Today, Success Titan presents you the man that is probably the greatest living mystery that made it big in the acting business. He went from being a leather jackets seller to one of the greatest cult movie stars ever. Thanks to his originality, genius, and business mind, he amassed an estimated fortune of US $550,000. I’m Sal Damiata from Success Titan, and that’s Tommy Wiseau’s story.
Tommy Wiseau is an American actor, director, screenwriter & producer. He was born on October 3, 1955, in Poznan, Poland. Tommy lived his early life in New Orleans, Louisiana, even though we don’t know much of what he did over there as many of his details about his personal life have never been revealed. We only know that, according to him, he had some relatives in New Orleans with which he lived.
Career & Hustle
Wiseau claimed to have lived in France for a while, where he also had problems with justice. He did various jobs over there, working as a dishwasher in restaurants and then in some hotels. Since he was unjustly arrested for some accusations to him related to drug dealership, Wiseau decided to leave Strasbourg in France to move to the United States that, according to him, is the greatest country ever.
The Turning Point
He stayed in San Francisco for a while, where he started doing some business by selling clothes and toys to tourists that eventually made him a millionaire (according to him). Some rumors tell that he actually made all his money with organized crime as the time span to accumulate them was too short, but Wiseau denied the truth of that statement.
Success Knocks on Tommy Wiseau’s Door
Success came when Tommy wrote, produced, and starred in his movie “The Room” that became a worldwide success, getting the Audience Award at the New York International Film Festival in 2003. That’s surprising as many critics described it as one of the worst movies ever made in history, and in fact, at the beginning weeks from its release, it just made 2 thousand dollars.
It was inspired by a novel that Wiseau had written prior to it, even if it has never been published. The success of the movie was due to its originality, authenticity, and also because of the trends that it made explode when it came out, like people throwing footballs in the cinemas.
After that, he was involved in other movie projects, like a cameo appearance in “The Disaster Artist” and “Homeless in America.” Today he has opened his own Reddit and Youtube channels where people ask him questions and where he uses the platform as a creative outlet, respectively.
3 Lessons we can learn from Tommy Wiseau’s Story
Lesson #1: Be Yourself
As you can probably see from his interviews, public appearances as well as movies, Tommy is a genuinely expressive man. This is what makes him a one int he world character both in and out of the screen. This might sound cliche, but if you think about it, the products that make it through the market, especially in the creative world, are the ones that are unique.
As every person is a living product, if you consider yourself something that is on sale 24/7, then you can easily understand how being yourself is the best way to sell yourself with people.
Lesson #2: Take Risks
Tommy hadn’t any previous experience in filmmaking whatsoever; anyway, his dream was to become an actor, and he made it come true by believing in himself and by taking big risks. One of that was investing his $6 million for the production of the movie, without any support from investors.
Can you imagine how big of a risk this is for somebody that doesn’t have any experience in movie production? That is also confirmed by the initial failure that the movie went through after its release. It almost was like throwing those $6 million from the window, would you have the guts to do this? How big are the risks are you taking in your life?
Lesson #3: Be Mysterious
You know that mystery is one way to inject curiosity to people, and that’s exactly what Tommy did to promote himself and his movie. Even before the movie was produced, he always kept secrets behind his life story, a fact that created an aura of magnetism around him. This, in my opinion, contributed to the creation of his charismatic qualities that attracted people to work with him.
5 Tips to Succeed According to Tommy Wiseau
Tip #1: Success is a State of Mind
He claims that success is nothing more than a way to think both of yourself and to view life as this state of mind as it “goes to your brain and influences it.” Before, he used to think that success depended on discipline and hard work, but he eventually understood something else.
Even with the highest degrees of discipline, you still need to have a vision for the person that you want to be in the long term, and that vision is what actually creates your state of mind and, eventually, your success.
Tip #2: Be Original
Tommy values a lot the idea of originality and authenticity. As he said during an interview, generally, original work is always more valuable than a copy of something. Many people tried to copy “The Room,” he said, but this was doomed to failure as in many other copying attempts. Virtually anybody can copy something, but not everybody can make an original product.
Tip #3: Give Polyedric Experiences
At first, Tommy Wiseau didn’t expect that his movie would have made so much noise. Probably, an explanation for this is that he gave polyandric experiences to his fans by putting many “colors” as he calls them in his lines. When you know many sides of yourself, you can give more of yourself to people; that’s one of the secrets to success for artists, according to Tommy.
Tip #4: Relate to People
Wiseau loves his fans so much that he’d do anything for them according to what he says. We can see this by how he uses to mingle with them during his public appearances as they give him a lot of energy.
Another reason for his success can be seen by how he successfully managed to connect with his fans by being always present and by showing love to them. In the end, as Tommy says in his interviews, he just wants to make people have fun and enjoy themselves; that’s exactly what he wanted to do with his movie.
Tip #5: Authenticity Sells
Before producing “The Room,” Tommy studied acting classes and psychology according to what he says. Anyway, we can see that what really makes him stand out more than his acting skills is his authenticity. Tommy said that “The Room” has something that connects people, and they will be attracted somehow to that something that the movie offers.
7 Facts About Tommy Wiseau
He doesn’t like to talk about his private life much;
He became an actor and filmmaker after getting involved in an almost fatal car accident;
He promoted his movie “The Room” with a giant billboard that stayed for five years;
He has his own online store where he sells his own colorful merchandise;
Wiseau is an altered version of the french name “Oiseau” meaning bird;
He says he raised the money for “The Room” by selling pleather jackets;
Probably he is a member of a European Royal family.
10 Quotes from Tommy Wiseau
“You can laugh, you can cry, you can express yourself, but please don’t hurt each other.”
“Express yourself, don’t hurt yourself.”
“I inspire myself.”
“I’m not here to criticize anyone.”
“You cannot have the drama without comedy.”
“If someone offers you a job, don’t quit it… unless you want it quited.”
“You don’t need money to be successful.. it will help.”
“I’m not a god, I’m just a simple guy.”
“I think private life should be private life, the professional life should be the professional life, and that’s where I stand, and I have the right to do that.”
“If a lot of people love each other, the world will be a better place to live.”
Being a maverick pays off sometimes, and that’s what we’ve witnessed with Tommy Wiseau’s story. Anyway, how far will this iconic artist go? Probably he has other mysterious projects that he will reveal later as, in the end, he doesn’t like much talking about himself.
Your Take-Away for Today
Now that you know how Tommy Wiseau made it, what can you apply in your life from what he has done? I believe one of the greatest takeaways that we can learn is that no matter how much our world advances in technology, people will always be attracted to authenticity.
That’s just my personal opinion, what do you think instead? Comment below!