All my life I’ve been fascinated with the process of movie making. Throughout my twenties I focused on acting (workshops, plays, student films, local commercials, etc) but never found much enjoyment or satisfaction. I’m now 32 and just starting my college education and wondering what road to go down (writing, producing, etc). I guess my question to you is have you seen many 30-somethings start later in life and manage to be taken seriously in our unfortunately youth obsessed culture?
You read so many stories about young people storming the film world that it’s easy to think that no one successful was born before 1970. The truth is, most of the movies you see were written, directed and produced by people in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. The reason why 19-year old wunderkinds are so fascinating is because they are so rare.
I started working in Hollywood when I was 22, ten years ago. I’m a better writer now than I was then, partly through experience in the industry, and partly through the simple passage of time. As you experience more of life, you simply have more to write about, and a better understanding of the subtleties of the world.
Will you have a tougher time starting out in your 30’s, rather than your 20’s? Maybe. But starting a career in film is difficult at any age, so if it’s 15% more difficult, I can’t imagine that would deter you. Yes, Hollywood can be youth-obsessed, but it’s also a meritocracy at a certain point. People don’t care where you come from as long as you can do the job well.
Looking back, I think the only real advantage I had with youth is that I was willing to be poor. Since I came straight out of college, it didn’t really bother me to eat spaghetti five nights a week, to sleep on the floor rather than a bed, or drive a rusted-out Honda. If I had been better established in life, with a comfortable job and a distaste for ramen noodles, it might have been hard to give those things up.