Mailbox Money

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?

6 comments for “Mailbox Money

  1. David Robison
    July 15, 2008 at 6:52 pm


    When you decide to break with the anonymity, you do it big.

    There’s no turning back now, but I’m wondering why you finally decided to “break” that story.

    It was paramount in Prague that secret was not to get out.

    Glad to read that you letting the readers know who are…authenticity; it’s the key.

  2. Anonymous
    July 16, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Bridgett, There has never been a doubt you could make money in untraditional ways. Did it start with you selling your drawings at 5 cents apiece door-to-door in our neighborhood? Or was it back rubs for a quarter? Or, perhaps, greeting cards and gift wrap when we moved to the big city and our apartment building was your oyster?

    We started calling you “bridgeco” because not only did you know how to make money, ypu knew how to use it to make more money.

    And the beat goes on……

  3. Bridgett
    July 16, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Well David,
    I guess having my mom find my blog and post a comment answers your question!
    I can’t exactly talk about my life, giving details about it, knowing just how “googleable” my husband and I, and remain anonymous.:)

  4. Bridgett
    July 16, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Wow Mom, I forgot all about those early days…
    And “bridgeco”! That’s right, “bridgeco”. The tagline y’all came up with, having to be said in one of those deep male announcer voices, was:”The Bridgett Corporation–People, helping people.”
    The beat does go on… 🙂

  5. KROOZ
    July 17, 2008 at 10:28 am

    You totally stole that movie.

  6. InsideEdgePR
    July 18, 2008 at 10:29 am

    I began writing newspaper stories in 1984…a full year before your one-liner in Ferris Bueller. My residual income from the 1,000s of stories I’ve written over the years: $0.00.

    As you so aptly note, it’s not only how much money you make (not that journalism ever paid very much), but how you make it!

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