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Steven Spielberg Essay

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    As a kid in Phoenix, Steven Spielberg charged admission to his homemovies while his sister sold popcorn. Although Spielberg excelled at makingmovies he was not a good student. He hated school and was one of the mostunathletic students there. His movie making career began at the age of twelvewhen his father bought a movie camera that Spielberg used all the time. Insteadof doing his school work he was using the camera. While he was working with hismom and sister on his projects, his father helped him make miniature sets out ofpaper mache.He turned out his first production, with script and actors, when hewas thirteen, and a year later he won a prize for a forty minute war movietitled Escape to Nowhere. At the age of sixteen, his 140-minute production,Firelight, was shown in a local movie theater. In college, his short film,Amblin was shown at the Atlanta Film Festival and led to the boy genius’sUniversal Studios directing contract at the age of twenty.

    Spielberg learned his craft doing television work, which included anepisode of the Rod Serling series Night Gallery and the classic cult movie Duel.

    His first feature, The Sugarland Express, was released in 1974, and he was soonoffered the chance to direct a thriller about a great white shark terrorizing asmall New England beach town. Jaws cost $8.5 million and grossed $260 million.

    Spielberg followed it up two years later with Close Encounters of the Third Kind,earning a Best Director Oscar nomination and proved to the world that he was oneof the best directors of the time.

    However, he followed Close Encounters with the disastrous Movie, 1941,which was his first attempt at comedy and his first true failure. He didn’t takelong to regain his form, both commercially and artistically. Teaming up with hispal George Lucas (whose Star Wars came out the same year as Close Encounters,and made even more money), Spielberg created an action-adventure picture basedon the old continuing stories, better known as serials, that they both loved askids. Called Raiders of the Lost Ark and detailing the adventures of anarchaeologist named Indiana Jones, it earned him another Best Directornomination and made a ton of money at the box office.

    A year later, Spielberg surpassed not only himself but Lucas’s StarWars–his E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial was one of the biggest domestic moneymakersof all time. Further profiting as a producer of other directors’ hits (includingPoltergeist and Back to the Future), Spielberg became one of the richest men inHollywood. In 1984, he created his own independent company, Amblin Entertainment,and the following year, reacting to criticism that he couldn’t make an adultpicture, he attempted The Color Purple. Criticized for sentimentalizing thematerial, he was publicly embarrassed when the film pulled down eleven Oscarnominations, but not one for its direction. In a goodwill gesture, though, theAcademy came through for Spielberg with the honorary Irving G. Thalberg Award in1987.

    Over the next few years, with Always, Empire of the Sun, and Hook,Spielberg’s golden touch seemed to be failing him. His personal life was also inturmoil: he and actress Amy Irving divorced, and he married his Indiana Jonesand the Temple of Doom leading lady Kate Capshaw. Professionally, he came backwith two huge movies in 1993, Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List. Jurassic Parkgrossed $100 million in nine days and went on its way to breaking E.T. ‘s box-office record. Spielberg’s Schindler’s List looked at the good-hearted NaziParty member Oskar Schindler and the terrible times Jews went through during theHolocaust. Even though Spielberg never expected it to be a box office smash hechose to make this movie because he felt that given his gifts, he could make amovie to help people understand the holocaust. This finally earned Spielberghis long-awaited Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture. Lifted even furtherby this unprecedented success, he joined forces in 1994 with record mogul DavidGeffen and movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg to form Dreamworks, a multimediaentertainment studio. Spielberg is currently in production with the sequel toJurassic Park, Jurassic Park 2. Clearly we have not heard the last of StevenSpielberg. Category: Music and Movies

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