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The bosses of the big screen

So a control freak, a gangster and a neurotic walk into a...


Make that a collaborator, a maestro and a Zen master walk into this year’s Academy Awards. At Sunday night’s Oscars, three of Hollywood’s most prolific — and profitable — directors will see their films go head to head for best picture. And each of these icons has dual personality traits that have fused to shape his leadership style on set, and his subsequent success at the box office.

Three experts, who have spent years documenting the working styles of Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, show us how these film visionaries have harnessed their personal idiosyncracies into winning management traits that help them tame the egos of actors, command crews of hundreds and pull off high-stakes, high-gains creative projects that bring in the awards — and the money.

Click on the headlines below to read the full pieces:

The Zen of Woody Allen

I’ve often been asked to share the most surprising thing I’ve learned about Woody Allen after following him around for two years making Woody Allen: A Documentary. My stock answer can be distilled to this: “He’s a fake.” - Robert B. Weide (Read The Zen of Woody Allen)

Martin Scorsese: Il maestro

If Scorsese is one of film’s grand conductors, then there’s one important twist to the kind of orchestra he leads. - Mary Pat Kelly (Read Martin Scorsese: Il maestro)

Steven Spielberg: Control freak and collaborator

Spielberg became highly skilled at the fine arts of delegating and collaborating, qualities essential to good leadership in a profession that involves orchestrating the work of hundreds of helpers. And yet he also remains an unabashed “control freak.” - Joseph McBride (Read Steven Spielberg: Control freak and collaborator)

Lillian Cunningham is the editor and feature writer for The Washington Post's 'On Leadership' section.
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