When it comes to the Story Co., its billion-dollar success can also be attributed to director Tim Story’s wife, Vicky Mara Story. His missus of 12 years, whom Tim Story calls “his best friend,” is also one of his earliest investors.
The native Angelenos met back in 1992, when they were both 22, through mutual friends. What began as a friendship turned romantic after a few years, around the same time Vicky helped Tim incorporate the company in 1995. She impulsively invested when the couple were out to dinner following the first screening of Tim’s first independent picture, 1996’s “One of Us Tripped.” As an entrepreneur who had recently sold her stake in a comic-book shop, Vicky was impressed by Tim’s immediate plans to raise $10,000 to shoot a trailer for his next project.
“I remember thinking, ‘This kid just screened a movie he put together himself,’ and I said, ‘Nothing is going to stop it, whether I’m here or not,’ ” Vicky says. “So I said to him, ‘What if I give you the $10,000?’ I didn’t even think twice when I said that. And that was literally my first vision of him to being able to pull off whatever he could pull off.”
“The greatest thing is that we met each other around movies, around making a movie, and she knows that’s what I do and that’s what I always want to do,” says Tim. “She’s never punished me for wanting to do what I love to do. And that is a great thing. I give her the same respect and she allows me to make movies. She’s somebody that I completely trust.”
Their contract named Vicky a silent partner, but when she discovered a producer had overdrawn the account, she says, “That’s when I stopped being silent.”
To continue shooting for his 1998 film, “The Firing Squad,” Vicky says she and Tim borrowed several hundred thousand dollars, including a $40,000 line of credit from her father.
|“I have to deal with the business managers and attorneys and getting the contracts to Tim to sign and payment for the assistants. They don’t deal with Tim. They deal with me.”|
|Vicky Mara Story|
“That’s the point that literally changed us as partners,” she says. “I just knew, at that point, ‘You’re all in.’ And that’s when I knew my parents were all in.”
Today, the Story home is a hub for their extended families.
Poker games kick in around 8 p.m., with kids swimming and “playing in the background,” dinner and, sometimes, the sweet potato or cookies-and-cream cheesecakes that Tim makes.
“If you’re in our household, you’d know, it’s just a whole lot fun,” Vicky says.
Mere minutes from Chez Story are the Culver City offices of the Story Co., where Vicky, whose official title is vice president, says she essentially functions as a CFO.
“I don’t report there every morning at 8 a.m.; I’m a mom so I can’t do that,” she says. “I’m a mobile partner. I check in daily. I’m there weekly.”
A 50-50 stakeholder in their investments and a licensed real estate broker, Vicky still handles the numbers.
“Every project that Tim books, I have to deal with the business managers and attorneys and getting the contracts to Tim to sign and payment for the assistants,” Vicky says. “They don’t deal with Tim. They deal with me. Those are the types of things Tim just hates. So that’s how I end up dealing with the the business aspects of every movie.”
One of the things Tim admires most about Vicky is that she not only runs the financial and business sides of their joint venture, but “runs the family” as well.
“When you have a family, making movies and being away from your kids is not easy,” says Tim, “but she makes it easy.”
And there is always, “room for romance,” says Vicky, who is raising her sister’s 12-year-old daughter along with and Tim and her three children, ages 4, 9 and 11.
“If he comes home, and I’m hugging him in the middle of the living room and kissing him, they end up hugging around us.”
In their down time, Vicky says, “The most fun for us right now is coming home, having a glass of wine and being with our children. We are at the age where we are focused on time, being present and being together.”