“When everyone is doing the same thing and everyone’s competing in the same realm you have to think much bigger. There’s a lot less competition up there. There’s nobody up there, actually.”
“Don’t wait to be inspired to do the action. You have to do the action first and then you’ll be inspired.”
“And I say in the ashes of all your failures, if you look close enough you’ll find keys to success.”
– Robert Rodriguez
He’s an American film maker, screenwriter and musician.
He directed the action film El Mariachi which grossed two million dollars against a budget of $7,000.
He’s a friend and frequent collaborator with Quentin Tarantino.
He’s Robert Rodriguez and here’s my take on his top 10 rules of success.
Rule number 10 is my personal favorite and I’m curious to figure out which one you guys like the best. And always guys, as you’re watching the videos if you hear something the really resonates with you please leave it down in the comments below and put quotes around it so that other people can be inspired as well.
Also as you are writing something down it’s much more likely to stick in your head, too. Enjoy.
Rule #1: Just Do One Thing
There’s this book called The One Thing, have you ever seen that? It says you should just do one thing. And I go, “Well I shouldn’t even bother reading that, “that doesn’t apply to me,” but then I thought about it and it’s like, “Well I do one thing. “I live a creative life.”
“If you don’t live your life creatively and then you set aside some time at night to go write your novel, you’re going to get a block because you’re not in the flow.” – Robert Rodriguez
Everything you do you apply creativity to it whether it’s the way you meet with a friend and make them dinner or you do stuff with your kids. And then when you go and you’re working on an idea and you’re doing music at the same time while you’re on the set.
You’re never in a block because you’re always actually in a flow. If you don’t live your life creatively and then you set aside some time at night to go write your novel, you’re going to get a block because you’re not in the flow. But if you apply creativity to everything in your life everything is available to you to where you’re suddenly can paint. Like you’ll see paintings I did with the actors.
“It’s all about living a creative life to where you can’t possibly ever get blocked” – Robert Rodriguez
Even though they’re very creative in the acting world they didn’t think they could paint. So I made them paint and then they saw that they were able to because when you’re in a creative flow you can do just about anything. So it’s all about living a creative life to where you can’t possibly ever get blocked because you’re always, “Okay well I have an idea for writing “so I’m going to go cook something which is art you can eat.”
You know and you’re serving it and you’re eating it and consuming and you’re creating and you go back and you do that. Does that make sense it’s almost like?
Interviewer: Yeah there’s no, there’s no structured boxes around it.
Interviewer: It’s like a lifestyle.
Billion nation where we’re doing work and play it’s all play.
Rule #2: Aim High
Thinking completely different is the key. If everyone is competing on one level you got to think of another. Like for instance I’d always wanted to get in television. But TV is so, it was always so crowded.
Everyone’s trying to get in on Friday night on NBC. So what do you do when everyone? I’ve always heard this advice and it made sense only recently. When everyone is doing the same thing and everyone’s competing in the same realm you have to think much bigger. There’s a lot less competition up there. There’s nobody up there, actually.
“When everyone is doing the same thing and everyone’s competing in the same realm you have to think much bigger” – Robert Rodriguez
Interviewer: Find the hole to fill it.
Interviewer: Instead of trying to, So like get into other people’s territory.
I can’t get my show on TV. I know I’ll do a network. Then I can put on any show that I want. And how many other people are going up for a network? You know how many other people applied for that network?
Interviewer: How many?
It was a lot and then it wasn’t a lot. 100 people in the whole country. In the whole country 100 people threw in an idea for a network and showed a presentation. That’s not a lot of people.
Interviewer: That isn’t a lot of people for how many people have ideas.
It’s a lot less people that’s even in this room. So when you think about that think about, “How can I show somebody? “How can I get someone’s attention?” Everyone else is at the festival don’t go to the festival. Do think of something, maybe go to the festival but also something else beyond that.
“If you aim really high you might still just hit the festival but at least now you got a chance that you’ll hit there, there or like straight up. So try to think as big as you can.” – Robert Rodriguez
Don’t rely on the festival ’cause then you’re just crossing your fingers, you got to hit it from other ways. And that promotes much bigger thinking. I always say aim high. ‘Cause if you aim just at the festival you might hit it and you might just hit lower. But if you aim really high you might still just hit the festival but at least now you got a chance that you’ll hit there, there or like straight up. So try to think as big as you can.
