Tova Laiter: Hi and welcome to the backlot. I’m Tova Laiter moderator and director of the New York Film Academy Guest Lecture series. In this episode, we will take an in-depth look at one of my great guests and hear about his experience in the entertainment industry. And now, Eric Conner will take you through the highlights of this Q&A.

Eric Conner: Hi, I’m Eric Conner senior instructor at New York Film Academy. And in this episode, we bring you the creative mind behind at least one of your favorite movies. The director who, through no fault of his own, all other filmmakers get compared to. Yes, we’re talking about Spielberg. Steven Spielberg. I’m pretty sure you know his credits. Despite a schedule that one can only imagine is always filled, Mr. Spielberg took time to speak to our students at NYFA after a screening of one of his first films, Jaws, the movie that helped set the bar for all summer blockbusters and also set the bar for all the difficulties one could have on set.

Steven Spielberg: The madness came with the package, and the madness was really that we all went out and did something that we perhaps would have been wiser to have stayed at home. I didn’t know it was gonna be this tough. I really did know Jaws would be next to impossible to make. I just thought we would go out there like any movie and shoot on the water and we’d float around a bit and get some shots and go home and just so much. From the first day we got there, every single day was. I learned something new that I knew I would never. As Harrison Ford likes to say, every single day on Jaws was one more useless experience. And yet we were still able to get between one and three shots a day. And that’s all we got. I mean, I’m used to getting 30, 40 shots a day on my movies. We were getting on average day would be two shots. Really. And when you average that that means a shot in the morning, a shot in the afternoon, or sometimes two shots in the afternoon, nothing in the morning. And that’s also taking the average number of setups on land, because on land, it was an easy movie. It was a normal film on land. So you then have to do the math and figure out well if it was getting 20 shots a day on land. How did the average go down to one or two shots a day? The way the average goes to one or two shots a day is. There are some days you get no shots. But it was an eye opener for me and, you know, universal. Here we are. And I’m still here. And because they treated me well all those years and they let me make jaws. And then when the head of the studio tried to fire me twice, the boss of the head of the studio stopped him from firing me twice. And I got to complete the movie because we were so far behind schedule and so far over budget.

Eric Conner: If you wrote a movie about making a shark movie, you couldn’t dream of the problems they faced on Jaws, but from all these unexpected obstacles also came some equally surprising solutions.

Steven Spielberg: The biggest terror about shooting on the water is you cannot stand on it. If I could if I could, I would go back and make another movie on the water. But right now, the whole thing about the water is unless you’re a great swimmer or you’ve or you’re self-destructive, I don’t find any percentage in being on the water for longer than, you know. I don’t even go to the swimming pool today. I’m not afraid of sharks. It’s just I just don’t like water. Jaws taught me that. But in terms of sound, we had a lot of great recording, a lot of great production sound on Jaws. John Carter was the sound mixer for the whole nine months of shooting and he had so much spare time. All he did was have his Nagra on his lap and he was just getting all kinds of detailed water sounds. What it sounds like in six foot seas of water hitting the side of the orca, which sounds like a two foot seas with the little slapping sound of water on the orca. And we had a library that he compiled of sounds that made postproduction and all the sound designers made their jobs lot easier. But I remember there was a scene in Jaws where the boy goes out. Remember, the boy is chasing the girl and he’s drunk and the girl goes out, Chrissie Watkins. She gets eaten. Okay. She’s history. And then the boy is lying there and the water is kind of washing up and outlining him in the dusk light. You saw him silhouetted against the the tide coming in and out. And I never liked the sound of the hissing sound of the foam when it washes up on shore and the receding foam as it goes out. And I remember one of the sound effects designers in post-production. He was making eggs in the morning and he broke an egg and he listened to the sizzle of the egg in the skillet. And he ran and got his Nagra and ran back to the kitchen, broke another egg. And all the sound of all the foam in Jaws is John’s eggs being fried in the morning. And there’s a billion stories like that in this business of how people got these sounds.

Eric Conner: Despite the numerous complications, Jaws went on to launch Mr. Spielberg’s multi-billion dollar career and taught him how to prepare for the unpredictable.

