At this stage of my life, it's not the money that is important, it's the person. I have made and lost money in this crazy business, but it is the people and their incredible stories that stick with me. Most of my clients are normal folks who get caught up in extraordinary circumstances, and in many cases find themselves at risk simply for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. They didn't want to have their lives become part of the media circus, but they do want to avoid the limelight. I have learned that if I put them first, the success will follow. By protecting my clients from the media monster, I can preserve their lives and still bring stories to the media that the public wants to see.
Although money is important, it can't be the priority. This belief makes me better at what I do. Many of the people who come to me with their stories also have a spiritual investment in the situations they find themselves in, and I always look for those. It always pays off in ways money never could, and I respect the people who are not afraid to take a stand for the right reasons. I take care of my clients, and a trust is built that allows the truth to come out -- then the real story can be told to you. That is what my job is really all about, making sure that the real story can be told. I find the people with the stories, lock up their news rights, get some media play, help them make a few bucks, if possible get a movie or book deal for them, go on to the next story. On the surface it sounds simple enough, but it's really not that easy.
After the endless, traffic-laden drive, I pull my car up to the guarded gate of the community I live in. A new guard pokes his head out of the guardhouse. He smiles as he sees my license plate, "MOVIE TV." I'm never really sure what people think when they first see it, but it is fun nevertheless. He presses the button that opens the twenty-foot steel gates that act as a barrier between community residents and the rest of the world. Off to the left is a lake, and the glare is so bright off the water from the afternoon sun that I have to squint even though I'm wearing sunglasses. The homes in my neighborhood are stunning; oversized pillars emphasize the power of the residents who live behind them. Most of the homes are modern, but it's apparent that big bucks have been spent to give them the feel of old money. They are all custom, no two are alike, but they do share the air of affluence. A quick turn into my driveway and there is my house, the little David that sits among the Goliaths. My little cabin built in 1950 is hardly worthy of being guest quarters for some of the homes that surround it, but I love it. I am here right in the middle of what I cover with the news stories, but it is still my escape.
Just over the trees in my backyard, you can almost see the home I sold a couple of years ago. I never look over there. I stop and make funny noises at my pet squirrels as they run around their open ten-by-ten cage in my backyard. On the other side of my house is the chicken coop. Every morning I go and collect the eggs and feed the chickens. I am fairly certain I have the only chicken coop in my neighborhood. On the inside, my home is modest, but it does have some outstanding features. Throughout the two-thousand-square-foot, three-bedroom-one bath cabin you can see expensive paintings on the walls, Tiffany and Lalique sitting next to old-fashioned bearskin rugs that were a gift, and a dog pen.