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George Lucas tells film students to not "get enamored with technology"

Mar. 14, 2014by: Alex Maidy

In what may strike some as being funny in the most literal sense of the word, George Lucas encouraged film students at USC to not become reliant on technology when it comes to filmmaking. Yes, the man who famously founded a special effects company that has innovated film technology for decades (Industrial Light & Magic) cautioned the future directors and filmmakers.

On the occassion of endowing three chairs of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Lucas made a speech where he spoke on the importance of the fundamentals.

Dont forget the basics. Dont get enamored with new technology, because its not new. Just the medium were working in is new, but that doesnt change anything. The art of what we do is exactly the same. Its beyond technology. Its the art of movies.

Yes, George Lucas is the same man who created the STAR WARS prequels that were overly reliant on CGI and other special effects that flew in the face of the practical effects that made the original trilogy so endearing. But, at the heart of every STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES movie is a love of not only the history of film but of the cultural impact of what movies represent. It could also be that now in his retirement from directing, Lucas has found a respect for the medium that he could only achieve after being away from it.

I hold no ill will against George Lucas. Hell, I am one of the few who actually liked the prequels, so I am not reading into his words as saying CGI and other technology should not be used in the magic of making movies, but he is saying that we should not, for example, be striving to make a 3D movie at the expense of telling a good story. The important aspect of making a film is the craftsmanship rather than the bells and whistles.

What do you think of Lucas' comments?

Source: Variety

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+0
1:27AM on 03/20/2014
get rid of cgi blood
get rid of cgi blood
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1:24AM on 03/18/2014
George Lucas has 10 necks
George Lucas has 10 necks
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4:02PM on 03/17/2014
Don't do as I do, do as I say. - George Lucas.
Don't do as I do, do as I say. - George Lucas.
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12:37PM on 03/16/2014
Poor George still probably loves his prequel trilogy because it made a shitload of money. That's all that seems to matter anymore to GL, money, with all his whoring out of his fluke movie that was actually good (Star Wars). THX-1138 sucked hard and American Grafitti was OK. I want to know why he didn't direct the rest of the original trilogy?
I don't even need to point out his obvious hypocrisy of that statement. GL has been riding on the coattails of the success of his movie since the
Poor George still probably loves his prequel trilogy because it made a shitload of money. That's all that seems to matter anymore to GL, money, with all his whoring out of his fluke movie that was actually good (Star Wars). THX-1138 sucked hard and American Grafitti was OK. I want to know why he didn't direct the rest of the original trilogy?
I don't even need to point out his obvious hypocrisy of that statement. GL has been riding on the coattails of the success of his movie since the 70's and has become delusional.
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6:28PM on 03/15/2014
I think the 22 years Lucas took off did him no favors. Maybe he is talking about digital media in particular, for which this still holds true, but thirty-odd years ago he made a similar claim, "Special effects without a story is nothing." That still holds true, and whether or not he followed his own advice, it's still important for others to take that into consideration. Lord knows there are enough people out there who don't consider it paramount.
I think the 22 years Lucas took off did him no favors. Maybe he is talking about digital media in particular, for which this still holds true, but thirty-odd years ago he made a similar claim, "Special effects without a story is nothing." That still holds true, and whether or not he followed his own advice, it's still important for others to take that into consideration. Lord knows there are enough people out there who don't consider it paramount.
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+2
1:57PM on 03/15/2014

Good advice from somebody who knows from EXPERIENCE...

...so even though the actual focus of his talk may have been about cameras/ tools --most people will only gleam from it what the HEADLINE of this article implies. The irony is not lost on any of us who consider George and the Star Wars movies to be as impactful as they were to the business of movies in general-- but I do like that this advice, directly or indirectly, comes from somebody who KNOWS. Somebody who BEEN THERE and made those types of mistakes and have seen first hand what the
...so even though the actual focus of his talk may have been about cameras/ tools --most people will only gleam from it what the HEADLINE of this article implies. The irony is not lost on any of us who consider George and the Star Wars movies to be as impactful as they were to the business of movies in general-- but I do like that this advice, directly or indirectly, comes from somebody who KNOWS. Somebody who BEEN THERE and made those types of mistakes and have seen first hand what the consequences are from them:)
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1:50PM on 03/15/2014

"Hell, I am one of the few who actually liked the prequels..."

