DELAYED RETURN

Mary Uncategorized, Mother Mary

During all the current press regarding the Golden Globe winning film, Boyhood, I have related so much to the actors involved in the film. Ethan Hawk said on The View, “The whole making of the movie was an act of faith.” They all knew going in to it that it would take twelve years to complete it, and none of them knew what kind of reward would come from their investment of time and commitment to the project. Contractually they couldn’t make anyone involved commit twelve years to the completion of the film, they had to trust each other that everyone would stay together until the end, in an industry not necessarily known for its loyalty. Their word was their bond. During the same interview, Patricia Arquette said, “It was so exciting and amazing that they could get financing for a movie that you wouldn’t see a return on for thirteen years”.
In our role as scouts and mother agents, we have spent our entire career in the ultimate “pay it forward”. Similar to the making of Boyhood, we invest in the development of a model up front. When nobody has ever heard their name, when they are new and a bit awkward, when they are thirteen with braces, or need time growing and coming into themselves . When everything is new, meeting with agents, castings, shooting, is all an overwhelming process. We are there for lots of firsts and walk them through every evolution as their career unfolds, long before there is significant financial reward to be had.
We have had people through the years tell us they would love to do what we do for a living. They don’t realize that the work we do today, may not pay off for three, four, or five years, or quite possibly, never.
Has there been times when we questioned if it is all worth it? Absolutely. I would be lying if I said otherwise. A model may decide this business isn’t for them, or it may take two years of development to get them ready before traveling to New York the first time, and then you have the initial lean years of getting a career off the ground. Maybe their boyfriend or their parent doesn’t want them to model, or maybe, just maybe, they find out the don’t have the mindset and passion that it takes, so they walk away and get a job at The Olive Garden.
There is also the risk that when they have “made it”, they may forget how and who built them from the ground up. It’s very easy to let convincing voices prey on wanting a piece of the pie they had nothing to do with creating.
Still, when the disappointment comes, or the investment of time, money, expertise, and commitment doesn’t pay off, we have come to the place where it is very much worth it.
On those beautiful and rare occasions when it does pay off, it is wonderful. Words can’t describe how it feels to hold a magazine in your hands with their first editorial or campaign or seeing them walk down an international runway of a top designer. Walking through a crowd of people hearing fans call their name for a photo, or watching television and seeing that kid you found at the restaurant starring in the show is priceless.
Most often the rewards are delayed, and sometimes the rewards come in other ways. The foundation of our faith tells us that the reward will come one way or another, and we trust that to be true. In fact, we bank our lives on it.
Nearly twenty years in, having weathered a few storms and experienced some sweet victories, it feels wonderful to be at peace with our process and the risk and reward feels well worth it.
Watching the actors, producers, and directors win the Golden Globe seemed extra sweet to me. Things like patience, loyalty, teamwork, and long term commitment are unfortunately rare in todays world. When you see it in action, the rewards carry a whole other level of meaning and reward…no matter how delayed it may appear.

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