“Orson Welles was only 26 when he made Citizen Kane, I’m already 30.”
-Johnny Depp as Grade-Z auteur Ed Wood in “Ed Wood” (1994)
Yes, Orson Welles made “Citizen Kane” at 26. 26 is not a bad age. A lot of people tend to think that around 30 is the darker period of life and the potential of accomplishing something great (like making a film) is bleak. The trend of the 90s was young filmmakers, early to mid-twenties, making their breakthrough film.
A dude named Steven Paul made his first film, “Falling In Love Again,” starring Elliott Gould, in 1980 at the age of 22 and made the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest filmmaker in doing so. Kevin Smith made Clerks at 23, etc., etc. This may make some aspiring filmmakers feel like time is running out and that most groundbreaking new directors are youthful guys who used to mop the men’s room at Burger King when they conceived their film idea and a few years later end up schmoozing at Sundance. It’s THE cliche, isn’t it? It’s being in the right place, at the right time, isn’t it? It’s being lucky enough to go to film school with Martin Scorcese’s distant cousin’s girlfriend’s brother or even more so, being part of Francis Coppola’s offspring. There are those relative factors, but age is also considered to be a factor in breaking through at the right time. It’s like the desire to get laid when you’re a teen. You get laid in high school, great! But college is the last stand for it, and if not then, you consider your life over.
You don’t want to die when you’re 50, and you want to succeed as a filmmaker at around 23. Maybe the best of us won’t get to know that luck. Who ever heard of the groundbreaking debut film from a 50-year-old director? That sounds interesting. Remember, age doesn’t kill creative juices, let’s all be patient. Just because someday you will no longer be able to get an erection, give birth to kids, or run without stopping to take a breath every five seconds, your creativity and vision won’t die with it.
I still want to see new filmmakers, but I’d feel safe and secure as I reach further adulthood when I see debut movies from Grandpa and Grandpa. It’s a great assurance. Forget about your twenties being the limit and keep pushing that boulder.