Before he was a filmmaker, Cameron Crowe was a writer. While still a teenager, Crowe was already working as a rock journalist for Rolling Stone magazine, covering bands like the Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, and The Who. Sound familiar? It should. Almost Famous is semi-autobiographical, based on Crowe's experiences as a youngster out on the road with the rock stars.
Crowe's next big break was as a novelist, writing a book based on his experience posing as an undercover student at a local high school when he was 22. There he had the senior year that he missed—he had graduated early to go on the road for Rolling Stone—and published his finished product, a book called Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Shortly thereafter, he wrote the screenplay for Amy Heckerling's 1982 cult classic film of the same name.
It wasn't until 1989, at the old age of 32, that he made his first film. Say Anything…, which he wrote and directed, is pretty much one of the greatest romantic comedies ever. You've probably seen its most famous scene parodied at least 1,342,9483 times.
Since then, Crowe has written and directed a slew of feature films, ranging from blockbuster comedy-dramas (Jerry Maguire) and psychological thrillers (Vanilla Sky) to family-friendly fare (We Bought a Zoo) and music documentaries (Pearl Jam Twenty). Not bad for a kid who started his career basically as a professional rock-and-roll fan.