This article by Chris Gardner originally appeared in the Dec. 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine – thank you for the feature!
“Thank you.” Those two words usually are a simple expression of gratitude. In Hollywood, however, they can take on complexity colored by a relative pecking order. Be it for a weekend stay at an oceanfront Malibu mansion or a winning Oscar campaign, this scrutinized social gesture often is marked by an expensive piece of stationery, a $300 floral arrangement or Taschen’s Annie Leibovitz tome — at the very least.
Estate manager Bryan Peele, who guides the gifting activities of his mega-wealthy Los Angeles clients, says thank-yous can have tricky subtexts. For a translation, he adds, look to the stage: “In any Chekhov play, there is what’s being said, what’s not being said and what’s being implied. That’s how I equate proper thank-you gifts — there’s a subtlety to it.” What’s being said is easy, says Peele: “Thank you.” What’s not being said is how aware the giver is of the relationship’s value — including if the recipient occupies a higher position within the Hollywood hierarchy. And what’s being implied is the giver’s taste level (and bank account). read more →