My road in life has been direct.
He never had any doubts in his technical movie-making skills, but he had trouble getting over his shyness.
From a young age, he was good at writing and he won playwriting contests, but everyone told him there was no market for his writing.
Says that whenever he told people he wanted to go into the arts, no one took him seriously; they thought it was a "cute" idea.
He took a job as an offshore oil rigger; upon returning to his hometown, he lived on his savings and devoted his life to reading and watching film.
Everyone told him he needed a "serious" degree in medicine or law to fall back on, but he devoted himself to his independent, "monkish" film studies.
He realized that if thought he was supposed to be a doctor or a lawyer, he needed to do a 180-degree turn and run the opposite way.
When he eventually got the courage to start making films, it took a few tries before he found success; he stresses that early failure is common in the arts.
His breakout film, Slacker, was a favorite at the Sundance Film Festival; since then, he's made hits like Dazed and Confused and School of Rock.