On my recent trip to the San Diego Comic Con, one of my favorite panels was called “Visionary Directors with Peter Jackson and James Cameron“. The purpose of the panel was the discuss their current views on filmaking and the future direction of their craft. It was an awesome experience to hear from two of the greatest directors in history. Peter Jackson did the impossible by bringing Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy to life. James Cameron set new standards in filmmaking with Aliens, Terminator 2, and Titanic. Both directors have numerous awards including many Oscars.
First of all, t0 have both directors in the same panel is a pretty phenomenal feat. When you reach a certain level of success, you simple don’t need anyone else. So for these two to come together with great humility allowed us to see their true love for the craft of filmmaking. You can tell they had a mutual respect and admiration for each other. They shared many great pearls of wisdom. Their journeys have been long and difficult but what goal of any value does require sacrifice? They both shared that there have always been critics every step along the way and they encouraged young filmmakers to stay true to their vision despite these naysayers. Here are a few more quotes from the short hour we had with them:
“Most important thing is film making is what is on the written page and how the actors do it. Not about action scenes” James Cameron
“”Technology is just a means to an end. Life just changes- it about good story telling” Director Peter Jackson
“I create a ‘cottage industry’ (small town feel) no matter how much money I have. Its important to the process.” Peter Jackson
Q: When you guys (Jackson & Cameron) get together, do ya’ll hang out and make fun of Lucas? A: Yes (both) hahaha
“The old tricks don’t work anymore, you have to evolve with the times- bi-planes are cool but you can’t fight a war with them” James Cameron
“Ultimately, studios want movies that are fast, cheap, and good- not great because it’s safer. It’s getting harder to make great movies these days.” James Cameron
Overall, it was a very inspirational time with these two brilliant directors. They encouraged us to dream and to be bold. They were not going to be predictable or traditional, which is a pleasant change compared to most of today’s fare. Cameron will continue to set new standards with his new 3-D movie Avatar (2009). Peter Jackson will build on his LOTRs empire by adding The Hobbit (2012).
I will be in line first day for both.