Michael Eisner on hiring storytellers

From Michael Eisner, in the Wall Street Journal Magazine:

I would much rather hire an executive who has taken courses in history and philosophy and language and art, and English and Russian literature than somebody who has only studied a single element of one subject. When my son wanted to go to undergraduate film school, I called George Lucas, who told him: Don’t go. Learning to make a movie is like learning to drive. Anybody can learn to drive. It’s where you drive that counts.

A lot of people can learn to write computer code and understand the inner workings of the technological revolution we’re going through, but if you’re going to be in content, I would rather you understand what makes a good narrative. To find people who can make you laugh or cry or smile or get upset or learn something about yourself. Those people are rare. They are rarer, frankly, than the others. We always talk about the lack of engineers in America. I would say we lead in what is most important to create all this, which is the education system for liberal-arts students. To me, that’s key.

For people coming into the entertainment businesses, the openings are enormous. However, the rules of drama haven’t changed. Denouement has not been replaced by dead ends. You still have to have characters, you have to have an emotional reaction, and you have to learn something from it, preferably. Those things don’t go away.