In this episode of 15 Minutes With Charlie, Charlie Mechem sits down with Scott Ross, an American digital media guru with an impressive career spanning three decades. In the 1980s, he led George Lucas’s companies. And in 1993, founded Digital Domain—One of the largest digital production studios in the motion picture and advertising business—with the likes of James Cameron and Stan Winston. Together, Scott and Charlie reflect on anecdotes from “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer.”
Scott recalls his time working with James Cameron. The two had some disagreements… He chalks it up to religious differences, he jokes, “James thought he was God, I didn’t agree.” In his experience, he has looked at people’s egos and tried to understand them, but it was always hard. Now, as he has gotten older he has realized that his own ego has always been an issue in the way he views other people’s egos.
His ego, Scott says, got in the way of being really successful. Ego can both be a good thing, and a bad thing. If it is under control, and mature, it can be used for good. When ego gets out of hand, however, harm can come, Scott explains.
It’s Called Work for a Reason
Work connotes toil and effort, Scott says. If it was easy… it wouldn’t be called work. There’s not as much value in things that have not been worked for. When you work hard you set an example for those around you and possibly inspire.
However, there is a point where hard work can take over a person, Scott explains, in these cases it becomes dangerous. There needs to be a balance between hard work and life—work should not be everything, nor should it overtake every ounce of your energy and time. In retrospect, Scott recalls, he wishes he’d been in his children’s lives more actively.
Growing up in South Bronx and Queens, there was something called “street smarts” that you needed to get through life. You can have memorized every book in the world, but without street smarts, Scott says, you will be an “observer” in life, not a player.
Bringing Out the Best In Us
In the third stage of his life, Scott says, he finds that even those who test us are teaching us a lesson in life. He is a better person for all of the pain, disdain, and anger that he has felt through relationships in his life. You learn a lot from falling down and standing up
The rarest relationships, he says, are the ones that make it all worthwhile. He jokes, those are the ones you should marry.
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