Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on July 21st, 2015

Michael Blake: He became an Oscar winning writer despite the long odds against him.

Michael Blake
Michael Blake  

Michael wrote the classic movie, "Dances With Wolves," which was produced and directed by its star Kevin Costner.

"Dances" won seven Academy Awards including the Academy Award for "Best Picture" of 1990.

It was a box-office bonanza bringing in over $424 million worldwide, and it continues to generate revenue in licensed showings, rentals, sales and downloads.

It is the story of gallant Union Army Lt. John Dunbar, who in the 1860's, overwhelmed by the massive death and destruction of the U.S. Civil War, is sent to a quiet, abandoned post in a distant prairie.

There he befriends a wolf and gradually builds a close relationship with the Lakota Indian Tribe, on whose behalf he eventually confronts the U.S. Army.

The movie's success made Michael an overnight sensation. But he was anything but an overnight sensation. Here is his story:

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Michael had hoped to become a big Hollywood screenwriter, but instead many years passed as his career languished. To support himself, he wrote for the Free Press and took odd jobs as he kept writing screenplays.

In 1983, Michael's friend Jim Wilson, produced and directed a movie from one of his screenplays, "Stacy's Knights," starring a then unknown actor, Kevin Costner.

But thereafter, nothing Michael wrote made it to movie screens.

However, Michael told Kevin Costner about his idea of "Dances" and Kevin strongly encouraged him to write it as a novel.

It was a struggle for Michael to write that novel, for as he neared his 40th birthday, he was broke and at times he slept in his car.

Desperate, Michael borrowed $1000 from a friend and moved to Bisbee, Arizona to concentrate on his writing. He also washed dishes in a Chinese restaurant earning $3.35 an hour.

When Michael finished writing "Dances," it was initially rejected by agents and publishers.

Finally in 1988, "Dances" was published but only in paperback and 43 year old Michael received a check for $6,500.

It seemed the novel would soon be forgotten.

But Kevin Costner and Jim Wilson beckoned Michael back to Los Angeles and hired him to write the screenplay. They then raised the money to make the movie.

After the movie's great success Michael, suddenly an acclaimed writer, wrote additional novels. He also became an advocate for Native American causes.

To date, his novel "Dances With Wolves" has sold 3.5 million books in 22 languages and keeps selling. The movie and the book will entertain audiences for many generations to come and were a blessing to the man who made the sacrifices to create them.

Editor's Note:

In 2015, 69 year old Michael passed away from heart failure. To learn more about Michael and to watch a brief video interview of him click here, and also here. To learn more about the movie click here, and here.

In the next KazanToday: The fascinating story of a man collecting the wisdom of humanity, two people at a time.

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Also from Dick:

A Touch of Wisdom Personal Writings Of Love Sane Ramblings

Memorable Quotes

Writings Of Love

Brief Commentaries

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