character development

Monday, at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, James Cameron was presented with the Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking. Cameron, well known for his commercial successes with the Terminator franchise, and his “I am King of the World” clip from the Academy Awards for Titanic, was interviewed by Mike DeGruy before an attentive crowd. Cameron shared that he was among those in the feature film community that “looked down on documentary filmmakers”. His work over the last five years has changed his outlook.
Admitting that he ‘loves this stuff”, the gadgets, the deep sea exploration, he also said that the most satisfying part of the work has been “working with the team”. Whereas in feature film production he had “thousands of people working with me” and knew “about eight deep”, on the documentary the team is “maybe 15”. But given the work being out at sea on ships, and the complications of coordinating submersibles and whatnot, he has come to really get to know and appreciate the people working with him.
His desire to be “world class” was what had driven him to finance the development of tools and techniques to film in 3D deep underwater. Exploration, knowing that on any day he might see something “nobody has ever seen before” was motivation to find a niche others had not claimed. The rewards were in the experiences themselves, and sharing them with his team.
Given his history as one of the hardest driving producers and directors of his generation, Cameron’s genuine humility and expressions of appreciation of others was striking.

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