I feel like I’m in a bit of a midlife crisis of late especially regarding my job.
I have wanted to represent talent since I was about 8 years old. Strange, I know. It started when I would come of out movie theaters and say, “That actor shouldn’t be playing this part, they should be doing x, y or z..” So I got what I wanted and did a lot of other entertainment related things in between so I got a feel for all aspects of the industry. It has been very helpful of course to have produced a few films, before that just worked on a set, worked on the educational aspects of entertainment at UCLA and as a coordinator for an Oscar show. I have worked with writers, directors, performers, actors, everyone… and I have had one thing in common with everyone I have worked with. I believed in them. I had passion.
When I produced a few films I had passion for them. Well, one especially. The other was more of an experience I tagged along with and it brought me to London at a time I wanted to be here and I learned a lot about financing. But to do anything in this business, because it is so hard and time-consuming and the competition is so intense, you have to care. You HAVE to believe. If you don’t it’s really hard. I worked as a manager for a food delivery company at night for almost three years while setting up a film during the day. I have been trying to get a book set up as a movie for a long time. Years. It’s a great old murder mystery and it would make a great thriller ala “The Talented Mr. Ripley”, and many people with money and at production companies have agreed with me but I’ve never been able to get it done. Hopefully one day I will. I keep it on the back burner because I have passion for it. I believe in it after all this time.
Clients – their writing has inspired me. They’ve had sellable work, but mainly even if they have sellable work I have to feel some magic. That’s why I became a manager, not an agent. An agent pushes paper and pitches names all day. I can’t pitch you someone I don’t know and who I can’t discuss with passion and excitement. Sometimes I get ahead of myself and it turns out I thought I could but things happen that make me unable to. Then we part ways. It’s happened a few times, rather unspectacularly. The client needs that passion too and if it’s gone then it should end. Sometimes it’s a mess of emotions and that’s another story (or a book) but let’s say for a long time I believed very strongly in the ability of a certain Spice Girl to wow the world and offered her many opportunities to. Ultimately, after 10 years we parted ways but I don’t regret it. I believed strongly that she could be a brand. One of her best friends said “Yes, she’s a brand, but it’s Members Only”. Haha, funny, but I disagree. It could work, but well, it can’t for reasons that are for me to know. Actually, I could do it; I still believe it could be. That’s how much passion I can have.
Lately I have taken on a project in the midst of this mid-life crisis that has brought back some of the self-esteem I have lost. I wasn’t finding the passion out there so easily anymore. I was feeling it here and there but others weren’t and I was getting frustrated. After all, I have been working in this business since I was 19 years old. That’s more than half my life. One of the reasons I like working with writers is that I love reading and love the written word in any form. It’s not a person to deal with, it’s their talent on the page. I know my strengths and one of my greatest strengths is that I know writing. I know why scripts work, why they don’t and how to fix them and if they’re fixable. That’s one of the reasons I am happy to provide script consulting services aside from management, because I have a great deal of pride and feel good about helping. I have been working on a project now for a few weeks and have a few more weeks left at it and it has shown me how much I know. I have been told I am doing a great job and I know I am. I can feel it. I feel confident, I know I am using some of my best attributes. I am succeeding. It’s hard work, it’s tiring at times but I’m doing it and guess what…I am feeling better about myself. That is what life is about.
They say doing esteem-able acts brings self-esteem. This is definitely true. Also doing well at something and getting praise for it beings self-esteem. I am doing that now, I am in it and I am feeling better than I have in a while. But I don’t need another person to complete me or their work to make me money or have their livelihood depend on my selling their work. I am doing a job I am good at and I am doing it well. I feel good about myself. I have esteem. I recommend it for people. If you’re not happy in your job, find out what about the job makes you happy. When have you been happiest in a job and find that job or concentrate on those aspects of your current job. Don’t believe anyone who is happy in everything they do. Performers say that – it’s bull. It’s press, it’s hype. They know what makes them feel good and comfortable. That’s what they should be doing.
I cannot count on others to make me happy, only myself. I still hitch my wagon to stars as it’s my job but I know what makes it work for me now and if it doesn’t work for the other person, it’s no longer a life transforming event. I am the important one now. Every manager I know who works that way is happy and it took them a while to detach from the client as their financial and emotional livelihood and make sure I, myself was providing my livelihood. I was sat in a sushi restaurant by my mentor at the time and commanded to do this. I didn’t. It was hell. It made me small when I could feel big and now I feel bigger at least, still small sometimes but that’s another blog. I could have saved a long time of suffering but I’m here now and I’m grabbing it and spreading the word. Be happy. Know thyself.