1. Zemeckis is credited as one of the greatest “visual storytellers” in filmmaking and is a pioneer of visual effects.
2. He has directed some of the biggest blockbuster hits of the past few decades.
3. He first came to public attention in the 1980s as the director of Romancing the Stone .
4. The films he has directed have ranged across a wide variety of genres, for both adults and families.
5. His films are characterized by an interest in state-of-the-art special effects, including the early use of the insertion of computer graphics into live-action footage in Back to the Future Part II .
6. Though Zemeckis has often been pigeonholed as a director interested only in effects,
7. Zemeckis was born in Chicago, Illinois, Zemeckis has said “the truth was that in my family there was no art.
8. I mean, there was no music, there were no books, there was no theater…
9. The only thing I had that was inspirational, was television—and it actually was.”
10. Starting off by filming family events like birthdays and holidays, he gradually began producing narrative films with his friends that incorporated stop-motion work and other special effects.
11. “You hear so much about the problems with television,” he said, “but I think that it saved my life.”
12. Television gave Zemeckis his first glimpse of a world outside of his blue-collar upbringing; specifically, he learned of the existence of film schools on an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
13. After seeing Bonnie and Clyde with his father and being heavily influenced by it, Zemeckis decided that he wanted to go to film school.
14. His parents disapproved of the idea, Zemeckis later said, “But only in the sense that they were concerned… for my family and my friends and the world that I grew up in, this was the kind of dream that really was impossible.
15. I guess maybe some of it I felt I had to do in spite of them, too.”
16. The director gave an “impassioned plea” to the official on the other line, promising to go to summer school and improve his studies, and eventually convinced the school to accept him. The classes were difficult, with professors constantly stressing how hard the movie business was.
17. Zemeckis remembered not being much fazed by this, citing the “healthy cynicism” that had been bred into him from his Chicago upbringing.
18. Gale later recalled, “The graduate students at USC had this veneer of intellectualism…So Bob and I gravitated toward one another because we wanted to make Hollywood movies.