• Sean LaFollette


Put them on and see who you become

I’m all about self improvement through knowledge acquisition. A few years back I took a leap of faith. I sold my house in Michigan, got rid of most of my possessions, packed my car up and headed south to Austin Texas. It was just me. I didn’t have a plan, I was just looking for something new.

To be honest, I have no clue what I was looking for. Something different than what I had experienced over the previous 32 years of my life, but really no clue what specifically. Looking back, I think it was a time of self exploration. I was looking inside, learning more about myself and who I am.

Early on in Austin, I found myself to be very lonely. I was in a small one bedroom apartment, living alone and with only a few friends in town. At this time, I wasn’t making films, I wasn’t being creative, I wasn’t The Failed Filmmaker.

Learning more about who I was during this time, I found that I really love taking long walks and educating myself through books on Audible. Over a few months span, I listened to books like The War of Art, Everything Is Figureoutable, The Third Door, You Are a Badass and The Alter Ego Effect.

Books have the power to open your eyes and shine a light on areas that may have once been dark. They help you see things, you once might have been blind to. They can help guide and shape your life in ways that you may not initially realize. The Alter Ego Effect is a book that had that impact on me.


Pressing play on my phone and starting my walk, Todd Herman began taking me on a journey.

As I listened I quickly learned that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wore glasses but they were non-prescription. He wore them because they made him feel more distinguished. He wore them because they gave him more confidence. He wore them because he had an alter ego.

I found this fascinating...I listened on.

Todd continues with another story about Bo Jackson. In a discussion with the man himself, Bo Jackson tells of how he’s never played a single down of football himself. When he was a kid, he became obsessed with Jason from the movie Friday the 13th. He became infatuated with Jason’s cold and calculated moves. Bo translated that to the field. Bo was Jason.

Wild…Thinking about these two individuals and their alter egos really got my wheels turning. Would these people have had the same level of success without an alter ego? Would they have been as strong or as brave? Would they have come away with the same accomplishments they did?

The alter ego acted as a bit of a shield to these great men. It protected their true selves from danger. It made these men brave enough to take on the tasks at hand. It made them brave enough to be great. Who else used an alter ego?

When I think about it, most rappers use a different name, acting as somewhat of an alter ego. Also a lot of fighters and boxers used a surname as well. Muhammad Ali, Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Iron Mike Tyson to name a few. Looking in other realms, I can see one man who essentially has topped them all. This man has taken on many different industries and found success in each. This man is simply incredible. This man is...The Rock.


Todd continues to explain that you should get an alter ego if you need help in progressing towards your goals. You might be nervous to do something yourself, but your alter ego shows no fear. Your alter ego is always up to the task. Your alter ego is great when you need them to be.

Taking to this advice, I was all in. I began thinking about what my alter ego would be. Todd suggests using a token to transfer into your alter ego, like superman putting on his cape. Like Martin Luther King putting on his glasses. Like a fighter putting on his or her gloves. I needed a token.

I chose glasses as my token. It’s a simple way of getting out of my head and into my alter ego. As soon as I put them on, I went from Sean LaFollette to Sean David, at least at that time. Again, this was pre The Failed Filmmaker.

Fast forward a few months and The Failed Filmmaker was born. I liked the name. I think it’s relatable as there are more failed filmmakers in this world than successful ones. I wanted to take the word FAILED and own it. Take it from a negative and make it work for me and others once more. It was going to take courage to go at it with this approach. It was going to take an alter ego.


Since the time of getting an alter ego, I’ve created a website, shared my films with the world, talked about my failures openly and honestly. I’ve reached out to agents and networked with industry professionals whom I wouldn’t have reached out to historically. I’ve been a guest, expressing my views, on the Stage 32 blog. I created an education center and mentor program where I help others progress. I’ve become creative once more, moving more rapidly towards my goals. I’ve done more in the past 6 months than I previously did in 6 years and it’s all from an alter ego.

If you want to make progress towards you're dreams but lack the courage to do so...perhaps it's time to find your alter ego...

- The Failed Filmmaker






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