Rule #3: Take Action
You can’t just wait for inspiration to act. That’s the biggest mistake people make. Don’t wait to be inspired to do the action. You have to do the action first and then you’ll be inspired. So what I would do is I would sit there and draw at the comic and I would come up with it.
But some days I’d come home from school, sit down and go, “I’m just going to wait for “the inspiration to hit me. “I’m going to wait for the idea to come fully formed “and when I got a joke then I’ll go draw it.” And I would sit there for maybe three or four hours and then go, “All right screw it. “I got to get up, I got to do the process. “I got to sit there and just start drawing. “I don’t even know why or how I’m going to get there.”
“Act first, then the inspiration will come. Draw first, then the inspiration will come.” – Robert Rodriguez
And then two things would come together and it would be, “Oh, there’s an idea, oh there’s the first panel “there’s the second panel,” and then it would come together. Always, it would not take very long. I would fight that process so much because what was I doing? I was waiting for inspiration before I acted. It’s always the other way around. Act first, then the inspiration will come. Draw first, then the inspiration will come.
Just start shooting, then the inspiration will come. Just start moving then the inspiration will come. Don’t wait, so many people wait or tell you they’re going to write this novel or they’re going to do this. Or they’re going to make this film, they never do it. Because they’re waiting for all this stuff to come to them. It comes through doing it.
Rule #4: Be Ambitious
“Do the more ambitious thing always first.” – Robert Rodriguez
Somebody was telling me, it was actually an actor was about to do a short film and he’d been sending me the script saying, “I’m still working on it.” It was a really great idea it’s kind of a big little production for him to do, big little. And then just recently I said, “Are you doing it?” And he goes, “Ah I’m still thinking “it might be too ambitious. “I think I’m going to do maybe something easier.” I go, “No, do the more ambitious one. “You’re going to hate yourself if you go do the easy one “and then you’re dicking around with that. “You’re going to be wishing you had done the more ambitious one.”
Do the more ambitious thing always first. And you should always have some self doubt, otherwise it’s a walk in the park, it ain’t worth doing. If it’s that easy that you’re not going to be questioning yourself constantly, “Am I doing the right thing? “Is this too big a task for me to handle? “Am I not strong enough?” then you know you’re in the right direction.
Rule #5: Don’t Fear Failure
If you say, “I’m a fraud, they’ll figure me out. “I’ll never be able to do it again.” That’s an artist’s thought process ’cause you’re an artist. If you’re thinking like that you’re on the right track, ’cause they all feel that. So there’s always some success that can come out even out of your failures. In fact probably your biggest successes will come directly from your failures.
“There’s always some success that can come out even out of your failures.” – Robert Rodriguez
You should almost take that Winston Churchill’s quote, it’s my favorite, “Success is moving “from one failure to the next with great enthusiasm.” You should be very enthusiastic about your failures ’cause you’re going to learn something.
You’re going to go that way when everyone else is going that way. And you’re going to stumble, but you’re also going to stumble upon something that no one ever thought of. So you know you just keep going and keep going. And you’re going to fail and then rise up and fail again and that’s the journey, up and down, man.
Rule #6: Listen To Your Inner Voice
I looked at it afterwards and I thought, “Okay anthology films never work. “But I love the short film format.” That’s what I grew up that’s what Bedhead was, that’s what I’ve done all through college. I believe in that format. I think the way they’re doing anthologies isn’t correct, four different directors that’s no thematic real tie to it, four stories it’s too many.
The three act structure, classical three act structure, three, the group of three, rule of three in comedy. It always comes in three. I bet if I did an anthology with three stories and a wrap around with the same director, not the multiple directors, it could work.
“You have to trust your inner voice and cultivate that.” – Robert Rodriguez
That was Sin City and I tried it again on Sin City. Second key from that one. So looking back now it’s easier for me to look and go, “Okay.” But back then I was lost in the woods. I’d thought I’d made a wrong choice. I thought I’d, I followed my voice and I go, “I need to question my voice.” Don’t question your inner voice.
That’s the part that’s wiser than you. That’s the part that you are not going to be able to consciously ever figure out until you look back on it like a history book and read the map. So you have to trust your inner voice and cultivate that.
Down to the point where you could be playing cards and going, “I know to throw down the queen because my “inner voice told me to.” You’ve got to really fine tune that gift. And it’s within all of you.
Rule #7: Take Shots
Kevin: So you make this little film with some money that you got from selling your ass in the medical community. At what point does, you put together a VHS cut if I remember correctly, right?
