Collateral: A Zero to Hero Lesson

When I think about Tom Cruise movies, Top Gun, Jerry Macguire and Rain Man come to mind.  These are all kick ass, but the one that has stuck with me the most is a movie called Collateral.  Tom Cruise is the villain in this one and I’m always into movies where the actor plays a role they’re not known for.  The other reason I love this movie so much is because of the character Max played by Jamie Foxx.

Please Note: My analysis of this movie may contain minor spoilers, but nothing that ruins the plot.  I’m only going to be talking about the character arc in its most basic form.

Max is a dreamer.  He works as a cab driver; a temporary roadblock as he builds capital to launch his own upscale limo service.  Unfortunately a dream is all that will ever be because Max is not a doer.  Enter Vincent played by Tom Cruise.

Vincent, by chance, hires Max to be his driver for the night.  Before long Max finds out that he’s agreed to chauffeur a contract killer to his intended targets.  At first Max tries to get out of this situation like any normal person would, using minimal heroics.  Through the course of the movie it becomes clear to him that his only chance of survival is to get out of the situation himself.  He succeeds at this, but he’s not a hero yet.  His hero moment comes when he has to decide if he should stop Vincent or let him go.

Watching Max get to that point is the best part of the movie.  The change takes its time and he doesn’t even know it’s happening.

I live for this type of story.

Max isn’t turning into Schwarzenegger, he’s still Max.  The difference is he reached his threshold and found out that there’s much more to him than he thought.

As someone new to the business side of writing, the sheer volume of information available is daunting.  Even though I was excited at the prospect of doing everything for myself to get published, I didn’t know where to start and wanted to throw my hands in the air in frustration.

Other writers were already doing what I wanted to be doing.  And they did it well.  They were professional and succeeding.  I wanted that.  I really wanted needed that.  Threshold reached, making this my Collateral moment.

Do I let my dream to be a published author run away or do I chase it down until my goal is achieved?

Like Max, I’ve chosen the scarier, difficult, yet ultimately more rewarding option.  I feel like I have the most vital ingredient to success, but I’m not naive enough to think that my strong will alone is going to carry me to the finish line.  That in it of itself contradicts the hard work it takes to succeed at anything.  I look at it more as the fuel I’ll need to get me where I want to be.  Max didn’t know what was in store for him going after Vincent, only that he had to stop him.

I have more to learn, mistakes to make and maybe a meltdown in my future.  I’m ready for it.  It’ll all be converted into the fuel I’ll need to make me a success.

2 comments on “Collateral: A Zero to Hero Lesson

  1. “The rain on my car is a baptism. Ice Man. Power Lloyd. My assault on the world begins now.” -Lloyd Dobbler, Say Anything

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