Ray Bradbury Talks Inspiration and Advice in a Fascinating 1963 Film

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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/.

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

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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