The differences, as James Cameron wrote “Avatar” and “Titanic”
Sometimes you approach two different genres in two different ways.
James Cameron is one of the best writers and directors to ever set foot on earth. The guy’s imagination is huge. It takes place in wild worlds and uses technology to aid storytelling. It always feels like he’s at the forefront of the next new wave. But Cameron also plays in so many different worlds, from the distant planets in User picture in the recent past in Titanic.
Writing these two stories had to be approached from two very different angles. They are different genres, have completely different characters and incredibly different worlds. How could it all be done by one person? And what has changed in his process from one film to another?
Check out this video from Behind the curtain and let’s talk afterwards.
As James Cameron wrote User picture and Titanic in different ways
It’s as interesting to hear as User picture was born out of a desire to use CG characters and prove what his company can do. Cameron challenged himself and then backed her up with hard work and ideas that pushed the envelope. As soon as he got the germ of an idea, he wrote a treatment and buried it for nine years. When the technology got better, he went back to it and decided to just work on it with a producer. For him, getting the visuals was the start, then the process, and then he could build the story.
Titanic was almost the exact opposite. He worked with submarines and the ocean floor, constantly thinking about the story behind the artifacts. He wanted to transport people somewhere and capture an emotional journey. He was obsessed with the history of the Titanic. He saw characters jump off the side and he explored the emotionality of what made up the experience of everyone on the boat.
Cameron initially resisted the urge to write Titanic because of the budget. But he leaned into it User picture because he knew it would be expensive but innovative. For Cameron, Titanic started out as a document he thought would be a document, but it became a movie. User picture was a technological advance that was about exploration.
These different avenues in the stories allowed Cameron to become interested in his subjects as he wrote them. He remained passionate about her. That passion carried over to the people around him in the room, resulting in two of the top grossing films of all time.
What do you think of this process? Let us know in the comments.