As a kid in Phoenix, Steven Spielberg charged admission to his home
movies while his sister sold popcorn. Although Spielberg excelled at making
movies he was not a good student. He hated school and was one of the most
unathletic students there. His movie making career began at the age of twelve
when his father bought a movie camera that Spielberg used all the time. Instead
of doing his school work he was using the camera. While he was working with his
mom and sister on his projects, his father helped him make miniature sets out of
paper mache.He turned out his first production, with script and actors, when he
was thirteen, and a year later he won a prize for a forty minute war movie
titled Escape to Nowhere. At the age of sixteen, his 140-minute production,
Firelight, was shown in a local movie theater. In college, his short film,
Amblin was shown at the Atlanta Film Festival and led to the boy genius's
Universal Studios directing contract at the age of twenty.
Spielberg learned his craft doing television work, which included an
episode of the Rod Serling series Night Gallery and the classic cult movie Duel.
His first feature, The Sugarland Express, was released in 1974, and he was soon
offered the chance to direct a thriller about a great white shark terrorizing a
small New England beach town. Jaws cost $8.5 million and grossed $260 million.
Spielberg followed it up two years later with Close Encounters of the Third Kind,
earning a Best Director Oscar nomination and proved to the world that he was one
of the best directors of the time.
However, he followed Close Encounters with the disastrous Movie, 1941,
which was his first attempt at comedy and his first true failure. He didn't take
long to regain his form, both commercially and artistically. Teaming up with his
pal George Lucas (whose Star Wars came out the same year as Close Encounters,
and made even more money), Spielberg created an action-adventure picture based
on the old continuing stories, better known as serials, that they both loved as
kids. Called Raiders of the Lost Ark and detailing the adventures of an...