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April 14, 2011 / marvinhawkins

Motivation and a Look Back

Rocky: The Ultimate Motivator

I originally wrote this blog over 4 years ago. I read it today and it is still relevant. The main idea behind the blog was the idea of “Stuff in the Basement” I got the concept from Rocky Balboa. In the sixth movie, the washed up fighter talks about still having unfinished business. The Rocky I fineSeries has always been a source of motivation for me. I’ll let the original blog do the talking.

I saw Rocky Balboa recently and loved it. I’ve always found the series as a whole really inspirational (Yes, even Rocky V) But there was one thing in particular that stuck with me. During the movie Rocky is talking to his brother-in-law Paulie about his newfound desire to box again. Paulie questions his motives and asks “Why, You wanna box again Rocko, you haven’t peaked yet?” Rocky Replies, “I got some stuff in the basement” I the audience member and Paulie both think he means a literal basement. “What Basement?” Paulie asked accusingly. Rocky just looks at him and points to himself. “In here.” By then I realized that he meant his gut.

The will to do something the he feels unfinished is a powerful statement to me. It’s what drives him to get back in the ring despite his old age and brain injuries. By examining myself I relaized that I have some of my own “stuff in the basement”. This relates mostly to my own game development efforts. I have a lot of projects tht are unfinished. I used to keep all of this stuff (usually assorted notebooks of ideas for games, books, movies, etc) under my bed litterally. It has since outgrown that space and reside in a box in my closet.

So in summation I intend to tackle the stuff in my own closet before I move on to other projects. It’s kind of like your mother used to say, “Finish your vegetables or you don’t get any dessert.” The dessert in my case just happens to be more grandiose projects. I look forward to working own games  eventually but first I have to tackle the “stuff in the closet”.

I’ve learned over the years that it’s important to find sources of motivation. There will be time when the code simply doesn’t work, the art doesn’t look quite right, and the game just feels off. After taking a break, your sources of motivation can help you feel fresh creatively.  They can come from music, movies, art, or anything else.  There are many sources of motivation, I constantly check out sites such as Gamasutra and I find that postmortems and indie sales reports also keep me going. Outside of games, I’m a huge movie watcher. All of these interests are key drivers that help me get back on track. Find your motivation, and it will serve you well.

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