Steven Spielberg: Well, practically, you know, I learned how not to bring a shoot shot list to work. I think the fourth day of shooting on the water, which was after about thirty five days of shooting on land, I went out to the water and I had like I had a list of 30 shots and I kept going like this, scratchy things off. What do I essentially need to make this sequence work? And eventually I got down to the reality that I would have to make the scenes work, all the suspense and all the interpersonal character action between the three principals on the boat in the last part of the movie, I would have to make all of that work with fewer than normal amount of shots. So the editor, Verna Fields, when we both got into the editing room, there was we had less options and there were far fewer options than I normally have on a movie. It was just too tough getting off shots. I’m not sure that anything I ever did. Again, I don’t think Jaws provided any kind of an object lesson for me, except, as you all probably know, I’ve never gone back to the water to make a movie. That was probably the only lesson. That’s why I also didn’t do Jaws two and three and five and six. I don’t know how many they’ve made. But I just wouldn’t go back and do two. And they tried to get me to do it. I just said life’s too short.

Eric Conner: Sounds like we shouldn’t expect Mr. Spielberg to direct a Jaws reboot anytime soon, though with modern computer technology, it would be a heck of a lot easier.

Steven Spielberg: Here’s the thing that I just don’t want to disillusion anybody here about. I was so desperate making this movie. You can’t imagine what all of this together as a community, as a company of actors and crew went through to make this. But if somebody came over to me on the one hundred and we shot one hundred and fifty five days and one hundred and ten of those were out at sea and if let’s say at day one hundred and somebody came over to me and came over to where I was living and said, I’m an inventor and I’ve just invented this new process. And I can create that shot and I can create that water. And you never have to go back in the ocean again. I could do it all on this computer. And I would, of course, say, what’s a computer? Back in 1974, even though my dad helped invent computers back in nineteen fifty forty nine, but had somebody come over to me like that. I was desperate enough to have said show me a sample of your work and if I saw a good shark shot, I don’t care. I would’ve thrown him with him back then. But in 1974 on Martha’s Vineyard it’s a vacation place. It’s a place people go to spend their summers. It’s a place where they have picnics and they take their families and they enjoy life. And they watch fireworks on the Fourth of July. And they go on these regattas they get these sailboats have sailboat races. Just imagine that we’re shooting a very serious, suspenseful movie about a great white shark. And we’re twelve miles out to sea. But there’s all these regattas going by. People having fun with their little sailboats and their big white sails. And of course, the further away the sails were from the camera, the longer it takes for the sale to go across the horizon and get out of my shot. So if there was a regatta 200 yards away, we we were rooting for the regatta. Yeah. Go. Go. Come on. And we were really excited for the regatta when they were six miles away. We’d have to wait close to an hour for the last sail to leave the shot. And just as the last sail would leave the shot. Freddy Zendar, who controlled all the boats and all the anchoring of all the boats, came over to me and said, we can’t get the shot with the shark because the tides, the current has dragged our anchors on the sandy bottom 40 feet below. And now all the boats and the shark barge are out of position. And where you think the shark is right there and you’ve been waiting. This is the shot. This is the last sail. The last sail. It goes away. I’m ready for my shot. But the shark is over there now. And when you had to re anchor and there were six to eight anchors per barge, when you had to re anchor that easily was an hour and a half for re-anchoring. Because you’re not just re-anchoring the shark. You’re re-anchoring the lighting barge, the electric generator, where the generator’s sitting. The picture boat had to be re-anchored a lot. And thank goodness ABBA had a song on the radio that was popular in 1974 and it reminded me of what I was going through it. And it also symbolized where I thought my career was heading. The song was called Waterloo. And I had these old cans in those days, they were AM/FM stereo that I don’t know what company made them, you put them on your head there were two kind of my favorite Martian two antenna that went straight up. And I would sit literally for hours listening to Top 40 music coming from Boston from a radio station there, and because Waterloo was a big hit by ABBA, they kept playing it over and over again. That became my theme song on that movie. It really did.

Eric Conner: I think we can agree Jaws was not Steven Spielberg’s Waterloo. And all these years later, the movie still holds up as a classic. It also shows the importance of being malleable when you’re making a film.

