Believe in Anvil
I’ve started writing my new screenplay in my final semester of the UCLA pro program and we had a guest speaker visit by the name of Sacha Gervasi. He wrote The Terminal starring Tom Hanks, directed by Steven Spielberg. The best quote Sacha gave all night and trust me, he gave many, was “write from the heart and you will never fail.” After listening to his uber inspiring talk, I streamed his award winning doc which he directed and financed himself (don’t do that kids)! The Story of Anvil!
For any artist or someone searching for belief in oneself (which is everyone!) it’s the story to watch if you’ve committed to this life. It captures the pain and struggle artists go through but most importantly, it captures this band’s undying passion to their artistic faith which is not what I expected to relate to in a heavy metal band.
If you haven’t seen this film already, you must! It’s very easy to connect with and touring with a band that’s still kickin’ it after 30 years is not a story everyone can tell. But it’s the one Sacha knew how to tell and he went from being a proven screenwriter to directing. He graduated in 1999 from the UCLA MFA writing program. He’s directing his next feature Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Psycho’. He cited the origin of how The Story of Anvil came about, the inception beginning around age 15 for him when he met the band backstage and how Anvil found its way back to him 20+ years later. It’s a story he told because he believed in it, in spite of everyone telling him not to do it.
One of the remarkable things that I drew from in the doc is that after 30 years, this band never stopped believing and they never stopped practicing. You’ve got to really stay in shape when you do this kind of work and that means acting every day, writing every day and that’s how you get to be Sacha Gervasi who wrote 14 scripts before he finally figured it out or Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren who are starring in Gervasi’s next picture. Tony (who I worked with in Nixon and was just the nicest guy) was Sir Laurence Olivier’s understudy. And I remember Helen Mirren saying in an article when she was receiving all of her Oscar accolades, after years of being an actress, that it will probably never be better for her in her career, but she never gave up and would always return to the work.
I liked Sacha because you know…he seemed happy. And maybe it was an illusion, but it’s hard to find that in this industry. I think that’s why there are so many self help resources in Los Angeles, because this is an industry that asks you every day, if you know who you are. Many people don’t turn to the Arts because it’s a tough journey to be on when you don’t know that answer.
If I believed in anything Sacha said to us, it was to believe in yourself and that it’s hard work because it’s meant to be hard. But don’t take my word for it. Take Anvil’s.
By the way actors, if you want to study a character who is full of layers, filled with highs and lows, really vivid but also connected to the truth, study “Lips.”