Create a product that customers want

In this week's New Yorker, Dana Goodyear has a fascinating profile of James Cameron. The profile is a series of stories about Cameron with some life detail filled in; it leaves you with a very good picture of who Cameron is. Here's Cameron on the making of Terminator:
One night, he said, he dreamed of “a chrome skeleton emerging out of a fire.” Then he sketched the figure cut in half and crawling after a woman. He said, “I thought, That was cool. I’ve never seen that in a movie before.” Cameron came home and recruited Wisher and Frakes to help him with a storyline centered on the chrome skeleton he had begun to think of as the terminator. He analyzed the common traits of the ten most successful movies of all time: an average person in extraordinary jeopardy was a major trope. His story posited a future when much of Earth has been destroyed in a catastrophic nuclear war; out of the rubble, a race of machines rises up and tries to eliminate the few remaining human beings. To win the war for good, the machines send a cyborg terminator back in time, to 1984 Los Angeles, to kill the woman, Sarah Connor, a waitress at a burger joint who will later give birth to the leader of the human resistance.
Note that Cameron didn't try to reinvent the story; he found some new idea and fit it into a popular trope, in other words, he made a movie that people want to watch. Terminator was, of course, a big hit. I did not know that Schwarzenegger was initially going to be the good guy.

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