#311 James Cameron

Episode Summary

What I learned from reading The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron by Rebecca Keegan and The Return of James Cameron, Box Office King by Zach Baron.

Episode Notes

What I learned from reading The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron by Rebecca Keegan and The Return of James Cameron, Box Office King by Zach Baron.


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(4:00) I watched Titanic at the Titanic. And he actually replied: Yeah, but I madeTitanic at the Titanic.

(7:10) I like difficult. I’m attracted by difficult. Difficult is a fucking magnet for me. I go straight to difficult. And I think it probably goes back to this idea that there are lots of smart, really gifted, really talented filmmakers out there that just can’t do the difficult stuff. So that gives me a tactical edge to do something nobody else has ever seen, because the really gifted people don’t fucking want to do it.

(7:20) At 68 years old, Cameron wakes up at 4:45 AM and often kick boxes in the morning.

(7:45) Self doubt is not something Cameron has a lot of experience with. His confidence preceded his achievements.

(9:00) I was going through this stuff, chapter and verse, and making my own notes and all that. I basically gave myself a college education in visual effects and cinematography while I was driving a truck.

(16:00) Every idea is a work in progress.

(17:30) He's been on a planet of his own making ever since.

(18:00) The Return of James Cameron, Box Office King by Zach Baron

(22:00) Cameron's career has been built on questioning accepted wisdom and believing in the power of the individual.  His outlook is that we can take fate in our own hands.

(27:00) All creative individuals build on the works of their predecessors. No one creates an a vacuum. — Walt Disney and Picasso (Founders #310)

(31:00) Cameron would go to the library at the University of Southern California, photocopying graduate student theses on esoteric filmmaking subjects.

He filled two fat binders with technical papers.

For the cost of a couple hundred dollars in photocopying, he essentially put himself through a graduate course in visual effects at the top film school in the country without ever meeting a single professor.

(34:00) Cameron had only been at Corman's for a matter of days, but he was already taking charge. He seems constitutionally incapable of doing otherwise. (What a line!)

He had a very commanding presence.

(35:30) Your mediocrity is my opportunity.

(37:40) Cameron finds writing torture. He does it anyway.

(43:00) Cameron is willing to let ideas marinate for decades.

(43:45) "I like doing things I know others can’t.” That's part of what attracts him to shooting movies in water.  "Nobody likes shooting in water. It's physically taxing, frustrating, and dangerous. But when you have a small team of people as crazy as you are, that are good at it, there is deep satisfaction in both the process of doing it and the resulting footage."

(49:15)  I was stunned by Jim's allegiance to the project and the extent of his physical abilities. Jim was there for every minute of it. It was beyond belief, his commitment to what we were doing.

(55:30) I'd just made T2 for Carolco and I admired how they rolled, being their own bosses, mavericks, entrepreneurs. I’d been fed up with the studio system. So I figured I could set up a structure which would allow me to call the shots myself.

(57:30) Mute the world. Build your own world.

(1:04:50) Opportunity is a strange beast. It commonly appears after a loss.


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