IFH 325: What Negative Filmmaking Story Are You Telling Yourself?



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We all tell ourselves negative stories. I’m not good enough. I can’t write that. I can’t direct a feature film. These stories are killing us day in and day out. It took me 20+ years to finally change the story I was telling myself about being able to direct a feature film. When I finally changed that negative story I was able to make This is Meg, self-distributed it and even sold the film to Hulu and overseas.

Once you change the stories you tell yourself you will change your life. In this episode, I do a deep dive into the negative stories we tell ourselves as filmmakers, screenwriters, and creatives.

Buckle up. There are a TON of truth bombs in this episode!

Alex Ferrari 1:52
So guys, today I wanted to talk about the story that we tell ourselves. It is something that's very dear to my heart because I've been telling myself all sorts of crappy stories throughout my career and life. But what do I mean by what story are you telling yourself? I'll give you an example of a few examples actually of stories that I told myself that were definitely disempowering to say the least. For many, many, many years. I thought to myself that I could not direct a feature film, on a subconscious level, I couldn't direct the feature film, that's what my mind kept telling me. And my my conscious mind kept going forward and forward and forward on it. But on a on a subconscious level. I the story I told myself was like, well, I need this camera, or I need these actors. I need this budget. And this was a story that crippled me, for over almost over 15 years of my career, that I could have been directing feature films, I could have been following my dream, but I didn't. You know, when I was a young kid, I was in first grade. And I might have told this story in the past, but I'll say it again. When I was young, I was put in, in first grade, I was put in a slow reading group. Now they actually call that slow greeting group, can you imagine? And I was told that basically told me at that young impressionable age, that I wasn't smart, that I couldn't read really well. And that it was that I was just not going to be that guy. And I struggled through out my entire educational career, all the way through high school, just with this horrible story that I kept telling myself that I'm just not that smart. Or I'm just not a book guy I don't like to read. And it really, really hurt me dramatically. It only was when I got to film school and then later went back to traditional school, the traditional college to learn just for the sake of learning where I became a valedictorian in my film school where I became part of the Dean's list and had a 4.2 grade point average. When I went back to college just to learn for fun. Can you imagine I wasn't even looking for a degree. I just wanted to take classes and I was killing it. So then I that story changed in my head where I was, I was unlikely I'm not that I'm not that dumb. I actually enjoy learning. And it took still years years later, before I actually started to really embrace my ability to absorb information to process information to do critical thinking to think outside the box to be a nonconformist. All of my troubles with that part of my life was because of the story that I was told or told myself or believed that I wasn't that smart or I wasn't that good. And I know a lot of you out there are going through the exact same problem. You're telling yourself stories in your head. That are false. Right now someone listening. You've told yourself, I'm not a good writer, I can't write stories. I can't be a screenwriter. But you really want to be, I don't have the I don't have the goods yet. I don't have the technical skill, I don't have the experience. I don't have the knowledge or, or any of that stuff that these other big time screenwriters have. But I promise you something that all of those big time screenwriters that you might be thinking about, they all started exactly where you are. The difference is that they decided the story they told themselves was I'm going to educate myself, as much as humanly possible, I am going to write into my fingers bleed on the typewriter, excuse me, the laptop, or computer screen, it will keep I will keep going and learning. And by the time this year is over, I will have three, four or five screenplays doesn't matter if they're good or not. But I'm going to have them done. And I'm going to learn from them. Same thing for filmmakers out there listening. How many of you right now are saying I can't direct the short film, because it needs to be perfect. Or it needs to be this or it needs to be that you know what that is, is that you're scared man, you're petrified of putting yourself out there of failing. These are the stories you're telling yourself to protect your ego, you're scared to death. And you know what guys, I'm going to tell you a big secret. We are all scared to death, we are all petrified. Every human being on this planet is petrified of something within themselves. You know, they're afraid of living, they're afraid of failing. They're afraid of dying. Like they say everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go right now. Everyone is scared of something. We're all petrified of not finding someone to spend the rest of our lives with, we're scared that we're going to be alone. At the end, we're scared that we're not going to be able to write that movie, or make that movie or create that art or build that career that we want to build. And we're afraid that we might have to work at this job that you might be listening to me right now. And we might be here for the rest of our lives. It is the stories that we tell ourselves. Those are the things that empower us, or cripple us. You have to ask yourself the question, What story? Am I telling myself right now? Is it a story that's helping me? Or is it a story that's hurting me? If you become that self aware of your own life, my friend, you will be more