Dave Bugliari joins this week to talk about how he chose Hamilton College, how he became one of the top Hollywood agents, and how he and wife Alyssa Milano balance their careers to raise their two kids.
David Bolger here and welcome to had I know an exploration of the Hamilton College experience. Welcome back to another one. This is gonna be a fun one again. And if you're just joining us for the first time, hello, welcome. Sit down join us. This one's gonna be a fun conversation, but you know what? The other ones were good too. Last week's show spent a lot of time talking about the city of Los Angeles with its chief innovation officer Amanda deathless. And this week we stay out in LA but we shift focus to a different part of town, Hollywood. We're going to talk to Dave Bujar a class of 2001. Dave is one of the top agents at CAA. And last week we talked to Amanda about the effects COVID-19 is having on Los Angeles. So I was interested to talk to Dave about what impact it's having on Hollywood. Hey, if you are one of those new listeners, check us out on social media Had I known show that's had I known show across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Let us know what you think of the show and who you want us to talk to next. But hear from a lot of people asking to get on their favorite professor. One of the great things about Hamilton is the relationships that students develop with its professors and maintain those relationships even beyond graduation. And that's coming through in the in the requests that we're getting for who to talk to next. So stay tuned and what we're going to try and make that happen. I've really enjoyed my conversations with Professor Mark Cryer and in doc Woods To those who are a lot of fun I learned a lot. If you haven't heard any of those conversations, you can find them anywhere you get your podcast, apple, Spotify, Stitcher, you name it. Anywhere you can find a podcast, search for Had I known will be there. Or to make it easy on your just go to Had I known that buzzsprout calm again, had I known that buzzsprout.com you can access all episodes there, and where later today you can find this episode. 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Following that link lets them know we sent you and help support this show. podcasting is never been easier with buzzsprout Alright, let's get into this week's show. So Dave, br This one's a fun one for me personally. I've mentioned on the show before that I was an RA I was an RA my junior year in Dunham and one of my first year advisees was a guy named Dave boy era. So if you fast forward many years, it really blew my mind when I picked up People Magazine one day and saw a blu ray on the cover on the cover of People Magazine. Marrying Alyssa Milano. Someone on on Instagram. I think it was wrote a note when we were promoting this show. Wait. A Hamilton grass is married to Alyssa Milano. Yes, a Hamilton grad is married to Alyssa Milano. And by the way is one of the top agents at CAA. This was an interesting conversation with Dave where we get into how he got his start as an agent, how the Hamilton experience informed his his ability to do that job, and what it's like being married to Alyssa Milano and having to deal with Papa Razzi and, and tried to stay private through through all that craziness. He's a great guy, there's a good conversation. And if you're a current student, there are some words of wisdom in here about getting started in your career. So hope you enjoy this conversation. Here's Dave Bujar a class of 2001. Hey, how you doing? I'm very well, thank you. How are you doing? surviving. I am. I'm right there along with you. Every day feels like Little bit of like some kind of weird joke. I know that people are playing on us. But the line I use with everybody is, there are days when I am immensely immensely grateful for the extra time I get to spend with my family. And then there are days when the screams inside my head or doesn't. Exactly. Exactly. It is it is really bananas. It's also just like, it's bananas just watching as people don't seem to be getting the message, right. It's like, right, I was on a walk with my wife today. We were just talking about like, it's actually you know, that, like, everyone's just freaked out, like, what do we do? It's like, Well, here's what you do. You stay away from people. You actually like listen to, I don't know any of the warnings or guidelines that people are given. But instead there's people just fully partying. Yeah, I mean, at least I'm just I'm just roasting potatoes. If you hear noise in the background, it's what I'm doing. I'm roasting potatoes. All right, let's get I hope they're good. You got to feed your family. Exactly. Uh, we get to go to the movies or at least see new movies anytime soon. What's this doing to you? I think you're gonna see new movies. But I don't think you will. I don't think he'll be going to the movies anytime soon. Certainly not. Certainly not but, but things are being are going to be produced. Yeah. That's good. Yeah. So yeah, we're, they're, they're, they're making they're, they're at least making an effort to make things right now. Let's and hopefully, like, for example, I have a client who just went back and is in quarantine I guess, on to start making the matrix again. And then I know that a bunch of different things are in sort of the like, on the taxiing on the runway. Getting ready to take Like the Jurassic Park, I think matrix, the Batman movies are starting to, or I think the actors are in quarantine right now. So I think things are starting to, with a lot of restrictions and guidelines are starting to get, you know, somewhat back up to speed. But we'll say, well, that's encouraging. Yeah. So you'll hear a lot about what what Hollywood's doing to get production started. Yeah, there's new, like, guidelines and restrictions sent out every week or so. You know, whether it's, you know, they've gone from everything from talking about completely quarantining caste and stuff like that there's all you know, all sorts of different things that some you can pull off and some you really can't you keep them busy then your work hasn't everyone's always been impacted, but it sounds like I would imagine if that if things are cooking up, and you're keeping busy. Yeah, I I use the analogy that it's like a symbol Legos on a raft with floating slowly floating down the river. Because you just you know, everyone was like, yeah, we'll be back up in July and it's like, well, we