During his moving commencement speech, “After Earth” director M. Night Shyamalan told a crowd of ITT Tech graduates in Mobile, Alabama yesterday that if they can learn one thing from his career it’s that you can’t be afraid to fail. According to Shyamalan, he became deathly afraid of failure after his fourth film, 2004’s “The Woods,” disappointed critics and audiences worldwide, but he managed to work through his fear of failure which allowed him to go on to direct four more terrible movies, “Lady in the Water,” “The Happening,” “The Last Airbender,” and “After Earth.”
“A decade ago, I’m sure none of you thought life would go so off the rails that you’d end up graduating from ITT Tech,” Shyamalan told a crowd of graduates. “Just like a decade ago, I never thought my career would go so off the rails that I’d end up telling Will Smith how great the Scientology-inspired movie idea he came up with for his son to star in was, just so he’d hire me direct it.”
Shyamalan’s inspiring words are being praised as the most inspiring speech since Steve Job’s famous “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. Shyamalan was hoping to deliver the commencement speech at his Alma Mater, NYU, but when “After Earth” received a rotten rating of 12% on Rotten Tomatoes and bombed at the boxoffice, ITT Tech was the only invitation he received to speak at a graduation.
“Will I ever make a movie as good as ‘The Sixth Sense,’ probably not,” Shyamalan said later in his speech. “At this point, I’m not even sure I can make a movie as good as “Lady in the Water,” and that was terrible. But the point is I won’t give up. I’ll keep making movies until they pry my Director’s Guild of America membership card from my cold dead hands.”
Shyamalan received a 15-minute standing ovation from the crowd, which would have gone on longer, but the recent ITT Tech graduates had to leave early so they wouldn’t be late for their nightly shifts at the fast food restaurants where they work.