Steven Spielberg: Well, there’s so many significant challenges that happens on set. The one thing is you have to be prepared for any eventuality. You can never rely on a day going by where something doesn’t happen that you didn’t want to happen because it’s just like Murphy’s Law. It happens 20 times a day and you just have to be open to it and expected. You can’t plan for disaster. You’d have to be flexible enough to be able to bob and weave and then come back with a better idea or a better compromise, because it’s gonna happen every single day and you’re never gonna get your way. Even today, I don’t get my way. You know, just when I’ve got the best shot laid out. Weather moves in. And I’m gonna have to be a good producer and tell the director and me that I don’t have the money to spend two or three days like David Lean used to do, waiting for the right weather. And I’ve got to accommodate the conditions and I just got to shoot in new conditions. You’ve got to be flexible and you’ve got to be flexible also because you’re not a painter. You don’t sit there with a canvas. You’re not alone in the room with beautiful northern light, you know, with all of your oils and all of your brushes you’re working through creatively through a hundred other creative people, including all the actors and all the crew and sometimes 200 creative people. So you’ve got to understand that you’re not an auteur if you want to be an auteur. Yes. Take a video camera, go off and make a movie by yourself. That’s that’s being an auteur that’s as close to brush to canvas as you’ll ever get. But when you’re working with a lighting cameraman and a film editor and you’re working with a production designer and you’re working with actors and you’re working with you’ve got to be mindful, empathic and and have a great deal of tolerance for things not going exactly as you had hoped or you had planned when you were privately doing your storyboards and mapping out exactly the perfect way to make your movie. And then you find out that the storyboards no longer make any sense because everything has changed. So my advice would be just stay as open as you possibly can.

Eric Conner: Being open as a filmmaker means knowing how to collaborate while still staying true to your vision. For instance, the screenplay for Jaws went through a number of hands before it was just right. And even then, it took Quint himself, Robert Shaw, to help conquer that particular animal.

Steven Spielberg: The whole process of Jaws was the Peter Benchley book that I liked the last third of, but I didn’t love the sort of melodramatic soap opera affair that the ichthyologist has with Sheriff Brody’s wife. There was a whole sort of Peyton Place drama to Jaws, the things that happened on Amity Island, you know, that I didn’t want to have in the movie. And Peter, bless his heart, agreed. I mean, he said that was for the book. But I understand a movie can’t really have all of that. So Peter wrote the first draft with me. And the good news about that was that he was complicit in streamlining Jaws. But I wasn’t a hundred percent happy with that first draft that Peter wrote. I tried my own draft and I didn’t like my own writing on Jaws. I did an entire draft after Peter. So I then through Dick Zanuck and David Brown, the producers, hired a writer. His name was Howard Sackler. He’s uncredited on Jaws and he’s uncredited because Howard did it as a favor to Dick and David. They had produced his play, The Great White Hope. He was a wonderful playwright. And Howard didn’t really want to receive a credit. So he just took a job. He spent four weeks at the Bel-Air Hotel here in Beverly Hills. And he wrote the script that pretty much, I think is the movie in terms of the the sequences, the way he’d laid out the narrative. And he’s responsible for the structure of Jaws. But I wasn’t one hundred percent happy with many of the individual scenes. But you have to remember that he was the individual who suggested a motivation for why Quint was Quint. And he’s the one that said, I’d like to have Quint talk about the Indianapolis. What, Indianapolis? I mean, that’s where he came from? I thought this guy was a Welch fisherman, pretending to be somebody from Long Island, he said, no, this character was on a ship called the Indianapolis that was sunk after delivering the A-bomb parts. And the sharks took hundreds of sailors that were floating in the water for three or four days before the remainder were rescued.

Clip: Eleven hundred men went into water. Vessel went down in twelve minutes. Didn’t see the first shark for about half an hour. Tiger. Thirteen-footer. You know how you know that when you’re in the water chief? You tell by looking from the dorsal to the tail.

Steven Spielberg: I had no idea the story existed, but he put it in the script. And then I had another writer, John Milius, he wrote Apocalypse Now. He wrote the Dirty Harry series. He directed and wrote Dillinger The Wind, the Lion. I’m going to see him tonight, actually, after this. I’m going to see him. And John took a crack at it and wrote a 10 page monologue for Quint to say about the Indianapolis. Too long to go in the movie. But brilliant sections. Robert Shaw took the 10 pages and being a writer himself. He brought it down to five. And I shot the Robert Shaw abridged version of the John Milius monologue conceived by Howard Sackler. That’s sort of how that happened.

Eric Conner: Though Mr. Shaw was not the only performer who had a hand in shaping the script. Thanks to all those tech delays, the cast had plenty of time to try new ideas.