met August and then it's like, most likely won't start until September. Yeah, it's crazy. Well you know what's fascinating to me is you're someone you're married to someone who is constantly in the public light try to search for anything public on you and you don't find very much that must be hard for you to stay private because it seems like based on what little you can find online other than like the occasional awkward paparazzi shot there, there's a whole lot written up about you or or, you know, doing a lot of press. Yeah, I try really hard. I don't think that my clients want to want to hear it. You know, I think they they're the ones that are, they're the ones that are in the press, and it's interesting because they people do call and they ask for interviews and you know, try very hard This is one of the this will be one of the rare occasions ever, because I am on it. But I just think it's easier. You know, we're dealing with the clients that I deal with and you never want to be in the spotlight or in you know, you want to be behind the scenes and working to working to promote their spotlight more than my own. So I'm glad that I'm glad that you couldn't find much on me. Yeah, you're doing you're doing a good job occasionally. Occasionally, you know, being married to a married dude, it does make it hard. You know, if you're at an event with her to not, you know, they're like, take a picture with her. It's hard to be like, No, you know, but sometimes sometimes we say no, but but you know, every once in a while you you know, it's nice to be able to be a husband and not not an agent for a second. Yeah. A lot of times I imagined right la FC walking Yeah, that is no fun. And that is something I never, ever will get used to whether it's with my wife or with a, you know, a client, and I constantly forget to I think partly because you're kind of disoriented when you get off a plane anyway and you just you're blocking down to baggage claim and then all of a sudden you just get bombarded. And Alyssa is great she is it does not affect her at all, and she'll stop as she signs for all these people and talk to them and they've all got a story of you know, how they watched her on who's the boss, it's crazy, and I'm like, we're gonna go get our bags, but she, you know, she's, she's a pro. She's been doing it since she was eight years old. I forget and I forget, you know, I'm like, Oh, yeah. A there's people who make their living doing that and be there's just there's, you know, there's rabid fans who will find out that she's coming in from a flight from New York, and all Wait at the airport to pick up extra with her. I tell you when I lived in LA, and I travel a lot in the time I lived, every every flight you step off of LAX, you see the scene I'm standing right. And the cameras I got a kid trying to snap a picture with a TMZ. So it's the professional autograph. People who stay in their books have pictures and they do nothing. And, and that just feels like another level of just, you know, come up with their kids from vacation and you show them the stuff in the face. That that part that definitely changed the dynamic when all of a sudden we had kids or I remember when Alyssa was pregnant, I drove her to a pregnant yoga and she was eight months pregnant or something like that and a pop karate like got into her face. And in in almost hit her with The camera and that that that was not okay. Yeah. But then I imagine you have to be there's the, you know, the jersey husband's reaction and then there's the other way. This guy's got a camera and if I react and I become the story especially given I can't imagine Yeah, that constitutes I reacted that time. That was not a that was not a good one for me. I reacted I probably overreacted a little bit. And I kind of park bench them over a hedge. And then I got in my car and I was kind of like shaking thinking to myself, like, Oh, man. Like, I know, I know how bad this was. And I called the sort of head of communications and TA and I said, this just happened and he was like, well, is he okay? And I said, Yeah, he's fine. He kind of swore at me. And he's like, well, if he's got it on camera, you're you're in a bit of trouble. Yeah. And I got out of the car and I apologize to the guy and he kept mouthing off with me and I was like, dude, my wife was pregnant and you basically be like, blocked her path to where she was going. And you know, your lens is about an inch from her face and I reacted I'm sorry and and then you know, he got this car and sped off and I was like, I'm gonna get to and then I just never heard from so either didn't have it on camera or accepted. My apology wasn't my finest moment. Dave. Get it? You know, at some point it is a natural human reaction and that's that's the sad part right is you feel like something's searching for that reaction. Oh, for sure. Well, that's hard. Well, let's let's bring it back to Hamilton. So this is you know, that a big part of this is about the experience. So how did you how did you end up I was pretty dead set that I was going to Go to Colgate actually. And it had a recruiting visit there for soccer. stayed over with a bunch of guys on the soccer team. I knew a bunch of guys who went there who had gone to my high school in New Jersey. And I was I was all but in my mind, like I was buying the Colgate sweatshirt and, and I, my brother actually had really had said to me, You should really check out Hamilton, you're going to be so close you should go do a visit go take an interview. And and I did and I stayed there with a soccer player and people are in a much a he had a room on the dark side. And I remember thinking like this isn't the dorm I stayed in a cold he was much nicer than that. So I was like, I'm definitely Going to Cole gatesville. And then I sat with a bunch of the guys on the soccer team and just had an incredible experience and started asking actually started asking smart questions of like, do you like the school? What don't you like about the school, that kind of thing. And then I just in the afternoon, I had half an hour to free. And I just kind of walked around the quad on the on the non dark side. I guess it was called the light side. I don't remember. But I walked around the quad. I talked to different students stuff like that. And I remember just thinking like, wow, all these these people seem so nice. And they all are so generous with their time and answering questions and like, I think I want to go to Hamilton and that was