Greetings from the state of Maine! I'm writing tonight from the set of my feature film, "You Can't Kill Stephen King" (AKA Shush or Die). It seems like ages since I have written to you folks, and I thought now would be an appropriate time to share some inspiration, and to share a little about that latest in my world. As always, remember, I'm not bragging... I'm just sharing the vibe baby.
To start with, here's a quick lesson in persistence for you. Back in 1994, I starred in the play Equus, playing the role of Alan Strang. I was 17 years old. I received (according to the local newspapers) "A standing ovation on stilts to young Monroe Mann, who totally amazing performance belies the fact that this is only his 3rd production, the other two being school plays." That play and those reviews determined my future: I wanted to act. And more than that, I wanted to be a movie star. To star in a feature film. That was 16 years ago.
How did it all play out? Completely unlike how I planned. And yet, in many ways, even better.
16 years later, I am writing to you from the set of a feature film. I co-wrote the script. Am producing it. Am co-directing it. And... I play one of the two male leads. In the words of Matt Damon in a nice Boston accent: "How do you like them apples?"
Truly, THIS IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! I am doing it! Or rather... I DID IT! I am starring in a feature film! Pretty surreal. Gotta say.
What did it take to get here? Oh, now that's where it gets interesting. Let's see: I probably went on over 200 auditions and callbacks over the years. I got to a final callback to be Michelle Pfiefer's son in "Deep End of the Ocean"--didn't get cast. I almost got my band signed to Atlantic Records--didn't get signed. I did get cast in Swimfan... but... that led no where. I wrote a romantic comedy about wakeboarding, "In the Wake", found my $5 million investor, got every pro wakeboarder on board, and every wakeboard manufacturer, and was ready to start shooting. A reality show about my rock band, "Running For Famous" was also in the works with the producers of "Trading Spaces". And then? I got deployed to Iraq with the Army. My film fell apart. The tv show fell apart. My band fell apart. My business fell apart. I then spent a year in a combat zone. A very long anxiety ridden year. I got back, and tried to put things back together. Try as I did, my wakeboarding film just never got back the momentum. But I did end up writing a few more books, and getting onto the college speaking circuit. I met a fellow author/speaker Peter Bielagus. In 2006, I joined Bielagus at Book Expo America in NYC. He introduced me to some standup comic dude named Ronnie Khalil. Who would have thought that the following weekend, my friend Graham would bail out on me on my trip to Maine. Who would have thought that none of my other friends could take his place. Who would have thought I would end up calling up this guy Ronnie on an awkward whim and inviting him away for a nice quiet weekend at the lake. haha. well, I did, and we did. And that weekend, he and I wrote a horror comedy script about Stephen King. We did it because we were bored and it was raining. And we happened to have a copy of Final Draft with us. Who would have thought that over the next 4 years, he and I would stay in touch and continue refining the script, and bring on a 3rd writer (stephen king expert Bob Madia), and that I would end up getting a Masters of Entrepreneurship, and an MBA, and a law degree, and going to film school, and then starting my OWN film school, and then put it all to good use by raising money for the film, and putting together a team (with Ronnie's help) to actually shoot the film, and end up actually making that film come to life?
WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT I WOULD BE WRITING THIS EMAIL TO YOU FROM THE SET OF THAT VERY FILM? And that we'd be getting interviewed by channel 6 news, Portland Press Herald, Conway Daily Sun, Fangoria Magazine, and the list goes on? That the feature film I would end up starring in would be one I wrote, produced, and directed? That I would actually end up having a conversation with Stephen King himself about the film I am shooting about him that I co-wrote? Um, craziness!
What's the point of all this? The point is that no matter what, do NOT let your dreams die. No matter how long it takes. No matter how much you may have to sacrifice. I have sacrificed so much for the sake of my dreams. Many say to me, "Dude, you are running yourself ragged in pursuit of these dreams." They say it out of concern---but out of their concern for what they think is best for me; not about what is truly best for me. For me, all we have are our dreams, and as soon as you give up on them, or worse, COMPROMISE or SETTLE ---- whether it's a dream job, a dream girl/guy, or a Barbie dream house --- that's when your soul begins to die. Yeah, it is undeniable that I have given up a lot to get where I am. But hey, I guess for me, it was worth it. I have done what 95% of wannabes in showbiz never do: star in a feature film; direct a feature film; fulfill the dream you once set for yourself.
