With graduation season in full swing, some lucky colleges across the country have been blessed with commencement speeches from A-list celebrities. New York University's Tisch School of the Arts may have gotten the best speech of all, with Robert De Niro keeping it 100 at Madison Square Garden. He told the crowd full of aspiring writers, actors, directors, and more, "You're an artist—yeah, you're fucked."
The speech wasn't full of gloom, though. Just brutal honesty about the tough road going forward for those who didn't choose pragmatic majors like business. "The good news is that's not a bad place to start," he continued.
"Now that you've made your choice—or, rather, succumbed to it—your path is clear. Not easy, but clear. You have to keep working, it's that simple. You got through Tisch, that's a big deal. Or, to put it another way, you got through Tisch? Big deal!
"A new door is opening for you—a door to a lifetime of rejection. It's inevitable. How do you cope? I hear that Valium and Vicodin work! ...You don't want to block the pain too much. Without the pain, what would we talk about?"
"Rejection might sting, but my feeling is that often, it has very little to do with you. When you're auditioning or pitching, the director or producer or investor may have someone different in mind, that's just how it is. That happened recently when I was auditioning for the role of Martin Luther King in Selma! Which was too bad because I could've played the hell out of that part—I felt it was written for me! But the director had something different in mind, and she was right. It seems the director is always right."
You can watch video of De Niro's speech here, as well as the rest of the ceremony if yours wasn't boring enough.