Prince’s 4 Purple Cornerstones To Being An Artist - Alex Munoz

Prince’s 4 Purple Cornerstones To Being An Artist – Alex Munoz

Film Courage: From reading your story I think
you said that the late artist formerly known as Prince gave you advice when you just moved
to Hollywood? Alex Muñoz, Filmmaker/Founder of FYI Films:
I actually love telling this story so I moved to Los Angeles before I got accepted to film
school. And I just figured if I don’t get into USC
or UCLA, I can go be an assistant director or get a job with the studios. So the second day I was in LA I got an internship
with a company called Propaganda Films and on my second day on the job a casting director
say “Hey…What’s your name?” And I said “Alex” And she said “Would
you like to be a stand in for famous rock star?”And I said “Well who is it?” And she said “I can’t tell you.” And I said “Nah…I don’t want to be a
stand-in because I want to be behind-the-camera so I went back to my boss Steven and I said
“Hey, Lisa wants me to be a stand-in for a rock star, she won’t tell me who and I
don’t want to do it. And he said “Why?”And I said “Because
I want to be a director. I don’t want to be in front of the camera,
I want to be behind-the-camera.” And he said “You have to do it, you’ve
never been on a professional film set.” So I race back and she was on the phone ready
to hire somebody and I said “I’ll do it! I’ll do it!” She said okay. The next day I’m on set and the DP says
“Okay Alex, you can leave now.” I turn around and I’m face-to-face with
Prince. I really wasn’t a big Prince fan at the
time but I was looking down at him and our noses were like this far apart and I’m like
“Wow, he’s got four inch heels on and I’m taller than him and he just laughed
and goes “Can we switch places.” And I said “Sure.” We were told not to talk to Prince. They said do not talk to him. And he talked to me. On day six I got my letter of acceptance from
USC and my roommate got the letter and she said “I have something really important
to give you.” I said “Okay I’m in Downtown LA on this
music video shoot, can you bring it?” She gave be the letter, I opened it up and
went to the set and I was really excited, I said “I got into USC film school!” And everyone started clapping and Prince said
[motions to go over] And I’m like “What?” And he goes “Come here.” I’m like “What did I do?” He said “So you are going to be a filmmaker.” I said “Yes.” He said “Let me hear you say that.” I said “Say what?” He said “Let me hear you say you are going
to be a filmmaker.” And I said “I am going to be a filmmaker.” He said “I want you to listen closely. There are four rules I want you to consider
abiding by if you are going to pursue filmmaking in this town.” I said “Okay.” He said “First one, (he pointed up) always
remember God and your the Creator. Always remember God and your Creator. Number two, always remember where you come
from because when you forget where you come from you die as an artist.” Number three was break the rules. If you follow the rules you are going to be
boring and you’re going to fade fast. And number four was, always give back. You must give back as an artist. And I said “Okay.” He said “Repeat what I said.” And I did. I call these my four purple cornerstones. Remember God Where you come from – never forget where you come from Break the rules And always, always give back He said grace is really important in your
journey After he tested me on the four core principles
he told Rosie his backup singer “Rosie, pray for this brother that he does not go
down the dark path. He needs to stay on the path of light.” So Rosie took my hands and placed them on
the piano and made a prayer of protection that I wouldn’t be seduced by the dark side,
what Prince called the fleshly temptations. And “This is serious, we are praying for
you.” And after she prayed, Prince said “Amen.” He said “Don’t forget what I told you.” And I said “I won’t.” Imagine that is a priceless encounter, that
cannot be measured. I had just moved to LA. I’d just finished my undergraduate work
in Santa Barbara. For him to take the time to tell me these
things and share with me his four core principles and for him to ask his backup singer Rosie
to pray for me, I never forget this. One of the reasons is when I decided to move
forward with FYI Films a non-profit, I rummaged through my mind I remember Prince saying always
give back and he helped me. I don’t think I’d be talking about FYI
Films if Prince didn’t tell me this about giving back. Film Courage: Because it seems like all four
things you’ve incorporated (the purple cornerstones) into your life? Alex: I try to. So the second part of the story is when Prince
died the did a tribute concert for him. I called the organizers and said “Hi, my
name is Alex Muñoz. Prince gave me some really good advice back
in the day. I will do anything. I will sweep the streets, I will sell popcorn,
I will sell popcorn, I’ll do security. I just wanted in my own way pay tribute to
this great artist because he gave me some good advice I will never ever forget. So they said “We will call you right back.” Two hours later they call me back and they
said “We Googled you and your a filmmaker? Why don’t you do a film celebrating Prince?” I said “The concert is ten days away. I can’t possibly make a good enough film. How about I document it?” I went to document this Prince tribute concert. The very first interview I did happened to
be in the very first spot when Prince told me the four purple cornerstones. I was like “Oh my gosh, this is where Prince
told me to remember God, remember where you come from, break the rules and always give
