Shortly after graduating high school, Steven Spielberg began reducing the time he spent at college and increasing the time he spent hanging within the Hollywood inner circle. “Spielberg was going off to Sonny and Cher’s place all the time,” said Don Shull, Spielberg’s childhood friend. In a personal letter to Shull, Spielberg revealed that he would directly approach directors and Hollywood stars on the studio and ask them to lunch. And keep in mind - Spielberg was only nineteen years old at the time.
“Spielberg arranged his class schedule so that he could spend three days a week at Universal, watching filmmakers at work and trying to make useful contacts,” writes Joseph McBride in his detailed biography on Spielberg’s career. “He frequently slept overnight in an office at the studio where he kept two suits so he could emerge onto the bustling lot each morning looking as if he hadn’t slept in an office.”
“Steve knew at that early age that film making is not just filming - it’s a people game. And he played it well,” said producer William Link.
While he definitely had talent on his side, so did handfull of other aspiring directors. What helped Spielberg become the youngest director signed to a long-term studio deal was his focus on building relationships. This has nothing to do with 'networking'; this has to do with making friends and focusing on people.
What little changes can you make in your life, starting today, to put a greater focus on people? What investments can you make, in both time and money, to hone the way you play the people game?