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Steven Spielberg and the Art of Leadership

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"Steven Spielberg and the Art of Leadership"

Mr. Steven Spielberg is undoubtedly one of the most influential film personalities in the history of film, at least during my lifetime. He is the master of imagination and storytelling and obviously truly a living legend. He is perhaps Hollywood's best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. He may very well be the most commercially successful filmmaker in Hollywood history.

His name became a household name in 1972 at the making of "Jaws". (I was too young to remember this, only two years of age at the time.) As I was growing up I heard his name mentioned many times but did not become a fan of his work until 1982 with the release of "ET"- or "Extra Terrestrial". This story was incredible; it really makes you think as a child that anything is possible. It's about a boy (Elliot) who finds an alien and tries to keep him safe, befriends him and tries to get him back home. It really makes you think that just because someone or something is different you can't close your heart and mind to them or their ideas. If you close your heart and dreams that may be the one thing or person that could have changed your entire life! Yes I did stand in line at the Southbridge Twin Cinema, eight times to see this movie. Not to mention that the line went all the way around the building. After seeing this film once I not only became a fan of Steven Spielberg but also a huge fan of movies, film, directing and to this day I believe he is a visionary and a genius.

However, he experienced quite a long journey to get to where he is today. It's truly amazing that he has accomplished so much and overcome so many obstacles along the way. He never gives up or settles for less. He surrounds himself with and has the ability to attract, identify, develop and retain the most talented people. These people have stared in his films and also assisted in directing and making "movie magic". This makes him a great leader in our time, he is a living legend.

Mr. Spielberg has countless big-grossing, critically acclaimed credits to his name, as producer, director and screenwriter. He has grossed billions at the box office and his current net worth is over $3 Billion. This is a far cry from where he started! He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1946. He spent much of his childhood and youth growing up in New Jersey. His mother, Leah Adler, was a concert pianist & restaurateur and his father, Arnold Spielberg, was an electrical engineer involved in the development of computers.

In his early teens he made an 8MM adventure film with his friends. He charged 25 cents, admission for anyone who wanted to watch his home films. His films included the wrecks he staged with a Lionel train sets and his sister sold popcorn. He was already a brilliant leader and businessman at age twelve or thirteen. In 1958, he became a boy scout; shortly after he won the photography merit badge award by making an 8 mm Western. He told his troop leader that his dad's still camera was broken and asked if he could use the movie camera to tell a story. After this he just kept making films and it all spiraled upward from there. His parents were divorced and he moved to California to be with his dad. However, his dad was an absentee father.

As a young boy Spielberg was faced with the misperception of himself by other children being an Orthodox Jew. He confessed once, that he was embraced of his family and the way they acted or presented their beliefs. He said once that God forgave him by the time he was 9 years old. He says he was not embarrassed about being a Jew but of the outward Jewish practices of his parents and grandparents. He says it made him "uneasy" around friends or school mates. He used the example of his grandfather who wore a long black coat, black hat and long white beard, which seemed eccentric to others. Mr. Spielberg admits that he was embarrassed to ask any of his friends over as it may be a prayer time. He suffered some anti-Semitic acts against him during his childhood and also was attacked, smacked around and had two or three bloody noses in High School. Steven graduated from Saratoga High School in 1965 at which time he attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

Steven applied to film school at the University of Southern California School of theater and was TURNED DOWN multiple times. He was unsuccessful in enrolment there but he NEVER gave up on his dreams. He went to California State University Long Beach, but dropped out to pursue his entertainment career. In the 1960's he began work at Universal Studios as an unpaid, seven-day-a week intern as editor. He had an enormous amount of ambition and always pursued his dreams.

Steven Spielberg began making films in 1963 and has been making them ever since. He began directing in 1974, he has been nominated for 12 Academy awards and has won three Academy awards for directing. Seven of his films have been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. In 1987, he won the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial award for this work as creative producer. He also went back and received a Bachelor of Science degree



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