March 11, 2015

Jewison @ SCA

Auerbach and Jewison

It may sound corny and it might sound trite, but any successful filmmaker will tell you that friendships are crucial in the movie business. On March 10th, Oscar-winning filmmaker Norman Jewison and Head of Student Industry Relations Larry Auerbach put their friendship of over three decades on display at An Evening with Norman Jewison at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Jewison and Auerbach’s friendship started when Auerbach was his agent at the William Morris Agency in New York.

Jewison is an eight time Academy Award nominee, earning accolades for his films: The Russians are Coming, In the Heat of the Night, Fiddler on the Roof, A Soldier’s Story, and Moonstruck, taking home the Oscar for Best Picture for In the Heat of the Night in 1967. In 1999, the Academy also awarded him with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in honor of his significant contributions to the cinematic arts.

Jewison provided the crowd of students with with his advice on being ego-less in an ego driven industry. He stated, “I really believe that a film is the end product of the director and the writer having a vision. Working together. As long as the director has final say.”

Jewison also spoke about his blazing the trail for filmmakers wanting to film on location and how it rubbed some studio heads the wrong way. “It all comes down to the money and the old studios, in the old days didn’t like directors going on location because it cost more money and they wanted more control. If you were on their lot, they could spy on what you were shooting. I picked the furthest places away from the people with the money.”

In closing, Jewison told the students how he would approach the entertainment industry if he was in their shoes. “Everything is changing so fast. All I’m trying to say is that people always will tell stories. No matter what language they speak or culture they are from. Everybody wants to hear a good story. From the beginning of time, people have always gathered around the fire in a cave and someone told a story. Study everything that you can about drama and you will find that it all goes back to telling a story. That’s the job essentially of the writer and the director.”

A Conversation with Norman Jewison was presented as part of SCA’s Career Week. Career Week events provide current students with key information, guidance, and advice they need as they make the transition from student to alumni.