2013-03-07

Co.Exist

Hollywood Looks To Cash In On The 10-Year-Old Behind Caine’s Arcade

From cardboard to Tinseltown, the young kid behind one of the feel-good stories of the year is about to cash in.

East Los Angeles tween Caine Monroy has been a media darling since last spring when a YouTube documentary of the cardboard arcade he built in his dad’s auto shop began circulating. Since then, he’s received more than $100,000 in donated scholarship funds, spoken at conferences around the world, and, more generally, become the poster child of the education movement to encourage entrepreneurship and creativity in children.

Yesterday, an announcement made it clear the blogosphere latched onto the news that his (already more than) 15 minutes of fame would get a guaranteed extension: The world’s largest talent agency William Morris Endeavors, who represents the likes of Denzel Washington and Tina Fey, revealed that it had added Monroy to its stable of talent. (Update: apparently he’s been with the agency since June.)

Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick, who was the arcade’s first customer and brought Monroy to fame with an 11-minute video, told Los Angeles magazine that he had set up the initial meeting with WME to help Mullick, Monroy, and their team deal with the onsluaght of offers they’ve received in response to their globally adored video (which has cleared 3.5 million views in a year). Mullick wouldn’t share the exact projects he expects their new representation will lock down, other than more speaking engagements, like the TEDx talk in Santa Monica that his 10-year-old associate recently gave. "There are studios interested in a feature film, toy companies--all kinds of things," he told the magazine.

It’s an incredible opportunity to make an impact for a duo with a big vision. Right after the video came out, Mullick and his collaborators founded The Imagination Foundation “to find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in kids" which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. But it’s also scary to think of what could happen to Caine as he is shaped into, essentially, a Hollywood child star. Let’s hope the town leaves Caine mostly alone, so there’s no need for a "Leave Caine Alone" video in a decade.

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