As part of an ongoing series, Thrive is asking some of the most interesting people we know to tell us what’s been making them hopeful lately. Here’s what Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, a film producer and writer who has guided the careers of stars like Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts, and Spike Lee, told us:
My 9-year-old niece, Sophie Chiaravalle, asked me to speak to her class about what exactly a producer does.
“Sure,” I said, “No problem.”
But it turns out it wasn’t so easy. Producing isn’t a profession like being a doctor, or a nurse, or a teacher. There aren’t set tasks on any given day, or even set places to go. I wanted to conjure up an image so they could understand.
So I told them that a producer is someone who has a dream and tries every day to make that dream a reality.
“Imagine that dream,” I said, “as a kind of a huge boulder, and the producer rolling it up a ginormous mountain filled with holes, and detours, and mudslides, and often a few rattlesnakes. It’s heavy, and it’s hard, and it doesn’t just require strength,” I said. “It requires foresight, and a great deal of help from a lot people. And even with all that help,” I explained, “the producer has to think on her feet and sometimes change direction just to navigate the different obstacles and to try to reach the top. Because when she does,” I told them, “she will be able to share that dream with the world.”
As the image of me, I imagine, rolling some boulder was sinking in, one little boy raised his hand and said, “What happens if she doesn’t make it?”
“What happens if she gets bitten by a rattle snake, or falls into a cavern, or the boulder rolls back down the hill?”
And before I could answer, Sophie said, “She just gets up, figures a way out, and tries again.”
And THAT gives me hope.
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