Steven Spielberg Essay, Research Paper
In today’s society, there are many people that have made many contributions to the world. The person I feel who has a major impact on today’s society is Steven Speilberg. I chose him because he is a famous Jewish American film director and because I am related to him.
I am a Jewish, white male who was born and raised in America. My family’s heritage originates from all over Europe. They moved to America during the early 1900’s. My great-grandparents were the first to come to America. They started a family in the Bronx. My parents were the first to move out of the Bronx and bought a house in Orange County. And, I have been living there all my life.
The Jewish people’s homeland is Israel. They have been fighting to keep Israel as their homeland for thousands of years. Israel is a very small country that you can find in the Middle East, in Europe. Israel was established in 1948, which is located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Israel is bounded on the north by Lebanon, on the northeast by Syria, on the east by Jordan, and on the southwest by Egypt. Israel covers 21,946 sq. km (8473 sq. miles). Jerusalem is Israel?s capital and largest city. Inside of Israel, there are many different ethnic groups living there. Israel is a very beautiful country. There are many places that one would have to visit, while they are in Israel. (Encarta 95)
Steven Spielberg was born on December 18, 1947, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His parent?s names were Arnold and Leah (Posner) Spielberg. He had three younger sisters, Anne, Nancy, and Sue. Soon after the birth of Steven, his parents moved from Cincinnati to Haddonfield, New Jersey. Arnold Spielberg was part of a team of scientists who designed some of the first computers. Leah Spielberg was a classical pianist, played in a small chamber orchestra, and was involved in cultural and artistic pursuits. He introduced his son to technology at an early age, and this technical knowledge would greatly influence Steven when he began to make films. (Ferber)
When Steven was nine, his family moved from New Jersey to the sunny desert setting of Scottsdale, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. Many people believe that the years he spent in Scottsdale, from the ages 9 to 17, left some of the most lasting impressions on him. The asphalt-lined streets and driveways and the neighborhoods of houses built closely together look strikingly similar to the communities Spielberg would later include in his films Poltergeist and E.T. Steven felt bored in the dull, quiet suburban world of his childhood and made movies to fight this boredom. He soon discovered, he later said, that he ?could do anything or live anywhere via [his] imagination, through film.? (Ferber)
His interest in space, stars, and extraterrestrial life began when he was six and his father woke him up one night to witness a meteor storm in a nearby field. His father tried to explain the technical aspects of what was happening, but all Steven could do was watch in amazement at what he imagined were falling stars. A few decades later this scene from his childhood appeared in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind almost exactly as Steven remembered it. (Encarta 95)
Steven Spielberg claims that by the age of 12 and 13 he knew he wanted to be a filmmaker. His first fully scripted film was a 40-minute war story entitled Escape to Nowhere, which he made in 1961 when he was nearly 14. In high school Steven had no less than 15 short films to his credit, and a local newspaper, the Phoenix Gazette, published a story about the aspiring filmmaker. (Ferber)
Steven Spielberg graduated from Saratoga High School, in California in the spring of 1965. He then headed to California State University at Long Beach that fall. His first film was Amblin?, which was a 22-minute film. It was a silent film about a girl and a boy who hitchhike from the Mojave Desert to the Pacific Ocean, it took Spielberg 10 days to shoot. Whereas movies often take a few weeks or months to shoot, the preproduction and postproduction work can add many more months to the project. His friend at Universal, Chuck Silvers, showed Amblin? to a number of top executives, including Sidney J. Sheinberg, head of Universal?s television production. Sheinberg immediately offered Spielberg a seven-year contract to direct television programs for the studio, saying, ?Sir, I liked your work. How would you like to go to work professionally?? Spielberg left college so quickly that he did not even have time to clean out his locker. Although he feared his father would be angry, Spielberg believed he was making the right decision for himself. Spielberg, like many other directors, such as Robert Altman and Arthur Penn, never finished college. Spielberg was even more confident that he had made the right decision when Amblin? won the Atlanta Film Festival award and an award at a festival in Venice, Italy, in 1969. His 22-minute film was also nationally distributed in 1970 with the Paramount film Love Story, which became a box-office hit and was nominated for several Academy Awards. (Ferber)
