The other day I got another check for my “work” on the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
It all started when I answered the phone at 5 am on my 16th birthday. Who would’ve thought that almost 23 years later, I would still be making money from that day’s events?
I had one meager line, “Hi Jeanie!” which I said to Ferris’ sister, played by Jennifer Grey.
It was raining on that September morning, so the company had to go to “cover set”. That meant they couldn’t shoot their originally scheduled scenes of outdoor beautiful Chicago. Hence the sudden notification that I was cast in the movie, and the sudden notification that they needed me on set in the next two hours.
I had auditioned for another role, which was given to Lara Flynn Boyle, a fellow Chicago Academy for the Arts student. I was disappointed that I didn’t get that particular part — until I saw the movie and learned that Lara and that scene ended up on the cutting room floor. No scene, no residuals.
I got paid for that day’s work, and have received “mailbox money” since the day it went to video. I also have gotten cash for it being played overseas, played on cable, when it went to DVD, played on pay-per-view, and so on and so on and so on. I’ve never figured out how much I made total. But these days, I get a couple hundred bucks a year.
I’d say that all the residuals I’ve received over the years, for movies, TV shows, commercials, have totaled over $25,000. And since I was 11, when I first entered “show biz”, I’ve been fortunate to have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars, both as a performer and as a crew member.
The real value, though, is not the cash I’ve made. It’s how I’ve made it. Making money in a non-traditional industry and in a non-traditional way has fostered an open-mindedness that I don’t think I’d have otherwise.
We live in a land of opportunity. Having participated, it’s not theory to me. It’s reality.
I see opportunity and possibility everywhere. How about you?