Alex, take a few hours out of your day and go watch the Red Letter Media reviews of each of the prequels. You'll never look at them the same way again, guaranteed. Trust me, it's for the better.
Alex, take a few hours out of your day and go watch the Red Letter Media reviews of each of the prequels. You'll never look at them the same way again, guaranteed. Trust me, it's for the better.
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12:24PM on 03/15/2014
Before people start bashing Lucas, read the variety article to get some context to his quote. Lucas isn't talking about CGI or VFX. He is clearly talking about digital cameras. And he is supporting the digital revolution (like he always has).
Before people start bashing Lucas, read the variety article to get some context to his quote. Lucas isn't talking about CGI or VFX. He is clearly talking about digital cameras. And he is supporting the digital revolution (like he always has).
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10:19AM on 03/15/2014
my best friend's step-aunt makes $78 /hour on the internet . She has been fired for 10 months but last month her payment was $16687 just working on the internet for a few hours. read http://www.lock90.com
my best friend's step-aunt makes $78 /hour on the internet . She has been fired for 10 months but last month her payment was $16687 just working on the internet for a few hours. read http://www.lock90.com
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7:40PM on 03/16/2014
Good for you, douchebag. Now, fuck off.
Good for you, douchebag. Now, fuck off.
9:06AM on 03/15/2014
Well, it is said that the best rehab godfather is a former alcoholic...
And Georgie, here, certainly knows what he's talking about.
Don't blame him for, in the end, understanding the wrong of his old ways, people...
BUT, CGI are but another tool, and, like any tool, it's the way you use it that makes it good or wrong. NOT the fact that you use it !
Well, it is said that the best rehab godfather is a former alcoholic...
And Georgie, here, certainly knows what he's talking about.
Don't blame him for, in the end, understanding the wrong of his old ways, people...
BUT, CGI are but another tool, and, like any tool, it's the way you use it that makes it good or wrong. NOT the fact that you use it !
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11:00AM on 03/15/2014
I gave you a "thumbs up" for your optimism and the fact that your statements are totally true! And the way you put it! Not only can I not rationally argue with it, I really don't want to! Well done :-)
I gave you a "thumbs up" for your optimism and the fact that your statements are totally true! And the way you put it! Not only can I not rationally argue with it, I really don't want to! Well done :-)
6:12AM on 03/15/2014
I dont think George is the only Director who is to blame for the over use of CGI, Although I think people are still baffled at how the man who gave us the creation of the original star wars trilogy, Indiana Jones and Willow could make very standard prequel movies. Although most of his creations that I have liked have mainly been directed by other people. Having said that its nice to hear that the man may have finally admitted his wrong doing in the reliance of CGI and is something like George
I dont think George is the only Director who is to blame for the over use of CGI, Although I think people are still baffled at how the man who gave us the creation of the original star wars trilogy, Indiana Jones and Willow could make very standard prequel movies. Although most of his creations that I have liked have mainly been directed by other people. Having said that its nice to hear that the man may have finally admitted his wrong doing in the reliance of CGI and is something like George says is relied to much upon in today's cinema. There are films which still project more magic through the use of practical and prosthetic effects and something I would like to see more of in todays cinema.
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11:49PM on 03/14/2014
What a hypocrite! He should really take his own advice...

Wait. Unless he has. Unless the reason he said all that is that he realized at one point he had in fact done just that and not only failed in his endeavor, but was ripped apart by the very people who had worshipped him for decades before. Perhaps he had learned that filmmaking is an art and your tools should enhance, not support the film and does not want those who come after him to ever forget it. This should be praised as a
What a hypocrite! He should really take his own advice...

