You've got to watch this video. The story of Stallone and how the movie Rocky came about is truly inspiring. I included the transcript below the video. Enjoy!
(Transcript) Sly Stallone, Sylvester Stallone, Rocky… Rocky's story is this even right? …But Sly's too, Sly is a good friend of mine. And,when I first met him years ago. He listened to my tapes and stuff and he invited me over for dinner, we started talking and I said I heard your story from other people but I really want to hear it from the horse's mouth.
I don't know how much is mythology and Urban Myth and how much is true…so he told me his whole story, he said the essence of it though was, he said he knew his whole life what he wanted to do since he was very very young, he wanted to be in the movie business. Period. I mean Not just TV… Movies.
He said why was, for him, it was a chance to have people not only escape but to inspire people and by the way that drive is what made most of his movies to inspire people what they capable of, overcome unbelievable obstacles, cause of his own life he felt like he did that..
When he was born he was pulled out by the forceps, that's why he looked the way he did, that's why he talked the way he did.
Then he said so I really want to do that and I knew why I want to do it and I wasn't gonna settle for anything else..and he said what happened was, I went out to try and get jobs and its not like they went “Hey Adrian”, they went hey you're a star, it didn't work out very well.
They looked at me and said Hey, You're stupid looking, do something else, DOh Doh…there's no place for you in that stuff you're never gonna be a star in the movies, you're insane. No one's gonna want to listen to someone who looks dopey and talks out of the side of their mouth. And he got No after No after No... after No. He said I was thrown out more then fifteen hundred times of agents offices in New York. I said there aren't fifteen hundred agents in New York. He said, I know, I've been to them 5,6,7,8,9 times.
He said he went to the number 1 guy. I got in there at 4'o clock and he wouldn't see me and I stayed there, I would not leave and I stayed there overnight. He came back the next morning and I was still sitting there. That's how I got my first job...
The guy said, fine, come in here! And he sat down and he went through this and he gave me my first movie. (Tony:) Oh really? I thought Rocky was your first movie? He said, no, this other movie, I'd never heard of it. Well, what character did you play? … I was in it for about 20 seconds. I was the thug that somebody beat up. He said because they made me feel like you know “people hate your guts, you're getting beat up will be a good thing”. And he did like three movies like that…never got anything, kept going out, rejection, rejection, rejection. So finally he realized it wasn't working, so he changed his approach. He said I was starving, by the way, he said I couldn't pay for even to have heat in my apartment. My wife was screaming at me everyday, go get a job. I (Tony) said why didn't you?
He said because I knew if I got a job, he said I get seduced back and I'd lose my hunger. He said I knew the only way I can do this as if it was the only choice if I burnt all other bridges, 'cus if I did a normal job pretty soon I'b be caught up in that rhythm and that stuff and I feel OK about my life and I feel like my dream would just gradually disappear.
He said I wanted to keep that hunger, that hunger is the only thing I thought was my advantage. He said my wife didn't understand that at all. He said we got these vicious fights and he said it was freezing so I was broke, we had no money and he said so I finally went to the public library one day because it was warm. I didn't want to read anything. I went in to the New York Public Library.
So I was hanging out there, sat on this chair and somebody left a book there and he said I looked at this book and it was the Poems, the stories of Edgar Allen Poe and he said so I started reading it and I got totally into Edgar Allen Poe and he knows everything about him, so he goes on for another 20 minutes telling me about Edgar Allen Poe he knows everything, how he died, what it was about, what really happened and I said What did Poe do for you? He said Poe got me out of myself. He got me to think about how I can touch other people not to worry about myself so much. And he said he made me decide to become a writer I (Tony) said just imagine “Rocky the writer".
He created the movie script, Paradise Alley, and managed to sell it for $100, but it did not lead to anything. Finally, he was so broke that he hocked his wife’s jewelry. This was basically the end of their relationship. They had no food and no money. There was only thing he had left, and he loved him more than anything. It was his dog and the unconditional love his dog gave him, unlike his wife.
He was then forced to sell his dog. He waited in front of a liquor store to sell his dog for $50. He finally met a man to buy it, but he haggled him down to $25. He walked away and cried. This was the worst thing in his life.
Then 2 weeks later, he watches a Muhammad Ali fight a white guy and gets an idea. He writes for 20 hours straight. He had created a script that would eventually be known as Rocky. He knew what he wanted and why he wanted it. "I took the action, now it's time to deliver." Now, all he had to do was find somebody to buy it.
After a series of rejections, he finally meets a couple of guys who wanted to buy it. They offered him $125,000 for the script. Even though this was an unbelievable amount of money, Stallone said he would only accept it if he starred in the movie. Remember he was starving? "That is my story, and I'm Rocky" As a no name, he was rejected, these guys wanted Ryan O'Neill to play the part of Rocky. He turned down the money because he refused to compromise. A couple of weeks later, the same guys offered him $250,000 to NOT to star in his own movie. He turned it down. They came back with a final offer $325,000. He turned them down. He knew he had to be Rocky.
They finally offered him the chance to star in his own movie, but they didn’t want to pay him much as it was a risk to them. They ended up paying Stallone $35,000, which included a share of the profits.
The first thing he did was go back to the liquor store to find the man who bought his dog. He waited three days before he finally did find him with the dog. He told the man he would do anything to get his dog back. He offered $100, $500, and $1,000, but the man refused to sell the dog back.
What did he do? "I knew my outcome & took massive action." He changed his approach and finally got his dog back. He paid the man $15,000 of the $35,000 he received from the movie script & a part in the movie.
The dog in "Rocky", Butkiss, is Sly's dog.
The movie, "Rocky", ended up costing $1 million to make, and it grossed over $200 million and won an Oscar. Right before the Oscars, he read all the rejections, all the things people had said, he'd written it all down. Sylvester Stallone told Tony Robbins that the greatest revenge is massive success.