Steven Spielberg: Well, I think the script changed because we were so bored. I mean, I was sitting around with Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw. We’re sitting around with nothing to do for hours. And we made stuff up. I made up the scene where where, and we later was put in the script. We reverse engineered it. We would shoot a scene and then write the scene that we had just shot. So the script person, Charlsie Bryant, could have the continuity. Other times we just got bored and dreamed up scenes on the boat, took them home that night, gave the scenes that we had made up on the boat to Carl Gottlieb, who wrote the scenes into the script for the next day’s work. An example of that is the scene where Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw bored with each other and very hostile toward one another. Robert showing off to Richard drinks the can of beer and squishies the can in his hand, and Richard drinks the little Styrofoam cup of coffee and switches the Styrofoam. Those things were not originally in the script, has found their way in it somehow, just based on the fact that we kept exploring. We had so much downtime, we had nothing to do but to explore how to make these scenes better. I don’t encourage improvisation if I have a strong script, but sometimes things happen and the lines aren’t working and it just doesn’t seem authentic enough to me or to the actors who are struggling to bring the scene to life. And when we do that, sometimes we do improvise. And I don’t really like to improvise with the camera’s going. I’ve done it. I prefer to improvise without the cameras and take the best lines to come out of the improvisation, put those through the writing process and then take the improvisation and then recycle it into a structured narrative based on improvisation. Several scenes in Private Ryan. All my soldiers improvised scenes and we just took the best lines that they came up with and folded them into a sequence. But most of my movies, I have to confess, are not the result of improvisation.

Eric Conner: Though most of us think of him as a visionary craftsman, Steven Spielberg consistently credits much of his success to casting. His expectations for his cast are surprisingly basic, but they are crucial.

Steven Spielberg: The most important characteristic that I require is that they know all their dialogue. They know their lines. You’d be surprised how many actors come to the set unprepared because they’ve come to receive inspiration. They’ve come to figure it all out. They want to be able to improvise a bit. They want to be able to make their own contributions. So they just loosely know what they’re about to say, but they don’t really get it letter perfect. And all I ever ask anybody is well what the writer wrote you should make that second nature to you. And then we can riff from there and change from there. But know the basic foundation of the day’s work. And so that’s the first thing I ask for. The rest is easy, because if you’re not good in my movie, it’s not your fault. It’s my fault for casting you. So you have nothing to worry about except know your lines. Then we’ll collaborate and we’ll find a great way to tell that character’s story. But there’s not much more you have to worry about.

Eric Conner: Sure nothing to worry about, you know as long as you can outrun a T-Rex or the tripods in War of the Worlds. Steven Spielberg is just as careful when determining his crew. Especially since he tends to hold on to them for lots of projects.

Steven Spielberg: I pick my crew very carefully because I tend to work with the same crew. You know, I tend to stick with the people. Ron Judkins is made like eighteen movies with me. He’s my head sound mixer, my production sound guy. You know, I’ve had Gary Rydstrom doing doing and Ben Burtt doing sound effects for me for years consistently. I’ve used other people, too, but they’re the most consistent. You know Janusz Kaminski has shot my last eleven movies that I’ve directed, and before that Allen Daviau did three and Dean Cundey did about three or four. So I like working with the same crew. I like working with the same operator, camera operator, same focus puller, the same dolly grips because the strangers to the experience are pretty much the actors. And I love the actors walking into a community of friends and collaborators who know each other and our dialogue with each other as shorthand because we’ve known each other so long. We don’t have to get acquainted from film to film. We have to get acquainted with the material because we’re all chameleons. The movie requires crew to be like character actors where you have to fill different shoes, different kinds of parts. But I like the consistency of a crew and that’s why I’m very careful to pick my crew and I hang onto them as long as I can.

Eric Conner: So for those of you looking to find a crew for your own movie, choose wisely. Even if you’re a weekend warrior making a film while working other jobs or going to school, find the right team. That’s how Steven Spielberg got his start when he was barely even old enough to shave.

