He knew his whole life what he wanted to do. He wanted to act in movies. He saw movies as a vehicle not only to escape reality, but also as a way to inspire people to overcome their personal obstacles.
He constantly visited with movie agents. If he had 700 meetings with them, he was thrown out 700 times. He was told by some that he looked stupid. Others didn’t even bother to tell him anything.
Most people with his dream would have quit.
Once, though, after one more rejection, he stayed overnight at the site and, because of his insistence (he tried again in the morning), he eventually received his first offer.
He was cast as a thug. His job was to get beat up. He was only on camera for 20 seconds. Not exactly a breakthrough. But at least it was something.
He imagined it might be the beginning of a wonderful acting career. But it wasn’t. His rejections continued.
He couldn’t pay for heat in his apartment. His wife screamed at him to get a job. He didn’t listen.
One day he went to the public library because it was warm. There, in the reading room, he read the work of Edgar Allen Poe.
He said, “Poe got me out of myself. I learned how I could touch other people and help others.”
He decided to write a script.
He sold a script called Paradise Alley for $100. For him, it was a ton of money for him. But that, too, didn’t lead to anything.
By then, he was so broke he hocked his wife’s jewelry. After that, she really hated him. But his dog still loved him. He loved his dog, but he couldn’t feed him.
He stood outside a liquor store trying to sell his dog for $50. He ended up selling it for $25. He cried as he took the money.
Two weeks later he was watching a fight and got an idea. He wrote for 20 straight hours. He was shaking at the end because he was so excited.
He tried to sell his new script. He received rejections. People said, it’s predictable. It’s sappy. It’s a cliché, man.
He wrote down all the things they said and decided he would read them the night of the Academy Awards when he won an Oscar.
Still nobody would buy his script.
Finally, he met some people who actually liked his script. They offered him $125,000. A jackpot for a guy with no money at all. He agreed to the deal – but with one provision. He said, “Just one thing, I have to star in it.”
They said, “You’re a writer.” But he knew he wanted to play a staring role in his own money.
The producers didn’t like the idea. They wanted Ryan O’Neal.
The scriptwriter left with no money and no deal.
The producers came back with a counteroff. They offered the man $250,000 if he agreed not to star in his own money. Again, he answered, “No.”
Then they offered $325,000 as long as he would stay out of camera range.
They compromised. They were afraid to take the risk. They didn’t think it would work with him in the starring role, but they loved the script. So they paid him only $35,000, but at least he was allowed to play the lead role.
For two days, he went back to the liquor store hoping to find the guy who bought his dog.
On the third day, a guy walked by with his dog. He offered to buy him back because he missed his dog so much. The guy told him there was no way he would sell the dog.
The man offered more money. After some negotiations, they had a deal. Sylvester Stallone bought his dog back for $15,000.
True story. The movie Rocky cost $1 million to make. After it opened in 1976, Rocky made more than $100 million
The movie earned 10 Academy Award nominations and won three.
P.S. The dog in the movie is actually Sly’s real dog.
Difficulties seldom defeat people; lack of faith in themself usually does it for them.
Most people are taken out of life’s game by the little things. What ever is inconvenient or uncomfortable is accepted as a reason to give up.
Are you willing to be unstoppable in your attempts to get what you want? Do you stand by your principles so much so that you are willing to take huge risks for what you know is right?
• Write down something that you want to commit yourself to accomplish.
• Make an oath to yourself that nothing and nobody can get in the way of achieving what you want. (Even if you never get it, you will live with such power that the other blessings that come as a result will be powerful, too.)
• Make a list of the things that, in the past, haven taken you “out of the game.” Each one of us has patterns that we repeat about why we give up. Whether it’s not enough time, questioning whether you really want it, or it’s just too hard, chances are that your life has consisted of a repeated pattern of the same trigger switch that takes you out of the game. Decide to conquer that pattern. That and only that is the way you are gonna fly now.