Motivational Monday: Steven Spielberg: Film School Reject to Oscar-Winning Director

Once upon a time, there was an aspiring filmmaker who applied to the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. He was rejected because of his sub-par high school GPA. He applied two more times and was rejected again and again. Eventually, the wannabe filmmaker gave up on film school and attended California State University in Long Beach, majoring in English.

That was the uninspired start of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning career.

While a student at California State, Spielberg was hired as an unpaid intern in the editing department of Universal Studios. He was given the opportunity to write and direct a short film for theatrical release. The film won several awards and impressed Universal Studios Vice President Sidney Sheinberg so much that he offered Spielberg a seven-year directing contract.

By not giving up on his dream, Spielberg went from film school reject three times over to the youngest director to be signed for a long-term deal with a major Hollywood studio.

Today you know Spielberg for blockbuster movies like E.T., Jaws, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List and Catch Me If You Can. He has directed 29 films, winning three Oscars, including two for Best Director. His films are estimated to have grossed more than $4 billion worldwide, making him the highest grossing film director in the world. His net worth is estimated at more than $3 billion.

If Spielberg had given up on film-making, he would have missed out on his dream career, in which he has been exceedingly successful. Perhaps, more importantly, the world would have missed out on dozens of groundbreaking movies. If you ever need a reminder not to give up, look no further than Steven Spielberg’s story.

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