James Cameron is one of the best writers and directors ever to set foot on the face of the earth. The guy's imagination is humongous. He plays in wild worlds and uses technology in a way 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 Avatar to the recent past in Titanic

Writing these two stories had to be approached from two very distinct vantage points. they're different genres, have wildly different characters, and incredibly different worlds. So how did this all get done by one person? And what changed in his process from one film to the other? 

Check out this video from Behind the Curtain and let's talk after. 

How James Cameron Wrote Avatar and Titanic in Different Ways 

It's so interesting to hear how Avatar was born from the desire to use CG characters and prove what his company could do. Cameron set himself a challenge and then backed it up with hard work and ideation that pushed the boundaries. Once he had the germ of an idea, he wrote a treatment and buried it for nine years. He went back to it when the technology was better and decided to just work at it with a producer. For him, getting the visuals was the way in, and then the process, and then he could build the story. 

Titanic was almost the direct opposite. He was working with submarines and the ocean floor and kept 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 jumping off the page, and he explored the emotionality of what built up everyone's experience on the boat. 

At first, Cameron resisted the urge to write Titanic because of the budget. But he leaned into Avatar because he knew it would be expensive but cutting edge. For Cameron, Titanic started as what he thought would be a doc, but it became a movie. Avatar was a technological advancement that became about exploration. 

These different ways into the stories allowed Cameron to stay interested in his topics as he wrote them. He stayed passionate about them. That passion transferred in the room to the people around him and led to two of the most top-grossing movies of all time. 

What's your take on this process? Let us know in the comments. 

Source: Behind the Curtain