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Movie Rebel Lessons for the DIY Entrepreneur

July 1st, 2009 by shawn · No Comments

I happen to be a huge movie fan. My DVR is usually full because I’ve recorded too many movies – I can’t watch them fast enough to delete them. I have DVD’s piling up all over the house. I simple love the escape of a good film, and from another perspective – I love the fact that a group of people could get together and create something almost magical from nothing.

My favorite movies happen to be the oldies. The only reason I have satellite TV, in fact, is just so I can receive Turner Classic Movies. But I grew up watching movies, and I happen to like a lot of modern actors and directors as well.

While I was thinking about some of the ones who really stand out, I discovered that they all have a lesson or two we can learn (as entrepreneurs). Here are three I picked out, along with the lesson they teach:

Robert Rodriguez. The lesson? Screw people who say you can’t, and prove you can do it yourself. Rodriguez is best known for his later movies, like Spy Kids and the recent Grindhouse collaboration with Quentin Tarantino. But I discovered him when I saw a movie lent to me by a friend of mine (on VHS). It was a low-budget movie called El Mariachi, and it blew me away. I remember thinking: “the guy who made this has balls”. Rodriguez is one of the “VCR directors” – a director who largely learned how to direct by watching a lot of movies. He didn’t go to film school, then do things the “traditional way”; he just DID it. He wanted to direct cool movies, and as far as he was concerned…he could. And I think that’s an inspiring way to view anything in life.

Russ Meyer. The lesson? Fill a niche, and serve the market what it will buy. Russ wasn’t one of the classiest movie-makers. He wasn’t one of the best, either. But he knew what kind of movies people would pay money to see, and he knew what he needed to provide. In case you’re not familiar, his product was pretty much the same in every movie he made: big boobs. Yes, Russ Meyer was a true DIY movie producer and he had the rebellious, irreverent attitude that usually goes along with being a do-it-yourselfer. He made a whole bunch of movies that featured well-endowed women, and his movies remain cult classics to this day – selling still, after decades.

Johnny Depp. The lesson? Fulfill your vision and be true to yourself. Since I was a kid, I’ve always admired Johnny Depp. My sister took me to see Edward Scissorhands when it came out, and even then it was obvious that it was not a conventional movie. I followed Johnny Depp’s films since then. I haven’t always liked his movies, but more often than not I could see some level of genius or artistry in what the film represented or in how Depp performed. I like that about him: he’s willing to do things that not everyone approves of, because he wants to do what he feels is best for him (as an artist, or performer). Shouldn’t we all have a bit of that in the way we live our lives? I think so. If we did, I believe it would lead to more fulfillment and more purpose.

These are fairly simple lessons, but I think if we took each of them to heart they could be life-altering. For an entrepreneur, they could be phenomenal lessons in profit and success.

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