Wait. Unless he has. Unless the reason he said all that is that he realized at one point he had in fact done just that and not only failed in his endeavor, but was ripped apart by the very people who had worshipped him for decades before. Perhaps he had learned that filmmaking is an art and your tools should enhance, not support the film and does not want those who come after him to ever forget it. This should be praised as a REDEMPTION, as his moment of throwing the Emperor down the reactor shaft before seeing his creation with his own eyes. Instead, our foolish, fanboyish, bitter anger towards 3 failed films (I don't count Indy 4, despite being a bigger fan of Indy, because Spielberg's ideas were just as detrimental) is getting in the way of looking at advice coming from not only a film legend, who fostered all our childhoods, but also as a man who became the villain, but now sees the light. Heck, he sold off Star Wars just so fresh eyes can continue the legacy and gave the $ to charity, CAN WE PLEASE GET OVER THE LUCAS HATE.
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3:24AM on 03/15/2014
No. Because where is your evidence? Lucas hate is justified...until he does something or says something more than this (more directly) the hate is absolutely justified.
No. Because where is your evidence? Lucas hate is justified...until he does something or says something more than this (more directly) the hate is absolutely justified.
9:13AM on 03/15/2014
But, BatSTUD, would you hate your neighbour just because you loved the way he decorated his kitchen and you hate his new decorations ? Because that's basically it... STAR WARS was HIS. And he could do whatever he wanted with it, because it was his. I didn't like it either, but he was on his own right doing it.
But, BatSTUD, would you hate your neighbour just because you loved the way he decorated his kitchen and you hate his new decorations ? Because that's basically it... STAR WARS was HIS. And he could do whatever he wanted with it, because it was his. I didn't like it either, but he was on his own right doing it.
10:43AM on 03/15/2014
Cathelotte, I think you bring up very valid points and I think your kind views here are refreshing in all the current fanboy rage. However, Lucas is the last person to talk about anything but technology in my opinion. He did create Star Wars (based off of Kurosawa stories) and he earned LOTS of money and good for him. But even the actors he's worked with have said that he doesn't seem to care about anything but the special effects. He's said it himself too! He made that WWII movie and it
Cathelotte, I think you bring up very valid points and I think your kind views here are refreshing in all the current fanboy rage. However, Lucas is the last person to talk about anything but technology in my opinion. He did create Star Wars (based off of Kurosawa stories) and he earned LOTS of money and good for him. But even the actors he's worked with have said that he doesn't seem to care about anything but the special effects. He's said it himself too! He made that WWII movie and it tanked! He just doesn't know what he's talking about and has spent his career doing the opposite of these statements. That's not a responsible thing to do to students. He can do that anyway. He's got every right to. And people have the right to call him out for the hypocritical statements he's making.
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10:59PM on 03/14/2014
F***k y'all! Think of George Lucas what you will, but he paved the way we nowadays percieve movies. Like it or not - give the man some credit!
F***k y'all! Think of George Lucas what you will, but he paved the way we nowadays percieve movies. Like it or not - give the man some credit!
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11:08AM on 03/15/2014
The man got his credit with the boatloads of cash he earned. If he had stuck to special effects then he'd be heralded as a genius from everyone. Instead his ego made him think of himself as an all around filmmaker and he destroyed his own creations.
The man got his credit with the boatloads of cash he earned. If he had stuck to special effects then he'd be heralded as a genius from everyone. Instead his ego made him think of himself as an all around filmmaker and he destroyed his own creations.
8:38PM on 03/14/2014
Technology should be employed in the service of storytelling. I don't hate Lucas but his later career has been defined by an obsession with the tools and the high-tech toys at his disposal.
Technology should be employed in the service of storytelling. I don't hate Lucas but his later career has been defined by an obsession with the tools and the high-tech toys at his disposal.
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8:01PM on 03/14/2014
Whether it's hypocritical or not, it's still good advice.
Whether it's hypocritical or not, it's still good advice.
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10:55AM on 03/15/2014
Very true! But no one is going to hear it. They'll just see the hypocrisy and I can't blame them.
Very true! But no one is going to hear it. They'll just see the hypocrisy and I can't blame them.
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7:38PM on 03/14/2014

Well... On one hand

I do think it comes across as very hypocritical, considering the last few Star Wars films, that he speaks against being too reliant on technology. However, I agree. I'm a fan of the occasional CGI, but it can ruin a film... But I really don't think he's voicing an opinion about digital filmmaking. A lot of very good filmmakers are advocates of digital. Not only for it's appearance, but because it's more practical. Digital camera's are easier to handle, they're easier to edit, they aren't
I do think it comes across as very hypocritical, considering the last few Star Wars films, that he speaks against being too reliant on technology. However, I agree. I'm a fan of the occasional CGI, but it can ruin a film... But I really don't think he's voicing an opinion about digital filmmaking. A lot of very good filmmakers are advocates of digital. Not only for it's appearance, but because it's more practical. Digital camera's are easier to handle, they're easier to edit, they aren't vulnerable to exposure. Sure, 35MM looks great, but it's a lot more of a hassle. People said DVD's wouldn't catch on either, but who now would prefer a popping in a VHS as opposed to a DVD or Bluray?
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10:53AM on 03/15/2014
I agree about what you're saying and I think everyone here does too. I think it's the hypocrisy of who's saying it that is bothering people. It's definitely bothering me!
I agree about what you're saying and I think everyone here does too. I think it's the hypocrisy of who's saying it that is bothering people. It's definitely bothering me!
7:25PM on 03/14/2014

