Arts & Entertainment

Meet Your Instructor: James Cameron

James Cameron

Lesson time 09:13 min

James shares why he’s teaching a class, rooted in his belief that every filmmaker stands on the shoulders of those who came before.

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Topics include: Meet Your Instructor : James Cameron


 [INDISTINCT CHATTER] [DIGITAL BEEPING] [MUSIC PLAYING] [DRAMATIC MUSIC] JAMES CAMERON: There's a moment when you're just a fan. And there's a moment when you're a filmmaker. And the one moment can follow the other by about 1 minute. Because all you have to do is pick up a camera and start shooting something with the intention of making a film, and you're a filmmaker. [DRAMATIC MUSIC] [GLASS SHATTERS] - JAMES CAMERON: There's a moment where there's no idea. And then there's the moment where there's the idea. And I think of it almost the way we assemble images and bits of narrative in our dreams. Maybe it's in another time. Maybe it's in another place. Maybe it's an entirely different world. It's up to the filmmaker to create that little bit of an alternate reality. And then we get to feel kind of alive through a completely different set of eyes. That's an amazing thing. [DRAMATIC MUSIC] I'm James Cameron. And this is my MasterClass. [DRAMATIC MUSIC] NARRATOR: Whatever you have imagined in your wildest dreams now becomes a visual reality. JAMES CAMERON: I had loved films. I always loved films. Like, I remember particularly when I was in the third grade, I saw "Mysterious Island," a Ray Harryhausen film. And it had lots of wonderful sort of little boy fantasy adventure stuff in it. I came back, and I started drawing comics, comics about "Mysterious Island." But it wasn't the same story. I made up my own creatures. And I made up my own scenarios. And I started to think in a frame. And I started to think-- well, I didn't realize it-- but I was doing wide shots. And I was doing close-ups. And I was doing reverse angles. And I was doing all the things that a filmmaker does. So I was doing all those things, graphically, on paper. But it didn't translate to I want to make movies. So cut to years later, I'm very excited to see this new film that's just come out-- this is in 1968-- called "2001-- a Space Odyssey." Because I love space. I love science fiction. I'm an avid reader of science fiction. And it looked from the images like it was really a quantum leap in terms of the type of space imagery that I was going to experience. So I went and saw that film. And it had such a visceral impact on me that by the end, I was probably almost alone in the movie theater for some reason. It was a matinee during the day. I stumbled out of the theater, I sat down on the curb, and I threw up. Not because I didn't like the film, but because when the stargate sequence began, I felt like I was falling down an infinite corridor of light. And I got airsick. I was so subjectively present for that film. And when I see the film now, it's a very hard film to be subjectively present for. It's a very cold and intellectual film. But I loved it visually. And it was the first time I really-- at the age of 14-- made the conne...

About the Instructor

From The Terminator and Titanic to Avatar, James Cameron has directed some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. Now, for the first time in his 40-year career, he opens up about his process. Through behind-the-scenes breakdowns, James shares his approach to developing ideas, storylines, and characters; harnessing technology; and worldbuilding on any budget. Explore the innovation and imagination behind epic moviemaking.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

James Cameron

Academy Award–winning director James Cameron teaches you the tricks of the trade and shares his approach to epic moviemaking on any budget.

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