Some months ago I read your ‘Art of Manifesting’ book…Your writing has a lovely easy-going quality but the quality of the information in your message is incredibly hands-on and strong…You’ve written the ‘how-to’ book of manifesting! I now have a studio full of paintings that are clearly the result of the ideas in your book and I am now prepared to create the world I have always wanted to create! Thank you for your gift of hands-on inspiration!…Respect and Regards, Nancy Carrozza CaraDonna
A New Revolution
Timing is Everything
It’s Christmas in L.A., 1970. Renee Ross and I are driving around looking for the address where we are to deliver some film. Renee checks the map as I brake for a well-built, suntanned Santa—surfboard in tow. We turn off onto a winding street lined with palm trees and modest bungalows and stop in front of an old Hollywood home. Funny place to shoot a movie, but then, what do we know?
We dodge a set designer carrying a massive mirror, step around ropes of extension cords and pass the caterer as we step through the front door. Large movie lights are hanging everywhere. Grips, gaffers and riggers are running around like the little people in Disneyland’s “Small World” ride. Over in the corner, a makeup artist is dabbing Peter Faulk’s forehead.
“What’s the name of this film?” I whisper.
Renee shrugs, gazing star-struck, as the wardrobe lady makes a few last minute adjustments to Gena Rowlands’ hemline, “Under the Influence—or something like that.”
Finally, a young man with a clipboard notices us standing there, balancing large boxes of film, taking everything in.
“You are with . . .?”
“We’re looking for Mr. Cassavetes,” Renee murmurs—eyes still transfixed on Gena Rowlands.
The young man snatches the receipt from my hand and dashes across the room. Seconds later, a handsome man wearing an ascot and that famous Cassavetes smile bounds toward us with a check and two gifts. He relieves us of the film, hands the Christmas package to Renee and the Hanukah gift to me, along with the check. We smile weakly and manage to stutter our thanks as Cassavetes excuses himself and strides back across the room to create order out of chaos.
My Jewish friend glances down at her package and grins, “We’ll swap later.”
I stood there that day and watched and listened as this amazing scene unfolded before my eyes. It was a time when a lot of industry people feared the independents. I still remember the buzz when Roger Corman hit the scene:
There’s this crazy man running around shooting at night, stealing shots on the street. If you work for him you’ll be thrown out of the union!
There was a dull rumbling beneath the powerhouse offices of studio executives, as the underground counterculture bubbled beneath the surface. Courageous filmmakers were crossing lines that had been dutifully etched by the entertainment moguls. It was the proletariat striking out against the bourgeoisie, as production crews risked their union cards to work for artists like Cassavetes and Corman—filmmakers who were determined to create art on their own terms. Though billions of dollars were at stake, I often wonder if Hollywood’s rejection of the independents in the late 60’s and early 70’s stemmed from some irrational fear of this new revolution.
Think of the independents and who comes to mind? Spike Lee? Robert Rodriguez? Sophia Coppola? They’re all great filmmakers, but they weren’t the first to step out of the mainstream. John Cassavetes was when he picked up his 16 mm camera and shot Shadows, giving birth to a gritty, imaginative style that earned him the Critics Award at the 1960 Venice Film Festival. Cassavetes was shooting independently before it was hip. He took risks and directed his art toward a new frontier that was completely indifferent to Hollywood’s rules. He was interested in human emotions and people, not epic stories. He cast his friends, used their homes, their clubs, and whatever else was available to make his films. Imagine what he would have achieved if Hollywood had fully supported him!
This was the tone of Hollywood in the early 60’s. There were a lot of angels running around, but the studio heads were still the gods. A person was only as good as his last picture, and most people worked with the same people show after show. Cameramen were born into the local union—a position usually passed from father to son.
When A Man and A Woman was released, critics were heralding it as “new and inventive.” As my husband and I walked away from the theater, I thought, ‘How uncanny. This French film is breaking barriers and creating new pathways for foreign filmmakers, while here at home the critics are rejecting innovative films by talented directors like Cassavetes.’
Cassavetes wasn’t deterred. He stood his ground because he was passionate about storytelling. He knew how to take a slice of life and put it on film. He realized that a story didn’t have to be an epic to be good, and he set out to re-invent the genre through characters like Cosmo Vitelli in his controversial film, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.
John Cassavetes brought his writing and acting skills to his role as director and encouraged his actors to stretch themselves. This was not easy to do on a tight budget, unless of course you could get a special deal on your film stock, which is where I came in.
