Order Out of Chaos

October 24, 2011

We had the pleasure of hosting American Film Institute Founder George Stevens, Jr. earlier this week at an Institute discussion on creativity with our Arts Program Director Damian Woetzel as part of The Washington Ideas Roundtable Series.

Growing up in the editing room with his father, an accomplished film director in Hollywood, Stevens learned many lessons in creativity. “Creativity is making order out of chaos,” he explained.

Stevens told the story of accompanying his father to the Academy Awards in 1951, the year of A Place in the Sun, noting that on the way home, there was an Oscar between them on the seat of the car. Stevens commended his father, who simply replied, “We’ll have a better idea of what kind of a film this is in 25 years.” And thus, the test of time became the mantra of the film awards, and an important concept in film creation and creativity.

Stevens, too, has withstood the test of time: 50 years, 11 Emmys, and nine awards from the Writers Guild of America later, he has created a legacy of distinguished work as a writer, director, and producer of motion pictures and television.

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