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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Owen

On Going To Film School In My 40's

This was originally a LinkedIn post. You can read it and connect with me here: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/daniel-mcgrath_writing-film-writer-activity-7027762838278443008-aJDp/


In December I turned 44 years old.


One week later, I graduated from the Writing for Film, TV and Games program at Vancouver Film School with Honours, multiple awards and a grade average of over 93%. My name is now on plaques on two trophies at VFS.


I’m very proud of what I achieved there and while it’s tempting to say, “see? Age doesn’t make a difference”, I don’t think that’s true. I think my age DID make a huge difference. In fact, I don’t think I could have achieved any of this 20 years ago. Let me explain why.


I sold my house to help pay to go to Canada and study, so I was invested in my learning from day one. 20+ years of long, hard work as a technician has made me disciplined and focused. It’s taught me teamwork, to learn from the people around me. It’s taught me to get the job done and to do it well, whatever it is and whether I like it or not, agree with it or not.


I wasn’t always like this.


In my 20’s, I was a little aimless; I wasn’t sure what I wanted. At 44 I am and it’s this: to become a better writer. I’ve never wanted anything in my life so much as I want to be good at this and to make it my profession. I feel closer to that dream now than I could have imagined just two years ago.


But that’s not all. Over the last 20 years I’ve been defeated, lauded, heartbroken, exuberant, uncertain and triumphant. I’ve been bruised and battered and hurt so much sometimes I thought I would never recover. I’ve been sick, I’ve been sore and on occasion I have disgraced myself. I’ve made mistakes. So many mistakes.


Every one of these things has helped shape my voice and develop my perspective in ways that even now I struggle to fully articulate, but they have made me a better artist, perhaps even a better person. I couldn’t see it, but it was happening. I was becoming who I am now: a writer.


It’s never too late to push for your dreams, and if you feel like you’ve already failed, I ask you to think again. Maybe it was just too early.



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