How Steven Spielberg Got His Start in Hollywood

Film director Steven Spielberg was rejected by both USC and UCLA film schools, so he went to Long Beach State, which didn’t even have a film school. There is a story about how he first got his directing contract with Universal Studios.

He was visiting California with his family, and they went on the Universal Studios tram tour. He always wanted to make movies, so he snuck off the tour to look around. He was caught by a man who recognized his passion, and gave him some passes to visit the studio. The next day, Spielberg dressed up with a coat and tie, and carried his father’s briefcase, and just walked past the guards at the Universal studio gate, without even using the studio passes. He would wave to the guards and they just assumed he was an executive.

He found an empty office in a bungalow and set it up as his own. He began talking to people on the studio lot and made connections, and finally showed them a short film he created. The studio executives were so impressed that they offered him a seven year contract, becoming the youngest director ever to be hired by Universal. He didn’t even finish college at Long Beach State. He went on to direct Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan and many more movies.

Some believe that Spielberg embellished the story, but even if only part of the story is true, it shows that he was very bold in getting his career. Yes, he was very talented, but he didn’t just sit around, he did something to make his career happen.

Let me repeat that, because I think it’s important. Before he became successful, Steven Spielberg was just a guy who didn’t have his goal yet. Before you get your goal, sometimes it’s hard to believe you will actually get it. But Steven Spielberg had a clear idea of what he wanted and did something about it.

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