it. It just it like that. It changed my mind. And I loved the idea that I could play both soccer and lacrosse there. So then I just needed to figure out how to get in. So I begged my way Yeah. With the admissions people and said, I know my grades aren't good enough, but I promise I'll make you proud. And these he fulfilled on that promise. I'm happy I'm getting there. This helps. This helps being a part of college radio stations. Well, that's why I was doing this before this not do that for me. I'll put in a good word. Thank you. So you get up on the campus. At what point? Did you realize you had lucked into the greatest Ra? students? Well, that was I think that was before school even started because we had to get up there early for soccer. And, and I got there, and I was in Dunham on the second floor. And Dunham was I remember telling someone that I was in Dunham and they were like, oh, that places a dump. And I was like, Oh, great. And then and then I met you and you said, I'm your RA. And I said, let me know what that means. And you said, basically, I'm going to keep you from destroying this dorm. My sole motivation was I'm gonna keep doing something stupid that gets me in trouble. That's right. And you did. You're very good at it. And you let us borrow your car. That's right. That's right. But I think you came down the hall a couple times and asked us to keep the noise down. But that was about it. I was so busy playing sports. I didn't really have Yeah, I didn't have too much time to get in trouble. So the other folks in your hall? Yes. Yes. The hallway, the hallway. I can't speak for so two sport athlete what was Elon? It was very busy. very time consuming. But I think you know, I think joke all joking aside about the trouble stuff. I think it did. I think playing sports for me. If I was if I was bored, That's when I was going to find my way, you know, to something that would keep me not bored. Right. And I think the sports really helps with that. Because there's certainly enough enough trouble to get yourself into in college. If you're not, you know, consumed with some sort of, you know, athletic endeavor. And I just loved it. I mean, I love the sport mindset is sort of what drives me in my job now to just being competitive and wanting to wanting to win. And you if I remember correctly, you did something. Right. right out of college, I, well, my my buddy and I were going to go play. We were going to go we had been invited to try out to go play soccer in New Zealand. And we were supposed to leave in September of 2001 right around September. 11th and when that happened, that kind of changed all of our plans. And I was in Lake Tahoe at the time where we had come out to do like high altitude training and you know, just get like our body fat down and all that nonsense, which is a good excuse to be like, ah, whoa, and then that turned into when when 911 happened that turned into staying in Tahoe and becoming a carpenter, a chef, a ski bum, a bouncer. You know, every odd job I could find in order to just have enough money to ski and eat life lessons. Exactly. And then how does that turn out to Dave Leary. So I didn't know what I wanted to do for a living. I couldn't figure it out, but I kind of ruled a couple things. About I have one brother who is a writer. And I have one brother who is works in finance, and at the time was at Lehman Brothers. And I went and visited him at work. And I sat with him on his trading floor and and kind of just observed and just realize, like, Oh my gosh, I am out of my league here. These people are way smarter than I could ever hope to be. And I don't understand what they're talking about. I just knew I knew and most of my friends from Hamilton, as I'm sure a lot of yours did, too. Most of my friends from Hamilton went on to do something in finance. So I kind of felt like that's probably what I'm supposed to be doing right? And, and it just wasn't, it just didn't match with me. That was such a disheartening thing to deal with. Especially, I remember when I was junior senior, and all these people were recruited on campus and had jobs locked up before the buddies with signing bonuses. Yeah, yeah, with money where I was like, Oh my god, I'm like, you never have to work again. That signing bonus alone. That's the craziest thing I've ever heard of, you know, I was so excited for them, but I just, and I was like, What am I doing wrong, but I like I don't even I don't even know what I want to do. So that was that was I remember that being a very scary thing for me and I and luckily, again, paying my brother and my parents were just like, you don't need to know yet. Like, relax, it's, you're going to be fine. And of course, I also had this one great call when I had my mom where I, I ascended up the ranks at one of the bars I worked at in Toronto, and they asked me if I wanted to be the manager. And the place was called the naughty dog. And I remember calling my mom and I have great news. I've been asked to be the manager at the naughty dog. And my mom was like, permanently. And I was like, yeah, isn't this great news like I can live in Tahoe forever and, and my mom was like, That is great. And I think it's something you can always go back and do if that is your passion, but I don't know that being the manager of a bar is necessarily your passion. And I was like, You don't know what you're talking about mom. CUT TO THE Naughty Dog closed pretty quickly after I left but anyway, going back to me trying to figure out what it is I did want to do I leave it closed because you must. No, no, no. It just I think it just I think it didn't maybe have in my mind. It was like the greatest bar the most populated bar in the history of all bars and was just going to make me very rich. be on my way. his dreams. And, and I think that just wasn't the case in a seasonal town. It just my mom, my mom had the right idea. But then I thought, alright, I like the idea of being a lawyer, maybe I'll be a lawyer. So I started looking into I was applying to law school and stuff like that. And I started meeting with different lawyers and asking them about their jobs. And they would always start with sort of like, so why do you want to be a lawyer? I was like, Well, I'm not sure I want to be a lawyer, but I'm definitely interested in it. And they're like, hold on, you're not going to law school. If you're not sure you want to be a lawyer, like, Are you out of your mind? And, and a lot of them didn't seem like they completely loved