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Book Excerpt

Excerpt from It Takes Two: Our Story

When Canada’s W Network gave the Scott brothers their big break by picking up the television pilot for Property Brothers in 2010, the show shot to #1 in its timeslot. But the road to stardom had been anything but quick and easy for the driven twins who first entered the working world after their cowboy father, Jim, sat them down on their seventh birthday and announced: “It’s time to get a job, boys.”

We didn’t stop to ask whether our Lego habit had forced Dad to borrow from the mob, or if the extra money was needed to send Jonathan to a sleep lab so he’d stop trying to walk through our bedroom wall in the middle of the night like some possessed zombie on an invisible treadmill. We grabbed the newspaper to start combing through the Help Wanted ads, crossing jobs off as we went:

Accountant – Nice salary! but we were only in second grade and hadn’t made it through the multiplication tables yet, so that could be an issue on the way up the corporate ladder. MAYBE.

Repairman – There wasn’t a small appliance in the house that Jonathan couldn’t fix, but on the downside, he didn’t discriminate between things that were actually broken and things that were perfectly fine before he started tearing stuff apart. And he tended to get distracted and wander off mid-task. For days. Sometimes weeks. That one got a big, fat NO.
The Help Wanted ads weren’t being very helpful. The whole thing seemed rigged toward people who knew how to drive, had previous experience, or…

“Rocks,” Jonathan pointed out.

That was true. No one could boast anywhere near the experience we had in rock-gathering. Ever the thrifty Scotsman, our dad used to send us out to clear the pastures by hand, paying us a nickel for each pail we filled with rocks… but it was boring work and took forever, which is probably why the entire national labor force of rock-gatherers consisted of prison road gangs and a pair of squirrely twins from Maple Ridge. We had a complicated love/hate relationship with rock-gathering, and were secretly relieved that no one was advertising for professionals in that field.

This time, our eyes fell on an ad the Parks and Recreation Department had placed. They wanted to hire clowns for birthday parties and parades. We showed up for the Parks and Rec class and took our seats alongside the grown-up wannabe clowns, who all cast dismissive “awww, aren’t they cute” looks our way. Clowns are kind of cutthroat, come to find out.

We loved clown school and aced every test of clown competency, from twisting balloons into dachshunds to juggling balls (or oranges, or our stuffed animals, or pretty much three of anything except rocks, which we still resented.)
We also learned some beginner’s magic tricks and how to apply clown make-up. We graduated magna cum laude at the top of our clown class and were immediately hired by Parks and Rec to start working parades, festivals and birthday parties for ten bucks a pop.

Our work ethic plus the hyper energy and slapstick humor that we came with, anyway, soon turned us into the reigning junior Bozos of Maple Ridge. (Not everyone was cheering us on: One adult rival seemed to think we were somehow cheating by being twins, and would loudly groan, “Not those two again” if we were hired for the same gig.)

The brothers put away their clown wigs in their teens and began going on auditions, getting background work, some small acting roles and a few TV commercials. Jonathan meanwhile built illusions for the magic show he dreamed of taking on tour, while Drew perfected his 43” vertical jump in hopes of turning an athletic scholarship into a pro basketball career. They began flipping houses occasionally on the side, and supported themselves with a string of jobs ranging from flight attendant, personal trainer and bikini store manager to busboy, website designer and mall cop.

There were several occasions when we arrested people, but we didn’t have a mall jail, so we made them wait in the office until the real police arrived. Usually it was just shoplifters or kids who were vandalizing, but we also would get perverts trying to streak through the mall. If you’ve ever had to handcuff someone with no clothes on, then you know that it’s a little disconcerting.

After a series of injuries destroyed his chance for a college basketball career, Drew got a second chance at 25 when he was recruited by a small college in Alberta. After a few weeks, though, he returned to Vancouver, vowing to give himself a year to make one last push for a career in front of the cameras. With that deadline looming and his savings drained, he rejoined Jonathan in their real estate business.

DREW: When I made my decision to move to Vancouver to pursue my greatest passion, I appreciated the difference between fulfilling a fantasy and forging a future. Yet here I was now at the exact same turning point I’d been at with basketball. Maybe my career in entertainment wasn’t meant to be, either. Jonathan and I had both poured so much into realizing our respective dreams, but we were in no way satisfied or ready to settle. Destiny couldn’t be done with us yet.

As their real estate business thrived and their efforts to break into TV foundered, the brothers created their own sizzle reel for a home-improvement show centered around garages, which led, eventually to the life-changing call from W Network.

All the wacky business ventures we got into as kids had shown us that extra effort always paid off. We couldn’t wait to see where hard work and perseverance would eventually take us.

And now, at the age of 32, we were about to find out.

Adapted from IT TAKES TWO: Our Story by Jonathan and Drew Scott to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 5, 2017. Copyright (c) 2017 by SB Publications, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

It Take Two: Our Story

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