You may know where they are now, but where were some of today’s most powerful and influential people before the power and fame? Many held an internship position that created a foundation for their future success!
BY DAN DRULLINGER
Three-time Oscar winner Steven Spielberg has made quite a name for himself in the entertainment industry. He has director and producer credits in over 180 titles including E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, the last two of which garnered him Oscars for Best Director in 1993 and 1999 respectively. Spielberg might possibly be one of the most recognized names in Hollywood; his last name doesn’t even receive a red correction line in word processors! In such a sought-after industry, how did this college drop-out separate himself from the rest? He utilized quite an unorthodox internship with Universal Studios at a very young age.
At the age of 17, a family friend who was an editorial executive at Universal found some work for the eager young Spielberg around the set. The only issue was that this internship was slightly less than “official” and he could not be granted access to the studio lot. Not willing to give up this great opportunity, he showed up every day and snuck onto the premises. While hoping for a continued education in film, he soon found that the schooling was less than challenging, so he took his own route to success. Much like his previous internship, Spielberg kept sneaking onto Universal’s lot, networked with everyone and ducked his head into any department he could find his way into.
This drive and dedication from the hopeful intern soon paid off. No matter how many times he got thrown off set, he was determined to make it. He filmed a short called Amblin in three different production platforms; 8 mm, 16 mm and 35 mm as instructed to do so by the same family friend that helped get his foot in the door. It was finally reviewed by Universal executives. They were so impressed by his short that they offered a seven year contract that he gladly accepted with no hesitation. He quickly became the youngest director ever to be hired on by the studio.
After a little while directing television and low-budget films, his big break came through the production of Jaws. From there on out, it was all Spielberg. He has since gone on to become one of the most touted filmmakers of his time, with 80 nominations to go alongside his three Oscars. Films directed by Spielberg have grossed over $8.5 billion to date. Steven Spielberg is truly an inspirational story proving that the experiences and connections made through an internship was vital to his future success.