Where does a man like Steven Spielberg, the maker of worlds and a film visionary, find inspiration?
These days, the answer is multi-faceted.
"As I get older, I prefer to tell stories that actually already happened, because they're so compelling," he said. "You can't write that stuff that history writes for us. History is the greatest writer of drama and of irony and of catastrophe and of destiny and of victory, and you can't do better than history."
History is exactly what motivated his film "The Post," a movie about the dogged journalists and editors who helped unearth the stories contained in the Pentagon Papers. The film, currently an Oscar nominee for best picture, also sheds a revealing light on the present.
In reviewing his film history, Spielberg in many ways sees his own history reflected back at him.
For that reason, he can't pick a favorite.
"Every single film I've made has been a marker of who I was at that time of the making of that picture," he said. "I can't compare them because they're all about who I was at different spaces of my own growth as an artist and as a husband and dad."
His role as a father of seven has taught Spielberg a great deal about what makes a good story -- at bedtime and otherwise.
When his kids were growing up, he'd tell them stories every night, going room to room. It's how he sees his work as a filmmaker too.
"It's no different. I love to stay active, and it's exciting for me," he said. "You know, it's something I haven't even gotten close to being tired of doing."
It's easy to keep going, he said, with new and fresh voices all around him.
"I'm inspired by everybody who makes a good movie," he said, name-checking "Lady Bird" director Greta Gerwig, his "friend" Guillermo del Toro, and "all the directors that have made wonderful films this year."
"I've seen all of them. I was inspired by 'Wonder Woman,' I was inspired by 'The Big Sick,'" he said. "I mean, there's so many films this year that feed me the inspiration that will keep me going."
Spielberg takes this subject so seriously that after our interview wrapped and goodbyes had begun to be exchanged, he asks to revisit the matter.
He forgot to mention Jordan Peele, he said, and wanted to make sure did that he did.
"I thank all these filmmakers, because they're responsible for giving me another couple of years making movies," he said. "I need inspiration to keep working, and so I look to my contemporaries for that kind of ... current inspiration."