How to lead a creative life

How Marty Scorsese risked it all and lived to risk again in Hollywood.
AT 69, AN AGE WHEN MOST HOLLYWOOD DIRECTORS have been packed off after a hollow cavalcade of plaudits, roasts, and nostalgic fetes, Martin Scorsese is once again panicked about hitting a deadline. His new movie is Hugo, a 3-D children’s movie being released by Paramount Pictures this Thanksgiving weekend, and Scorsese has never before directed in 3-D, nor, God knows, made anything resembling a kid flick. But this is what life is like for Marty, as everyone calls him. The director has achieved the trifecta of a fulfilling, creative life: enough money to do only what truly interests him, enough freedom to attack those projects in a way that is satisfying, and enough appreciation from his peers to tame–just slightly, just ever so slightly–the neurotic beast of self-doubt.

After 22 movies, five commercials, 13 documentaries, a handful of music videos, three children, five wives, and 25 studios; after insolvency and misery, after box-office failures and years of going unappreciated; after the one Oscar and all the others he should have won, Marty Scorsese has earned the right that every creative person dreams of: the right never to be bored. And what all this adds up to in his case, what this really means to this particular man, is that he has earned the right to continue to fret every little detail in the world well into the next decade and for as long as he cares to make movies.

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