I’m always hurrying to work. Nobody knows I’m late—it’s just my boss Sam and me. He’s in by noon, when our LA counterparts start their day. But I’ve got to cover phones, emails, and scheduling for our actors from the start of the New York morning. I’m a master of the snooze button, and am just never eager to turn on my work alter ego, Eddy. Sam already had an assistant named Eric whom he hated, so he had me go by my middle name—Edmond—and then Hollywooded it. He seems to like me—as Eddy, of course—enough to keep me for three years. It’s the longest relationship either of us has had.
Our actor clients are mostly high maintenance. They’re all insecure, no matter how successful, needing constant fluffing and reassurance, which is a large part of my job. “The casting director looooved you” or “I think they went in a different direction, but they said you were easily the best” or “I think this Broadway role was revived for you.” On this particular day, I had to reschedule one actress’s auditions because she had “morning voice” and didn’t want to sound raspy on tape. I called each director, found afternoon time slots—apologizing profusely—then called her back. “Everyone is so happy to give your voice the time it needs.”
Sam came in around 1, a bit later than usual. “Get Marissa on the fucking phone, now,” he said, without any “Hello” or “How are you”. I handed him his drink—a grande skinny latte, extra foam, splenda stirred in by me, not by the barista—and dialed Marissa, one of our better known clients who was the lead on a cable network cop show. We had heard rumors she was switching managers, so Sam was playing defense. “Hi Marissa, it’s Eddy. I’m well thanks, how are you?” From Sam’s office: “Stop with the fucking Midwest manners and send her through to me.”
Marissa and Sam were on the phone for an hour. She did have new representation lined up, despite Sam plucking her out of college and getting her more than two dozen roles in TV and film. Chances are, the new guy had better contacts or was a better negotiator—she wouldn’t say. Sam was madder than I’ve ever seen him. I shared some good news about another client who had been picked up as a series regular on his show. “Eddy, not now. Jesus. You know—if you had made her feel more desired here, then this might have never happened.”
There is a 15-minute window each day where I sneak away for food. It’s around 3, when LA is out on lunch meetings. It’s Sam’s least favorite part of the day because it means he’s on phones and doing scheduling, both of which he put behind him after his assistant days. I spend each lunch break crossing Madison Square Park, going to a simple cafeteria-style place nearby where there is a cheap buffet. Even if I bring my own food, I take the 15 minutes, mostly to remind Sam that he needs me. He’s always nicer when I get back.
I moved to NYC thinking I’d work in film production, but a series of events derailed things for two years, and then Talia heard about Sam’s opening and referred me. It’s a good gig, and I’ve proven skilled at preventing and putting out fires, understanding people’s priorities and needs and personal politics. I think I’ll be a great talent manager but just hope I don’t end up like Sam—he’s good at it but seems miserable. And his temper shifts constantly: “Have a good night, Eddy. Another awesome day from you. Best assistant I’ve ever had,” he said as he left at 6. He always ends the day with positive reinforcement. I’ll still work another three hours to coincide with LA, telling myself that it’ll pay off soon.
I get to be Eric from the hours of 9pm and 9am, shedding Eddy as I leave the office. Despite being perpetually exhausted, I walk through a calm, brightly lit Manhattan for 30 minutes before getting on the subway, and then go right to my gym in Park Slope to work out before it closes at 11. I have to stop any hurrying, to see my city slowed down and to hear its soundtrack of traffic and conversation, before sweating away the day’s stress with a soundtrack of Top 40. This routine clears my head and reminds me that I am in control of my own well-being. I have to end each day with this positive reinforcement.