Ray Bradbury Talks Inspiration and Advice in a Fascinating 1963 Film

The author of The Martian Chronicles and Farenheit 451, died on Tuesday.

"If I hadn't discovered writing, I think I really would have become a magician," the iconic author explains in Ray Bradbury: Story of a Writer, a 25-minute documentary about his life and work. He gives an impassioned speech to a group of students about four minutes into the film, about his own struggles as a writer, with a bit of advice:

The first year I made nothing, the second year I made nothing, the third year I made 10 dollars, the fourth year I made 40 dollars. I remember these. I got these indelibly stamped in there. The fifth year I made 80. The sixth year I made 200. The seventh year I made 800. Eighth year, 1,200. Ninth year, 2,000. Tenth year, 4,000. Eleventh year, 8,000 ...

Just get a part-time job! Anything that's half way decent! An usher in a theater ... unless you're a mad man, you can't make do in the art fields! You've gotta be inspired and mad and excited and love it more than anything else in the world! 

It has to be this kind of BY GOD I'VE GOTTA DO IT! I'VE SIMPLY GOTTA DO IT! If you're not this excited, you can't win!

The film goes on to spend time with Bradbury as he works on a new story, riding his bike across a bleak section of his neighborhood in Venice, California. Looking up at telephone lines, he imagines a voice, an intelligent being, emerging from the network, and the idea spawns a project called "Dial Double Zero." 

The film is full of great moments, intimate scenes of Bradbury reading to his kids, and wise observations. It's well worth watching in its entirety. Courtesy of the Internet Archive, the film was produced by David L. Wolper

For more films from the Internet Archive, visit http://archive.org/.

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

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