In an interview with Michael Watson (via Forbes) to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Rocky,” the movie’s writer and star revealed that he completed a 90-page script in only three days, then began shopping it around town. However, just because he had this first draft doesn’t mean that this was the version that ended up in theaters around the world. In reality, only about one-third of that original script was used in the movie. But he accomplished one of the hardest parts of the creative process: Getting started.
When I was a young screenwriting student, one of my professors told us that our pens are filled with a whole lot of s***, which is both good and bad. In order to get to the best stuff, you just have to keep writing. Stallone did exactly that and ended up with a master script that clocked in at 117 pages, a classic rags-to-riches story set amidst the iconic landmarks of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Of course, he still had to deal with the huge hang-up from the studios about casting a no-name as the star of a motion picture. Thanks to the momentum he accumulated from pushing through with his script, Stallone continued to bet on himself and insisted that he was the perfect actor for the job. He recounted:
“This is one of those things, when you just roll the dice and fly by the proverbial seat of your pants and you just say, ‘I’ve got to try it. I’ve just got to do it. I may be totally wrong, and I’m going to take a lot of people down with me, but I just believe in it.'”
Five sequels and some spinoffs later, clearly Stallone was onto something all those years ago.