Meh

He was a creative genius in his youth but lost it in the past two decades. His ideas and Star Wars need to be taken forward by other people.
He was a creative genius in his youth but lost it in the past two decades. His ideas and Star Wars need to be taken forward by other people.
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7:03PM on 03/14/2014
GL, you suck. You're a subpar filmmaker who had a handful of good ideas when you were much younger.
GL, you suck. You're a subpar filmmaker who had a handful of good ideas when you were much younger.
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12:19PM on 03/16/2014
And those "ideas" came from Kurosawa movies! Give The Hidden Fortress a watch and prepare to be outraged!!!
And those "ideas" came from Kurosawa movies! Give The Hidden Fortress a watch and prepare to be outraged!!!
6:11PM on 03/14/2014

Go fuck yourself.

I literally face-palmed when I saw who said that.
C'mon man.
C'mon...
I literally face-palmed when I saw who said that.
C'mon man.
C'mon...
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5:42PM on 03/14/2014
ooh wow, maybe he finally heard what STAR WARS fans have been yelling at him for years about...but it means almost nothing since he turned the franchise to Disney...oh well.
ooh wow, maybe he finally heard what STAR WARS fans have been yelling at him for years about...but it means almost nothing since he turned the franchise to Disney...oh well.
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+2
5:42PM on 03/14/2014
I think he is talking about the "Digital vs Film" war. He is basically saying that the technology doesn't matter as much as the art & technique. Digital filmmaking is spawning an entire generation of filmmakers who have no discipline when shooting.
I think he is talking about the "Digital vs Film" war. He is basically saying that the technology doesn't matter as much as the art & technique. Digital filmmaking is spawning an entire generation of filmmakers who have no discipline when shooting.
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10:48AM on 03/15/2014
Now that actually makes sense! I hope that's what he meant. He should've put it as clearly as you just did!!!
Now that actually makes sense! I hope that's what he meant. He should've put it as clearly as you just did!!!
+1
5:36PM on 03/14/2014
That's the first smart thing he's done in 15 years.
That's the first smart thing he's done in 15 years.
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5:33PM on 03/14/2014

Maybe he has regrets

He does have some what of balls saying this but maybe he has realized that his story telling abilities have suffered through his obessive use of technology. He is warning them not to become like he did...Think a smoker telling a young child not to pick up cigarettes.
He does have some what of balls saying this but maybe he has realized that his story telling abilities have suffered through his obessive use of technology. He is warning them not to become like he did...Think a smoker telling a young child not to pick up cigarettes.
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5:48PM on 03/14/2014
Maybe...but I don't like giving him the benefit of the doubt. Over the years he's staunchly defended the PT and even made continuous moves to make it the forefront of Star Wars and drive the OT backwards like it was the poor cousin when we all know it's the other way around. His continued, "Star Wars is for kids" argument rings in my ears and well, like I began with, I just don't like giving the smug SOB the benefit of doubt.
Maybe...but I don't like giving him the benefit of the doubt. Over the years he's staunchly defended the PT and even made continuous moves to make it the forefront of Star Wars and drive the OT backwards like it was the poor cousin when we all know it's the other way around. His continued, "Star Wars is for kids" argument rings in my ears and well, like I began with, I just don't like giving the smug SOB the benefit of doubt.
+3
5:30PM on 03/14/2014

What a jackass...

He's got some giant brass huevos to say this crap. The guy who overused CGI and filmed his terrible PT in a vacuum of green and blue screen all from his comfortable chair with his coffee and air conditioning!? Wow...so glad I made my peace that he's not what he pretends to be years ago.
He's got some giant brass huevos to say this crap. The guy who overused CGI and filmed his terrible PT in a vacuum of green and blue screen all from his comfortable chair with his coffee and air conditioning!? Wow...so glad I made my peace that he's not what he pretends to be years ago.
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6:06PM on 03/14/2014
Well put sir!!!
Well put sir!!!
6:47PM on 03/14/2014
It wasn't coffee, it was booze. He's been drunk for 30 years and just now having his moment of clarity. I mean, if I made Star Wars money like that, I would party all the time.
It wasn't coffee, it was booze. He's been drunk for 30 years and just now having his moment of clarity. I mean, if I made Star Wars money like that, I would party all the time.
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