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THE BALANCE BETWEEN COMMITTING TO A VISION AND TAKING GOOD ADVICE USE THE FORCE, GEORGE
My dad was a hard man to impress, especially when it came to movies. If it wasn’t the original Flash Gordon serials or an old war movie he grew up with, Dad wasn’t interested in it. Then came “Star Wars.” In the summer of 1977, before George Lucas rereleased the movie as “Episode IV – A New Hope,” I remember sitting in the movie theater with my dad. The Millennium Falcon soared across the screen, blasting down the Empire’s Tie Fighters, when my dad looked at me and said, “Wow, this is some flick, huh?” From my dad, that was the highest compliment a movie could receive. I have loved Star Wars since that first showing, and continue to be fascinated with both the movies themselves and what went on behind the scenes. Lucas had a strong vision, but there were a lot of people who insisted he was doing it all wrong. Just before “The Last Jedi” premiered, I watched a documentary about how Lucas was kicked out of the Directors Guild because of the opening crawl. Yes, that iconic opening crawl. Starting from “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” and the sudden appearance of the words “Star Wars” as big as the screen, and simultaneously that sudden, gigantic, bombastic musical fanfare that almost knocks you out of your seat. As
you begin to recover from that, you begin to read the background story as it “crawls” upward against a massive star field.
Without that beginning to every Star Wars movie, it just wouldn’t be Star Wars, would it?
But back before the release of “A New Hope,” the Director’s Guild wasn’t a fan of the crawl. Because the intro did not include the standard credits sequence, the Guild told Lucas he would have to change it or pay a fine. Knowing he had something special, Lucas paid the fine, then quit the Guild. Today, audiences are still excited to watch that controversial crawl. Of course, not every decision George Lucas made with the first Star Wars movie was perfect. The initial cut of “Star Wars” was full of extra scenes that went nowhere, and the ending fell flat. Lucas showed the first version of the film to his director friends, like Steven Spielberg and Brian De Palma. They advised him to go back to the drawing board. This is where Lucas’ wife at the time, Marcia, stepped in to help with the editing. She re-ordered shots to build tension during the final Death Star scene, turning Luke and Han Solo into real heroes and leaving the audience cheering.
In my own life, I’m happy to have my own Spielberg and De Palma to lend me some advice. For the last couple of years, I have been very fortunate to belong to a “mastermind” group of very smart, successful, non-competing lawyers. We meet regularly and share ideas and think about fixing problems in our respective firms. Like George Lucas, sometimes it pays to get some advice and direction from folks you respect to keep you on track, avoid mistakes, and achieve the best results for your vision. It’s a lot like being on the Jedi counsel. Well, maybe only a little… May the Force be with you, –Joseph Miller
If you belong to a union or other labor-related group and want to schedule my presentation at your group’s speaking arrangement, you can do so by calling 888-694-7994 . The presentation is free of charge, offers important information for taking appropriate action in Virginia workers’ compensation cases, and everyone in attendance gets a free copy of my book, “10 Traps and Lies that Can Ruin Your Virginia Workers Compensation Case.” Education is the best way to protect yourself from making a mistake. So call now, before it’s too late.
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