powerful than 99.9% of the human beings walking on this planet? Do you think it was easy for me to write my book, shooting for the mob? It was the most difficult thing I've ever done. I held off telling that story for eight teen years. Because I was afraid. I was afraid of Jimmy, my my devil my meant Nemesis for so many years. And I was just holding on to the ghost of this guy. And it stopped me from writing the story. Then I was afraid of then of course when I started writing, and I'm like, Can I write I'm not that smart in that old story of when I was in first grade starting to creep up. But I powered through. And every time I stopped, I took a minute. And I said, I'm going to keep going no matter what. And I sent myself a little daily things I had to do to get there. So every day I would write 500 words every day, I would write 300 words, 1000 words, just chipping at it away one at a time day in and day out. That way I could just kind of cut through all of that that story that fear. Because I had to get it out. I just had to get it out. Believe it or not. I'm going through it again right now because I'm doing the audio book version of this. And it is just Oh, it was brutal. It is a brutal experience. Because I have to now read this entire book, again, not only the technical problems of actually trying to be a voiceover guy, and that's not like talking on a podcast. You have to do like this voice so it's clear and articulate. And then I'm also doing the voice of Jimmy. So I'm actually kind of play acting a bit. So then I'm going back and reliving all of this again, in high def almost. And I'm now as of this recording, I'm around 30% through the book and it's just brutal for me. But these are the stories I'm telling myself They have to get through, I'm trying to empower myself to move forward in that little part of my project. And in many other areas as well. I want you to understand why people that are around you want to keep you down, I'm gonna tell you a story. in Harvard, they did this research years. And this is decades ago, they did this research experiment where they put a ladder in the middle of a room, and they put a bunch of monkeys, chimpanzees, on the outskirts of the ladder, and at the top of the ladder were bananas. So monkeys would kind of walk around. And at a certain point, one of the monkeys would never believe, tried to climb the ladder to get the bananas, or the second that the monkey would go up one or two rungs on that ladder, the entire group of monkeys would be sprayed with cold water, and it would just stop them. And they would do this again and again, until they finally conformed to the realities that these, these these, these scientists were putting on them. The reality in that room was, if you climb that ladder to get the banana, you will be sprayed with cold water. And everybody in that room, all those monkeys stayed away, no matter how hungry, they might have gotten stayed away from the ladder. So the next day, they all come back in and they put all the monkeys back in the room. And they have the ladder with them with the bananas at the top. But this time, they replaced one of the monkeys with the new monkey, monkey in the new monkey had no idea what had happened the day before. So they sit there and they start the experiment and about 10 minutes in the new monkey, seeing that there's a ladder and there's some bananas, starts to climb the ladder, about to start to climb the ladder, the second that that monkey got near the ladder, the scientist didn't even have to squirt the water out on everybody. All the other monkeys ran over to him started just yelling and screaming and pulling him down. saying no, don't do that. Or else we're all gonna get sprayed. And that's when conformity was born in that group. So when people around you try to keep you down, try to do things that tell you things that you can't follow your dream. That's ridiculous. You have no idea when I first told my father about being a filmmaker, he's like, what is that? How are you going to make a living? And my only answer was why could be a PA I can make 100 bucks a day. That was my, that was the only thing I had only defense I had at the time. But many of the ideas and things that you want to do will make people around you uncomfortable, they will try to stop you. They will try to talk you out of it. Why? Because they are afraid. They're afraid that if you get to your dream, if you make your dream come true, then it would be a commentary on their own life, their own lack of courage, their own failures, on following their own dreams. And that's a very powerful fear. And the closer you are to that person, even sometimes that's where the haters come out online. They're so afraid or angry, to see other people succeed where they themselves are failing, that they will try to bring you down. And you have to persevere. You have to continue your journey, regardless of the good opinions of others. I know it's extremely difficult, especially when there's people around you who are close to you, like your parents, your friends, your community, your brothers, your sisters. When they're telling you you are foolish, you're going to fail. You know, I was lucky enough to have support when I launched indie film, hustle. My wife was supportive of me. But I could have very easily had a wife that said, No, go out and get a real job. You're going to start a podcast, who makes money doing podcasts? Who makes who can make a living, building a website with a blog where you're just going to talk about stuff. That's what I could have had. But I was lucky enough to pick a good woman that supported me. And I've been able to do a lot of good in the world because of it. But how many people out there How many of you in the tribe have tried to do something and somebody else told you you can't Whether it be a wife, husband, family member, your best friend, your entire church or community is telling you, you're wrong. Because it doesn't conform with what we believe about ourselves or about our community. How many of you