their job. Some of them did. But most, you know, a lot of them were like, if you don't absolutely love this, and you're not 100% sure, this is what you want to do. Then go no further, like, make sure you know, because I just thought like, would it be cool to have a law degree? And then people were like, no, it's not cool unless you're a lawyer. So I was learning a lot along the way. People just being like, No, you idiot, don't just go get a law degree if you don't definitely want to be a lawyer. And then I kind of was looking into the sports world, and sports agent thing and stuff like that. And then while I was down visiting my brother in law, my other brother in Los Angeles, he had just successfully sold a spec script, which I had no idea what a spec script was. But I said, What does that mean? He said, These people are paying me this much money for the script I wrote, and I again, my reaction was like, you never need to work again. And I said, who like how does that work? And he kind of runs me through it and says, My agent called the lism about and I was like, Wait a second. Tell me more about this agent guy. And then he said, Why don't you go meet him? I went and had an informational interview with his agent at the time. And I always tell people when they ask me about this story, that for me, it was sort of that peanuts, the Charlie Brown moment where like, the teachers voice starts going, like I walked into the lobby of this agency. And I was already in my mind similar to like my college thing when I was like, Oh, this is I'm going to work here. And I was just in the lobby at that point. And as he started as his agent started describing what it is he does and how his job works and stuff like that, I was about four minutes into it was just like, wow. And all I was I was like measuring the drapes already. I was like, this is where I'm going to work. You know, and and when he finished I was like, Okay, how do I work here? And he was like, how did you get to talk to HR evolve? And then I was it was started. Was it just the, the ideas Hollywood or what what drew you in? I Oh, I grew up loving television and movies. I always you know, some of my fondest memories are sitting on the couch watching movies that I never would have watched had it not been for my dad was just like No, this is a classic, you have to watch it and I would watch it, you know, sort of begrudgingly be watching, you know, Shane or something like that. And then like 15 minutes in, like, Oh, this is pretty cool. Or, you know, some Clint Eastwood movie or, you know, even my dad loved the old, like, the Thin Man and the James Bond and the Charlie Chan thing like, all these movies, I never would have watched. But not for him, watching them, you know, on repeat, and, and loving them. And just I remember just loving movies, and I love television. And as this guy kind of described, like, they were the brokers in between something, being an idea and becoming a film or television, I was like, I'm in this is what I want to do. And so I started reading everything. You know, one of the things that Hamilton made me really good at was research. And this was, you know, before you could just go Google stuff. It was You had to go to libraries or you had to, you know, pull actual. Dave, do you remember these things called newspapers that were like actual physical papers? those artifacts? Yes. So I read every single thing one could read about agencies in general, at the time it was UTA, which is united talent agency, W Ma, which is William Morris Agency, which is one of the oldest agencies ever, which was then, which then merged with endeavour was to become web ICM and Creative Artists Agency, which is where I work and all of that I met and interviewed at all of them. Except I couldn't get a callback from CAA. And that drove me nuts. And similar to me, begging my way into Hamilton. I was like, I'm not going to take a no call back as an answer. So befriended this guy by the name of Sam Wolfson, who worked in he was the assistant to the head of HR. And I called him every day and kept asking to get a time to speak with the head of HR, this woman by the name of Arlene Newman, who was an institution herself. She had been there for 17 years, and she had hired everyone and she was, you know, stone cold. And just like when you got in there, she convinced you why you didn't want this job. And I finally got her on the phone one day, one day she picked up and I said, I just want to come in and sit with you for a second. I was like, and then you can send me away and I'll never bug you again. And she said, Okay, I'll meet you tomorrow at 10am and i and i was in Tahoe, which is about a seven hour drive and I was like, okay, and I went and tried to figure out how to iron my suit, which was, like, you know, probably the same suit I wore for my confirmation. And I drove down to Los Angeles and met with her. But in my so I walk into the lobby of CAA and this is an old building, it was at 9830 Wilshire Boulevard and it was an IM Pei building so you walk in at this big cavernous lobby is a desk where a person's like a reception desk where you sat were person sat and then couches and I went in I checked in I went and sat down the couches and I was shaking I was the cavernous lobby had its effect on me where I was like it was I was intimidated. And sitting there filling out a form that they gave me to fill out, you know, some kind of application or whatever. I feel the presence of a person come in and sit down next to me and I kind of don't even really glance up I just filling out my thing trying not to have bad handwriting and sit up straight and I in my mind, I was like everything to test. They're watching me everything to test and the person sitting next to me, I kind of picked my head up and I just said hello. And they said hello back. And as I sort of glance, glanced again, I recognized that it was Natalie Portman. And she was sitting on the same couch as me, in Los Angeles, at the Creative Artists Agency. And I was like, well, this is a win. Like Natalie Portman just said hello to me. Like, I can go home right now. It's all good. And you were like, oh, you're trying to be an agent to? Not almost. It was I was lucky, I could get any word out at all. But she said, What are you writing? And I said, Oh, it's a application. I'm here to apply for a job today. And she was like, Oh, cool. And I said, What are you doing? And she was like, I'm seeing my agent. And I was like, ah, and then I realized