Hollywood is a place where magic is made. Millions of people all over the world clutch boxes of popcorn and other refreshments as they take their seats in front of the silver screen. There have been many fantastic films that have been released this year alone, such as Ad Astra and Midsommar, that have thoroughly entertained audiences worldwide.
However, for many entrepreneurs, there is an opportunity to learn from what the actors depict on that screen. The lessons can range from interpersonal relationships and life skills to how to cope with disaster. Every now and then a film about the business world captures an audience’s imagination. The question is – what can we learn about the world of commerce from some of these stellar performances? Which movies provide valuable insight into the world of business?
The Social Network, which hit cinema screens in 2010 was the story about the foundations of the social media juggernaut, Facebook. It’s no exaggeration to say that Mark Zuckerberg’s creation has revolutionized the way people share life experiences and content. It has spawned many imitators and its share of detractors who worry about issues such as privacy. But the story of Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) shows what single-minded determination can accomplish.
In the film Zuckerberg may not always appear likeable – but the determination to succeed in the face of financial constraints, legal obstacles and the emotions of others shows what entrepreneurs must do to succeed. The Social Network also features some of the best offices in film and displays a variety of office desks, colourful cubicles, and comfortable chairs. This helps to show the relaxed business nature of the company and how modern offices can have more creative, rather than formal, interior design.
There are other fictional movies that also portray the struggles and triumphs and strength of spirit that every small business owner or entrepreneur must endure in order to succeed. One of the best portrayals of this struggle can be seen in Tom Cruise’s portrayal of a sports agent in Jerry Maguire. The sports agent is propelled to the heights of his chosen career due to his belief that business can be twinned with an emotional investment in a client base. The characters fall from grace and subsequent recovery is a human one. The character’s only client, Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.) teaches Maguire that being professional can mean sacrifice, but just what that sacrifice can entail – and how one handles adversity and failure are lessons that every business owner or entrepreneur should take to heart.
“Greed is good,” says the protagonist Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) in 1987’s Wall Street. A mantra that is drummed into a young stockbroker by the name of Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen). The cutthroat nature – and sheer greed of Wall Street are both shocking and enlightening to the audience. It provides insight into a world where money means power. It is a world where weakness is punished severely – and doubt is not an option. However, it also provides an insight into just how fallible human beings can be when presented with the option of what can seem like limitless power.
The power of the silver screen to enlighten and admonish is apparent in many other Hollywood productions too. Movies such as The Devil Wears Prada and The Wolf of Wall Street may differ in the fact that some productions are works of complete fiction – while others are based on the truth (however loosely). The lessons from the screen are worth internalizing for those who would start on that sometimes rocky road to success.