So, the other day, Madison breezed into our Atlanta home, fresh from filming season 4 of Bosch and firmly stated, “Mother. We really need to up our Instagram game.”
According to Madison’s theory, in this day and age, if you want to be a successful actor, model, or you tube phenom, it is not only crucial to be good at acting, modeling and You Tube phenom-ing, but also at Instagram-ming. You must post things every. single. day. that people want to see so you can gain a legion of people who follow your every move. If you do this well enough, you may be rewarded with Instagram verification. This proves that you do indeed exist, are who you say you are, and are spending your days doing important things, and therefore worthy of having your every move followed, increasing your chances of being hired as an actor, model, or becoming a You Tube phenom.
Even stage moms have bought into this theory. If you listen closely, in the cold light of early dawn, you can hear them, gathered at the stone circle at Craig Na Dune, chanting:
Oh lord of light.
We come in the dark.
Grant my child series regular work
And a BLUE CHECK MARK!
I’m exhausted already.
Mackenzie was verified while she was on Under the Dome, but we have no idea how that happened except to say the benevolent god of verification smiled upon her.* A year later, at the urging of our Los Angeles representation , Madi and Matt applied for verification. She made the cut, he did not. He didn’t post enough, they said. They couldn’t be certain he was a REAL enough. We were told to get more active and post once every day. He needed to “brand himself,” they said.
Mother of God, didn’t we work hard enough already, actually GETTING the jobs? Why did we have to do extra stuff to prove that our figure existed and was public? We felt similarly toward branding the way your average cattle might, but I’m nothing if not a long suffering, supportive stage mom. So, while I am HIGHLY DUBIOUS that we can pull this off, I did some research and came up with five things we will have to do to “get good” at Instagram.
1. We will have to change our Instagram bio to include at least 19 different occupations that we could be hired for. Model, actor, dancer, singer, style blogger, parkour expert, EDM artist, eskimo dialect.
See, already we’re behind the 8 ball, because we only act. We don’t dance and no one ever asks to hear us sing. If we went on The Voice, zero chairs would turn around. Madison once played the Can Can on her violin so badly that her teacher, Stephen the Composer just stared at her, stunned, and wished for an Asian 2nd grader. We are one trick ponies over here and that is all we can offer you.
2. We will have to post photos that prove that OUR personal life is way more fun and exiting than YOUR personal life:
*A picture of Madison, dressed to kill with head thrown back in carefree laughter in a tangled heap with her equally dressed to kill friends. The more uncomfortable and unsustainable the heap, and the more of up and coming Young Hollywood she can arrange to be in the photo, the better. #squad #gorgeousdayinLAandweRheretostay
Various artfully arranged angst ridden or seductive poses of Matt, either staring into the camera or deliberately away from it, either at the beach, in an abandoned building or at an art museum. Black and white is a popular filter for these. Like many you tube stars I researched, he might try using his finger to drag his bottom lip down. Pretend he’s on a slave auction block and is proving he has healthy gums. You don’t know why he doing this, any more than you know the identity of the photographer. #contemplation #angst #oralhealthmatters
This is not going to go well for us. Mackenzie and Madison, more often than not, post photos of themselves in Harry Potter robes brandishing their wands, Matt posts photos of our cats and Macsen posts nothing. We can barely get through life one time, let alone present the same life artfully in retrospect.
3. Photos of US being a better human than YOU are.
*Mackenzie walking out of Soul Cycle, sweaty towel casually thrown over shoulder.
*Photos of my gorgeous vegan lunch.
*Photos of all four kids hosting various charity events.
Here’s the obstacles we face on this one: When Madison finishes a class at Pure Barre she can barely walk, let alone snap a selfie. If she did it would be of her still stuck in plié. I wouldn’t know how to eat vegan if you strapped an actual vegan to my forehead. And to be honest, we don’t even do charity WORK, let alone host charity EVENTS. It is a massive failing on my part that I did not, on a regular basis have my kids packing boxes at a food pantry, but I was a little busy keeping 4 children fed (not vegan) and alive, which in my opinion, IS charity work. We didn’t do charity work before. We aren’t going to all of a sudden start doing it now just to look good in our Instagram photos. **
4. We will have to regale you with photos that prove that OUR professional life is much further along than YOUR professional life is:
Photos or snapchats of us either riding in a car service on our way to set, sitting in our trailer while waiting to go to set, or actually sitting on a set, with or without a chair with our name on it. #setlife #actorlife #actoronsetlife #moreblessedthanu
Photos of us on a red carpet, with or without the entire cast. Doesn’t matter if it’s the Southeast Alabama Short Film Festival. We are working, and have many projects in the hopper ready to release. Many more than you do. In the caption we must shout out all the designers that gave us free stuff. #projectname #designername #redcarpetlife #premierelife
My issue with this will be obvious. If you read my “Jesus Be a Stylist” post, you know no designer has ever given us free stuff.
5. This is a last minute addition because I’ve more recently been made aware of a new development in the ever shifting world of social media popularity. Not only would we have to regularly post photos that fall into the above four categories, but NOW all of a sudden, we also have to do something called A STORY…….
What fresh hell is this.
You’re telling me that not only do we have to make ourselves seem happier, healthier, more humanitarian and successful than you in still photo form, but NOW we have shoot short videos all the live long day to accompany this? And throw a boomerang of some sort? Are we down under?
I ain’t doin’ it.
Here is my issue. We could do all of the above, and do it well, I think. We are hard workers and generally achieve goals. But the better we would get at Instagram, the more I believe you would despise us. People that post these sorts of photos on a daily basis are the exact opposite of likeable. To be good at this we would have to act like what we are doing is more important than, say, curing Cancer. Or mission work in Senagal. Or fixing someones toilet which is actually an extremely beneficial occupation.
Do I let people know what is airing when? I do. But I hope I do it sparingly and only when necessary because I happen to know that there is an actual facebook group message devoted entirely to discussing certain actors who make it a point to let us all know that they have a job on any given day. I do not wish to be the subject of said message thread, despite how hilariously it is executed.
Madison remains undaunted. There is no stopping her. She literally JUST walked out the door as I typed this on her way to a professional photo shoot where she will spend the morning with another male model, taking pictures in various poses while both of their heads are completely wrapped in a towel. I have not ascertained WHY this would be necessary, but apparently it’s ART MOTHER. I hope she doesn’t suffocate.
* * * * * * * * *
*I’m sorry to announce that a year ago Mackenzie deleted her perfectly good verified social media accounts entirely. She said social media made her feel lonely somehow. She is happier today than ever.
**We DO monetarily support several mission organizations that we believe in. But this is really easy. We give money to people to do things that we don’t really want to actually do ourselves. It takes no time because I have it set up on auto-pay. There will be no crowns in heaven for this chicanery. God is not mocked.
*** I’m not saying I am a PART of this facebook message group, I’m just saying it DOES exist. Those who participate are absolutely going straight to hell.