I had nothing else to say to Natalie Portman. I was like, I think I probably said something like cool. And then went back to you know, now even more nervous writing my application. And Natalie got up She went and use the restroom, she came back. She was like, you're still here. And I said, Yeah, I know. I guess they're making me wait for a second She goes, if you get a job here, you should tell them that someone is throwing, you know, when people, you know when people would take a paper towel, and they opened the door with a paper towel, but if there wasn't a trashcan, they just left a paper towel on the floor. She told me that someone had done that or more multiple people had done that. And she was like, You should tell them that there's paper towels on the floor in the women's bathroom. And I was like, I will Natalie Portman. I will do that. I will. So then she went to her meeting, I sat there a little longer. I went downstairs with the basement, which is where HR was and I sat with Arlene, who, as, as advertised, began telling me why I didn't want this job and why it was so hard and all the different things and I kept saying to her, I do you want this job more than anything. And I'm going to work here at some point. So We should just cut to the chase. And I was like, and, you know, I think one of the things that could really help with is, for example, I just met Natalie Portman upstairs and she mentioned that the bathrooms had paper towels on the floor because people were opening the doors in the trashcan. I was like, wow, you know, I could start tomorrow, and I will, I'll make sure that none of our clients ever see paper towels on the floor of the bathroom. And she sort of paused and sat there and stared at me and she had these like, crystal blue eyes, like steely eyes staring at me. And she goes, I've been doing this for a long time, and I've never heard a line like that. And she goes, we're gonna find you a job here is amazing. And, and just like that I got hired, and I couldn't. I mean, she was like, do you have a place to live? I was like, yep, not true. I was hoping that my brother would let me stay on his couch. And I was like, but whatever. She said, I was like, yep. Do you have a car? I was like, sure. Whatever. Yeah. David Bolger. Let me borrow his And I went and met with an agent who had just returned from Cannes, the Cannes Film Festival that day. And I met with him and he hired me on the spot. And I started there. And that was about 18 years ago, this past June? Well, I imagine there's a huge part of the job, which is client service and wrapped up in your rather smart line about Natalie Portman and paper towels is a acknowledgement of the client service I have to imagine. Yeah, I think that's right. And I think it's one of those. It's the mentality of like, you know, nothing is not your job. Right. Right. You know, yeah, yeah. I mean, it's what I look for when I'm hiring people now. It's the idea of, yeah, that's not my job. I'm still going to do it because it's going to help someone else and it's going to get it done fast and doesn't you know, it's irrelevant whose job it was. Yeah. Yeah. If you had to describe what the job is right. I think a lot of people The view of what the job is shaped by Jerry Maguire and entourage probably. And I'm sure there's far more to it. And it's not as exciting as that. Or maybe it is. But what is what is the job? The job is? It's like you said, it's a lot of it's it's client service. And you but you are dealing with depending on whether you're dealing with writers, directors, actors, right, you're, you're dealing with people who have interested in you, really, their hopes and their dreams, right? So if someone's handing you their script, that is, you know, maybe their life's work that they're handing to you and, you know, 70 to 120 pages and asking you to help make it into a movie or a television show, right? So, so it's a lot of reading. It's a lot of really, it's it's reading with real reading calm prehension because you, you help give notes you help shape story. Not that much. But you know, sometimes clients will ask for your feedback or your opinion on things. Other times, they just want to know whether you think it's good or not good. And then it's with actors A lot of times, it's, you know, it's either trying to procure the employment for them, so trying to track down a job that they they either fit into, or maybe they don't fit into, but you convince someone that they can fit into it. So it's a lot of, you know, you really have to have belief that because sometimes people will go, Oh, no, that person just does this. And you're like, no, they're an actor. You've seen them do that well, but they do this, this and this, you just haven't seen it yet. So let them come in and prove it to you. Right. So that that's a big part of it. And then negotiating There deals. So we're basically, we serve the people we serve, we're able to negotiate contracts without having a law degree, right? So you're negotiating the, the upfront fee, you're negotiating the back end participation, you're negotiating their credit position, all the different things that go into what makes up a deal for an actor, actress, writer, director, how much of the job is having to tell people that's a bad idea, or trying to motivate them to do something you think is a good idea that they you clearly an advocate for people and it sounds like that's a big part of the job. But yeah, it also requires an ounce of motivation or, or common sense, you know, setting. Sometimes it depends on the client. But not, not a lot, you know. I guess part of the good news is by the time it's got too. This is gonna sound arrogant, but it's it's not meant to be. But but but working at the level that I was lucky enough to be at at CAA. The clients that I'm dealing with, are are at a certain level where I'm based gone through a couple different clearing houses almost before it got to me. Does that make sense? Yeah, there's a couple. There's a couple of fail safes that have happened in order for it to even land on my desk, there's a there's a pretty good shot that someone who is smarter than me has already said, this is a good idea. So I haven't had to spend as much time being like, I think this is a bad idea. You do. I have spent a lot of time saying like, I don't think this is the right thing for you right now. I think we should do this rather than that. And then more. The hardest thing for me, I think, especially at the very