James Cameron : A Visionary And A Futurist

                        Often, in various stages of our life there will be people telling us absolutely, “No, you cannot do that.” In film-making this is a frequently repeated sentence. A writer needs to dreams up his visions to write a unique and wonderful novel. But, a film-maker can't just sit and dream his visions. There is one movie-maker, who repeatedly ignored these discouraging comments and kept on what he wanted to do -- to dream up a vision.

                        The innovative maker of movies is James Cameron, who is exceptional at  dreaming up a vision, rallying people around it, working their fears, convincing them they are capable of impossible tasks, and ultimately creating the extraordinary all within time and budget constraints. When he started making 'Avatar', in the mid 90's people in the special effects field continued to say, “Jim, we are not just there yet.” Cameron said, “Well, then, I will get us there.” And, look where he got us with the technology involved in 'Avatar'
  • James Cameron was born in Ontario, Canada, on August 16, 1954. His father Philip Cameron was an electrical engineer and his mother, Shirley Cameron was an artist. She encouraged her son to paint, and even helped arrange an exhibition for him at a local gallery. He moved to the USA during his teens, and studied Physics at California State University. 
  • He was fifteen, when he saw Stanley Kubrick's Visionary film 2001 : Space Odyssey for the first time. He became fascinated with the whole motion picture process, and also subsequently watched the movie 10 times. He grabbed his father's Super-8 camera, and attempted to direct his own movies. 
  •  After  graduating, he drove a truck, worked as a school bus driver to support his screen-writing ambition.He landed his first professional film job as art director, miniature-set builder, and process-projection supervisor on the movie Battle Beyond the Stars (1980).
  • He debuted as a director with piranha part two: The Spawning (1981) the following year. The producer chose Cameron to save money and have complete control over the film. The movie was of course terrible, and he started having nightmares due to pestering of producers. The nightmare was about an invisible robot hit man sent from the future to kill him. Thus, he transformed his nightmare into a script, which launched his excellent career, starting from Terminator(1984).
  • After the success of Aliens, he opted to do 'The Abyss' in 1988, instead of mighty dollar deals. Abyss set  new standards for under water shooting. The film took 18 months to complete and grossed $110 million dollars worldwide. 
  • Apart from his most successful movies like 'Judgement Day', 'True Lies', Titanic', and 'Avatar', he also ventured into television and documentaries, such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009) and Expedition: Bismark (2002). 
  • Trade Mark : Strong female characters. Likes to make nice/effective cuts. Utilizes slow motion in intense scenes or to intensify a scene. Brings camera in close during fight scenes, achieving a claustrophobic effect.
  • Ranked #3 on EW's The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood. Apart from The Terminator (1984), all of his films have been nominated for or won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
  • Insists that any actor in his films must audition for him, even major stars.
    Cameron's Fusion 3D Camera
  • Cameron reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench on 25 March 2012, becoming the first person to do so in a one-man craft. The Mariana Trench is the deepest known point on Earth, at 11 km (6.8 miles) below the ocean surface. Cameron is the first person to spend significant time at that depth, having explored the area for three hours after arrival.
James Cameron Quotes

"People call me a perfectionist, but I'm not. I'm a rightist. I do something until it's right, and then I move on to the next thing."

"I was petrified at the start of Terminator. First of all, I was working with a star, at least I thought of him as a star at the time. Arnold came out of it even more a star."

"On Stanley Kubrick: I remember going with a great sense of anticipation to each new Stanley Kubrick film and thinking, "Can he pull it off and amaze me again?" And he always did. The lesson I learned from Kubrick was, never do the same thing twice."

"There's this sense of we're here, we're big, we've got the guns, we've got the technology, therefore we're entitled to every damn thing on this planet. That's not how it works and we're going to find out the hard way if we don't kind of wise up and start seeking a life that's in balance with the natural life on Earth."

                               Cameron is always utterly himself, and that is what is so unusual about him. He doesn’t second guess himself; he follows his gut. He happens to be real smart – not like people whose IQs are above average. Also, he doesn’t do what people think he is supposed to do. He does what he is deeply interested in. With Titanic, he had made a lot of money, and won a lot of Oscars. 

                                The most common thing to do in Hollywood at that time, would be to get back out there, make another movie, and capitalize on that power. He didn’t do that because what he wanted to do was go explore the deep ocean and indulge a passion he’s had since childhood. And, he waited more than a decade to get the right technology for his dream project, 'Avatar.'

                                 In his advice to young film-makers he says ,"You have to be willing to take risks. In whatever you're doing, failure is an option, but fear is not." That, advice is applicable to anyone with a dream and a vision.

James Cameron's TED Speech :

James Cameron - Wikipedia


vinay said...

He is like the "GOD OF SFI-FI CINEMA"...I just love Cameron and his movies...I still remember Judgement Day was the first English film I had watched on TV, when I was a kid.

Anonymous said...

My favorite too, though did not like much about his last Avtar in terms of story :)

neeraj said...

A good informative post on a man with an incredible set of achievements. I did not know many of these, and it set me thinking and spend some time reading about him on the internet. For that inspiration to think, and to want, thank you!

Jen..The Butterfly Effect said...

He is a living legend! Hats off to him :)!!

Arun Kumar said...

@Vinay, Thanks for your comment.

@theaterbalcony, Thanks for the comment. Yeah, Avatar doesn't have much of a great story, but visually excellent.

Arun Kumar said...

@neeraj, Thanks for your comment.

@Jen, Thanks for visiting. A legend indeed.