It’s always interesting to see substantial hidden Easter eggs in movies, and there’s a great new one that’s surfaced from Jerry Maguire. As noted by Joe Blevins at The AV Club, we can finally see the full version of the sports agency mission statement the titular character writes, which is only briefly shown on screen during the film. The Uncool has obtained the entire 25-page mission statement director Cameron Crowe created for the film, and it has some pretty impressive parts.
The idea is that it’s something Maguire writes starting at 1 a.m. at the Miami Hilton while attending a sports agents’ conference, and that it’s mostly centered around developing real relationships with his clients. Here are some parts along those lines:
We are losing our battle with all that is personal and real about our business. Every day I can look at a list of phone calls only partially returned. Driving home, I think of what was not accomplished, instead of what was accomplished. The gnawing feeling continues. That families are sitting waiting for a call from us, waiting to hear the word on a contract, or a General Manager’s thoughts on an upcoming season. We are pushing numbers around, doing our best, but is there any real satisfaction in success without pride? Is there any real satisfaction in a success that exists only when we push the messiness of real human contact from our lives and minds? When we learn not to care enough about the very guy we promised the world to, just to get him to sign. Or to let it bother us that a hockey player’s son is worried about his dad getting that fifth concussion.
There is a good bet that I will erase all of this from my laptop, and you will never read it. But if you are reading it, and you’re reading it right now, it is only because I was unable to stop. I was unable to forget the quiet questions in the hallways, when some of you, usually the younger agents, or interns, asked me on the side: “How do you keep all these lives, all these clients, separated in your mind?”
Chances are, I didn’t say much. I might have told you “it’s easy” or “you’re not working hard enough.” Chances are, I said something that you expected, maybe even wanted to hear. But it wasn’t the truth, and it wasn’t what I felt. And if you ever wondered about the drawbacks of being quiet about important things, talk to yourself in the mirror some time, say the truth. Yell the truth to yourself, when no one is listening. See how good it feels?
And so begins the game of flattery, of lip service, of doing everything possible to soothe and stroke. It is part of our lives, and part of our jobs. The game of agenting. The tapdance. Not only will Client X be a tapdance, but there will be a tapdance involved in explaining why I didn’t return the call and begin the tapdance earlier. I know it is a tapdance, and so does he. I have seventy-two clients, and over sixty of them are full-time tapdances. I sign ten or twelve new ones a year. As many of you know, it is going in the wrong direction.
But as I sit here in the darkness of this hotel I room, the answer to the future is rather obvious. If the tapdancing becomes less constant, less furious, less necessary, what will the result be? The result will be more honesty, more focus, fewer clients, but eventually the revenues will be the same. Because the new day of honesty will create a machine more personalized, more truthful, and the client that wasn’t bullshitted this year, has a greater chance of greatness next year.
And now we get to the answer that Dicky Fox knew years ago. The answer is fewer clients. Less dancing. More truth. We must crack open the tightly clenched fist of commerce and give a little back for the greater good. Eventually revenues will be the same, and that goodness will be infectious. We will have taken our number oneness and turned it into something greater. And eventually smaller will become bigger, in every way, and especially in our hearts.
Forget the dance.
For all the deep thoughts about honesty in representation and focusing on fewer clients, there are also a lot of digressions in this. Here are some of those:
3:32 AM, Miami, Thoughts:
Next door, someone named David is having sex. I know because his girlfriend or wife just yelled something out in the throes of ecstacy: “Put the top back on, David!” I pause and wonder. What did David open, and why does he now have to close it?
…4:45 AM, Miami, Thoughts:
Whatever David opened, the top is now back on and not much has changed. Does sex really sound this silly? And if it does, why don’t people laugh more when they’re having it?
There’s also a lot of pretension and a lot of bouncing form topic to topic, both of which feel appropriate for the character. That may speak to the value of this document, too. At first, creating 25 pages of text for something only shown briefly on screen feels like a waste, but if it helped Crowe get a further handle on the character, it may have been well worthwhile. It’s cool to see the full document finally released online, and it provides yet more insight into Maguire.