Over the past 16 years, I’ve been battered, bruised, beaten, fired, ignored, screamed at, fired again, hung up on, lied to, lied about, cursed at, had things thrown at my head, been threatened, been forced to perform an illegal (or at the very least, “morally ambiguous”) activity or two, and been left for dead by an industry that I loved. And still, after all of that, I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. I’m still here. There are people who still trust my guidance and wisdom and somehow, I keep getting up after being knocked down. This is the true definition of “unrequited love.”
By day, I am a Hollywood Talent Manager and I am currently responsible for the careers of 25 talented, (mostly) recognizable, and (mostly) employed actors. I read scripts, make submissions, pitch clients for projects, call executives, negotiate deals, and try to stay “in the know.” At any given moment, you may see one of my clients on your favorite television shows or in a great movie. As Jerry Maguire said, “I’m the guy you don’t usually see. I’m the guy behind the scenes.”
However, I do my best to leave Hollywood at my doorstep at night before I walk into the house. I do it for a number of reasons, but most importantly – I want to keep it away from my kids as long as I can. I’ve done such a good job of this that I’m not really sure if they know what I do. All Justin knows is that I go to an office, talk to people on the phone all day and then sometimes I yell at them.
While I love what I do and I’m proud of all that I’ve accomplished, this is not what I want for Justin and Garrett. I want them to refer to the seasons as Summer, Spring, Winter, and Fall and not, Pilot Season, Development Season, Episodic Season, etc. I don’t want them to know what a Kardashian is or think that there is any legitimate value in “fame.” Several years ago, I heard Mister Rogers speak at an awards gala full of entertainment industry executives. The first words out of his mouth were, “Boys and Girls……Fame is a 4-letter word.”
But as of yesterday morning, I came to the realization that Justin knew way more than I thought he did. On the way to school, Justin said the following: (I took notes while driving.)
“Daddy. I want to see “Men in Black 3” because it looks funny with the eyes in the soup in the commercial and it opened this weekend, but I don’t want to see the “Pirates: Band of Misfits” movie. It looks dumb. Can we take Alex and Alina to see “Brave”? It’s from Pixar and it opens June 22nd. They made “Cars” and “Cars 2” and “Toy Story 3.” It should be really good. And, Burger King is going to have “Brave” toys in their kids’ meal. And, I want to see “The Avengers” because I like Iron Man and I think the Hulk is funny, but I don’t like the girl. I think all my friends will like it too. And, I want to see “Madagascar 3” on June 8th, but I don’t want to see it in 3-D and it’s from Dreamworks, but I don’t want to see the little boy fall off the moon in the beginning. And, daddy? Does “Pro-me-the-us” have aliens in it? It looks scary. And, when does “Despicable Me 2” come out? Will it have the girl from “iCarly?” “John Carter” looks stupid. I don’t ever want to see that. “Battleship” looks loud. And, it looks like “Transformers.” Is it the same thing? Can we go and see “The Fresh Beat Band” live in concert? They are going to be in Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston, and Los Angeles. Can I have your phone? I want to see “Pocoyo” on Netflix.”
Let me be crystal clear – I’ve been in a lot of meetings over the years with many, many influential and well respected agents, managers, producers, and studio executives. And, hands down, Justin (a five year old) said more intelligent, insightful, and accurate things about the entertainment industry in that one rant than I’ve ever heard from some of the highest paid executives I’ve dealt with. I’ve never been so horrified and proud at the same time.