Success Stories

Lessons from Oscar Winners: Unveiling the Golden Secrets

The Academy Awards are one of the highest recognition of excellence for those in the film industry. The statuette more commonly known as the Oscar has been a sought-after trophy since 1929, as a symbol of filmmaking achievement.

In this article, we’ll look into the learnings these winners and nominees have experienced through their journey in the filmmaking industry over 90 years.

Lessons Learned from Oscar Winners

Perseverance and Dedication

Oscar-winner Peter Jackson struggled to save for a camera that costs thousands of dollars for a camera when his salary was only $75 per week. He stayed at his parents' house because he didn’t have the means to live on his own yet. It took him two years to save to buy a 16mm camera. When he finally bought one, he used his weekends to work on a project where he wrote, directed, photographed, built models and special effects, played multiple roles including the lead actor, and seek neighbors who could play a part. This film consumed his time for four years.

After 10 years in the film-making industry, he was able to grow his production company and took on a large-scale project. He encountered problems acquiring rights to a novel, seeking a studio partner that would agree with his ideas, and finally doing a gamble on shooting a 3-part motion picture simultaneously which posed a huge risk of a financial loss if the first movie would not turn out to be successful. 

Through his perseverance, the first part of the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring came out in 2001 and gained a huge international audience and praise. It received 13 Oscar nominations. When the last part of the trilogy came out, The Return of the King, it received 11 nominations and won all categories it was nominated in.

Importance of Collaboration

James Cameron is known as the mastermind of the movie, Avatar which received 9 nominations for the Academy Awards. The breathtaking cinematography was certainly made possible through numerous collaborations with different people and groups. He involved linguistics specialists in creating a fictional language, special effects teams translating to CGI from the actual mountain inspiration for Pandora, a huge production team, a team to handle 120 cameras, the various actors, and handling other technologies required for completing this movie. Yes, despite being the mastermind of this amazing film, it’s never going to be as successful if he did this as a one-man team.

Embracing Unique Voices and Stories

Hilary Swank won two Academy Awards for Best Actress in two roles that showcased stories that the world needs to hear. The first one was for a role in Boys Don’t Cry where she did an amazing portrayal of transgendered persons in cinema. The second was as a struggling female boxer where she experienced physical and mental challenges while training for the part. She didn’t just stop with her breakthrough performance on screen but also continued to advocate for gay, lesbian, and transgender youth. 

Overcoming Creative Blocks

George Lucas was nominated five times for an Academy Award. He is known for being a great storyteller. His creative process is multifaceted and involves a combination of imagination, research, and collaboration. He utilized new tools and even pioneered developing digital film editing, digital cinematography, digital projection, and computer-generated imagery (CGI). Through his vision, he has been able to help step up film techniques used today.

Continue to Learn from the Best

Experience is the best teacher but also remember that taking note of the learnings of other people, can help accelerate your success in the path you choose to take. Apply these lessons on perseverance, collaboration, embracing unique voices, and overcoming creative blocks to help you along your journey.

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Further Reading