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George Lucas directed the Star Wars films and Indiana Jones movies, both of which took on a cult-like following.
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"A lot of people like to do certain things, but they're not that good at it. Keep going through the things that you like to do, until you find something that you actually seem to be extremely good at. It can be anything."
"A special effect is a tool, a means of telling a story. A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing."
Famed director, writer and producer George Lucas was born George Walton Lucas Jr. on May 14, 1944, in Modesto, California. Lucas's parents sold retail office supplies and owned a walnut ranch in California. His experiences growing up in the sleepy suburb of Modesto and his early passion for cars and motor racing would eventually serve as inspiration for his Oscar-nominated low-budget phenomenon, American Graffiti (1973).
Before young Lucas became obsessed with the movie camera, he wanted to be a race car driver, but a near fatal accident in his souped-up Fiat just days before his high school graduation quickly changed his mind. Instead, he attended community college and developed a passion for cinematography and camera tricks. Following the advice of a friend, he transferred to the University of Southern California filmmaking school. There, he produced a short futuristic Sci-Fi film called THX-1138:4EB, and garnered a comfortable spot under the wing of Francis Ford Coppola, who took an active interest in unleashing new filmmaking talent. Coppola convinced Warner Brothers to make a feature length version of the film, and although a few critics recognized some philosophical depth behind all the technical wizardry, THX-1138 (re-titled) flopped terribly in its 1971 release.
Although intimidated by the failure of his first film, Lucas went back to work on his next project, American Graffiti. Released in 1973, the film featured such burgeoning young talents as Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, and Harrison Ford, and was recognized as a stunning portrait of listless American youth in 1962 depicting, in Lucas's own words, "a warm, secure, uninvolved life." The film, made for only $780,000, grossed $50 million in the box office. It was nominated in five categories at that year's Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Director for Lucas, and is still considered one of the most successful low budget features ever made.
Now that Lucas had won back the confidence of his supporters, he set out to make a children's Saturday morning serial that would be part fairy tale, part Flash Gordon, and complete fantasy and adventure set in the imaginary frontier of outer space. The project eventually evolved into a full-length feature entitled, Star Wars. In its 1977 release, Star Wars blew audiences away with its awe-inspiring special affects, fantastical landscapes, captivating characters (the erroneous pairing of two bumbling droids providing, ironically, the most heart and comic relief), and the familiar resonance of popular myth and fairy tale.
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They spent their lives amassing millions—sometimes even billions—then promised to give most of it away. Here are a few of the wealthiest one percent who have promised the majority of their fortunes to philanthropies and charitable organizations. Through their example, maybe more moguls will take up the banners of bigger causes.
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