beginning is it It's a lot of giving people, especially actors, it's a lot of giving people really bad news all the time. So and I think we're agents similar to attorneys or anyone who's in a business like that. I think what happens is you it's it's almost Pavlovian, where you, the person starts to associate that phone number calling in with appears bad news again, right? And you can sense that so then you start to try and spin the bad news. And you try and make the bad news, good news. And one of the greatest things that ever happened to me was, I was, you know, Bradley Cooper had just done Wedding Crashers right. He, there was, he was not a household name by any means. And we were, you know, he was going out and auditioning and auditioning and auditioning, and I would call him and I'd say, they loved you, but they want this so they loved you. But But and he said to me, it changed my life. It changed how my agent changed everything. He, he said, he was like, Dave, you keep saying that they loved me. And then there's this, but that's not helping me. I gotta, if they loved me, the next line really should be, they want you to either come back you got to call back or you got the job. Right? So we got to dig deeper and find out what it is I'm not doing right. In order to in order to get me in order to land some of these gigs. And I, I swear to you, it was like that. It's like the moment in the movie. It's the epiphany moment where I was like, Oh, my God, I'm like, Yes. I don't have to sugarcoat this stuff. Now, some clients didn't necessarily agree with that strategy. And it was definitely that I imagine that there's some delicate personalities that Yeah, there's some that require a different bedside manner and some and some that just don't, you know, I'm the wrong match for because I just found it so much easier. to then be able to say like, they didn't like you. They thought you looked weird. They didn't, they didn't like the they didn't like your attitude or they didn't like your reading, they just thought you're the wrong guy for the role and it changed everything and and just get, you know, it didn't change the fact that I still have to give bad news. It just it changed how I approached it where I was like it Listen, you signed up for the bad news business, right? Like 90% of the things are going to be nose. Let's just focus on what we can get a yes to and build from there. And once people kind of adapt to that sort of outlook on it, then it It works really well with it, but it's a horrible business because you know, it's so subjective, right? They've got a thing. Whoever you they're walking in that room already knows in their mind. They're picturing Christian Bale. Right. And if you don't come in and somehow act Christian Bale in there Which is, you know, impossible, then you're not the right person. And unless you go in and somehow change their mind, and you're like, Oh, it's not Christian Bale, it's this person, right. So it's a really hard hard job that I do not envy that these. These, you know, people signed up for. It's it's interesting to hear you talk about fighting through the 90% of nose and hear you talk about your path, which was, you know, I had to convince Hamilton levy and I had to convince the first, you know, my first job to hire me and I was going to be ecosystem calling. Seems like that, whatever that is that you push through and need to know or overcome it is watching for the job. Yeah, I never I Yeah, that's a good point. I never really thought about it like that. I just, I it was, you know, I think again, it goes back to, I guess a little bit of sports and just sort of not You know, no, you know, there's no team, you can't be if you put the right strategy in the right players on the field and the right, you know, and you get the right bounces in your direction. You know, I think just having that sort of mindset is very, really helpful. And it seems like not sure, but it seems like it worked out. Okay. So yeah, it's going very well. Although, I gotta tell you, He is the hardest working dude. I mean, never take anything for granted. Like, he he continuously, you know, he'll, he'll say something, you know, he'll get offered a movie, you know, and they'll be like, do they want me to come read for it? And I'm like, No, Bradley, you've been nominated for however many Oscars like you're, you don't need to read for it anymore. He's like, I know. But if I read for it, maybe like I proved that they that I'm right for I think No, no, they think you're right for it already. they're offering it to you like he just he has the real blue collar working man's mentality and it never changed. Not one that was great. Alright, so you work your way in and and use Natalie Portman's words to get yourself hired. Did you so I'm curious, have you seen her dealt with it since then? And you told her that, sir, everyone, everyone always asked that. So I'm, I'm friendly with her. Now, when I first saw her, I saw her at a party. A bunch of years later, I was never invited to a party where she would be at until, you know, until my clients were something but I eventually got invited to a party where she was it was at my boss's house. And I was like, Oh my gosh, I have to go tell her that she helps me get my job. Yeah. And so I go, so I go up to her and I tell her the story and she was like, she was super sweet. But she was like, I don't remember saying that. And I was like, Natalie, I actually need you to remember this because it's a pretty big part of my life. And it you know, we had a laugh about it, but at first she did. She definitely did not recall it. But I do I do tell her whenever I see her that I thank her. That's awesome. That's that's a great story. So help me understand how you went from this freshman down the hall barring my car to me on the cover of People Magazine burying. Again, the Alyssa thing happened in the same that that same cavernous lobby, she was in the building, going to I think she was going to have lunch with her agent. And I was on my way out of the office to go to a lunch and I passed by her in the lobby and she stopped me dead in my tracks. And I was like, you know, I almost tripped over my feet. It's cheesy, but I remember exactly, she was wearing a yellow dress. I remember. Like, I can picture it right now. Long, long story long, I ended up probably a year and a half later covering a project that she was doing for TV. And that put me on the phone with her a number of times. And a friend of mine had actually dated her as well. So I'd known I knew her through that. And and then, at one point, it just lined up that we were single at the same time, and, and she asked me out to dinner. That's right, Dave, she asked me to True story. I was hoping for I forgot to tell you I was hoping for another story of astrophysics. 