What Film School did George Lucas Go To?

George Lucas is one of the biggest names in the film industry best known for creating the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises and founding Lucasfilm, LucasArts, and Industrial Light & Magic.

A Young George Lucas

Film School(s): Univeristy of Southern California


However, George didn't always want to be into film. During his late teen years, he went to Thomas Downey High School and found great interest in drag racing. He planned to become a professional racecar driver. Unfortunately, a terrible car accident just after his high school graduation ended that dream permanently.

He decided on a change of direction and attended Modesto Junior College before enrolling in the University of Southern California film school. During his time in film school, he made several short films including Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB (1967) which won first prize at the 1967-68 National Student Film Festival. He was later awarded a scholarship in 1967 by Warner Brothers to observe the making of Finian's Rainbow (1968) which was being directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Lucas and Coppola became good friends and founded American Zoetrope in 1969. The company's first project was Lucas' full-length version1 of THX 1138 (1971). Coppola went into production for The Godfather in 1972, and Lucas formed his own company, Lucasfilm Ltd.

In 1973, Lucas wrote and directed the semi autobiography, American Graffiti (1973). The film won the Golden Globe and received five Academy Award nominations. This was a major boost in his career and it gave him the recognition needed for his next blockbuster. From 1973 to 1974, he began writing the screenplay which became Star Wars (1977). In 1975, he established ILM. (Industrial Light & Magic) to produce the visual effects needed for the movie. Another company, Sprocket Systems, was established to edit and mix Star Wars and later became known as Skywalker Sound.

Lucas sent the movie to several studios but it was turned down until 20th Century Fox gave him a chance. Lucas had to forego his directing salary in exchange for 40% of the film's box-office take and all merchandising rights. The movie turned out to be a surprising hit and broke all box office records and won seven Academy Awards.

He went on to produce more Star Wars films and created the Indiana Jones series which made box office records of their own with Steven Spielberg. Lucas created movies that have introduced major innovations in filmmaking technology. He is chairman of the board of the George Lucas Educational Foundation and was honored in 1992 with the Irving G.Thalberg Award by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his lifetime achievement.

George Lucas later sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012.

Advice to Young Filmmakers

"Whenever there’s a new tool, everybody goes crazy and they forget that there’s a story and that’s the point. You’re telling a story using tools, you’re not using tools to tell a story." - George Walter Lucas