Often success changes people, usually for the worst, but sometimes it makes them more human.
Tonight I was attending an investment and media night for an upcoming Australian Feature Film currently in pre-production. I arrived early, VERY early in fact, so I sat around in my car and waited.
Shortly after I had parked, I noticed a familiar looking face walk out of the very building that I was due to walk into within the next hour. I did the obligatory double take, which is a nice way of describing the combination of brain-freeze, memory-lapse and déjà vu that had temporarily taken control of my synapses for a period of less than one second.
And then it hit me. It was Garth Davis. Now that name may not be well-known to you, but if you are at all familiar with the awe-inspiring Australian film, Lion, starring Dev Patel and Rooney Mara (you know, that beautiful film that made everyone cry) then this was the genius who brought it to life, he is the critically acclaimed director.
But I knew him for another reason. Ten years ago, long before he probably ever imagined that he'd even have the opportunity to work alongside The Weinstein Company (known for Django Unchained, Inglorious Basterds, and Sin City amongst others), he was a TV Commercial director, and a ridiculously good one at that. How do I know this? Because Garth directed me in not one, but two television commercials all those years ago; one for ANZ Bank and one for Toyota Australia.
Even back then, Garth had this humility and personable nature about him. He was very grounded and giving of his time and it made me happy to know I was again working with him on my second TV commercial.
Obviously a lot has transpired in his life since those days to now be able to direct award winning films with world renowned talents, but it struck me after our conversation, that he was as humble and genuine today as I remember him ten years ago. Despite his amazing success and his now forged path to being an extremely sought after and in-demand director on the world stage, he is still a normal Aussie bloke who clearly hasn't let his success get to his head, even though it'd be completely understandable if that was the case.
He even remembered me from back then and we had a brief chat about upcoming projects, both his and mine. He wished me well and carried on his way.
What a reminder to everyone, especially in today’s egocentric world, to not be defined by your successes but rather by your character and values. Unfortunately for me I later realised that the investment and media night was actually being held in one weeks time on the following Tuesday night. Damn! Some would say I wasted an hour and a half of my life tonight, but I don’t believe in coincidence, so I believe that I was meant to cross paths with Garth tonight as a stern reminder (unbeknownst to him), to not let success get to your head or let it alter who you are as a person.
A great lesson learnt, from a great Australian guy, all without him even being aware of it. Have a great night whatever you do!
PS. If ever by some chance you're reading this Garth, thank you! It'd be a complete honour to be directed by you again :)