Who Doesn’t like a Rags to Riches Story?


Last night I watched the Slvester Stallone documentary. If you don’t know who he is – as if you wouldn’t, (you’d have to be living under a rock) he was the writer and star of the film Rocky, the film about a nobody a New York bum who wanted to be “a somebody” (On The Waterfront ”) and who ultimately wanted to be worthy of the love he aches to feel inside himself.

In this respect, Rocky is a gloriously happy film. Rocky not only fulfills his boxing dreams but he finds love and fulfillment with his girlfriend. It is both a story about love and following your dreams.

As somebody who has immersed myself in the study of writing, the story of the film script ‘Rocky’ being an immediate box office winner is not new one. Every young would-be-writer is told the story.

What I didn’t know however, was that after writing the film for himself to star in every director and producer attempted to pay for him not to be in the film.

He was offered a fortune to sell his film. Nobody wanted this unknown actor to potentially sabotage the earning potential of the film. Everybody wants a sure thing. And nobody believed in Sylvester Stallone.

Apart from Sylvester Stallone.

And he didn’t sell his film. This was his dream. His vision.

It’s his heart that beats under the rhythm and dialogue of the authentic dialogue.

It’s the reason he wrote the film in the first place was because nobody was casting him. He knew this was his chance. Nobody was going to give him the chance so he went out against all the odds (like Rocky) and risked failing massively. He could have taken the safe decision, a load of cash and the self respect of selling a film to Hollywood.

But he didn’t. That wasn’t his dream.

Practically 40 years on and I still feel exhilarated fondness for that warm hearted, cheesy track ‘Eye of. the Tiger’. I still listen to it sometimes if I’m flagging on a 10k run. Still remember my sister (the one who danced) choreographing her own tap dance to it in the kitchen.

The song like the film is about fixing your focus on your vision, following your dream to the bitter end, whatever it costs, whatever it takes.

When a tiger is starving and there’s no food in sight…it doesn’t reflect on the difficulties of being a tiger or wondering when its fortune is going to change.

It waits, its senses sharp for opportunity, ready to fulfil its purpose.