have gone through that? How many of you are going through it right now? So then what happens? You start telling yourself the story, the story of conformity, the story, that I can't do it there, right? Maybe I am stupid. Maybe I don't have the chops. Maybe I live somewhere in the middle of nowhere, so far away from Hollywood are so far away from the film business. So far away from anyone who's even remotely close to Hollywood, or the or the film business? How could I, in the middle of somewhere in Switzerland, somewhere in the middle of Europe, somewhere in the middle of Africa, or in Canada, or wherever in the world? So far away from the dream? How could I ever dare to dream that big? Well, if you don't dream that big, you're never going to get there. That I promise you. You guys all know that I did not come from the mecca of Hollywood. I live here now. But it took me a while to get here because I was also very afraid to fly out here. And to move out here because I was petrified of it took me many, many years. I should have been out here many years earlier. But I came from a small town, you know, Fort Lauderdale, in Florida, which is definitely not the mecca of film business, that's for sure. But as Henry Ford says, If you believe that you can, or if you believe that you can't, you're probably right. And it's so true. Your thoughts are so powerful. If you knew how powerful your thoughts were, you would never think a negative thought again, that I can promise you, your thoughts are completely designing your entire world, the story, you are telling yourself, or the group of stories that you're telling yourself are determining your success, and your failure, your anger, and your happiness is all determined by the story. You tell yourself. So I'm challenging you all who are listening right now, to change a negative story. Just one? Not all, we all have a lot, a lot of them on many different areas, whether it be how we look, and can I get a girl? Can I not get a girl? Can I get a guy? Can I not get a guy? Can I be in a relationship can actually make a movie? Can I actually make a living doing what I want to do? Can I write something? Whatever those many different aspects of our lives were very complex creatures. But I want you to change one negative story. How about, Oh, I can't lose weight. I'm not that guy. I can't, I can't. I'm not that girl. I can't really lose weight. I'm just going to be out of shape and unhealthy for the rest of my life. That's just genetics. That's Bs, guys. That is absolute BS. It's not genetics. You can change that I did. I'm still dealing with it. I'm still working on it every single day. But a story that I told myself many, many years ago was, I am not an athlete. I can't do that. I don't have the willpower. I all those horrible, horrible stories, I told myself till I finally decided to change the story. And the second, the second, I changed the story. My life changed. You're not the guy that wakes up at five o'clock in the morning or 4:30 in the morning to go work out a five. You're not that guy. That's a story. Till I told my brain. my subconscious No, no, I am the guy who wakes up at 4:20 in the morning, to go to work out at five o'clock. That's who I am. And when I change the story of my life changed. That's just an example. So I want you to change the story, one story in your life and see how it changes your life. See how you feel. And I promise you once you are able to change one story, the other ones will come crashing down. Those dominoes will come crashing down. One after another. Those negative stories will fall. I promise you just keep changing the story. Change the story to a positive one to an empowering one because you know why? You deserve it. You deserve happiness. You deserve to fulfill your dreams, whatever they might be. If you're listening to this episode, if you're listening to this, that means that someone out there, the universe, God, whatever it might be predetermine, that you needed to hear this from me. If this information found its way to you, through a friend through a link, don't take that lightly guys. I promise you, it's there for a reason. Listen to these words, it changed my life, and I truly hope it can change yours. I hope you guys found some value in this episode. It is such a powerful concept to change your stories. And I really do hope that everyone in the tribe out there will take my challenge to change one story in their life. And please let me know. Everybody out there everybody in the tribe, please email me [email protected]. Email me these stories I want to know about them if you can videotape them. videotape, I'm so ancient, if you could just not film them. If you can grab the visual images on your iPhone or on a camera and tell your story of how maybe changing one story in your life changed your life, whatever that disempowering story might have been. And you can share it with the tribe. I'll post it, I'll put it up on social media. I'll put it up on YouTube, wherever we will put it up and I want to create this I want to hopefully create a resource for other people. And hopefully you and your story can inspire other people in the tribe. Thank you guys so much for listening. I truly appreciate your time. And I do hope that you take my challenge very, very seriously. And if you haven't already, please head over to shootingforthemob.com and read the book after I changed my story and was able to write that book and read the fruits of my labor and and hopefully teach you a few things about how not to chase your filmmaking dream and allegory of what not to do. So if you want to buy the book just head over to shooting for the mob comm takes you directly to Amazon and if you guys have bought it I know a lot of you have, please leave me a review on Amazon. It means so much with the rankings on Amazon and getting this book out to as many people as possible. So again, just go to shootingforthemob.com. And as always keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.



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