When I first reached Mumbai, I had no place to stay so I lived with few strugglers who were trying to make it big in Bollywood.
They taught me a lot of things about Mumbai like elder brothers would teach their junior, which they thought one must know if one has to survive in Mumbai.
After years of struggle they didn’t reach anywhere and the reason being, the things they taught me were all wrong, which gave me lots of setbacks too, as I believed them.
What they taught me was something they learned from someone else who also had a misdirected idea of how to get successful.
They thought that all they had to do is to think about a great idea and then tell their ‘Great’ idea to a big producer/funder and BOOM they will be funded to develop their movie idea.
When I was making my first film, I was demotivated by numerous struggling writers and directors telling me that they have myriads of screenplays written and kept inside a cupboard waiting to be produced but, they just couldn’t find a good producer.
They had all the reason in the world why I shouldn’t make my film on my own as it will be a futile effort.
They failed to find a producer but still advised me to find a big producer from my dream project.
I have also met numerous wannabe screenwriters who think of one-liners and are looking for producers who they believe would sign them after listening to their ideas and give them loads of money and a five-star hotel room where they will develop the concept.
Leave alone struggling writers, I have met celebrities who think that someone needs to pay them for their time when they are developing the concept. Imagine the ego.
I have met startup guys who have ideas and are looking for venture capitalists and angel investors to fund their ideas when all they have is a single line of idea, which they developed sitting on their commode in the morning after their ginger tea.
The common thing between all of them is that they are waiting and waiting and waiting and nothing ever happens.
I know so much because I have been one of them. Despite taking lots of steps I was under the impression that someday someone will come and give me loads of money giving me the freedom to do whatever I want to do.
But then I laid my hands on a book called “Adventures in the screen trade” written by William Goldman.
Goldman has written the words behind the great movies like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid, All the President’s Men, Marathon Man and many more.
In the book he recounts the experiences he had while writing his stories, screenplays and how he writes them, pitches them and then sees them alive on screen.
While reading the book there was one thing that caught my attention. He mentions that he normally spends a year writing a screenplay, then goes out, pitches it and later sells it.
Now it raised a very valid question for an independent creative like me who does not have a monthly salary to cover his expenses that how does he live with no pay or whatsoever for one year while he is writing the screenplay.
The answer might be that when he wrote his first screenplay, he might have saved some money from his previous works so as to sit at home and write.
But let’s not digress ourselves into his financial plan here.
Frankly, it does not even matter how one does survive while following creative pursuit and that is the whole point of this article.
Your financial problems are your problem and you have to solve it.
No one cares whether you are eating one roti or two spoons of rice and skipping breakfast and dinner every day. No one cares if you rob a bank or beg in front of your father for money. It was your decision to be creative, so live by it.
Expecting sympathy is where an artist dies.
Most struggling writers or start-ups techies seek sympathy rather than showcase merit while pitching themselves.
Let me put it in a different way.
“You cannot sell an idea to anyone.”
It is a full-blown myth.
No matter how much motivational gurus try to convince you, it is not going to happen.
When they say you can sell an idea, I am pretty sure they don’t mean one-liner written on the back of a napkin.
Every idea needs to be developed.
If as a start-up guy you are not ready to do the labour of making a petite PPT then consider yourself a failure because sooner or later, that’s what you will be.
The truth is no one is going to pay you for your dreams. The onus of fulfilling your dreams lies on your shoulders.
If you want to make a film, go ahead and make it.
If you want to open a company, go ahead and open it.
If you want to make an app, go ahead and create it.
If you want to write a book, go ahead and write it.
Don’t be inspired by fake ideas like someone needs to sacrifice on behalf of your art.
Your art is meaningless unless it comes to existence which means unless you show them something.
Most of the success stories are advertised and told in a dramatic manner like — “he wrote his idea on the back of a napkin, pitched it and two years later, BAAAM.. he became a billionaire.”
Dear countrymen, that is one fair example of a fake story.
True story must be like — he wrote the idea on a piece of paper, then went home and started researching about it. He didn’t come out of his house for the next three months and prepared a masterplan, diagrams, pitch and entire architecture of how he will execute the idea.
Wait there is more to it. He still didn’t pitch.
A year later he developed the first prototype and then, only then, he started pitching. For six months he couldn’t convince anyone. It was in the seventh round he found an investor and his company started.
Most of the quote builders will remove the middle part and will tell you the beginning and the end of the story which makes it more dramatic and good to hear.
The true struggle lies in the middle part which requires all the persistence, hard work and sweat.
As a writer, I literally imagined that I will find a producer who will hear my ideas and will dance head over heels over it. Then he would give me lakhs and lakhs of rupees, will book a room for me at some posh hotel at Nanitaal so that I can write my concept in peace and perfect environment near nature watching the river flow, hearing the chirping of birds and contemplating how Wordsworth would be jealous of me.
This was also, the same story which my struggling friends believed.
Dan Brown, author of the multi-million bestseller “The Da Vinci Code” sat in the basement on water drums to write his first book “Deception Point” while still working as English Teacher in a school. He didn’t look for the ideal environment or wait for the right inspiration. He didn’t wait for someone to fund his writing career. No, he just gets on with it.
He failed and then wrote again. It was his fifth book which became blockbuster but before that, he was just a budding writer who was working in his basement at nights with the dingy wall in front of him.
The most important thing is that there has not been a single iPhone that was sold before it was being manufactured first. Trust me, no one bought the idea of the iPhone. An idea in itself does not mean anything.
Jobs and his team at Apple worked Day and night to create a flawless phone that later revolutionize the entire industry. Well, no one paid Jobs a single penny to develop his idea. The company was started by him and he used his own money from the company to fund it. It could have also flopped but they took the risk anyway.
Even when Jobs started his company in 70’s he didn’t look for an investor or financier. He started his Macintosh business right from the garage with his partner Steve Wozniak, who actually build the computer. No one paid both of them anything. They did everything out of trust in themselves.
It is as simple as it gets.
You cannot sell a product without making it first.
Everyone has ideas. A normal human being gets around 30–40- ideas on daily basis but the man who wins, in the end, is the one who starts working on them rather than those who wait for perfect environment and someone to help them out.
No one is going to pay for your dreams. Your dreams are your responsibility. If you do not take enough steps to achieve them then it will always be your fault. The harder you will work on your dreams; the more successful you will get.
Stop living in the illusion that something is going to happen on its own. Nothing ever happens on its own. Some force has to be applied for something to happen. It’s a simple Newton law.
Stop waiting for that miracle hero who will fund your dreams. No one is coming and no one cares. Your dream is your baby and it is your responsibility to feed it, raise it and grow it. If you do not have money, earn it but don’t seek sympathy and don’t waste time waiting for it.