This thread died way too soon, I'll never get enough of Kubrick in his own words:
I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want.
One of the things that gave me the most confidence in trying to make a film was seeing all the lousy films that I saw. Because I sat there and thought, Well, I don't know a goddamn thing about movies, but I know I can make a film better than that.
To make a film entirely by yourself, which initially I did, you may not have to know very much about anything else, but you must know about photography.
The essence of dramatic form is to let an idea come over people without it being plainly stated. When you say something directly, it's simply not as potent as it is when you allow people to discover it for themselves.
Anyone who has ever been privileged to direct a film also knows that, although it can be like trying to write 'War and Peace' in a bumper car in an amusement park, when you finally get it right, there are not many joys in life that can equal the feeling.
I can't honestly say what led me to make any of my films. The best I can do is to say I just fell in love with the stories. Going beyond that is a bit like trying to explain why you fell in love with your wife: she's intelligent, has brown eyes, a good figure.