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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

All I wanted was to be a mariachi

I wanted to finish Robert Rodriguez's Rebel Without a Crew before I shared these thoughts. Now that I'm done with it, let the floodgates open.

Even after all these years since El Mariachi debuted theatrically in 1993, I find Rodriguez's story still inspiring. I don't often come across people that driven to do something. And I don't mean people who are ambitious in becoming famous. I mean people who have a desire to do something with low overhead and levelheaded ambitions. I mean, El Mariachi was originally made for the Spanish home movie market in hopes that Rodriguez could gradually move onto bigger-budgeted films down the line. Fate changed that, as plenty of people know, but Rodriguez has never forgotten his Mariachi way of doing things. That's a great reminder to those who are struggling to make something; whether it's a film, book, or record.

I still don't have any ambitions to make a film, but I like hearing stories about how drive and naivety make for a worthwhile learning experience. This desire was what led Kevin Smith to make Clerks, David Lynch to make Eraserhead, and so on. Other people can make light of how these low/no-budget directors who made great films inspired legions of wannabe directors to make crappy films, but there's something beyond all of that to me.

I'm all too aware of people who have desires to do something beyond the normal routine, but get sidetracked for whatever understandable reasons they have. Motivation, or a lack of motivation, prevents plenty from making an idea into a tangible thing. Believe you me, if I knew all the hoops I'd have to go through to get Post made before I wrote it, I'd reconsider writing the darn thing. But still, no matter how crappy things would get from time to time, I never wanted to give up. I guess that's the key: if you really want to do something, don't give up because there might be some roadblocks.

Reading Rodriguez's book about how he made El Mariachi with only $7,000 and no crew rung true for me even I kind of knew his story already. He simply took into consideration what he had available to him and made what he could. That's Do-It-Yourself 101 right there. But why more people don't do what he did goes all back to a motivation to do things and finish them. I'm still amazed when I meet people or read about people who have this attitude. So many people just want to complain and settle for a crappy look at life. I struggle, for sure. But I think there's always room to improve your life. Being creative is probably the best way for me and plenty of others. From time to time, it's nice to have a reminder of that.

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