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OPINION! Rise and Fall - Oscar winner Kevin Spacey: Have courage and seize opportunities! ”

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Kevin Spacey is a two-time Oscar winner and StartUp investor. 2016, a year before his own life story ended his hitherto brilliant career, he spoke in Munich about risks as an opportunity and the power of storytelling and virtual reality.

Kevin Spacey was born in New Jersey in 1959 and grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles. He left the renowned Juilliard School without a job or prospects; Jack Lemmon later became his mentor. From 2003 to August 2015 he was Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theater in London. He supports the Democratic Party and is friends with Bill Clinton. By Queen Elizabeth II he was appointed Knight Commander of the British Empire. As part of his “Kevin Spacey Foundation”, founded in 2010, he is strongly committed to training and promoting young talent in acting, as a screenwriter, producer and director. He also invests in startups in the field of virtual reality such as WoofbertVR or Wonder. In the course of the sexism debate surrounding Harvey Weinstein, Spacey was confronted with allegations of sexual harassment from October 2017. In the course of this, his career came to an abrupt end, among other things, Netflix terminated his collaboration with him for his star role as power-hungry politician Francis “Frank” Underwood in the television series House of Cards and the director Ridley Scott had all scenes with Spacey cut out of his latest film. Against the background of these events, his positions on the opportunities and risks of entrepreneurship, which he spoke about in the context of Bits and Pretzels, are of particular interest.

What significance does storytelling have?

Stories are what brings us together, touches and moves our hearts. A good story can make us closer together, a bad one.

There's no better way than reaching your audience: Take Starbucks, for example: The coffee is actually worth a dollar, but with the story behind it, people are willing to pay four dollars. What makes the difference? Is it really the better coffee? I doubt that. It's the story that is Company tells.

And each of us has stories to tell - on stage, on TV, around the campfire, on Snapchat, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix - and even on Pornhub. Time could not be more exciting than it is today - because there are so many new tools and techniques to tell stories alive. The only question is: who listens?

What is the story of Kevin Spacey?

I was 13 when I met Jack Lemmon as part of a high school theater class that taught me talent as an actor. Years later, with 25, I was studying acting in New York City - and wanted to get a role on Broadway as Jack Lemmons son. My God, how stubborn I've been trying to get an audition for 8 weeks.

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Eventually, coincidence helped me: the director of the play, Jonathan Miller gave a lecture - and I sat down in the audience, aiming to catch him. Beside me, a posh older lady from the Upper Eastside, beads and Chanel handbag, was very wealthy - and she had fallen asleep during the lecture.

But an invitation to a cocktail party with Jonathan Miller that evening stuck out of the open handbag. Angels and devils were now fighting on my shoulders. “You can't do that,” says the angel. But the devil was more persistent: "Come on, she's tired, she probably won't even go there yet," he whispered. Finally I took the invitation out of my purse, put it on my jacket and changed seats. At the cocktail party, I talked Miller for a really long time to let me audition - and got the role. I don't want to encourage theft, of course, but it made Jack Lemmon my friend and mentor - and as an actor that role was my breakthrough.

A look into the future - are the opportunities or the risks outweighing?

The world is changing rapidly and is no longer linear: remember: Netflix only sent DVDs by post a few years ago. Imagine that: DVDs in the mail! It will soon sound as strange as "I sent you a cassette with the carrier pigeon".

If you wanted to see something on television in 2009, you looked at the program and then waited for the program to play. This is unimaginable today: you zapped your way through all the channels with the remote control and then consumed it, including advertising. Or you recorded the show to see later. Do you remember? That's how it has been since the beginning of the TV age - until today. Nobody challenged this system. On the very first day on the set of House of Cards, we had discussions with Netflix about how to release the series in a way that nobody had done before. Netflix has messed up the TV convention.

What does this mean for companies?

The viewer wants to see control and TV shows when and how he wants. If people want to watch one Netflix series after another over the weekend, we should let them do it. Let people bang! Because binge watching is basically nothing new. In this way, we have been consuming content since the invention of the Gutenberg press - such as books like “Gulliver's Travels” or “50 Shades of Gray”.

I think the film industry has learned a lesson that the music industry has not yet learned: Give people what they want. When they want it. In the form in which they want it. And for a reasonable price. Then there is a greater likelihood that people will pay for the content instead of stealing it.

Keyword Virtual Reality - what does that mean for storytelling?

Virtual Reality will be a powerful empathy machine to tell stories and interact with 1 to 1 with our audience - and the entertainment industry is just the tip of the iceberg: just think of the many uses in medicine, engineering, or in of education.

In essence, our lessons are still as they were hundreds of years ago - and here, Virtual Reality will become a game changer. Think about it: Do you know another job that has not changed much since its existence? The classroom looks basically the same as it did 1000 years ago. A teacher, a blackboard, and students writing in their notebooks. But what if we could give all students access to the best teachers in the world? What if we could move students from their boring classrooms through VR into an environment where they can best learn? For example, to the bottom of an ocean, where students can get the most effective knowledge about marine biology.

Chris Milk, a pioneer in VR, calls this technology a 'strong empathy machine'. And I think he's right. Nothing gives a person a better understanding of a world that is not one's own than to live in it virtually. We will directly influence the thinking and feeling of other people by making experiences directly tangible. You then walk around with other people's ideas. What an idea.

What advice should entrepreneurs take?

Artists and entrepreneurs have one thing in common: they always take risks. Taking risks is worthwhile. Bet on the people who challenge the powerful and their standard.

Even if you declare yourself crazy, laugh at yourself, subordinate senseless acts, or call a bad man: Do not be satisfied with the status quo, surprise and inspire your audience, Bring you to a point where you have never been. Fight against mediocrity. Because they are the ones who risk something that will be rewarded in the end.

Find out what's in the fuckin black box. And always send something back to the elevator from where you came from.

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2 responses to “OPINION! Rise and Fall - Oscar winner Kevin Spacey: Have courage and seize opportunities! ””

  1. Thomas Eggert says:

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  2. REGIS GMBH says:

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