back.” I felt really inspired. Like my body was trembling because I could
feel his presence in that area where the concert was right in front of LA City Hall which is
where we shot the video. How uncanny is that? Then I went out to the audience and interviewed
some people about the concert. Stevie Wonder does this amazing rendition
of Purple Rain. So I’m trying to go backstage to interview
Stevie and I can’t get to him. The guards are saying “You can’t talk
to Stevie. He doesn’t want to be bothered.” One of my FYI Film alumni from Hawaii sees
me and says “Hey Alex, what are you doing here?” I said “Oh, I think I’ve told you when
I taught FYI Films (when I taught the film workshop) that my first experience on a film
set was being Prince’s stand-in?” He said “Yes…but what are you doing here?” I said “I’m doing a documentary.” He said “Why do you look mad?” I said “Stevie gave the best performance. I want to interview him and they won’t let
me get backstage.” And he said “I can help you.” I said “That’s really nice of you, but
you can’t help me.” He said “Alex, I can help you.” He goes in the back, comes back, he says “Come
on.” He takes me to Stevie Wonder. It was Stevie Wonder’s nephew. So I felt like it was full circle. I mean I’ve got chicken skin right now because
Prince tells me the importance of giving back. I’m there to do a documentary about this
concert. I can’t get to Stevie, it turns out one
of my alumni never told me he was Stevie Wonder’s nephew, gets me backstage because I believe
I had access to Stevie and all of Prince’s backup singers and all of Prince’s backup
dancers because if I didn’t teach that FYI Film workshop in Hawaii, I would have never
met my alumni. Then two years later I see him at this concert
backstage. That’s Karma. That is “Oh…I’m doing what I’m supposed
to be doing.” I told him “Why didn’t you ever tell me
you were Stevie Wonder’s nephew?” He said “I don’t know Muñoz? I don’t want people to like me just because
we’re related to Stevie. But you earned it because you’ve come to
our birthday parties and our 4th of July parties and you never asked any questions and you
showed us love anyway. So okay, now you know.” So I mean, what a blessing right? One of my alumni is Stevie Wonder’s nephew
and little did I know that two and a half years later I would need him to complete my
film. Film Courage: And you’re in the same spot
where you first met Prince on his music video back in the day in front of LA City Hall Alex: So my documentary is called PURPLE DOTS. It’s a short film about how I moved to Los
Angeles and Prince gave me this advice and how 18 years later I’m doing this documentary
at his tribute concert and how my first interview is in the same spot where I met him and how
it turns out one of my alumni is Stevie Wonder’s nephew and then I can get the interviews that
I need. Alex: That’s its own movie, that’s the
second part of it. Wow…I have a feeling that a lot of stuff
like this happens to you? That you have this amazing synchronicities
or…maybe I’m wrong? I just feel like you have a lot of things
like this happen? Alex: Yes, I think that…I often share this
stuff with people and I put it on my blog, people say “Why does all of this magical
stuff happen to you?” I don’t think I see or witness magic more
than anybody else but I do pay attention and I think I have a heightened sense of awareness
because where I grew up I had to really be aware of what was going on, who is going to
act out, who is going to become angry, who is going to become hostile. Because of that I really pay attention. Also, writers and directors have to have super
sharp observational skills so I just pay attention. I don’t think I’m anyone special or I
have the Creator’s favor, I just do pay attention. Film Courage: They always say [regarding]
intuition, we all have it. I think some people have it more developed
even though we all have that ability to be super or hyper-aware of surroundings and someone’s
mood or intentions. Alex: Right but I never would have imagined
that one of my alumni would have helped me make a better documentary film and I met him
because I was giving back because Prince asked me to. Prince challenged me to give back and I did
and as a result I have a better thought about him. Film Courage: And it came full circle. That’s is a powerful story.

15 thoughts on “Prince’s 4 Purple Cornerstones To Being An Artist – Alex Munoz

  1. This … Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing Alex. Also, I love the point that you don't necessarily experience more synchronicity than other people you just pay more attention and so you are better able to notice and acknowledge it.

    My four principles:
    1. Being intentional about keeping God above all else.
    2. Being intentional about my personal overall health and well being as a priority
    3. Allowing number 1 and 2 to guide me in doing meaningful work that I love and that adds some kind of value to others.
    4. Being intentional about having healthy family dynamics and healthy friendships.

  2. First off, what an amazing experience Alex shared with an icon like Prince. I'm so glad he really took those to heart and used them to find his purpose. The core principles I've adapted throughout my life are to sustain humility, never be afraid to take chances, listen to others who know more than you, and always tell a real story, no matter the circumstances.

  3. #1 Say to yourself: Everything u want to do / learn is easy. Then it is easy
    #2 You only get what you are asked for
    #3 Read BrianTracy: ABCDE method
    #4 Write a diary to get a highway access to the things u have learned.

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