances, where I’ve been told I have good presence.
Talent Agent: Eh, yeah, but this is a special thing. We really want you to go through the class, so we know what we got. We gotta be able to tell the casting directors you know what you’re doin’.
Influencer: Uh, give me one second. I just need to look something up.
Talent Agent: Okay, sure.
Influencer: Yeah, the internet says don’t accept help from a talent agent who asks you to take a class. Like, it specifically mentions that it’s probably a scam. It warns readers that a scammer will claim it has more to do with evaluating your skills, so they can talk you up with casting directors.
Talent Agent: Ah, you can’t believe everything you find on the internet. I mean, just look at you! You say you love dish soap, but apparently that’s just a photo.
Influencer: Right, but I don’t make false claims about what the products do. I don’t try to convince my gagglers the soap will give them superpowers, or make them more attractive. Everything I say about the product is a hundred percent true.
Talent Agent: Well, it sounds like a gray area to me. I’ll tell you what, since we already know you have fans, and they’ll be wanting to see what you do, I’ll give you half off the class? How’s that sound? Influencing ain’t acting, but I believe you on the thing about your presence. You lit up the room when you walked in. Half off is best I can do.
Influencer: Nah, I think I better go look for someone else. Even if this is a legit operation, it’s not worth the risk, and it’s not like you have a monopoly on the industry.
Talent Agent: Well, I can’t make you stay, but we make stars, so I think you’ll be happy here.
Influencer: I’m okay. Thanks for the interview, though.
Talent Agent: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hey, wait. Can my daughter get your autograph?
Influencer: I better not. Just get one of your stars to do it instead. I’m sure they’re all much bigger than me. Have a nice day.

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