Steven Spielberg: The fortunate thing about wanting to be a director is that directors pretty much have a little more control at least in going out on a weekend with an 8 millimeter movie camera. You know, if you do odd jobs and in my day I could do odd jobs and my dad helped me and I made some money and my dad lent me some money, which I never paid back. Well I did pay it back. He’s living pretty good now. But I think that early on, a director at least has the control of putting together a little group to go out. Go see Super 8, because that’s exactly what JJ and I experienced, where we were 12 and 14 years old. Making movies like that with neighborhood friends but with actors it’s different. And I’ve got several actors in my family. I know how hard it is. And there’s not a single actor that could be sitting where I’m sitting right now who could deny the fact that they ever hit big bottomless pits of feeling that nobody wanted them and they would never have a chance to express themselves in the performing arts. Every actor I don’t know who it is. You’d name any name, and I’m sure all of them have a story about the lows they hit before some exciting piece of kismet occurred to them before them. And they got a chance to, you know, to show off how good they were. So it’s gonna happen. It can also happen after you’ve had a spate of roles. You can have a year in a TV series and it might be three years before you get hired again. That’s not because you weren’t very good in the TV series is because sometimes directors, casting directors, producers don’t quite know how to place or cast everybody. And actors have droughts. You’ve got, you know, high moments and low moments. Just my advice to everybody would be, if you believe in yourself and if you’ve got the wherewithal to keep you know, you know what they say, the gumshoe, you know, going from meeting to meeting, reading to reading, study, go to acting class, continue to take classes. I encourage actors that are working to go to class. When I was a young director here at Universal, all the actors that I knew that I was either directing in television episodes when I was in my early 20s or actors who I knew about, they were all going to acting class. They were being paid to be in TV shows and they were going to acting class when they weren’t professionally being paid to act. There’s something very commendable about that. So you’ve got to keep studying.

Eric Conner: A reason to keep working on your craft is so that you’re ready for your first professional gig, especially since you might not be able to pick your own collaborators, at least not right away.

Steven Spielberg: I think when you first get your professional break and you’re a director for the first time and somebody has hired you, it’s most likely going to be in television or it’s going to be maybe a video, a music video or a commercial. And in that case, you’re going to be handed your crew. You’re gonna be given the people to work with and you’re going to have to get to know them. You’ll be assigned a team. If it’s a commercial, if it’s if it’s a music video, maybe a little looser on music videos, you can maybe bring a DP along. It’s not until you get yourself firmly established that you’ll be able to start handpicking your own crew. At least that’s my experience. I think a lot of independent filmmakers that have to go raise the money. Yes. When you’re an independent filmmaker and you’re going to make your first feature for four hundred thousand dollars and you’ve raised all the funding, then you can pick your crew on your own. But when you come into a television show, let’s say the crew’s already, they all have contracts and they’re all long term. And just to pick people, you know, you see a lot of movies and find DPs you like, find a lighting style you think is terrific. Look at a lot of independent movies, watch a lot of YouTube videos. You find surprisingly a lot of good people lighting YouTube videos for young filmmakers. And YouTube, of course, is your exhibition hall. That’s your conduit to getting people to notice your work. When I was making eight millimeter films, I had to lug the 8 millimeter projector around with me and get people to give me enough time to at least set the screen up and open it up and thread the projector and bring the window shades down and show a six minute movie before I got kicked out, thrown on my ear. You know, now there is a forum for young filmmakers to show what they’ve got, which is great news for this generation.

Eric Conner: One of the great things about hearing Steven Spielberg discuss his various projects over the years is that well, we’ve basically seen all of them. And if you haven’t, you know, get to it, such as this one early draft of a book, he got Universal to option back in the 90s.

Steven Spielberg: Jurassic Park, I was lucky because I – Universal bought for me a book that was so brilliant and so constructed by Michael Crichton, and I knew Michael a little bit, Michael and I met when he sold his first book to Universal called The Andromeda Strain. And I had just I was 21 years old. I just signed a contract to be a TV director. And my first job was to show Michael Crichton this lot. So I gave him a tour of the lot and he was a great guy. I knew for years. And he gave me a look at the galleys for Jurassic Park and I had a chance to bid on it early. And I eventually got the book Universal paid for it. And the book provided an amazing structure. And Michael also worked on a draft of the script before David Koepp got involved that was able to bring the book down to a narrative that was closer to the way I saw his Jurassic Park. So I would say that my first real point of creative collaboration on Jurassic Park before we ever conceived of how to bring these dinosaurs to life was with the author of the book and then with the screenwriter David Koepp. And that’s where it all starts. I always say if it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage and you’ve got to have a story to tell. You can riff on it. You can make it up. You can improvise things. But you’ve got to always have a basic narrative. And that’s where I spend most of my time before I direct a picture is with the writer.

Eric Conner: It’s a good lesson there. All the groundbreaking effects in the world still require a workable script, just like how a movie needs breaks from nonstop action and effects. Filmmakers sometimes need a break too. Even the man with over 50 directing credits to his name.

