So, my third post on the ROCKY story… Obviously this has touched a nerve…
Today, on a public message board, my friend Mark addressed my last two blogs. I asked him if he’d mind if I posted some it here as I think it’s good for people to hear different points of view. (Below his post is my public response to his words.)
“Tom: You and I have known each other for some years, and I have a lot of respect and
admiration for you. Affection too. I read your blog about Stallone’s Rocky story and was tempted to respond. Then I read the post that contradicts the veracity of the story and of Robbins’ take on it. Then I read your current blog about this matter…
…Even if the story is true. Stallone wrote the script in one marathon session. Nearly flat broke, he turned down $325,000 for the script because he insisted on starring in the film. Brass balls, totally. A great and inspirational story. Danny Devito, at his final callback for Taxi, jumps on the table and yells “who wrote this crap” and got the role and became a star. There are, I’m sure, dozens of other stories, maybe all true, of people who
stood up against the odds and won.
But here’s where my interest, and my take on this matter comes in. They
rarely, if ever, write about the brave soul who stands up to the odds and
suffers a defeat. Stallone refuses to sell his script if he doesn’t play the
title role, no one buys it, he doesn’t make Rocky, he’s never heard of again.
Danny Devito jumps on the table, they call security and lead him away. You, or
someone with as reasonable a right to expect decent roles and your quote,
refuses co-star roles…and finds himself without much of an income, and loses
his health insurance. I’ve had two friends (& I’m sure there are dozens, if
not hundreds of others) who, after producing their own projects ended up broke,
in debt, and had to leave the business in order to pay their debt and live.
I don’t want to discourage people. But I have a real yearning for people to
look at things as they are. To make their decisions based on choices they’ve
thought through, not based on wishing and hoping and inspirational stories that
lead them, perhaps, to rash choices. And stories like Stallone’s, whether true
or not, need to be balanced by stories where similar choices don’t lead to
Sometimes ya win, sometimes ya lose. This is life, not the script of Rocky.
And in life, Rocky may win the bout, but he may not. I’m not a big fan of
statistics, and particularly the way people tend to apply them to themselves,
because statistics are not about an individual’s chances of this or that.
They’re about the likelihood of an outcome using a large number of examples.
Myself, I figure everything – EVERYTHING – has a 50/50 chance. It either
happens or it doesn’t. But you have to make your decisions based on what you
know about the situation, whatever it is, and not based on what you hope, wish,
yearn for…unless, of course, you’re willing to accept the consequences,
whatever happens. And that’s the case whether you make a rational, informed
decision, or decide devil take the hindmost.”
My public response that I posted on the message board, for others to see, is/was as follows:
“As always I appreciate thoughts and comments… I’ve been in the “biz” for 20 years… I’ve been fortunate to have made a good living as an actor, I’ve had feature scripts optioned, been paid to write, plays produced, and in the past I’ve spoken to large groups of actors as a guest speaker, at both an acting school and a university.
The first thing I tell them is “quit” “don’t start” “learn to love accounting.” Then after they respond, or stew in it for a second, I tell them, if they think I’m right or if something else came to their mind of what they could do, they should…
But if they sat there, saying “F- this guy. I’m going to do this, cause I can’t
do anything else…” Then I tell them to do it, and they should just know that
for most, it can be a long bumpy challenging road, that may test them over and
over, and that very few have any real level of financial success. But there are
people that shoot up to stardom, and there are people like me that have carved
out a very respectable career and living.
The Rocky Story, and Stallone’s success is one of those off the chart stories…
THAT’S WHY PEOPLE TELL IT, WHY IT HAS BECOME LEGEND.
Most of us know the story of DAVID & GOLIATH, and can’t name one single man that
Goliath crushed the life out of prior David’s massive success. And whether or
not you believe the story is true, or have some other info on it, is not the
I can honestly say I have succeeded, not at the level I initially intended, nor
have I yet settled for where I’ve been. I can point out dozens of stories of
uber talented people who were far more skilled and passionate than I, that are
now doing something else, burned out, or killed themselves (very sadly,
For the people that have made the decision to do this thing… Or pursue any
dream… Hope is powerful.
Here are two quotes from The Shawshank Redemption. I believe they are both
A:”Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”
B: “hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever
I’m hyper aware of A, but while I’m in this… While I’m still making a grab for
the brass ring… I’m choosing to focus on B.
Anyone that knows me, knows… I absolutely believe in these two things:
1) I hope that my story has, does, or will someday inspire others to do what
they truly love…
2) I will do everything I can to keep my story, (and friend’s stories) from
becoming a cautionary tales…
And really, truly, I always appreciate comments, likes, feedback, and of course love love love when people pass my writing, blogs, videos, stories or “whatevers” on to others…
Speaking of passing “whatevers on to others”… It looks as though Mark is just starting to blog on WordPress (formerly he was blogging on MySpace), but feel free to check out his future blogs at: www.markchaet.wordpress.com
– Quiche Out
PS. A few hours after posting… This was written by another person on that same message board. I like the honest simplicity of it. Again I asked for permission to quote him.
Being grounded in the real world is a fine thing. Reaching for the stars (whatever you define your star as) is a noble thing. Don’t kill the one by doing the other. Not for yourself, not for others. –Edward L. Green