10 times he said no, no, no because that is now as I've learned that's called stalking and you're not allowed to do that. No, she asked me out to dinner and I very happily said yes. And I of course I thought there was a pretty good shot that it was going to be you know, that that she wanted to have me as an agent but I was hoping that through our connection that maybe she didn't want me as an agent and she was interested in going to more dinners and now she's been stuck with me for God knows how long and and I'm making her chicken and potatoes right now. Well, I imagine there were quite a lot of friends from from home who were dumbstruck that you started Yeah, yeah. And I, you know, I don't think I realized just how just how many people's crushing she was. And I of course, I knew who she was and I known the show she'd been on but I didn't want I mean, I didn't grow up, who I'd seen who's the boss, but I didn't grow up that wasn't like, that's Tuesday night we're watching who's a bot like that. That wasn't one of those shows for me. But like, you know, just the other day, my buddy forwarded me an article that said Chris Hemsworth for Liam, Liam Hemsworth had just said that his crush growing up was Alyssa. And I said, I was like, we need to keep this from her because this is this actually this could push her over the edge. This one she might just bolt. I can't compete against the Hemsworth she quite active socially. She, she is I, I have to say it is one of the things that I marvel at the her ability to just get absolutely crushed from all sides. Right? Because no matter what you say, no matter what you do, there are people coming for you. And she just, you know, she turns the other cheek and she just keeps fighting. You know, she just, she really believed. I mean, when I when I were first dating, I would just remember her telling me stories of like, you know, she would go on these UNICEF humanitarian missions. And I was like, that sounds awful. Like it sounds so hard on you as a human being because you'd go to you know, she was in anger. golen she was working with neglected tropical diseases with that were affecting infants and stuff like that. I like how do you do this? I mean, it just, it has to wear on you. And she's like, well, she's like, what's the point? You know, she she started working when she was eight, I think eight or nine she got Annie. And, and I think she just, she, her parents were just amazing role models and said, if you're ever given a platform, or you're given the, you know, a megaphone that someone will listen to, even if it's two people, then you yell through it. And she, she continues, continues to yell, and, you know, and she fights for everything in anything and there's not, you know, she gets called constantly Will you help with this? Will you talk about this, will you? You know, do that and she just says yes, yes, yes. It's Um, I don't know how she does it. I couldn't I can't say I end up I troll her trolls on Instagram because they I was like that's one thing I can do Hamilton Tommy to write really well I'm gonna, I'm gonna own this person right now. I was gonna ask you if you if you're able to avoid the cesspool or do you, you know, does human nature kick in and you want to read it? So you are you're checking out with these people. Sometimes I try really hard not to She's amazing. She doesn't read it. Or if she does, you know, like someone will say the most awful vile thing to her and she'll be like, I'm so sorry that you feel that way and that you're hurting inside and I'm wishing you well, and I sorry, we don't agree on this. And I'm like, Really? That's what you're gonna say to this person who just lit you up. She's like, what what am I gonna do? Me responding back is just gonna like fuel their anger there hate more. Yeah, she's like I you know, they haven't done anything. It's just what they believe. Lead eo and she she's got a really good add on her shoulders about it. I don't I lose I get so you know, I feel I feel bad I don't like people talking like that about people. How the heck do you make time to be normal people and parents and all that was to imagine your busy careers and then all the this social good that she's doing. I think you know, I've seen crest of her talking about your home life and being parents and it's still important. I can't really agree by the time I think we we both were lucky enough to have great parents of our own and who who taught us a lot. But I think you also have to learn a lot of this on your own and learn from your mistakes. But I think we just we made a very conscious decision when we when we first got pregnant with Milo she's I'm gonna I really want to take time and put my acting and stuff on hold. And I said absolutely. And, and then luckily my job is, you know, I'm able to do a lot of it remotely and from the phone and from email and stuff like that. So I was able to go, you know, I'd be able to be home for dinner and try and give semblance of a normal, you know, home life. But, you know, it's like anything else you You do have to, you can't just go like this will work itself out. You actually have to really concentrate on it and we sit down on Sundays and we schedule a go, Okay, here's my week. I've got to do this. I've got to fly here. Well now don't find anywhere but we used to go on these things called airplanes and fly different places. And, you know, we would we'd be really coordinated about it and when she'd have to go away for something, I would either bring the kids Or she would take the kids, you know, we just you figure out ways to make it work or I mean, she's, you know, she passed on a lot of stuff, a lot of things that I'm sure in her competitive mind, she would have loved to have done. A lot of TV shows a lot of movies that she would have loved to have done that she just had to politely say I can't right now because I've got a, you know, I'm raising a son and a daughter and trying to be a wife. Well, we, we enjoyed her on Project Runway. Oh, good. Good. That was a fun one. That's I mean, that's a perfect example that so that shot in New York. She loved that job. And she made you know, she would forfeit money out of her check