Passion Drives You: James Cameron


I am about to tell you how a 22-year-old college dropout truck driver named James Cameron ended up becoming a top-tier film director.

In 1977, he went to watch Star Wars with a pal. His friend enjoyed the movie but Cameron walked out of the theatre ready to punch something. Did he hate the movie? No!

You see, during his free time, he used to paint tiny models and write science fiction stories set in galaxies far, far away. Now he was facing a deflating reality. The things he had been daydreaming about had just been brought to life by Lucas. Star Wars was the film he should have made.

It got him so angry he bought some cheap movie equipment and began experimenting to find out how Lucas had done it. He spent days in the USC library, reading everything he could about special effects. Cameron was completely obsessed!

He then persuaded his local dentist to invest US$20,000 in what he billed as his version of Star Wars. The clip didn’t get him a full-length feature film, but he was hired to build miniature spaceships.

In 1981, he made it to the director’s chair, overseeing Piranha II: The Spawning. While editing the movie he had a fever and dreamed of a robot clawing its way towards a cowering woman. This became the basis for the script for his second movie.

In 1984, The Terminator was released and over the next 10 years, Cameron helmed a series of daring films, including Aliens, The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and True Lies. Titanic, of course, went on to become the highest-grossing movie of all time. It won 11 Oscars, including best picture and best director. Titanic sailed into the record books, grossing US$1.8bil worldwide.

Passion is one thing, doing is another. I would like to end this with a quote from Cameron himself.

“There are many talented people who haven’t fulfilled their dreams because they over thought it, or they were too cautious, and were unwilling to make the leap of faith.” – James Cameron

Dare to pursue your dreams and you never know how things may turn out.

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