Steven Spielberg: It took me three years to recover from Schindler’s List. So I didn’t direct anything for three years. I’ve only twice had a three year hiatus. Once was after Saving Private Ryan and once was after Schindler’s List. And I think my three year hiatus after Schindler’s List was just because it was a very impactful experience telling that particular series of stories. And I wanted a break and I couldn’t get inspired to do anything else after Schindler’s List. I felt that I had spent a lot of energy and passion. I sort of became, I guess – well, here’s the other thing happened. I formed the Shoah foundation, which was a very difficult but very inspirational project, where I was taking testimonies, not myself personally, but hundreds of videographers all over the world. And sixty five countries were sent out to find the survivors of the Holocaust who would talk to our cameras to tell us what happened to them. And that took a long time to set up. So most of my energy went into that, into the documentaries that I was starting to produce because of that. And I wasn’t really interested in telling fictitious stories for a while. But when I finally decided that I wanted to get back to work, I thought the safest bet would be to purge myself of the reality of Schindler’s List and go into very familiar territory and shoot the sequel to Jurassic Park. Which was fun for me. And a vacation to do Lost World. And after Schindler’s List, I needed a vacation. That was a vacation I took.

Eric Conner: Well deserved breaks notwithstanding, Mr. Spielberg feels that there’s always something around him that provides inspiration for his art.

Steven Spielberg: Right now, my inspiration pretty much comes from my kids, my coworkers, my friends who are writers, other directors. My inspiration comes from seeing a good movie when I see a bad movie. The problem about seeing a bad movie is I’m uninspired for weeks. So I just try to be very, very selective because I try to see as a lot of movies. But when I see a good picture, it just turned something on inside of me that is unquenchable. And I just start producing thoughts. Not all them become movies or television shows, but they exist to me. And it’s a gift that a good play, a good screenplay, a good movie gives me. And I think it’s the same way for all of us. You know how you feel when you see something that inspires you. You want to go to work tomorrow. You want to take what you were inspired by and share that with the rest of the world through your own personal idiosyncrasies. So that’s all I look for is good stuff.

Eric Conner: The good stuff sometimes might fly in the face of conventional wisdom about what projects Steven Spielberg should be directing next, but that doesn’t concern him. He prefers to just be open to possibilities.

Steven Spielberg: I don’t think a lot. I mean, I spend a lot of time reacting to things. I’ve kept myself open because to me, the reaction is more important than the thought process, meaning that my best career choice, I guess, would be just leaving myself open to be responsive to a script or an idea or a piece of material that comes down the pike. And if I really have a very intensely passionate, emotional reaction to it, I’m probably directed or at least try to direct it. So I just leave myself open to that. The projects that I wind up not doing in the projects I spent a year worrying to death, you know? Should I do it? Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe it’s too similar to the last movie I made. If I used my brain to make all my choices. I would never have made E.T. because I had already made Close Encounters five years before. And I was into a whole thing about not wanting to repeat myself. And I had to beat that down with a stick, because if I didn’t repeat myself, there’s a lot of movies I never would’ve made. I wouldn’t have made Jaws because it would’ve been too similar to Duel. You know, I’m saying so sometimes you just have to stop thinking and just start reacting.

Eric Conner: If repeating one’s work is the reason we have E.T., then I think we should all consider doing it. So if the tales of his storied career weren’t enough, Steven Spielberg’s final words to our students demonstrated how he has inspired audiences for decades.

Steven Spielberg: You’re the gift. Everybody in this room is the gift because you are the future of this business. I mean, you’re all going to go into this business and you’re gonna do different things. You may not be doing the same things you’re training to do right now. You may surprise yourselves and do things that an actor may be a director, a writer may turn into a producer. You just don’t know. Somebody might be an editor. Someone might be a production designer. Someone might be in publicity and marketing. You just never know. But the fact of the matter is that I sit here and look at all of these bright young faces and I just see the future of this business and it looks really bright. Thanks to all of you. Really.

Eric Conner: To the man who gave us Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Private Ryan, Close Encounters and dozens of other classics. Well, I think he’s the one who deserves our thanks. As do all of you for listening.

This episode was based on the Q&A moderated by Tova Laiter. To watch the full interview or to see our other Q&As, check out our YouTube channel at This episode was written by me, Eric Conner. Edited and mixed by Kristian Heydon. Our creative director is David Andrew Nelson, who also produced this episode with Kristian Heydon and myself. Executive produced by Tova Laiter, Jean Sherlock and Dan Mackler. A special thanks to all our staff and crew who made this possible. To learn more about our programs, check us out at Be sure to subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. See you next time.