Ten years ago, Juno Mak burst onto the Cantopop scene with the vigour of a fresh-faced newbie, but things were hardly smooth-sailing for the then-19-year-old.
Labelled a young upstart, he was dissed by critics for using wealthy connections to enter showbiz - his father Mr Clement Mak is the chairman of one of Hong Kong's largest investment firms, CCT Telecom.
Today, the Hong Kong singer-turned-film-maker, 29, is laughing all the way to the bank, what with his triumphant directorial debut, the chilling horror flick Rigor Mortis, making waves in Asia.
An eerie homage to the classic Mr Vampire movies of the 80s, the film topped Hong Kong's box office with $2.8 million last month and has raked in an impressive $1.5 million in Taiwan so far.
Rated NC16, Rigor Mortis opens here next Thursday.
On Saturday, Mak would face off against local homeboy Anthony Chen and Chinese actress Vicki Zhao in the Best New Director category at Taiwan's prestigious Golden Horse Awards.
Chen is nominated for his dramatic feature Ilo Ilo, while Zhao is in contention for her paean to lost youth, So Young. In a phone interview with local reporters yesterday from Hong Kong, Mak played down his chances of winning.
"I haven't thought about that at all. It's just great to be nominated," he said in Mandarin.
"Most Hong Kong movies are romantic flicks or comedies. It's been a long while since the industry had a fantasy, vampire-themed film. So there's definitely something special about Rigor Mortis."