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If you like Ron Howard's story, you might also like:
James Cameron,
Francis Ford Coppola,
Nora Ephron,
Sally Field,
Peter Jackson,
George Lucas,
Hilary Swank and Robert Zemeckis

Ron Howard's recommended reading: The Name Above the Title

Ron Howard also appears in the video:
Sports, Entertainment & Heroes

Teachers can find prepared lesson plans featuring Ron Howard in the Achievement Curriculum section:
Media & The Arts

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Ron Howard
Ron Howard
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Ron Howard Interview (page: 2 / 4)

Oscar for Best Director

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  Ron Howard

You've talked about some of the struggles your father went through. What were some of the obstacles you ran into?

Ron Howard: I've had, I think, an extraordinarily blessed journey. At the same time, if I can give myself credit for anything, it's probably for not taking it all for granted. I don't think I've ever assumed it was going to go on forever unless I kept earning my way, earning my keep, maybe even to a neurotic extent. I never want to coast on past performances. It's probably one of the reasons why I wanted to become a director, because I wanted to be able to control those opportunities so I could keep doing good work.

[ Key to Success ] Integrity

That's the thing I learned from my father. I continue to learn from him. he just returned A couple of years ago, he went to his 50th high school reunion, and he was very gratified by the experience, because all of his buddies were retired -- the ones that were still alive.

My father is working more now than he ever has. And he said, "You know, a lot of my friends, they went into the corporate world, they became doctors, they had great careers, the kinds of careers that everyone would have applauded them for pursuing. And they pursued them, and some of them are happy about it and some of them aren't. But I followed my dream. And if the object is to have a secure and gratifying life, I've achieved that. Maybe never stardom, but my home is paid for, I have a great pension through the Screen Actors Guild plan, and I have security. And on top of everything else, while everyone else is winding down, I still can keep the dream alive. Because you never know when another interesting challenge is going to come along, or another great role. And I'm working more now than I ever have, and I'm active. And I've got a lot to look ahead towards."

[ Key to Success ] The American Dream

Ron Howard Interview Photo
It was really moving and worth noting because, in fact, you don't have to become a superstar for this to be a gratifying life and career choice. But you've got to be ready to persevere and take a lot of rejection.

What are some things you had to persevere through? What types of criticisms or rejection?

Ron Howard: Well, that practically goes with the job description because every project is a potential disaster. Each project requires a huge investment and people are afraid.

As a young person, a young adult trying to make the transition from sitcom actor to motion picture director, I was getting an awful lot of patronizing kind of pats on the head. And, "Hey, hang in there." And, you know, "In another ten or 15 years, I'm sure somebody will give you a chance to direct." And that's not what I wanted to hear at all. I had a lot of frustration about that, and I earned my way out by making student films myself, by writing, and by getting myself into a position with some leverage by being one of the lead actors on Happy Days . I had something I could sort of trade with.

[ Key to Success ] Perseverance

Most people get their first chance to direct by blackmailing their way in. Generally, they have to say, "Well, if you want me to write this script, you have to let me direct it. If I'm going to act in the movie, you've got to let me direct it. going to have to let me direct the film." Nobody really wants to hand a first-time director the reins.

Ron Howard Interview Photo
How do you handle criticism?

Ron Howard: I think I handle criticism well. I think that's one of my strengths, in fact. That doesn't mean I like being criticized. It always hurts. Whether it's a critic writing a bad review, or people in the theater bathroom who've just seen the movie. I overhear them and a couple of people are saying, "Hey, I really liked it." And one person says, "Ah, it wasn't so good." I'll forget about all the compliments and that one criticism will stay with me. I'm very sensitive to it, but I really believe that it's wrong to stick your head in the sand and pretend that everybody loves what you do and only listen to the good stuff because you need to be sort of nourished by that.

Ron Howard Interview Photo
I think the healthiest kind of balance is one where you have the self confidence to continue to engage, to do the work, to prepare yourself so that you believe you are actually bringing something to this process. That it's reasonable for you to be there doing this work, participating in this endeavor, whatever it is. Try not to let that drift into blind arrogance. Instead, try to maintain the humility to listen to those who speak up and say, "I think you're making a mistake. I don't think that's as good as it should be."

"You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can't please all the people all the time." That's not the Abe Lincoln quote, but you get the gist. It's clearly the case with any sort of creative undertaking. There's no movie that's ever been made -- no television show that's ever been produced -- that everybody liked. You have to take that into account.

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This page last revised on Sep 10, 2010 17:55 EDT
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