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Steven Spielberg: Filmmaker’s Life and Brilliance

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Steven Spielberg at this day and age is known throughout the world for his award-winning, spectacular movies of all time. Nevertheless, there was a day when Spielberg was nothing more than a small, depressed child. In the following biography Spielberg’s life will be explored as he grew from a film fanatic into a master scriptwriter.

Born on December 18th 1946, Steven grew up in an average like family, though from a young age his love for films was very bold. His father Arnold was an electrical engineer involved in the development of computers. Whereas his mother Leah was a concert pianist as well as a housewife. He was the oldest of four children, them being Annie, Sue, Nancy and himself. He later studied in Arcadia High School in Pheonix, when his family moved to Scottsdale Arizona, from Haddonfield, New Jersey. This is where his talent began to be noticed.

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When Steven was young he often charged admission for home movies, while his sister Annie sold popcorn. At the age of 12 Spielberg finished his first script. At the age of 13 he won a prize for his 40-minute war movie, Escape to Nowhere. In 1963, at the age of 16, his 140-minute production Firelight, based on a story his sister had written about a UFO attack, was shown in a local cinema. This movie also later inspired him to make Close Encounters.

Beside all the success and achievements of his childhood, there was a very dark emotional side to it as well. Many of his scripts told the stories of distant fathers and depressed children, this mirrored Spielberg’s childhood, as his relationship with his father wasn’t well. Arguments and verbal conflict would take place and young Steven would shove towels under his door to block out the yelling and screaming. Pretty soon their marriage began to fall apart and a divorce took place.

Despite all of Spielberg’s achievements at a young age he was actually denied entry to many tradition film schools before deciding to study English in California State University at Long Beach. Nevertheless, his actual professional career began the day he decided to jump off a tour bus at Universal studios and look around. While wondering around the back lots Steven found an abandoned Janitors closet and decided to turn it into an office. In time the security guard would have seen him around so often that they would have opened the gates for him without question.

Once inside and settled Steven decided to start work on Amblin. Amblin, only 25 minutes long had a $15000 budget supplied from a friend. Amblin won several film festival awards and was also shown in the Atlanta Film Festival. This movie made him the youngest director ever to be signed for a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio. Just 4 years later after directing various television shows he directed the suspense film Duel, which received critical and audience acclaim.

Spielberg graduated permanently to feature films with 1974’s Sugarland Express. But it was his next effort that truly made him stand out of the crowd. Jaws, a thrilling movie about a great white shark, was the most successful film of 1975.

In 1977 Close Encounters of the 3rd kind was Staggeringly successful and Spielberg received academy nomination for best director. His success streak came to an end at his failed attempt at comedy with Slapstick War Comedy 1941. This didn’t discourage him any bit, as he teamed up with his friend George Lucas, to create 1980’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, and earned yet another best director nomination. It was Spielberg’s next effort that asserted his position as the era’s most popular filmmaker. 1982’s ET: Extra Terrestrial, a story about a young boy and his friendship with an Alien, touched many hearts. This movie was also the first to be produced by Amblin Entertainment a production company formed by Spielberg himself in the same year.

Critics will be critics, and after being criticized of not being able to make a movie with adult content, Spielberg created The Color Purple, a movie based on the struggles of a group of African American women after the depression. The movie received 11 Oscar nominations and made over $100 million in gross. After his success along came a few disappointments. 1987’s Empire of the Sun and 1989’s Always were two box office disappointments. Nevertheless Spielberg returned to form with 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Over the next few years Spielberg directed and produced several movies that received little recognition. Hook for example was a $60 million production that attracted many negative reviewers. This turned around right around in 1993 when Spielberg stepped back into the hall of elite with Jarrasic Park and Schnider’s List. Jarrasic Park was a special affects extravaganza that grossed $100,000,000 in the first 9 days of release, beating ET’s box office record. Schnider’s List was the movie that won Spielberg his first Oscar for best director and best picture.

Using his tremendous success to his advantage Dreamworks SKG was formed. Dreamworks SKG was the 1st new movie studio to form in Hollywood for over 75 years. Backed up with heaps of experienced people from the entertainment industry Dreamworks promised to be large. Amistad was the 1st film to be directed under the label. Nevertheless, it was released at the same time as Titanic, making it look like a failure, when in fact it didn’t go to bad at the box office. Recent movies such as Minority Report, Men In Black 2 and Catch Me if You Can, make Dreamworks and Spielberg a legendary duo.

As a major American icon, Spielberg has written, acted in, directed and or produced many award-winning, top grossing movies of all time, along with some of the most remembered and loved. Roger Ebert (Sun-Times film critic) has stated, “If Spielberg never directed another film, his place in movie history would be secure. No other director has been more successful at the box office and few have placed more titles on various lists of great films. No director or producer has ever put together a more popular body of work. That’s why the movies we’re seeing are made in his image.”

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