The creative process by James Cameron

Posted on April 9, 2010

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Recently, I enjoyed an interview with James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar) on Inside the Actors Studio. He shares his journey as a young filmmaker and some of the bold choices that led him to his successes. Here were some of the quotes:

When I studied filmmaking as a youth, it was something I felt I could dismantle… like a watch.

When I watched Star Wars for the first time, I recognized it from my imagination. If people like this, I know what to do.

Nightmares are great, you can come up with some original ideas.

I sold the script for Terminator for $1 dollar with the condition I would Direct it. My career was predicated on that move.

I always felt the traumas that you have experienced in life is what you have to act out in your art. That should be the rule.

Making the Titanic was the penance for the chance to dive to the actual Titanic wreck. I fell in love with making the movie later.

You always give the execs something extreme that they can’t agree to, then everything else will seem reasonable.

You have to stay open to the magic when something goes wrong. It will probably be better than what you planned.

You don’t have to do it till it’s perfect but till it’s right. Perfection is too subjective.

Everything I do is a love story.

I was willing to forgo my salary for Titanic in order to keep my word and honor my agreement with the studio

I created Avatar in ’98 but the technology wasn’t there to make it right. I had to wait for the right time.

100% of the screenplay is open for changes

To watch some of the clips from the interview, check out Inside the Actors Studio

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Posted in: Creative Leaders