Has anybody encountered a dilemma with biopics that the more success that the person has, the harder it is to tell the story? Doesn't that often end up with a cliche solution of having a central struggle with drugs, alcohol, or some psychological disorder like The Aviator or A Beautiful Mind? Or there's the Underdog Approach, but that's not always applicable.
As it is right now, I'm blanking on great movies that show a rise to success that doesn't involve those techniques. I thought of Patton for a sec, but he's already a general, therefore, no rise to power. There's Evita, but that's a rise and fall and I only want the rise. Falling is such a downer.
Has anybody encountered a dilemma with biopics that the more success that the person has, the harder it is to ... power. There's Evita, but that's a rise and fall and I only want the rise. Falling is such a downer.

If you're looking for stories like that you have to go to the "classic" biopics like "The Story of Louis Pasteur" and "Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet" Warner Brothers and other studios did a whole bunch of these inspirational historical biographies that were long on inspiration and short on history. "Cardinal Richelieu" was another one a biography that made the usually villainous Cardinal into the (admittedly wily) hero of the piece. Don't look for much history but it gives you the sense of how you take the raw material of history, throw most of it out and turn the rest into a very watchable story.
Inevitably, the nature of drama, irrespective of what story you're trying to tell, imposes a certain structure on everything and that structure is "opposition to adversity" and specifically, opposition to ever-growing adversity.
And we rather like the stories that involve triumph (if not ultimate triumph) over adversity.
But real life, unfortunately, doesn't often accomodate that structure. There are often struggles, but rarely do they fall neatly into a line of ever-growing struggles, with the most difficult one coming right at the "end" before a final triumph that sort of caps off your life.

That's why biographies often just tell the stories of short pieces of people's lives like maybe the kind of interesting parts that sort of make good stories and maybe that involves taking different parts of somebody's life and re-arranging them so as to jam all the good stuff into one neat, organized close-together segment.
Or just making a bunch of stuff up. That works too.

NMS
I read Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers: The Story of Success" over the weekend. He's the bestselling author of "The Tipping Point" and "Blink."
In his book he analyzes the success of Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy, Mozart, the Beatles, Bill Gates, power attorney Joe Flom, ******* hockey teams, and others. He explains many factors that contributed to their success, such as:
How people at the tops of their fields have put in 10,000 hours (the threshold number he uses) to get there (which is as much as three times longer than most others are willing or able to put in).

Whether their parents used a parenting style known as "concerted cultivation," which is more often found in middle-class homes, or "accomplishment of natural growth," which is more often found in lower- class homes.
What role ethnic heritage and discrimination played in the success of Jewish immigrants.
How the year you were born determines the socio-economic and demographic factors that shape your opportunities.

How the month you were born determines the likelihood of becoming a star hockey player in ****d*.
He also reports on the fact that people with genius-level IQs generally are not any more successful than people with average IQs.

"It's impossible for (successful people) to look down from their lofty perch and say with truthfulness, 'I did this, all by myself.' ... They are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Their success is ... grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some plain lucky but all critical to making them who they are."
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