Robert Rodriguez – Directing Failures to Succeed

– Posted in: Directing Films and Videos Growing Professionally and Staying Creatively Inspired

“The Ashes of Your Failures are the Keys to Your Success”

We all have times when we need inspiration. Like, when things seem too big, or when we begin believing the other guy always gets the lucky breaks. Often, we look back and realize we never took action, or if we did we gave up after the first failure. I’ve been drifting in and out of that zone of overwhelm over the last year. I’m not getting stuck there, but I do wallow from time to time.

I also must admit that I’ve looked at Robert as one of “those” guys. Meaning, someone who seems to have something I don’t. Logically, I know this isn’t true, but in my gut I can feel it. It wants to take over, especially when things get tough. It wants to keep me contained to my manageable little world. Thinking “they” get the breaks. So, I was especially inspired to listen to Robert Rodriguez speak of his failures. See the video at the bottom of the page.

Robert’s major theme was “The Ashes of Your Failures are the Keys to Your Success”. He says this at the 17:55 time mark. Which is where I recommend you begin watching this if you haven’t got and hour. Robert ends his talk, by speaking about an opportunity to own a cable channel.

Yes, that’s correct, he kind of stumbled into the opportunity. But, as he tells the story, he said yes to the idea long before he had any idea how to take this on. By the way, this is typical advice from motivational speakers and top selling artists, so he’s in good company.

Robert then goes on to explain how El Mariachi failed at first. Yes, even tho it became an incredible success, it failed to meet his first objective. This was a key point for me. The film was a failure! If at that point he’d lost momentum he might never have become the “Robert Rodriguez” we know today.

You’ll need to listen to the talk to find out what his initial objective for the film was, and how he turned it into a success.

Robert’s delivery was very passionate, in a down to earth, guy next door kind of a way. I think the entire talk is worth listening to, but here are some time markers to help you find what I think are the highlights.

17:55 – Robert speaks about the keys to success rising out of the ashes of failures.

– He talks about El Mariachi failing
– He tells the crowd that he hoped they would all fail.
– He said I only do 25% of the work, karma takes care of the rest.

– He quotes Winston Churchill saying “Success is moving from one failure to the next with great enthusiasm”.

25:00 Robert talks about always trusting your inner voice and speaks about wondering if he made the right choice when he decided to take part in the anthology film , Four Rooms.

28:00 Robert reads a letter he wrote to James Cameron and shares some very cool interaction that really speaks to his character. He also talks about being fresh out of college and starting conversations with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and James Cameron.

31:00 Robert discusses how we need to “pick ourselves”, and the importance of surrounding yourself with masters you can learn from.

35:00 Robert begins to talk about starting the El Rey network and how it’s gaining momentum.

1:10:00 Robert finishes his talk about El Rey and some of his ideas to change the traditional network model. If you’re a Latino filmmaker you’ll want to check this network out. He seems to be making it for you!

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Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez – Moody College of Communication

Here’s more information on the El Rey network.


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