It was the era of mini-skirts, white go-go boots and the race into space. I was a homemaker, married to a cameraman, living in a $45,000 fixer-upper in the Encino Hills. My low-budget production, Ricky, was in grade school and my high-budget production, Carole Joyce, was still crawling around on the shag carpet. In between diaper changes and cutting up all those little pieces of bread for fondue, I watched what was going on in the industry; and I listened.
In the late 60’s, the film stock marketplace was sweet and simple. Kodak was the only “player” in town. There were two ASAs: slow and fast. My husband—along with just about every other cameraman in L.A. —was scrambling around looking for unexposed film stock so they could pick up a little extra cash doing night and weekend shoots. Every once in a while, I would head over to the studios and watch the action.
Now, those who know me know that I hate waste (I still keep small, folded up pieces of foil in my kitchen drawer). So, as I sat in the corner on my little stool watching the crew wrap for the day, I couldn’t help but wonder what they did with all that left over footage. The wheels inside my head started to turn. One evening I couldn’t stand it any longer and I spoke up:
“What happens to the short-ends?”
My husband looked at me like I was nuts, “The what”?
“The short-ends. You know, the leftovers,” I said, pointing to the reel.
He glanced around to see if anyone was listening, “Christ, Carole, this is a film set; we’re not making goulash here. There are no ‘leftovers.’ ”
I couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about all those “short-ends” going to waste. I wonder why they don’t resell them. No Carole, that’s too obvious. Someone else would have thought of that long before this. My gosh, I could run a little business right out of the living room and make a few extra bucks!
I was married to a very frugal Irishman and money was tight. It took some coaxing but he finally agreed to part with $20 from the grocery budget for my startup capital. We went on a diet of Texas-style pinto beans and rice and I set up a minimal office consisting of an old card table, a rented typewriter, some stationary and the Yellow Pages.
In between driving my son to school, and taking care of my daughter, I managed to send out over 250 letters to Hollywood production companies. Then one day I landed my first bite. An animator named Vick Shank called me and began to question the source of these “short-ends,” as I had dubbed them. Once he was satisfied that the film had never been exposed, he agreed to buy 2000 feet.
My first sale! I was ecstatic. Then I realized there was one small problem: I had very little cash and absolutely no inventory. No problem, Carole, it’s all in the timing.
I slipped into my best miniskirt and headed off to the manager of the film department at Columbia Studios. I can’t remember his name but I do remember that he was very busy and didn’t have time to deal with some mini-skirted blonde in need of a few feet of left over film. I could see that his patience was running thin, so I smiled and offered to buy his entire stock.
“After all, those little old short-ends are just layin’ around taking up space in your vault.”
He reluctantly agreed to part with the stock at .02 cents a foot if I’d just take it and leave.
I swallowed my pride (again) and mustered up the courage to explain that I could only take 3000 feet; “I promise I’ll be back to purchase the rest.”
When he stopped laughing and saw that I was still standing there, he realized I wasn’t going to go away until I got what I came for. He looked me up and down, rubbed his chin and groaned. I knew I was in.
I gave him a check for $60, ran home, tore the tape off the cans, cleaned them up with scouring powder, labeled them with my new company name and phone number, raced over to Vick Shank’s and delivered 2000 feet in return for a check for $80. Then I spun on my 3-inch heels and hit the bank; just in time to cover my check to Columbia Studios.
I was in business with $20 profit and 1000 feet of inventory! I didn’t know it then, but I had just given birth to a new Hollywood industry. “Short-ends” quickly became a standard industry term. Using full rolls or short-ends allowed filmmakers like Cassavetes to keep the camera rolling long enough to capture those improvisational nuances they became so famous for. They’re still around, and so am I.
Now is the Time
The birth of the digital revolution has brought a resurgence of nervous excitement to the arts. According to Dr. Frank Moretti, executive director of Columbia’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), and Professor of Communications Theory at Teachers College, digital technology follows the alphabet and the printing press as one of the three great transformations of Western civilization. Digital technology has opened the doors to emerging filmmakers across the globe. All it takes is a swipe of the credit card, and anyone with a working knowledge of computers, a clearly defined project, and a reasonable amount of talent can be in the film business.
Of course, the film industry is not the only humanities affected by the digital revolution. The principles I’m discussing in this book apply to all artists. Digital art galleries are springing up all over the country, and the commercial illustration industry is booming with digital art technology. From music, to dance, to photography, literally every art form has been impacted directly or indirectly by the digital revolution.
As a result, the birth of digital technology has brought about some very legitimate questions: Who will see all this new art that is being created? What constitutes good art? How do we measure success at a time when the playing fields are constantly shifting? These are many of the same questions film artists faced in the 60’s and 70’s. Can we use the past to find the answers, or is this an entirely new ball game?
