Every recent graduate knows it’s a tough jobs climate out there, so it’s rather nice that Robert De Niro has decided to remind them of the constant travail that is life. The graduation class of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts got a commencement speech out-of-the-ordinary last week when De Niro told them “You made it, and you’re f—ed.” JK Rowling scraping rock bottom and building her life on the foundation of a boy wizard, this was not.
De Niro reminded the graduates of Tisch, a world famous arts college, that the more traditional avenues of study are going to find pay cheques in a faster fashion, “The graduates from the college of nursing, they all have jobs. The proud graduates of the NY school of law, they’re covered. And if not, who cares? They’re lawyers.”
While those graduates have opted for stable and secure career paths, the students of Tisch are in a far uneasier boat because they decided to follow their passion for creating. The Godfather actor decided to remind these aspiring actors, directors and writers that they face a lifetime of uncertainty. “Yeah, you’re f–ked,” he said but added a somewhat inspiring codicil, “The good news is, that’s not a bad place to start.”
“You discovered a talent, developed an ambition, and recognized your passion. When you feel that you can’t fight it, you just go for it. When it comes to the arts, passion should always trump common sense,” he said.
And as for the rejection letters and real-life nos that litter the life of a jobbing artist? De Niro mused, “A new door is opening for you. A door to a lifetime of rejection… It’s inevitable. It’s what graduates call the real world.” He did have some tongue-in-cheek advice on how to cope with the constant negativity. “I hear that Valium and Vicodin work.”
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