The One Dream – Ang Lee

A story of Ang Lee – A Self Made Director/Producer (Life of Pi)

This is a story of a young boy, who had a dream of becoming a film maker.  To make his dream come true, he applied to study film at the University of Illinois.  His father however, objected to this, pointing out the fickle nature of the entertainment industry.  He wished for his son to become a professor, saying every year 50000 performers compete for 200 available roles on Broadways.

Unwilling to give-up his dreams, he went against his dad’s wish and boarded a flight towards the United States.  Because of this, their relationship soured and in the years to come, they would hardly speak to each other.  Time passed, and having graduated from film school, the young man was ready to make a name for him.  However, he soon came to realize that what his father had said about the hard reality of working in film had been true.  Over the next six years he struggled.  Taking on menial jobs, doing what he could to further his career for the most part, to no avail.  Once he tried to pitch his screenplay to more than 30 different production companies, but each time, despite all his efforts he was rejected.

As life goes

There is an old Chinese saying that “At 30 one stands firm”.  The young man however, having turned 30 found himself far from firmly grounded in life.  He had got married to a college classmate and the two had started a family, but the young couple had struggled financially.  His inability, to support and provide for his family weighed heavily on the young man and he was plagued by constant feelings of guilt and doubts, on whether or not to give-up on his dream.

His wife worked for a small pharmaceutical laboratory and with her modest income supported the family. In turn, the young man took on all the house work, cooking, cleaning, and looking after their son.  On top of that, he would read and write his scripts, as well as review films.  To his in-laws, this kind of a life seemed undignified for a man this age, and they would send them money, hoping the man would open up a Chinese restaurant, but the wife refused to take the money.  When he found out about this he would stay up many nights and came to conclusion that this dream of his is not meant to be.

Don’t forget your Dream

In the hope of finding employment he enrolled in a computer course in the nearby community college, the decision that would dampen his mood in the weeks to come.  His wife noticed his husbands unusual demeanor and in time came to learn the reason for changes in his behavior.  One morning, upon leaving to work, she spoke words of encouragement, that he husband so desperately needed to hear.  DON’T FORGET YOUR DREAM – she said.  There are so many people already working with computers, they don’t need you to do that, if you need that golden statue you have to commit to that dream. As soon as his wife left this young man grabbed his class schedule and tore it to pieces.  His dream, which had slowly been drowned by the demands of life was beginning to come back to life, thanks to the touching words of his wife.

ANG LEE spent the rest of his few years, pitching ideas Hollywood Studios, but none of them got accepted.  He endured one after the other setbacks.  Until finally one day he simply decided to shoot his own films, with minimal funding if need be.  Not before long, his work gained recognition within the industry and he began wining national awards, for some of his films.  When he entered the screenplay contest in his native Taiwan, using two of his screen plays he won both first and second place.

The hidden dragon

In 1999 he was asked to direct a movie based on ancient Chinese martial art.  Excited about this opportunity he assembled a team from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, as well as the US.  In 2000 “CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON’ became the highest grossing foreign language movie including the US, and it won an Academy Award for the best foreign language film.

In 2005 he directed “Brokeback Mountain” A romantic drama about two cowboys who fall in love, which won him the Best Director Academy Award, a feat that he repeated in his 2012 movie “A Life Of Pie”.  Ang Lee’s story is one of courage, self-belief, and perseverance.

“In life, in YOUR life, nothing worth having ever comes easily.  We all must accept failures and setbacks as part of our journey, but giving into defeat does not mean giving up on one’s dream.  Show courage in times of despair, believing in your dreams even if no one else will.  Persevere in the face of adversity and you too can realize your dream”. 

Anwar M Quereshi

A Legal guy who is passionate about the fourth pillar of Indian Constitution - Journalism and Reporting in the field of Law and Management. Email:--aq@theoutreach.in

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