Last week I finished reading a book about George Lucas. He is best known for being the creator of Star Wars. Do you know what his first hit movie was? American Graffiti. American Graffiti was a movie that starred Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Mackenzie Phillips, Suzzane Sommers and Wolfman Jack. This was before all of these people made it big. Yeah, Ron Howard had been Opie on the Andy Griffith show and Wolfman Jack was a popular deejay. George Lucas was promoting American Graffiti to Hollywood as a musical. Not a standard musical where all the actors sing the songs. His idea was to take songs that Wolfman Jack was playing on the radio and incorporate them into the movie. The songs would be played on a car radio, or at the local drive in over the PA system.
Here is a list of some of the songs that were on the soundtrack of the movie. Rock around the Clock, (Bill Haley), That'll be the day, (The Crickets), She's so Fine, (Flash Cadillac), Barbara Ann, (The Regents), Johnny B. Goode, (Chuck Berry), Love Potion #9, (The Clovers), and Teen Angel, (Mark Dinning). George Lucas said this about himself, " I made movies that nobody thinks are going to work. " That was true of American Graffiti and Star Wars.
It was hard to start a career in the movie making business in the seventies. You had to have connections to the movie studios and they were in control. This reminds me so much of the music industry in Nashville and LA. This has started to change with digital recordings and social media to help promote sales of music.
The first thing that George did was to learn as much as he could about making movies. George graduated from USC where he studied cinema. He made a film in school that was impressive to the teachers and staff. This helped him to one day be able to get Hollywood to finance American Graffiti and the first Star Wars movie. After his initial success he invested his own money that he made from these two hits back into his own company Lucas Films. He was then able to have total control of his movies and not have Hollywood executives trying to edit and change his movies.
If Star Wars was not a hit, George would have lost millions of dollars of his own money. The gamble paid off. George rolled the dice again and invested all of his profits from Star Wars back into making the second movie, The Empire Strikes Back. This bet paid off also. After this he was able to have the control that he craved and needed to be successful. His next big hit would be Raiders of the Lost Ark. Wow! Those are some pretty powerful movies to create and produce. I like that George believed so much in his vision that he invested all of his money. George bet on himself and he won.
How does George's story make you feel? I love the feeling I get when I hear a great story. Rags to riches. A slave becomes a princess. A nobody becomes a king. We are writing our stories each day that we live. It might be a short story, a boring story, a thiller, a tragedy, a comedy, etc. But the one thing that is will always be is "Our Story."
Write your own story and make it a great one.