Ironically, many artists are now finding themselves in the same position as those pioneer independent filmmakers of the 60s and 70s. For example, when George Lucas invited some of Hollywood’s top directors to his ranch for a two-day conference to discuss the state of digital art, he knew he was challenging tradition.
Oliver Stone was there, but he was obviously not pleased. As Lucas stood up to introduce the next film, Stone piped up from the audience with the now famous quote: “You’ll be known as the man who killed cinema.” Lucas held up his hand and replied, “Just watch.”
First, Lucas showed a digitized clip from Pixar’s animated Monsters, Inc. The images were crisp, the sound sharp and clear. Next, he showed the same clip from a traditional film reel that had spent several weeks in a regional theater. Repeated showings had degraded the reel dramatically.
Several days later, Stone reportedly phoned an executive at ILM—a Lucasfilm Ltd. Company—and asked if he could help him get a hold of some high-def cameras.
You can expect to be panned, banned, unappreciated and misunderstood, but don’t let the criticisms of the diehards stop you. It didn’t stop Cassavetes, thank God, or we wouldn’t have his wonderful films to enjoy and study. Realize that you are breaking new ground. You have a new playing field and you can write the rules of the game. There is no right or wrong at this stage. Anything is possible.
[What happens to artists is that it’s not that somebody’s standing in their way, it’s that their own selves are standing in their way. The compromise really isn’t how or what you do, the techniques you use, or even the content, but really the compromise is beginning to feel a lack of confidence in your innermost thoughts.
~ John Cassavetes]
Let’s say you decide to produce a film on ballet that incorporates some of the great artists in San Francisco. Your film is viewed by a large percentage of the dance industry and is used to raise funds for the San Francisco Ballet. Would you consider this a successful film? I would.
National and international distribution and a fat bottom line are not the only indicators of success. We need to discover a new way of measuring success for the thousands of new artists who are entering the arena.
The Power of Manifesting
[The clue is not to ask in a miserly way—the key is to ask in a grand manner.
~ Dr. Ann Wigmore]
So what is “manifesting” exactly?
Manifesting is the process of bringing ideas into physical form using your own innate power. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word “manifest” this way:
“\man’ i * fest\, 1. Evident to the senses, esp. to the sight; apparent; distinctly perceived; hence, obvious to the understanding; apparent to the mind; easily apprehensible; plain; not obscure or hidden.”
Note that the definition states, “Apparent to the mind; easily apprehensible.” This is really the first law in manifesting: to clearly see exactly what you want to manifest.
Authors do this all the time. They conjure up a story in their mind then they manifest it into the written word. A painter sees a landscape, and brings it into reality with canvas, paint and the strokes of a brush.
A car salesperson can manifest future sales in much the same way. She pictures herself selling a certain number of cars per month. She actually “hears” what she needs to say to close a deal. When some poor, unsuspecting customer walks into the dealership to browse, the salesperson strikes up a conversation about a certain car and a couple hours later, the customer is driving home in a brand new manifestation of the salesperson’s vision.
Manifesting essentially means to bring an idea into reality. You are changing the form of your idea from a mental concept to a physical truth. When you think about something you want, and you visualize it, you are manifesting. That’s right; you are actually beginning to manifest your vision into this reality. The process may seem mystical at first, but it is, in fact, an ability we are all born with. It is one of the universal laws of existence.
Consider how we use our power to manifest our goals every day. We go to bed at night and make a mental plan to go to the cleaners before work, stop at the pharmacy and fill the gas tank. The next day these things happen just as we had imagined. Or we need some vacation time, so we imagine walking into our boss’s office and asking in a way that will produce positive results. We envision his approval for our request and our vacation comes into being.
You may not realize it, but you are manifesting each and every day. And whether you realize it or not, you are manifesting much, much more than you know.
For example, filmmakers need to know how they want the finished film to look, and they need to know the market for this finished film, including the depth of that market. In other words, they must visualize the capacity of their film’s success, before the film is ever made. Let’s say you are a filmmaker and you want to interview someone for your new documentary. You think of the questions you are going to ask, and you write them down. You picture how the interview will look on the screen. You see the room where you will conduct the interview, the furniture, the lighting. You see your subjects on film and visualize their expressions as they respond to your questions. And so, before it’s made, you see the film in your head.
Later on down the road, you take your camera and shoot the scenes as you’ve imagined. Voila! You’ve just created your vision. You’ve manifested what you’ve imagined.
