You just never give up, no matter how hard the challenges are, and observe this world with a healthy dose of criticism and don't just follow the herd like somebody else might do.
What I learned most was how to tell a story in 15 seconds or 30 seconds or 60 seconds - to have some kind of goal of what to try to do and make it happen in that time.
This was in '79. I got pretty restless there, sitting around with a lot of people sitting around smoking cigarettes and talking about films, but nobody really doing anything.
In Finland, getting a university degree is the first thing that you expect your kids to do.
I went out to some advertising agencies and asked if I could do anything.
Actually, it was first a movie called Gale Force, which was a hurricane movie. That script never came together, and then the same deal was replaced with Cliffhanger.
You want to do something that shows some type individuality and talent and imagination - at the same time, you want to be truthful to the predecessors, because obviously the audience liked something about them and you have to replicate that experience to a certain extent.
I became a real Shell Motor Oil expert, and I did this 25-minute film. It turned out really well and, as a result, they offered me more work and lots of commercials to direct.
I've continued to always keep in mind having a healthy does of that in Hollywood, now that I am part of the system and obviously have to follow the way the system works - you still have to have that crazy determination.
I did some film reviews for small papers in Finland and things like that to be able to keep living here.
There were a lot of people dreaming about making films, and they would finance maybe 6 films a year. Because they were funded by the government, the films sort-of had to deal with serious social issues - and, as a result, nobody went to see those films.
Eventually I did that, but it took a lot of twists and turns, and there were a year or two there where I was living with no money at all - no home, no car, no nothing. I was living in somebody's garage in Los Angeles at that point - for a year.
Ford Fairlane was one of those movies that was so much fun to make that it was bound not to be a big hit.
I loved cutting together simple commercials about margarine or soft drinks - all kinds of silly products - but I tried to make the commercials different.
At that point, the movie was called Wild Force. Everything fell apart, eventually - our financing completely fell apart - and we were never able to make that film.
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