JUST A NUMBER
In the last 18 months i’ve had to attend a lot extended family events. Birthdays, Weddings, and a funeral . As these events go, you get asked a lot of questions by people you see every once in blue moon , and some you dont even know, but have to be respectful to , because they are the cousin, or brother, or aunt blah blah , who nobody wants to offend, so as annoying or frustrating as some of the questions you get asked , EVERYTIME you see them you have to smile and give a polite answer.
When you reach a certain age, in a country like mine (Nigeria) , there are certain expectation, family and the larger society have of you. They are also the expectation you have of yourself and probably struggle with 24/7 the other 364 days of the year they arent present. Their insistent questions dont help as they remind you of unaccomplished goals and can send you into a depression .
As a creative person, and as a filmMaker, a lot of mine are in relation to accomplishments as a Director and career goals that haven’t been reached or seem very far off. Especially when you think of how many of the filmMaker you look up to, had already made their mark with several classics behind them, at an age you feel you have barely started. Those nightmare of becoming a “could have been” can start haunting your waking moments like the walking dead.
Recently,i decided that anytime im i getting a lil depressed or discouraged about not achieving certain things by my age,i will recall that, Sam Jackson’s breakthrough came at 45 in 1994.
Today, he earns over $300,000 annually, in residuals alone and is spoilt for choice in movie roles.
Nick Fury in the comics was retooled and modelled after his likeness, long before the he played him in the MCU.
A rock band sang a song about him(Soundtrack for SWAT)
Pre MCU,his films made over $3 billion and he is one of the most recognizable,liked and respected actors in the world both by fans and the industry.
We live in a very ageism society.
You are meant have achieved career height by a certain age,
Meant to marry and have kids by a certain age and start getting looks,emails and phone calls of worry and queries if you havent.
Meant to have your own house and a certain amount in your nest egg by a certain age
Meant to “act your age” ,by, well, a certain age
If you havent achieved somethings by a certain age it is deemed too late. You may even be seen as a failure or unserious.
Another Tarantino alumni,Christoph Waltz was unknown to 99.99% of those that know him now. His big breakout role as Col Hans Landa was at age 50+.
Today there are few movie fans who dont adore the man.
In the film business, actors are mostly reminded of their age when instead of being asked to play the lover,they are asked to play the lover’s parent, or Grandparent Yikes
Directors have always have younger, more hungry directors coming behind them, who would take anything to get their foot in the door. Check out the age these guys directed their feature debuts Ridley Scott(40) ,Michael Hanake(47) , Ang Lee(38), Alejandro Innarit(37), Steve McQueen (39) ,Ava Duvernay(38) , and they are all quiet active and at the top of their game.
Its not limited to the movie world or actors,many entrepreneurs with Fortune 500 companies, past and present have their late bloomer stories.
As a Nigerian the examples may seem like they’re far off in the U.S . True, but if thats what you choose to take away from this,well goodluck with that.