Do you still actively make films outside of work? If so, what has that experience been like?
I continue to make films today, and being at Lucasfilm is such a great benefit because you work in the same building with other creative people who make films or are involved in the process. The network of talent is right there, and I’ve been really lucky to build friendships and collaborate with people here. We’ve worked on each other’s films. Just last year I won “Best Director” at the Pasadena International Film Festival for my short Mirror and that would not have happened without the help of my Lucasfilm colleagues.
When you work with your colleagues outside of work, you see them getting to apply themselves in ways that they don’t necessarily get to do in their normal job. A lot of us have been able to work on each other’s films. It brings us closer and makes the company culture that much better. We make stuff here. It starts from the top down. Our President Kathleen Kennedy is a producer. That trickles down to the rest of us. It’s important to keep doing what you want to do as well as what you do for the company.
Are there any other stand-out moments for you during your time working here?
In 2017, I was asked to do a presentation to a group of STEM-focused, minority middle school boys. There were about 100 students who came to our San Francisco campus, and they all wanted to take pictures with us. It was truly one of my favorite days being employed here. Then again this year, I did a similar presentation at the Black College Expo on behalf of Lucasfilm. Both experiences were very surreal because I remember going to these types of events when I was a kid, so to be on the other side of the fence truly made me feel like I had come full circle. I also think that sharing my experiences with them in person could provide a sort of tangible proof that their dreams aren’t just something seen on TV, or in the movies, but actually possible.
Beyond just what you’ve worked on yourself, do you have a favorite Lucasfilm production?
I’m a huge fan of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I used to watch it on video tape with my grandma when I was growing up. That might not be the most traditional “grandson and grandma” movie, but it was for me, and it really molded me as a person. There’s so much in Temple of Doom that is different. It starts with a musical number, which is something Lucasfilm doesn’t often do. I love that it’s really a mash-up of the sensibilities of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. It has horror, romance, adventure, music, cuteness, and slapstick comedy. Even for Lucasfilm, it’s unusual.
Do you have any advice for people who aspire to work here?
Practicing your craft is the best way to give yourself any opportunity, let alone one at Lucasfilm. The more you improve your skills, the more it increases your chances. I emphasize that because I’ve been making movies since I was a kid. When I got to college that helped me. It’s come to feel natural, but it’s always derived from practice. My filmmaking helped me get attention from people at Lucasfilm.
You can watch LeAndre’s award winning-film Mirror by clicking here.