Screenwriter Richard Christian Matheson tells the story of a jaunt around the lush campus with Spielberg: "Every once in a while, from a rock or a tree, you'd hear, ' Steven, your is here.' Obviously, there were microphones among the rocks that talk, because you'd hear a voice saying, ' Steven do you want something?' He'd say, ' Guys, do you want some Popsicles?There's a whole phalanx." Not that Spielberg himself liked to negotiate.He hated actually dealing with business matters, preferring to play the role of the likable artiste.Despite the far more financially pragmatic Geffen and Katzenberg's reservations, the couple soon signed what others in the company referred to as "the deal of the century" in which Parkes and Mac Donald received a whopping 7.5 percent producing fee, which is what mega producers such as Scott Rudin and Jerry Bruckheimer receive.
But for Spielberg, it was a no-brainer: He believed in the couple, trusted them above anyone, and valued their sophistication, class, and taste.Even Spielberg's home life was suitable for framing.His wife, the actress Kate Capshaw, once described her neighborhood, the Pacific Palisades, as "sidewalky," but the Spielberg's main residence is a sprawling estate overlooking the Riviera Country Club where Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn once teed off.The dirty work was left to the agents, lawyers, and managers who genuflected before him and who dreaded the days there was anything resembling bad news to report.Amblin, his production company that pre-dated Dream Works, had been created to serve its star resident to an almost surreal degree.Anything Steven thinks is important, we want to invest in.'" Spielberg's life had always been as carefully choreographed as his movies.There were no imperfections, no bad lighting—at least, not before Dream Works.For a man, who as one person says, "falls in love with people," Spielberg was enamored of his friends, most especially Parkes, a tall, unnervingly good-looking Yalie whose overpowering confidence and verbal agility caused one associate to describe him as "a Shakespearian actor holding forth on the Globe stage."No one could miss the Freudian implications of the relationship between the nerdy boy-man, who, growing up in unkind suburbia, had wanted "to be a gentile with the same intensity that I wanted to be a filmmaker" and this chiseled golden boy, who had grown up as Wally Fishman in Beverly Hills, but changed his name to Parkes when he landed in New Haven."Walter Parkes is Steven's idea of what he should have been—East Coast-educated, upper-middle-class family, good-looking guy, right wife the first time, not the second time," said producer Tony Ludwig.Unlike most, Parkes wasn't afraid to stand up to Spielberg, and had no trouble telling the director that some of his ideas were harebrained, or, worse, low-brow."Walter wasn't afraid to bully Steven," said one insider, "with everything—his looks, his ideas."But the couple's inexperience running a studio became apparently almost immediately—it would take three long years before any movies were released, a fact that drove Katzenberg, especially, mad (at one point he confronted Parkes at a company retreat: " Where are my movies, Walter?Other Spielberg decisions would also negatively affect Dream Works, from passion projects such as Playa Vista, the "studio of the 21st century" that never came to pass; to divisions such as Dream Works Interactive (producer of videogames), which Spielberg believed in fervently but ultimately spread the company too thin and had to be shuttered; to sweetheart deals such as the one given to Spielberg's close friend, director Robert Zemeckis, whose production company, Image Movers, was based at Dream Works for many years, as Dream Works poured money into the operation in exchange for very few movies.By 2005, Dream Works was longer able to go it alone as a result of many of Spielberg's irresponsible decisions, and was sold to Paramount.