So my advice to you? Don't let the spark die. Keep up the perseverance. If what you are doing now is not working, figure some other way to get to where you want (or need) to be. If the dream is worth it, I assure you, compeltely and without any hesitation: YOU WILL GET WHERE YOU INTEND TO GO>
It took some reminders from a few friends to help me realize that MY DREAM HAS COME TRUE. I am starring in a full length movie. When I sat back and actually realize that I had done it---that I am actually doign what I once set out to do when I was 17 years old, only one word came to mind: H O O A H.
IN OTHER NEWS:
* FILM UPDATES: So yeah, the film shoot is going great. We've been shooting for about 15 days, and have another 7 or so to go. And it looks really really good. Amazing footage, actors, and performances. In the words of our DP/Co-director Jorge Valdes-Iga... "HOTNESS!" After this film, I am directing/producing another comedy feature I wrote entitled, "Outtakes", and continuing the development of my wakeboarding feature, "In the Wake"
* BAND UPDATE: My band is finishing up our latest album, and is in the midst of a name change. Formerly "Running for Famous" and "Monroe Mann & the Ass Kickers", I'm trying to decide between "Polymath", "The Polymaths", or just "Monroe Mann" If you don't know what a polymath is... look it up. :) We should have the full album done with 15 songs in mid October, and up on iTunes and Rhapsody and all that. If you want to see us play live, we have some upcoming shows planned at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn as well as Sidewalk Cafe in Manhattan. Potentially good news: Dave Matthews record label asked me to send them the CD when it's done. Hmmm... More to come....
* LAW: Yeah baby, I graduated with my MBA and Juris Doctor degree two months ago, and took the NJ and NY bar exams (BARF!) this past July. I have to wait until November until I find out if I passed, and even then, I'd have to wait a few months before I actually get my law license. so, in the meantime (I know, I'm crazy), I have enrolled in a post graduate law program (an LLM, i.e. Masters of Law) in Commercial Real Estate investment and development. That starts September 2nd, one day after we wrap shooting this film here in Maine. And finally, I am beginning the transition of Unstoppable Artists (my consulting firm) into an entertainment law firm. More to come on that in the months to come.
* BOOKS: My book Guerrilla Networking (with co-author Jay Conrad Levinson) is now stocked in most Barnes & Noble stores across the country. That's super exciting. I am working on a new book now called, "T.R.U.S.T.", which is a book on how to successfully raise money for projects. The TRUST acronym stands for: Track Record, Return on Investment, Unique Investment Opportunity, Systems, and Team. If you've been trying to raise money for film, music, or other projects or businesses, this is the book for you. And if you haven't yet, I hope you'll check out my other books on Amazon and BN.com, particularly The Theatrical Juggernaut and Time Zen.
* SPEAKING: By popular demand, I have been invited to again speak (for the 7th time) at AFTRA in Manhattan this fall, so stay tuned for which Tuesday that will be. I'm also stoked to report that my Swiss alma mater, Franklin College, in Lugano, Switzerland, has asked me to give a speech at an upcoming New York City alumni party. Molto bene! Sono molto contento! :) I also have another speech pending at Writer's Guild, Drama Book Shop, and at a local high school in the city.
* SOME CLIENT UPDATES: My client Jesse Fahay just finished writing her first book, "Which Method" which outlines the four major acting methods performers can use--it'll be published in a month or two. Anne Marie Stefani, one of the NY Jets Flight Crew dancers, was in Maxim again. Jeff Goldstein's screenplay, "Knock 3 Times" is now a quarterfinalist in a number of screenplay competitions. Arthur Brown just shot a scene in the soon to be blockbuster, "You Can't Kill Stephen King". If any of you need help with your artistic or business pursuits---hire me! I'm here to help you get where you need to go.
* OTHER RANDOM STUFF: I am now a PADI rescue diver and am starting my Divemaster certification this fall with Empire Divers in Manhattan. My little sister is getting married this september. I landed a full heelside 360 on a wakeboard! I actually saved someone from drowning last week in the lake, and feel really great knowing I was there to help. I love my mom.
Thanks for reading! I hope I inspired you in some way. At the very least, thanks for staying up to date on what's going on in my world. FYI, for those wondering what the big job interview was... still can't tell you because I have to go back in February for another interview. If anything comes of it, I'll let you know. :)
TO THE TOP!
Monroe Mann, JD, MBA, Master of Entrepreneurship, Guerrilla Marketing Coach
(Bar Admission Pending)
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