I just had to post Michael Giacchino’s acceptance speech from the Academy Awards.
When I was… when I was nine and I asked my dad, “Can I have your movie camera? That old wind-up 8 millimetre camera that was in your drawer.” And he goes, “Sure take it.” And I took it and I started making movies with it and I started being as creative as I could, and never once in my life did my parents ever say, “What you’re doing is a waste of time.” Never. And I grew up, I had teachers, I had colleagues, I had people that I worked with all my life who always told me what you’re doing is not a waste of time. So that was normal to me, that it was OK to do that. I know there are kids out there who don’t have that support system so if you’re out there and you’re listening, listen to me: If you want to be creative, get out there and do it. It’s not a waste of time. OK.
Usually, I watch the Oscars and come away with a favourite dress, but this year I fell in love with Michael’s beautiful speech. Years ago, I taught acting to teenagers after-school and this speech summed up everything I wanted to say to those kids but didn’t quite know how. So many misfits turn to the creative arts and while they’re being pressured in to planning their entire futures at the age of fifteen, they decide to do something they love for a living – something that makes them feel like they belong.
It’s not so crazy when you hear it from their perspective, but students would come to me in tears after learning that their parents didn’t support their dreams. They wanted to be an artist and they wanted to make a living of it, but most of all, they wanted their parents to believe in them.
I’m sure it must be frightening to hear that your child wants a career that’s not straightforward and reliable but don’t knock down their dreams. Just wait and trust their decisions. They might change their mind a hundred times or they might always be driven on the same path. Either way, you can’t guess the future and you won’t know what’s possible until they’re out there and doing it.
I don’t think it’s much too ask, but that’s because I was one of those fifteen-year-old misfits at acting class too. (I’m probably still a misfit, I just don’t take much notice anymore.) If I never said it clearly enough when I was teaching, then I hope my past students were living by Michael Giacchino’s principles. If not, well you heard him: He said it’s OK.