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Steven Spielberg urges grads to find a Hollywood-style 'happy ending'

Steven Spielberg knows movies. In fact, the Oscar-winning director dropped out of college when he was still a teen to pursue that passion and launch his blockbuster career.

So when he spoke to Harvard's graduating class on Thursday, he put much of his advice in movie terms — talking about characters, action and Hollywood endings. And just like his big-screen efforts, it was a hit.

"What you choose to do next is what we call, in the movies, ‘a character-defining moment,'" he told the grads as they prepared to face the future. "Now, these are moments that you're very familiar with, like in the last 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens,' when Rey realizes the Force is with her, or Indiana Jones choosing mission over fear by jumping into a pile of snakes. Now, in a two-hour movie, you get a handful of character-defining moments."

In real life, however, they just keep coming. One of those moments for Spielberg was when he decided to leave his "celluloid bubble" and go back to college almost four decades after dropping out.

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His hope is that the class of 2016 will take advantage of what they've already learned and go out and make the world a better place — and keep making it better.

Harvard University
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg gives a speech during the Harvard Commencement 2016

"My job is to create a world that lasts two hours," he told them. "Your job is to create a world that lasts forever."

But he believes they can learn a lot from his job, too.

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“I wish you all a true Hollywood-style happy ending," Spielberg said. "I hope you outrun the T-Rex, catch the criminal and — for your parents’ sake — maybe now and then, just like E.T., go home.”

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