James Cameron - Background

Background

Cameron was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada, 1954, the son of Shirley (née Lowe), an artist and nurse, and Phillip Cameron. His paternal great-great-great-grandfather emigrated from Balquhidder, Scotland in 1825; thus, he descends from Clan Cameron.

Cameron grew up in Chippawa, Ontario with his brothers Mike and John David Cameron and attended Stamford Collegiate School in Niagara Falls; his family moved to Brea, California in 1971 when he was 17. Cameron enrolled at Fullerton College, a 2-year community college, in 1973 to study physics. He switched to English, then dropped out before the start of the fall 1974 semester.

After dropping out of Sonora High School, he went to further his secondary education at Brea Olinda High School. After graduating, he worked several jobs such as truck driving and wrote when he had time. During this period he taught himself about special effects: "I'd go down to the USC library and pull any thesis that graduate students had written about optical printing, or front screen projection, or dye transfers, anything that related to film technology. That way I could sit down and read it, and if they'd let me photocopy it, I would. If not, I'd make notes."

After seeing the original Star Wars film in 1977, Cameron quit his job as a truck driver to enter the film industry. When Cameron read Syd Field's book Screenplay, it occurred to him that integrating science and art was possible, and he wrote a ten-minute science fiction script with two friends, entitled Xenogenesis. They raised money and rented camera, lenses, film stock, and studio, and shot it in 35mm. To understand how to operate the camera, they dismantled it and spent the first half-day of the shoot trying to figure out how to get it running.

Read more about this topic:  James Cameron

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