8:00am PT by Borys Kit
How a Scavenger Hunt Became a Talent Agency's Elaborate Staff Promotion
Some agencies announce promotions in an email. Verve, which has clients including Colin Trevorrow and The Meg writers Jon and Erich Hoeber, did something else at its Aug. 16 event for its employees.
With a scavenger hunt thrown by Fantastic Race LA, the 50-plus strong agency broke into teams who started at the Hollywood Bowl, went on to downtown's Grand Central Market, public library and other locations, before ending up at Cabo Wabo Cantina in the Hollywood & Highland complex.
At the Mexican restaurant, during an awards ceremony, Kyle Jensen — who was a Maker Studios exec before becoming an assistant to Verve partner Adam Weinstein and moving up the ranks to motion picture coordinator — found himself onstage alone.
Jensen, a space enthusiast who has attended space camp twice, was then joined by a person in an astronaut suit as Weinstein gave a speech filled with space-movie puns: "His hiring made a Deep Impact … Even The Martian has heard of him because his reputation is Interstellar" — and promoted him to agent.
Weinstein choked up as he made the official promotion proclamation, and the mysterious astronaut was revealed to be Jensen’s wife, Sherry, invited to be part of the occasion.
“Going to Verve as an assistant, it was one step back, but it was two steps forward,” said Jensen, who admitted he had no inkling what was going on. “I really believe that this place is a special place. I can’t wait to take this moment and make it just ... blast off. I’m so excited!”
Says partner Adam Levine: "Promotions used to be a rite of passage, something that you remembered for the rest of your life. We wanted to bring that back."
A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.