Yeah, I cut it, I cut it at the public access station on 3/4 inch and then I made VHSes.
Kevin: And you’re idea was like I’m going to sell this in the
I was going straight Spanish language market
That’s the main thing I tell people. Is that my goal was to just go double my money. I didn’t know it was going to, you know, over perform.
Kevin: And this cats were like, “We could turn this “into a real feature.”
Well what they wanted to do was we were going to remake it as Desperado. And they said, “Well before we make it “let’s test the movie that you made already on $7,000. “Let’s test it to an audience and see ’cause there “might be a down already.”
And they tested it and it tested great as it was. And they said, “Let’s take this to festivals.” And I was like, “No I made for, I didn’t mean “for anybody to watch this! “Give me $2,000 I’ll re-shoot half of it.”
I didn’t want them to show that one ’cause that was just one I was just trying to get it out. And I learned a big lesson from that. Because I was only making it as a throwaway film. It came out better than the films I did on purpose.
So if you throw things away like that and don’t make it precious you’ll come up with stuff that you probably wouldn’t have thought of if you were on, you know you were on.
Rule #8: Do It Yourself
Interviewer: El Mariachi was that shot on 16?
Interviewer: So its like now it’s like the camera that you carry around in your pocket is a better camera than you were probably scraping to get back in those days.
Yeah man, I tell people if I shot the same move today it would probably be like a $700 movie, not a $7,000. Most of that budget went to, the majority of the budget went to film. Buying the film, processing it, transferring it to video, so yeah you could shoot the same movie for nothing today.
Interviewer: How many crew were on that.
“I still do a lot of those jobs ’cause I discovered that on the first one that it was just so fun. And now I think a lot of, it’s a lot more relatable to people today.” – Robert Rodriguez
I was the whole crew.
Interviewer: Oh yeah
I was the sound guy,
Interviewer: You did one man crew?
I was the camera guy, I was the lighting guy.
‘Cause I didn’t know if I could sell it, so I didn’t want to spend more. It was already a lot and costing years to do it. And I knew kind of what I could do just by myself.
Interviewer: So is it hard going from one man crew to then giving all those responsibilities to other people? Or is it just a load off your mind?
Well that’s why I still do a lot of jobs myself. I actually ended up enjoying those. So I still write, produce, direct, edit, operate the camera, I do the sound mix, I do the score. I mean I still do a lot of those jobs ’cause I discovered that on the first one that it was just so fun. And now I think a lot of, it’s a lot more relatable to people today.
I was on that new age where I was coming in and I learned on video, learned on digital and then I shot film. And I applied what I learned on digital to film which was just do it yourself. You know so many people today now shoot that way because they shoot digital. But that was unheard of in the film world to do it that way. You always needed like 200 people.
Rule #9: Know Your Why
When you wake up every morning you need to know why? Start with why. What are you right now, you’re students? That’s what you do. How do you do that? You go to school, does anybody taking online courses or is it all classes like this? Classes like this, that’s how you do it.
So many people start from what they do to how they do it. Very few people think about why. You got to start with why. So let me explain why that’s important. Because if many of you know why you’re doing something you can attain things much better and much clearer.
“You got to have a good reason why you’re doing it. So if you clarify why you’re doing anything you’ll find that the rest of the success comes much easier.” – Robert Rodriguez
Your decision making becomes much more important. Much easier, too. Apple for instance does it like perfectly. When you have a computer company that just makes computers they say, “What do you do?” “I make computers.” “How do you do it?” “I use the highest grade of technology, “the coolest product, the coolest guy who’s “going to speak to you. “That’s how we do it. “Do you want to buy a computer from me?” “No.” Apple starts the other way they start with why they’re doing it. “We think different. “We think you think differently too. “We think you’re an individual. “And you see one of our ads, there’s not 10 people “enjoying our computer there’s one. “We want to make product that speaks “to your individuality.” “How you going to do that?” Well already you believe that like, “Yeah I’m an individual I think differently “than other people. “I want something that’s customized to me.” “How you going to do that?” “We use the best technology that makes the sexiest “equipment that you’re going to want.” “What do you do?” “I sell computers or I sell phones do you want one?” “Yes.” Talk about why, why are you doing it? So when people wanted to compete with me with the network and they didn’t get the network and they say, “Why did we not get the network?” I say, “Why did you want to do a network?” It comes down to always like a business reason. “Well we made a bunch of movies “and we don’t have a TV deal and if I had a network “then I could sell my own movies to myself “and make money that way.” “Well there, that’s not good enough.” You know you don’t deserve to be there. You got to have a good reason why you’re doing it. So if you clarify why you’re doing anything you’ll find that the rest of the success comes much easier.
