Robert De Niro has told arts graduates to prepare for a “lifetime of rejection” and warned them: “you’re f**ked”.
“Tisch Graduates: you made it. And, you’re f**ked,” De Niro opened with when speaking at the graduation ceremony of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
The actor, famous for roles in Goodfellas, Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, delivered an “incredible” speech that was bleak, honest, self-deprecating but also hopeful.
“You discovered a talent, developed an ambition, and recognised your passion,” he said. “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.”
“Yeah you’re f**ked,” De Niro added. “The good news is, that’s not a bad place to start.
“There will be times when your best isn’t good enough. There can be many reasons for this, but as long as you give your best, it’s okay. Did you get straight As in school? If you did, good for you, congratulations. But in the real world, you’ll never get straight As again.”
De Niro said out of all the graduates at New York University, a student specialising in the arts would find it the most difficult to get a job.
Past graduates from the highly-rated performing arts and creative studies school at NYU include Martin Scorsese, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Lady Gaga, James Franco and Alec Baldwin.
Employment prospects for arts students in Australia has been a contentious topic of late, as the sector protests the 2015 Budget cuts to the Australia Council’s funding.
So now we know that the first victim of the National Programme for Excellence in the Arts is nearly all federal funding for community arts
— Ben Eltham (@beneltham) May 21, 2015
Watch the full speech below: