A lot of writers might bristle a little at this since the audacity that a group of writers would do what they’re known for, which is expanding in creative and innovative ways, is something that James Cameron probably should have expected when taking on such an immense project as Avatar and the four sequels he apparently has plans for. Either no one has ever had the nerve to tell Cameron that creativity isn’t at its best when it’s bottled and structured the way someone wants it down to the last drop, or he’s such a control freak that everything simply has to be his way, without exception and without argument. The latter is obviously what a lot of people understand the issue to be since he actually threatened to fire his writers on Avatar 2 if they didn’t stop coming up with new ideas so that they could first focus on regaining the inspiration that created the first movie. It’s a good practice to understand what made the first movie great to start with obviously, since linking the original to the sequel is crucial for this movie, but threatening someone’s livelihood isn’t exactly a great idea since as controlling as James is said to be at times, accepting the fact that writers are going to want to write and come up with ideas is kind of part of the package. As a director, it feels as though James should realize this, and also realize that getting that spark that helped to ignite the first movie could possibly come from bringing up new stories and ideas that might be able to create the kind of buzz that’s needed.
The process of writing for a movie feels like a very frantic and sometimes less than carefree process since to be certain, the story for a movie has to be just right, but it’s not bound to be perfect since if any director worth their experience is being honest, and Cameron is worth every bit, the fact is that there are edits that take place during the movie that will change things on the fly as needed and will alter certain parts of the writing as the director sees fit. So really, in this manner, a director is kind of hypocritical the first time they make a change to a script as it’s been filmed, especially if they’re the type that wants everything scripted, written out, perfected, and run according to their plan. This is why I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Cameron at this moment since as long as he’s been in the business and as much as he’s accomplished, stooping to threatening a writer for trying to do what comes naturally makes about as much sense as threatening to fire anyone that’s trying to do their job. There isn’t a lot of sympathy for the writers since this the type of work they signed on for, but there is a bit of empathy since working on a deadline and having to deal with a very challenging boss is something that many of us have had to do at least once or twice in our lives. Simply put, the best bosses in the world will let those that know their job do what they will and work with them in an effort to put everything together in a fashion that hopefully works for everyone involved.
Considering that he only threatened and didn’t actually fire them it’s likely that a lot of people will joke and say that he was ‘motivating’ them, and it’s true that keeping your job can be very motivating since a lot of people are willing to weather all kinds of abuse so that they can pay the bills. But the manner in which this was done feels as though it could have been handled a little better, especially if it’s as true as it sounds. From all the reports that have come in over the years, it would sound as though working for Cameron is kind of like working for family, meaning that if there’s any button he can push and any nerve he can strike then he’ll do it in the name of his own obsession when it comes to filming. That’s the kind of boss that a lot of people try to avoid simply because they don’t need the stress that comes with it, but amazingly it’s also the type of boss that people flock to since they figure that they might learn more and get paid at the same time. That’s debatable, to be honest, but personally, I do think I’d have been fired had I ever had the chance to work for Cameron, since ultimatums are not the wisest thing in the world to give to those that one is dependent on to flesh out a story.