Despite now being one of the most successful producers and directors in Hollywood, and notwithstanding a reputation for perfectionism, Rolex Testimonee James Cameron takes a mellow approach to mentoring.
"You can't force it on them. They have to want to hear what you have to share," he said. "The best way is to provide an environment to let them create within, and if they want your help, they'll ask for it. And if they don't, it's better to just stay back."
In an interview with Rolex, Cameron credited a high-school biology teacher at his alma mater in Niagara Falls, Stamford Collegiate, for first encouraging his passion for theatre.
"Mr McKenzie encouraged us crazy, fringe-type kids to express ourselves," Cameron said. "My school had never had a theatre arts programme so we created one. We would stay after school for hours to create a stage, put in lighting, build sets to put on plays. He created the framework and let us go."
The early supportive words of Ian McKenzie, who died in the 1980s, clearly struck a chord with Cameron. "He came up to me in the hallway one day and he said, 'You have unlimited potential,'" recalled Cameron. "When you're 14 and somebody tells you you have unlimited potential, that's a really cool thing to hear."
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