Inspired by the Real Rocky Story
On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.
In mid January, it’s very easy to start feeling down and less productive. Whenever that happens, I turn to several real-life stories that inspire and motivate me to get back on track. Here’s one of my favorites:
In 1974, Sylvester Stallone was a broke, discouraged actor and screenwriter. While attending a boxing match, he became inspired by a “nobody” boxer who “went the distance” with the great Mohammed Ali.
Stallone rushed home and, in a three-day burst of creative output, produced the first draft of the screenplay entitled Rocky.
Down to his last $106, Stallone submitted his screenplay to his agent. A studio offered $20,000 with either Ryan O’Neal or Burt Reynolds playing the lead character. Stallone was excited by the offer but wanted to play the lead himself. He offered to act for free. He was told, “That’s not the way it works in Hollywood.” Stallone turned down the offer though he desperately needed the money.
Then they offered him $80,000 on the condition that he wouldn’t play the lead. He turned them down again.
They told him that Robert Redford was interested, in which case they’d pay him $200,000. He turned them down once more.
They upped their offer to $300,000 for his script. He told them he didn’t want to go through his whole life wondering “What if?”
They offered him $330,000. He told them he’d rather not see the movie made if he couldn’t play the lead.
They finally agreed to let him play the lead. He was paid $20,000 for the script plus $340 per week minimum actor’s scale. After expenses, agent fees, and taxes, he netted about $6,000 instead of $330,000.
In 1976, Stallone was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actor. The movie Rocky won three Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Film Editing. The Rocky series has since grossed almost $1 billion, making Sylvester Stallone an international movie star!
Source: The One Minute Millionaire by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen (2002)