You Can Learn A Lot From J.J. Abrams' Star Wars Movies
J.J. Abrams has become one of the biggest names in Hollywood, especially when it comes to genre films. What can we learn from his time in the Star Wars universe?
The article is a great look back on the trilogy as a whole and how writer/director J.J. Abrams semi-reluctantly got involved in the franchise. It also offers a glimpse into Abrams' creative thought processes, which can teach us some simple but vital advice about working in the entertainment industry.
Here's what we can learn from his experience!
You can say no... but can also change your mind
Abrams tells The New York Times that he initially turned down the first movie in the trilogy, The Force Awakens, thinking it would be too much of a challenge and could pollute his love for Star Wars. But persistent producer Kathleen Kennedy got him to sit down and reconsider, convincing him to come on.
There is, of course, power in saying "no," and sometimes you have to walk away from projects that are not meshing with your style or vision. The Star Wars franchise (and Disney) has famously parted ways with several directors. Remember what happened to Lord and Miller on that Han Solo film?
But sometimes it's also okay to let yourself accept a challenge, like Abrams eventually did on The Force Awakens. Taking opportunities that scare you can lead to learning experiences and other exciting opportunities.
Abrams also apparently brought this flexibility to the set of The Force Awakens, where nothing was set in stone. He and his team were constantly rewriting and trying out new ideas.
“As we did on Force Awakens, while we’re shooting, we’re reconsidering things, changing some significant story points, going back to ideas that we had loved but put away," Abrams told the New York Times. "That process never stopped.”
Of course, Abrams did not direct The Last Jedi, the trilogy's second installment. Rian Johnson did. Colin Trevorrow was initially supposed to helm the third film, but Abrams was brought on (again, reluctantly) to close out the trilogy.
When asked about his opinion on Johnson's film, the director gave a response that many fans and Film Twitter regarded as throwing Johnson and his polarizing film under the bus. (Even though Abrams reportedly said, in December 2015, that the Last Jedi script was so good, "I wish I were making it.")
At first, Abrams told the Times he praised the movie for its "subversion" and surprising choices.
But, he went on to say the film is a bit too "meta" and not what Star Wars fans probably wanted. It's a polite dunk, but a dunk nonetheless.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but this is a tip I also learned in development and something I still use when giving notes -- to this day. Always try to say something nice first before you start pointing out what you don't like in someone else's work.
What's next? Learn more from J.J. Abrams
Do you hate writing endings? So does Abrams, who says they're extremely difficult. He also talks more about getting out of his comfort zone. He's got advice for fixing problems in post, too. Finally, Abrams says you should quit your job and make your passion project.
Will you be seeing Rise of Skywalker? Do you think Abrams can end the trilogy on a high note? Let us know in the comments!