to say, I don't care about that, put that money towards, you know, an apartment where my kids can live. And my you know, her parents came with us. So we all lived in the For three or four summers in a row, all together, and we had like, we had two apartments in Battery Park. And you know, the kids spent a couple months of the summer in New York. And it was awesome. But you know, the the shoot days, we should go should shoot, you know from 5am to to 9am. And then she'd be home all day with the kids. Crazy life. Crazy life. She's down with yourself there it is. But we kind of just, we just acted we, we just decided at one point, we're just going to act like this isn't crazy, right? Like, you just pack your stuff up and you go where your family is, and this is what it is. Right? And then people have been doing it for a long time. As long as we're together. That's that's where home is for that moment. Right. So she shot a show that she did that. She shot a show in Atlanta, and the kids went to preschool in Atlanta and I flew in and out. I think I would fly I would fly in on i'd land there on Thursday. I'd be there Thursday through Sunday night and Monday morning, I take a 6am flight to Los Angeles. And just we did that, you know, just you make it work. The one question I asked everybody is looking back on their time at the school arriving, you know, in your case arriving put soccer as you known then what you know now with the hindsight of all your experience, would you have told that kid anything? Would you have done anything different? You know, yeah, there's a couple things I think about. I absolutely loved my time at Hamilton loved it loved my friends. Loved I loved every thing about it. I loved all the sports I participated in. I have the best memory From there something I wish I had done that I just didn't realize, I don't know why I didn't realize, or maybe just wasn't on our mind at the time. I wish we had taken more trips from from the hill to somewhere. Because there's so many things in and around the area, I feel like we kind of just, we stayed. We were like home base there. And I remember thinking afterwards, luckily, I get to travel a lot for my job. And I remember thinking like, wow, I'm in Boston. And this actually isn't that far from like, we could have done a weekend trip here. Or I'm in Buffalo, and we should have gotten here and like it was just a bunch of different things that I I wish we had done more excursions cuz I think it would have been really fun but also just I think it's a, it's a great way to learn things just to go experience it and be in different places and meet different people and talk to people who have different, you know, views and perspectives in you because I think you I do think you get a little bit insulated. On the Hell yeah. But I did just I recently just with the I think it was right after the George Floyd murder that I I reached out to get in touch with my women's studies professor, Professor Adair, who's still there at Hamilton. And I remember I remember so fondly. First of all, I remember like people giving me you know, the business about taking a women's studies class. I remember people being like, what are you taking Women's Studies class for? And I remember so fondly, the debates that we had in that class, and that Professor Adair in particular was so welcoming of other perspectives other than her own what she was trying to teach. And she was she really embraced it. Right And by doing that, I think a lot I think she changed a lot of minds because you've got, you know, you got people from all different parts of the political spectrum at Hamilton. And obviously, Women's Studies is a very liberal, liberal leaning class. And I just remember I remember her being so welcoming, have out, you know, different ideas, different perspectives, and then, and then kind of really politely and thoughtfully going, Okay. But then consider it this way, right? And then you just see someone go, Oh, my God, like, I never even thought of that. And, and it's not their fault. It's the way they were brought up. And it's the way that their parents were, it's probably the way that their grandparents were and I just, I thought that was such so special and men meant so much to me now that I reached out to her just to tell her and I have so many. I have so many memories of of moments where I had a professor I took an art history class. And I remember the moment in the class something, or something just clicked in my mind that just changed how I studied. All of a sudden, like all of the things, all of the tools that I've been sort of gathering and, you know, using a little bit here and a little bit there, all of them kind of just melted. And I was like, Oh, no, I know how to do this now. And it just changed. It changed how I studied, it changes how I wrote papers, change everything. And it was from the, you know, those are two examples of classes I otherwise probably wouldn't have taken right I was, you know, I was a government major. So I was mainly in philosophy classes and something you know, in an econ classes, that kind of thing. And our art history and women's studies stood out to me as things that just totally changed my life. I enjoyed that one. Lots of wisdom in there for current students and how to get their start. And if you Wondering where some of that competitiveness comes from? That Dave talks about a few times in the conversation clearly that comes from a life in athletics and his guts started at an early age. We didn't talk about this in the interview, but I think it's important to note that Dave is the son of a legendary High School soccer coach Miller boyardee from Pingree. His dad is a National High School Sports Hall of Famer the winningest coach in New Jersey history and the second winningest coach in the country. So I think when you're the son of a legendary coach like that, certainly there's some competitive juices that are gonna flow. My thanks to Dave for a great conversation really appreciate it's a fascinating story. So funny stories. He's a funny guy. For a guy who likes to stay private. It's It was an honor to have him as a guest on the show. You have been listening to Had I known who LFM has had I known show on social media. Had I known that buzzsprout Calm for all previous episodes including this one. As always, my thanks to Dr. Michael woods for supplying all the music on this show. And as always, Doc is gonna play us out. Hope you enjoyed the show. We'll talk to you next week.