Age is a very important thing in Korea. Being born one or two years ahead or behind can mean all the difference to people here, for they will start addressing you differently, think of you differently, look at you differently (not necessarily up or down, just...different).
Nevertheless, age is important. In this case, it's important in the sense that it's almost always directly proportionate to the experience that you gather (or perhaps more accurately, the chance to gather the experience). It is this experience that makes or break your film production: knowing how to handle the actors, how to plan the shots, how to even self-censor yourself (in a good way, meaning to limit your vision of grandness to within a $3,000 budget) at the early stage of scripting and planning.
Nevertheless, though experience is an issue, it is not the reason I am sitting here writing about it.
The main issue at hand is age. As in...I am arguably the youngest bugger to set foot in my classroom. Ever. What helps my case is that young Korean men have to attend national service (a real national service, not the joke that is the unity programme we have in Malaysia) for two years. Incidentally, I wouldn't mind being put through such a programme myself. Done properly, it can build real discipline, fitness, and strength of body and mind. However, it does take away two years of your life, which works to my advantage in a way.
If winning non-existent 'youngest student' competitions is my aim. It's not, though I tend to be younger than most of my classmates since high school.
Nevertheless, it gap is nowhere near as big as it is here. Here, the majority of my classmates are hitting their late twenties, with some reaching the halfway mark of their fourth decade. Some are married, some have businesses, some have made movies, some, some...
...have actually done something with their lives. They've made an impact, a difference of the sort that I can only dream about for now.
It does make me feel my age, despite the plaudits that do come my way. It does make me ask myself, to paraphrase Wesley Gibson from 'Wanted', "What the fuck have I done lately?"
And the answer, in the face of such age and experience, would be...absolutely fuck all.