Photograph courtesy Steve Sabellico
Growing up, Steve Sabellico was a reader of National Geographic World, which we now know as National Geographic Kids. When he read an article on the behind-the-scenes making of movies, he was inspired to learn all he could about "movie magic." Steve even kept the pages of that article in his room for years. This interest led to a career working on movie productions, including many Star Wars movies. We caught up with Steve to ask him a few questions.
NG Kids: Do you have a favorite Star Wars character?
Steve: I'd say it is a toss up between Darth Vader and Stormtroopers. When I was a kid I had a red t-shirt with a Darth Vader iron-on on it that I wore until it was threadbare. One Halloween I even had a Ben Cooper Darth Vader Halloween costume—one of those vintage ones with the plastic mask with the rubber band and the vinyl cape. I loved that thing. Even though it had the words "DARTH VADER" on the front in bright yellow, to me and my active imagination it was screen-accurate. But the Stormtroopers were my favorites because they were one of the first action figures I ever received. And when you're playing with Star Wars figures... you always, ALWAYS need Stormtroopers. Rebels had to fight the bad guys. So they were well used and a go-to at playtime.
NG Kids: What other cool movies have you worked on?
Steve: I don't know if there's ever going to be a cooler movie that doesn't open with "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..."
NG Kids: Should we explore space? Why?
Steve: I think space exploration stirs the imagination, and inspires learning. It's a shame to not continue that.
NG Kids: Besides the magazine, what else did you like to read?
Steve: I read all kinds of things when I was younger. Marvel comics like The Amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man and West Coast Avengers. The Encyclopedia Brown books, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books. Then when I was bitten by the movie bug, I slowly switched over from fiction to non-fiction and wanted to learn as much as I could about the craft and challenges in making entertainment.
NG Kids: What advice would you give to kids on how to pursue their dreams?
Steve: Well, to start, you've got to have a dream. I got some great advice from my boss at my very first job in Los Angeles. She said "If you don't know what you want to do then find out what you DON'T want to do." Over time I came to realize what I loved and once I figured that out, then I just had to figure out what I needed to do to get THAT job.
NG Kids: What was the biggest obstacle to pursuing your dream?
Steve: Persistence. A lot of people get discouraged when they enter the entertainment business and forget that the immediate successes are few and far between. But if you keep your eyes on your goals, and make smart choices, you can learn something from every job you get.