The year was 2009 -- a lifetime ago in internet years. I was making my bones, working as editor for a geek-facing website that doesn't exist anymore, run militantly by the greatest editor-in-chief, a fella we'll call Ed. His management style involved pummeling the staff with Hulk Hands, shooting us with Nerf darts, and occasionally screaming, "Just get it done!" It was fantastic, serious work. The pressure was always on for us to get the big story, and the big story at that time was Avatar, James Cameron's decades-in-the-making epic.
If you can remember, there was concern back then about Cameron even delivering the damn movie in time. He was reinventing the language of cinema, we were told, with his allegedly photo-real, computerized landscapes, motion-capture innovations, and new 3-D system. He was working around the clock, barking orders like General Patton, and the idea that I could land 10 minutes of his time, one-on-one, was absurd. But if I wanted to keep my job, I needed to talk nerdy with the King of the World. And I needed to get to him before our competition.