During the early 1970s, he directed three films for Universal; the first, and most successful, was Duel. The 73-minute film was first telecast by ABC on November 13, 1971, and was so popular on American television that Universal Studios decided to release it in European theaters, where it became a big hit. (Encarta 95)
In February 1973 the film won the Grand Prix de Festival award in Avoriaz, France, and Spielberg received the Cariddi D?Oro for his direction at the Taormina Film Festival in Rome, Italy, in mid-July. It was the first time a made-for-TV movie had been so honored. With Duel a smash in Europe, Spielberg was even more anxious to make a movie for American theaters. He was, however, still committed to his seven-year contract with Universal Television. (Encarta 95)
Noting the success of Spielberg?s Duel, both on American television and in European theaters, Richard Zanuck and David Brown, who had joined Universal, gave the up-and-coming filmmaker his first chance at directing a project that he had also written The Sugarland Express. Steven Spielberg shot his first feature on a new type of camera offered by Panavision, a prominent movie camera manufacturer. He was the first director selected by Panavision to test the newly developed Panaflex 35-millimeter camera on film. (The Panaflex, which was noiseless, had a rotating mirror shutter and an interchangeable lens; it was the first 35-millimeter camera that could be hand-held and had crystal sync motors that allowed for more accurate film-to-sound matching.) A trademark of Spielberg?s films has been the use of cutting-edge computer and filmmaking technology to further the storytelling aspects of his movies. (Ferber)
Spielberg was 26 when he was assigned to direct the $12-million movie, Jaws. He insisted it be shot entirely on location on Martha?s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Jaws was released in the summer of 1975, the same year that the Vietnam War ended, and it was an immediate success, a ?blockbuster? in Hollywood terms. (Ferber)
The 27-year-old director?s career and life changed forever when Jaws became the first movie to break the $100 million mark in rentals. It also became the highest-grossing movie to date, surpassing even the 1939 classic Gone with the Wind. (Ferber)
After completing Jaws, Spielberg spent the next two years writing the script for what would become Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The project?s original name was ?Watch the Skies,? but Spielberg ultimately settled on the more technical term to clarify the story. In 1977, Spielberg was happy with the box-office profits. In September 1981, the 34 year old Spielberg began filming E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. E.T. was an overwhelming success. In 1982, Spielberg coproduced the movie version of Rod Serling?s famous television series The Twilight Zone, and in 1985, the movie, The Color Purple was released. (Ferber)
While Spielberg was directing his films of the late 1980s, he was also working on projects that married computer technology with film for outstanding visual effect. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, released in 1988, coproduced by Disney?s Touchstone and Spielberg?s Amblin companies, and directed by Robert Zemeckis, mixed live actors with computer-generated cartoon figures. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, charmed audiences, but critics had mixed feelings about the film. (Encarta 95)
Jurassic Park, focused on another childhood obsession, dinosaurs. Jurassic Park was based on Michael Crichton?s best-selling novel of the same name. When Jurassic Park was released in the summer of 1993, it quickly surpassed E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial as the largest moneymaker of all time. Before he had completed Jurassic Park, however, Spielberg turned his attention to the film that would become the most important of his career to date. He said, ?Everything I have done up till now has really been a preparation for Schindler?s List.? (Ferber)
Schindler?s List was thus a film that Spielberg directed to quiet painful memories from his past but also to remind the world of the horrific events that took place only five decades earlier. In 1993, Spielberg took the cast and crew of Schindler?s List to Poland in search of ?truth.? Spielberg shot Schindler?s List on black-and-white film, a format rarely used for commercial movies today, because he believed the story would be more powerful if it were shown in stark whites, grays, and blacks; color could not convey the bleak message he wanted to express. When Universal Studios released Schindler?s List in December 1993, it was the most critically acclaimed film of Spielberg?s career. (Ferber)
Until this day, Steven Spielberg is still directing movies that are ?blockbuster?s.? His accomplishments will go on until the day he unfortunately passes on, which will make me extremely upset because he is my cousin by marriage. He is related to my father?s brother?s wife. I am proud that Steven Spielberg is a famous Jewish filmmaker and director that is accepted in today?s society.