James Cameron on his influences and passing knowledge to the next generation
James Cameron credits a high school teacher, Ian McKenzie, with helping his confidence by encouraging him to form an arts group with other kids. “He created the framework and he stepped back and let us go.” The experience changed his life. “He came up to me in the hallway one day and he said, ‘You have unlimited potential.’ At 14, it was a cool thing to hear.” Discover more https://on.rolex.org/377muFL
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No one is born an artist. It’s all about taking in what came before you. I always knew I wanted to tell stories. My school had never had a theatre arts program. If I had a mentor at that age in high school, it was Mr. McKenzie. He was the one that encouraged us kind of crazy, fringe-type kids to express ourselves. And we actually formed a theatre arts group. You know, that was a pretty formative moment in my life. You know, as I look back on it. He created the framework and he stepped back and he let us go.
Every artist second-guesses himself and they have to learn that confidence. They have to get some positive feedback somewhere. And that theatre arts program in high school gave me that. He came up to me in the hallway one day and he said, “You have unlimited potential.” When you’re 14 and somebody tells you you have unlimited potential, that’s a really cool thing to hear.
I think it’s really important, if you’re going to mentor people, if you are going to pass on what you know. You can’t force it on them. And I look back at the people that influenced me, whether I knew them personally or whether I never met them. I think of those influences and I… I cherish them.
Every artist is a link in a chain that goes back to the dawn of human history and is going on to some point in the future that we can’t even imagine. I see it as a torch of creativity that gets passed down passed down, passed down. We take the torch and hold the torch. We run with the torch. We pass the torch. We build on the shoulders of the people that came before us, and then we have to pass on what we know to a new generation.
James Cameron & Ian McKenzie
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