Me and George Lucas
We recently watched the original Star Wars trilogy at our house, while I was preparing Soundcrawl, and thanks to my friend Kevin, I know have the most exhaustive history of how Star Wars IV (and really the whole franchise) came into existence.
Did you know that George Lucas was $463,000 of his own money into “the Star Wars” before he got studio backing?
1) I never realized he was so loaded before Star Wars, but American Graffiti had done really well.
2) A profound shift takes place when you’re paying for the project… Truthfully, Fox was only sortof interested in the project. They said yes long in advance, but had just had their purses burned by a recent sci-fi failure and were leaning towards “no”. George changed the conversation entirely. From “hey I have this awesome idea.. would you like to pay me to create it?” to “I’m making a movie. Would you like your name on it?” Fox was not enthralled by Star Wars, but George’s $400k forced them to consider letting it walk to another studio– which they didn’t want to do. Badda Bing: George’s 7.5million dollar budget.
I’ll tell you, paying for Soundcrawl myself finally put me in the director’s chair. I’m not a very good salesman, particularly when I’m pitching something innovative, like this year’s string project. I didn’t want any real discussions about how ridiculous it was to attempt what we pulled off. Writing checks made it my project. It also ensured that the string players rehearsed at home.
For the record, we never rehearsed the total event. It was completely live. (We spot checked the string parts, starting each tune so no one got lost). Badda Bing: a great project. Funny things about checks. Everyone arrived on time and no one missed a note. Not true of the music pieces I’ve done “on favors.”
Here it is again.
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