Make Your Dreams Come True, Urges Hollywood Director PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Richard Martin   
Friday, 18 May 2012 14:00
TV/Movie Veteran Shares His Secrets for Beating the Odds

Nearly half of us have given up on the notion that we can get ahead by digging in and working hard, but the American Dream still has a champion in Hollywood TV and film director Guy Magar (La Femme Nikita, The A-Team, Battlestar Galactica).

As with so many stories out of Hollywood, Magar’s reads like a made-for-TV movie. A young Egyptian refugee immigrates to the United States and latches onto two dreams: becoming a filmmaker and finding his one, true love. Despite being a kid from the New York suburbs with no connections to the film industry, he finds a way to manage the first. And, after years of searching, he finally gets the girl, too.

“We had a magical Camelot wedding only a movie director could conjure – complete with sword-dueling to rescue the bride who got kidnapped when she arrived by horse-drawn carriage. It was my Errol Flynn life moment!” recalls Magar. But, into his 25th year of marriage, he learns the love of his life has a fatal illness.

“Everyone needs to dream and anyone can make those dreams come true – if they pursue them with passionate drive,” says Magar, who shares his story for the first time in his memoir Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot (www.kissmequickbeforeishoot.com).

He discounts the ABC News/Yahoo poll that found that, at the height of the recession, 43 percent of us had lost faith in the American Dream.

“People have suffered because of the economy, but there have always been economic ups and downs – and there have always been Americans making their dreams come true,” he says. “My dreams were seemingly unattainable, but I made them happen because mine was a passionate pursuit -- I never stopped trying and that’s what it takes.”

“Today, I have my beautiful wife, Jacqui, here by my side, healthy and happy, because I dreamed of finding a cure for her and I didn’t stop searching – against all odds -- until we found it.”

How can anyone overcome seemingly insurmountable odds? Magar offers his recipe for success:

• Dare to dream. “It sounds simple, but so many people don’t bother,” Magar says. “Instead of envisioning the magical possibilities, they see only obstacles and challenges.” If you have a career dream, find a way to experience it through school or internships to make sure it’s a profession you love. Dreams require passion, and you may not have enough to fuel a hard journey if you haven’t tested the waters first. At 25, Magar enrolled in film school to find out whether he actually liked the process of filmmaking and had a talent for it. That experience lit a fire.

• Don’t settle. “I knew I wanted to marry nothing less than my true love, and that required a lot of patience!” he says. “I didn’t meet Jacqui until I was 34.” It’s easy to jump the gun at 22, or panic at 32, but when you have a dream you’re passionate about, you need to believe in yourself and hold fast, he says. How do you know love when you find it? “When you’re absolutely sure that you’d be the biggest fool to pass this up,” he says.

• Work at it like there’s no tomorrow. Magar’s first feature film, Retribution, required 12-hour days seven days a week for three months – just for the prep work of finding locations, working on the script, casting, sets and costumes. He knew how to get it done. When Jacqui was diagnosed with an especially aggressive form of leukemia in 2008, Magar was even more dogged.  “I dreamed of finding a way to heal Jacqui, and if that required researching every new treatment and calling every cancer center in the country, that’s what I would do.” He finally found a promising clinical trial at a Minnesota cancer center that was being replicated at City of Hope near Los Angeles. “Jacqui is now celebrating her third year of remission,” he says – with a big smile.

Magar immigrated to New York City with his family in 1958 after a military coup radically changed Egypt. The family came with nothing, and Magar spoke no English. Eventually, their situation improved and Magar finished his growing-up years as a middle-class kid in an idyllic little New York town. It wasn’t until after he’d graduated from Rutgers College – with a degree in philosophy – that he discovered his love for telling stories visually through film.

“If I – an Egyptian immigrant kid – can become a Hollywood movie director married to the love of my life, anyone can make their dreams come true,” he says.

About Guy Magar

TV and film director/writer/producer Guy Magar has worked for more than 30 years in the motion picture industry. His TV credits include Dark Avenger, The Young Riders, and Blue Thunder. His feature films include Lookin’ Italian, starring Matt LeBlanc and Lou Rawls; Stepfather 3, which launched HBO’s World Premiere Series, and Retribution, to be re-released for its 25th anniversary on DVD this summer. Guy is also the founder of Action/Cut Seminars which has taught filmmaking to thousands of students with a film dream.

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