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20 Career Lessons from Celebrities

Tania Khadder and Zac Frank

August 25, 2009

#7: George Lucas

Lesson: Don’t be afraid to take risks.

The creative genius behind Star Wars and Indiana Jones didn’t get to where he is today by following the rules. Sure, he went to USC Film School, and yeah, he interned at Warner Brothers, but so did countless other filmmaking hopefuls. Lucas was fearless in the face of risk. Combine this fearlessness with a knack for innovation, and you’ve got a recipe for multi-billion dollar success.

Early on in his career, while negotiating his director’s fee for Star Wars, he agreed to take a $500,000 pay cut in exchange for all sequel rights and ownership of the film’s merchandising – things the studio thought were pretty much worthless. Silly studio! He made tens of millions of the merchandising and financed the making of the sequels himself. Which, as you can imagine, had a huge return on investment.

He also took a break from movie-making to pour his fortune into other projects – namely, his digital effects and innovation studio Industrial Light and Magic. The studio began taking on special effects work for other filmmakers at $25 million a pop. He then went back to produce his Star Wars “prequels,” which went on to break box office records. Taking risks early on in his career made him the success story he is today.

#8: Susan Boyle →