Last night, Allen and I went to the RISE Austin kick-off event at the Bob Bullock Museum. It’s nice to know there are so many people fighting the good fight for entrepreneurship here in Central Texas, including renowned filmmaker and keynote speaker Robert Rodriguez.
You may not have heard of him, but unless you live under a rock, you have heard of his movies: the “Spy Kids” franchise, “From Dusk Till Dawn,” “El Mariachi,” “Desperado.”
In the middle of his speech, Rodriguez told the crowd that he hopes all of us fail, which got a few chuckles. But Rodriguez was completely serious.
He then went on to tell us about how some his greatest successes have come from the “ashes of failure.” Rodriguez was part of a four-part film anthology called “Four Rooms” with Quentin Tarantino, Allison Anders and Alexandre Rockwell. The idea was four interlocking stories shot by four different directors.
Most would say it failed. It did not make much money at the Box Office and was called “one of 1995’s major disappointments” by this critic at Reel Views. But, while Rodriguez was working on the film, his eye fell on one scene where two parents are attending a black-tie party with their two tuxedo-clad kids.
Mini-James Bonds, he said he thought to himself. He started thinking about what if there was a family where the spies were parents and the kids did not know? And then the parents got kidnapped and the kids had to rescue them? Sound familiar? Yep, that’s Spy Kids.
If Rodriguez had not “failed” at making “Four Rooms,” then he would not have the blockbuster hits of Spy Kids in his filmography and become a household name.
A member of the audience asked him if there was ever a time when he looked back and said, “Wow, I just wasted a year and a half working on that.” No, he said, it may take five or ten years before you learn the value of a failure, but it’s there.
Rodriguez is an entrepreneur completely unafraid of failure. His first film, “El Mariachi,” changed the game in independent filmmaking. Before, the Hollywood thinking was that a film needed a huge crew and piles of money to make a decent film. Rodriguez did everything himself, from shooting each take to making every edit.
And he had no idea how to do any of it when he started. He learned how to operate the video camera by calling a video store in Dallas. Sometimes, he said, you just have to do it now and figure out how later.
This resonated with us because here at PeopleFund, we’re all about helping the aspiring entrepreneurs get over the hurdle to become entrepreneurs. Kudos to everyone at RISE Austin for bringing in someone so inspiring and reinforcing our commitment to entrepreneurship. We are looking forward to a great week of networking and workshops this week—hopefully we will see you there!