Rule #10: Think Positive
I remember I gave this talk to a group of entrepreneurs. And this one woman raised her hand and she goes, “Well you’re real positive. “But what do you do, what do you just tell yourself “when you’ve just wasted a year and a half “of your life doing something and it didn’t work out.” And I told her, “Well that’s a real negative way “of looking at it.”
“If you feel like you want to do something you should just step forward.” – Robert Rodriguez
Interviewer: I didn’t that already.
Why can you rephrase the question and then ask me again? ‘Cause it’s just you’re looking at it really negatively first of all, so I won’t even answer it that way.
Interviewer: So you asked her-
So she thought about it and she said, “Well I learned an important “lesson the hard way.” And I said, “That still sucks. “No wonder you don’t want to move forward “because you feel like you’ve done something wrong “because it didn’t work out the way “you had predetermined you wanted it to work out.” You have to look at it a different way.
“In the ashes of all your failures if you look close enough you’ll find keys to success.” – Robert Rodriguez
If you feel like you want to do something you should just step forward. It may not work, but you’re going to hit a step in your career and in your development that you could not have taken had you not gone that way, before you can get over there.
And I’d say in the ashes of all your failures if you look close enough you’ll find keys to success. If you’re a very negative person all you would focus on is, “Wow I have a really bad movie “on my resume that I wish I had never done.” But if you’re a positive person you’ll go, “I’m so glad I took that step that most people “would not have taken ’cause that got me to a place “that no one else can follow.”
Evan: Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because Higher Images Official asked me to, so if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it down in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do. I’d also love to know what did Robert say that had the biggest impact on you? What are you going to take from this video and immediately apply it somehow to your life or to your business. Leave it down in the comments. I’m going to join in the discussion.
Finally I want to give a quick shout out to Daniel and Alex, thank you guys so much for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word, and making that awesome tribute website for it as well. I really, really, really appreciate it. So thank you guys again for watching I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself and whatever your one word is, much love. I’ll see you soon.
Usually you’re always hurting for money in a budget to put any ideas together. So if you’re making this cool sketch you’re like, “Okay well, we’ll never afford to be able to make this.” Well that’s the opposite with this. We’ll have like a whole team ready to make that vision come to life. And the whole idea is that it’s your vision.
Because I’ve done my part and now I’m waiting for those missing pieces ’cause I love collaborating with people because you’re always wondering what part they’re going to bring. Whether it’s an actor or someone you interact with. They bring a piece of magic that you couldn’t have generated yourself and you take it and you run with it and you’re so excited to incorporate their ideas.
“If you want to get somewhere you really got to set some goals for yourself.” – Robert Rodriguez
Interviewer: Now you had a plan though. The remarkable thing to me was at 22, 23 years old that you’re plan was completely laid out. I mean in reading your book. You knew I was going to take this amount of money, your plan was to make three El Mariachi movies.
Well the thing is if you want to get somewhere you really got to set some goals for yourself.
It won’t ever happen the way you plan. But at least you’ll
Interviewer: Don’t I know that.
Set forth on positive, in a positive direction that may take you someplace better by accident.
Feed The Beast
Interviewer: You’re working on things now that are I mean huge, it’s like you’re running an entire network. You’re running the El Rey network now.
Yeah, but it’s a matter of skill not technique. It’s the same technique but you’re just doing it. You know you’re only really just scaling up. You’re really, like you have rooster teeth. It’s like you create a beast and then you got to feed the beast or the beast consumes you.
“Anybody who wants to go create, create a beast first, then feed the beast.”
And by creating for that beast you actually come up with things that you never would have done otherwise and you’re really proud of. Like our network we have we had to fill it. I got a network, I own a network, but it’s empty until you fill it. So we had to fill it with From Dusk Til Dawn, had to come up with a show called The Director’s Chair.
Had to go with Lucha Underground and you just start filling it up and then you’re so proud of these shows and so proud of the content. Just like as proud as you all or anything that you just come up with. It was because you had this destination that you had to fill. So I would suggest to anybody who wants to go create, create a beast first, then feed the beast.
There you go.