“Who am I?” was a question I found myself asking constantly. I had certainly been humbled over the years but you damn sure couldn’t tell by looking at me now.
My position was to create, and keep creating, opportunities. Opportunities for new income, new projects, each deal bigger than the last. I was expected to consistently find ways to generate more money, more exposure, more partnerships, get cash and get it aggressively.
I was good at it. Many times, I made the improbable, even the unreasonable, happen. And while I prided myself on making sure none of our partners felt explicitly taken advantage of, the aggression with which I got each ‘YES’ began to weigh on me. To put it bluntly, I was becoming an asshole. I wasn’t building relationships outside of the company. I definitely wasn’t the guy people looked forward to negotiating with. I told myself it was “just the way Hollywood is.” Getting deals done in a way that your talent would win didn’t leave much room for relationship building so, understandably, I had to be “that guy” in order to make things happen... or so I had been led to believe. But the truth is, I was just trapped. Trapped in someone else’s orbit which, with it, came the desperation of having to work and work and work; more hours, more jobs, and more frequently than anyone else, in order to pay the overwhelming bills and other taxing things that came with celebrity. My boss employed a lot of people. Many out of necessity. A lot out of loyalty. But when you are a global celebrity whose livelihood supports so many families, it doesn’t matter if they are employees who actually do daily work, or if they are people who haven’t actually done anything in years, you still can’t take a break. You have to make more, and more, and more. And I was key to making that happen, by any means.