Almost Famous 20th Anniversary

“Almost Famous” 20th Anniversary

It’s the 20th anniversary of the release of the iconic film “Almost Famous”, written and directed by Cameron Crowe.  If you do not know the film, it’s based on the director’s real life experience as a teenager who ends up touring with a rock band and writing for Rolling Stone magazine in the early 1970s.  It’s about music, family, relationships, and has an amazing cast and sound track. 

I know the film well and was listening to a anniversary pod cast about the movie when I was struck by the director’s leadership as he approaches the various aspects of making the film a reality.  In one interview on the podcast, Jimmy Fallon discusses his experience auditioning for his role in the film.  Fallon talks about how meeting and reading for Crowe changed his approach to auditioning – and even acting – forever after.  He came away felling like he was and could be a great actor, even though he had barely been on anything but SNL at that time.  Others in the cast tell a similar story of transformation at the audition, describing it as a crucial moment in their careers.

So this director, rather than making the audition process a high stress, power driven transaction, used each meeting to add value for the actor and make a lasting connection. This approach formed strong relationships with the cast, resulting in extra dedication by the actors to make Crowe’s vision a success.

I thought of how often leaders, including myself, can miss the bigger, more valuable, even transformational opportunities with have when we work with our colleagues every day.  The days when we are at our best are when we take the Crowe approach.

Here are links to the podcast, part of the actual Jimmy Fallon audition and the clip from Fallon’s scene in the film.

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