“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” –Yoda
The Force was not with George Lucas when he pitched Star Wars to Universal Studios and United Artists. The executives at both studios thought the market wouldn’t support such an expensive science fiction film and politely shuttled Lucas out the door. Hoping the third time would be the charm, Lucas pitched Twentieth Century Fox and got their acceptance by the skin of his teeth. Lucas didn’t receive the budget he needed to bring his full vision to the screen, but he’d make do with what he had. He had originally written Luke Skywalker’s home planet as a jungle, but filming in the Tunisian desert was cheaper, so Lucas adapted the script.
Due to the worst rainstorm in Tunisian history, filming got off to a less-than-auspicious start. Many of the set pieces and props were damaged or destroyed. If that wasn’t bad enough, the crew and actors weren’t even behind Star Wars.
Harrison Ford thought Princess Leia’s hairdo was ridiculous and Chewbacca looked like a giant in a monkey suit. The man inside R2-D2, Kenny Baker, foresaw the movie flopping as did the rest of the crew. To top off Lucas’s problems, most of the required special effects for the movie didn’t exist and had to be invented. Production schedules waned, actual expenses burst through the budget’s seams, and George Lucas flirted with hypertension and depression.
At the end of the day, the innovation and determination of George Lucas won the day, and so it is with you! Knowing the backstory of Lucas’s tribulations to get Star Wars into theaters, we hear the words of Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
May the Force Be With You: Accelerators
- What major obstacles are facing your business, project, or workplace right now?
- What things have you “tried” in order to overcome them? What has worked and what has not?
- How can you emulate the innovation and determination of George Lucas to win the day?
Dr. Jeff D. Standridge is the best-selling author of “The Innovator’s Field Guide” and “The Top Performer’s Field Guide.” He serves as Managing Director for the Conductor and Innovation Junkie, and teaches in the College of Business at the University of Central Arkansas. Jeff helps organizations and their leaders generate sustained results in the areas of innovation, strategy, profit growth, organizational effectiveness and leadership. Learn more at InnovationJunkie.com.