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Steven Soderbergh Shares the Lucasfilm Rejection Letter He Received in April 1984

The director was just 21 years old when his dream of getting Lucasfilm to watch one of his earliest films fell through.

Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh


In April 1984, Steven Soderbergh was a 21-year-old aspiring filmmaker. Soderbergh had skipped attending college at Louisiana State University in order to try and make it in Hollywood. Soderbergh worked as a game show scorer and a freelance film editor to make money, and one of his efforts to break big apparently included sending a demo reel to George Lucas at Lucasfilm. The young director spent his high school years making a handful of short films on Super 8mm.

Unfortunately, whatever dreams Soderbergh had of getting into the Lucasfilm family were denied when he received a rejection letter returning the tape he sent in. “Please know our returning your tape is in no way a reflection upon its merits,” the letter reads, claiming the volume of videos and ideas Lucasfilm receives each day is so high it’s impossible for Lucas or any executive at the company to see them all. Soderbergh shared the rediscovered letter in a tweet that included the caption: “It just made me strong.”

Just a year after getting his video tape rejected by Lucasfilm, Soderbergh got his big break directing the concert film “9012Live” for YES, and then his career was off to the races. His return to Baton Rouge helped facilitate the idea of “sex lies and videotape,” the Palme d’Or winning indie game-changer Soderbergh made at 26. Three Oscar nominations and one win later, it’s clear Soderbergh isn’t too upset over Lucasfilm turning his tape down.

Read Soderbergh’s entire letter from Lucasfilm below.

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