Manifest through Clarity
Artists need to know the market from their product’s inception, and consider the penetration of that market as a measure of success. As an artist you need to ask yourself:
Why am I creating this piece of art?
Am I motivated out of a need for riches or fame?
Do I want to document an important part of history?
Do I want to bring a little known subject to light?
Am I passionate about my subject?
Exploring the reason for creating your art is a major step in manifesting. If you want to create a feature film that will make you and your investors wealthy, that’s okay. If that’s your motivation, be honest and say it. You’ll need to remember this when you get down the road and realize that you have dedicated three years of your life to this project.
Clarity is the key to creating what you want to achieve. When I review grant applicants, I can usually identify the people who will finish their films, no matter how strange the subject matter. They are the artists who have clearly outlined their film. They have become the film. Just like the subjects in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451; they know every word by heart, every comma and every nuance. They have visualized what they want to produce.
[You’ll see it when you believe it.
~ Wayne Dyer]
Creativity knows no boundaries. Conception occurs when you write the first line of your screenplay, when you lay out your director’s vision, or when you conceptualize that innovative graphic design—but be aware: once you have given birth, your art will take off and begin to develop a life of its own.
Understand what you want to accomplish and focus on it.
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty!
Your First Step
The Universe is flawless when it comes to manifesting, but it can only help you when you have a specific plan of action that you focus on daily. It is important to write your plan carefully. Be very passionate about your needs. Passion is a major key to manifesting. To reach your creative goals, you need to be very clear with your thoughts.
[The power of thought, the magic of the mind!
~ Lord Byron]
What do you want to achieve in this life? What is in your heart of hearts? Search your soul for the answer to the question, “What do you want to do with you life?” You can have what you ask for, just be sure it is really what you want.
“But Carole, I want so many things, where do I begin?”
No one said this would be easy. You know that you came into this life to achieve something, because that something is nagging at you all the time. Just go over the things you want to achieve in this life and come up with the foundation. It will take you where you want to go.
Use this energy to create what matters most to you and your life’s achievements.
Write down what you want to achieve over the next 6 months, then what you want to achieve over the next 12 months. It must be written in the past tense. You want to pretend this has already happened. Each time you read it, infuse your goal with emotions like joy or happiness. Feel successful and swell with pride over your success. Emotions are the igniters for universal energies. They heighten your manifesting.
Daily repeating your goals, and stating them with passion, as if they have already happened, is the beginning of the manifesting process.
Read your goal out loud. How does it make you feel? Your body is made up of millions of nerve cells. Listen to your body as your neurons transmit and interpret the words. Your body will give you the information you need to determine if this is your life’s goal. If you become queasy, perhaps you have asked too much of yourself. Rewrite it until you can read it out loud and know you can achieve it.
This is the beginning. You now have a clear goal that you can focus on. Please put this written goal in a place where you will see it. Paste it over your bathroom mirror and read it the very first thing in the morning. Read it before that first cup of coffee, before you open your e-mail, before people have the chance to pull you in a million different directions. Your project is your first priority. Read it and visualize it with every ounce of passion. Give it your total respect and your positive energy, with full confidence that it has happened
In Section Two you will find my interview with Michele Blood, who healed herself from a debilitating car accident with this same concept. She now uses it each day. She is currently working with Louise Hay, Deepak and many other famous speakers, singing her motivational songs. Michele’s inspiring interview will give you a clear understanding of the manifesting principle at work.
[Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined.”
~ H. D. Thoreau]
This is a great time to achieve your dreams. You are on the cutting edge of change. A new revolution has occurred in your lifetime, which has made it financially feasible for you to reach your goals.
A clearly defined, passionately conceived, daily repeated goal is the major force to giving birth to your dreams, your art, and creating your future. This is the beginning of the art of manifesting.
Visualize your project as complete. See yourself in the screening room, and feel yourself experiencing pride, joy, success and happiness as you watch your credits roll. See it as a finished film and know it is finished on another level. Your job is to bring it into this dimension.
Write SOLD in red letters on the cover of your script. Put this where you can see it many times a day and start letting go of it, knowing it is sold.
Whatever your art form or your goal, see it completed and feel the joy of success.
You have displayed humor, questions, frustration, love, fear and finally answers. Good job!
Marva Cuttsinger, Indianapolis
Your new book The Art of Manifesting” had me laughing deep, full, belly laughs. I adore your stories; you, my dear, are an amazing storyteller. Your book also reminded me of all the ways we are manifesting in every moment. Manifesting is going to happen regardless of whether we have consciousness around it or not; we get to choose, so we might as well manifest our greatest desires!!!