James Cameron’s lessons on curiosity, imagination, risk and leadership

James Cameron: Before Avatar…a curious boy

Didn’t have time to watch more than one Ted Talk today because I had to watch the Clint Eastwood RNC speech. Yes, I hadn’t watched it til today.

James Cameron’s talk wasn’t entirely inspiring but there were a few good quotes that I liked.

His selfish reason for making Titanic:  You know, I went and pitched it to the studio as “‘Romeo and Juliet’ on a ship: “It’s going to be this epic romance, passionate film.” Secretly, what I wanted to do was I wanted to dive to the real wreck of “Titanic.” And that’s why I made the movie. (Applause) And that’s the truth. Now, the studio didn’t know that. But I convinced them. I said, “We’re going to dive to the wreck. We’re going to film it for real. We’ll be using it in the opening of the film. It will be really important. It will be a great marketing hook.” And I talked them into funding an expedition.

Cameron wanted to be a scuba diver since he was 15. His father let him get certified in Buffalo, NY in a pool in the dead of winter but he didn’t actually get to dive in an ocean until he was 17, when his family moved to California. He has logged over 3,000 hours underwater, 500 of which were in submersibles. Pretty incredible.

In between Titanic and Avatar, Cameron spent his time making documentaries about deep sea exploration. His most valuable lessons — on leadership, no less, curiosity, creativity, imagination and risk — were these:



  1. “Don’t put limitations on yourself. Other people will do that for you — don’t do it to yourself, don’t bet against yourself, and take risks.” I like that.
    I had not heard of TED talks before. It looks like something I will enjoy. Thank you.

    1. thanks! i’m happy you were able to do a little exploring

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