When My Client Becomes My Son’s Homework

AssignmentAbout a week ago, Justin brought home an assignment from school. He was given a piece of construction paper that was 18×12 and told to create a collage of his “hero” and then add three reasons as to why that person is a hero. In an attempt to get this assignment over with as quickly as possible, Justin simply drew a picture of someone playing basketball. Justin is good at drawing. But, when I saw his stick figure holding a weird looking ball, I knew he had only given this task minimal effort. (Honestly, I wasn’t even sure what he had drawn. It looked more like a hairy spoon with a tumor.)

Frustrated, GWE told him that this was unacceptable and that “we” would need to start over. “We” had a week to complete the assignment. I knew that if “we” weren’t proactive about this, “we” wouldn’t get to it until the Sunday night before it was due.

Once again, the assignment was to identify a hero and three reason why that person is your hero. Justin could choose anyone he wanted, as long it wasn’t a fictional character like “Superman” or “Batman.” Justin gave it a great deal of thought (about 15 seconds, while trying not to be eaten by Minecraft zombies) and then decided that he wanted to do a collage about firemen. A light went off in my head! I knew how to get really great pictures for his assignment, but it meant doing something I normally wouldn’t have done.

I’ve tried to keep my business and my family separate. There will come a time when the curtain is pulled back for Justin and Garrett and they will understand how daddy represents “that person on TV or in that movie.” For now, I’d like to keep the illusion of TV as entertainment for them. One of my clients happens to be one of Justin’s favorite characters on a kid’s show. If Justin knew how often I spoke with this person, his head would explode!

There have been a few times when the two paths have crossed. I represent two young actors names Edwin and Aldis Hodge. You’ve seen them – a lot! (Aldis was on “Leverage” at TNT and “Turn” at AMC. Edwin has had lead roles in features like “Red Dawn” and “The Purge.”) My son has gotten to know Edwin and Aldis fairly well over the years. He has no idea who they are or what they do.

Edwin is currently in Chicago shooting “Chicago Fire.” He is playing a fireman!! On the Friday before the assignment was due, I asked Edwin to send me a few pictures from set. I didn’t tell him what it was for. He sent me about 10 pictures and I had GWE print them out. When it was time to put together the assignment, we handed Justin the photos. He immediately recognized “his friend” Edwin and also noticed that he was wearing fireman’s gear. Happily, he and I used the pictures to put together the project.

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The following morning, Justin delivered his assignment to his teacher. As he proudly handed her the project, he told her all about how he had done it. And then, he said, “That fireman’s name is Edwin.” The teacher looked at him and responded,” Oh, is that what you’ve named him?” Perplexed, Justin looked at her and answers, “No. That’s really his name. Edwin Hodge.” And with that, he turned and walked away. The teacher had no idea that she was looking at pictures of an actor on set (and not a real fireman) and Justin didn’t really understand that either.

After the project was turned in, I sent Edwin a picture of the final project with this note: “You know you’ve made it when you’ve become someone else’s homework!”

He thought it was hilarious.

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