James Cameron is one of the more interesting filmmakers working in the business today. With one of the most varied careers of any man who has worked in the medium, he has a diverse and unique set of skills that allow him to do what just about no other director of films can.

 

Cameron never had a formal film education. He studied at a community college for a while before dropping out to work odd jobs, such as a truck driver. In his spare time, Cameron taught himself the art of film by reading books like Syd Field’s “Screenplay” and scholarly papers from the USC library.

 

After seeing “Star Wars,” Cameron quit his job and decided to throw himself into the film industry. He made a short film titled “Xenogenesis” before going on to work in smaller on larger productions such as “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School,” “Battle Beyond the Stars,” and “Escape from New York.”

 

The film that earned Cameron his biggest job in his early career was “Piranha II: The Spawning.” He came on as special effects director before climbing up to the director’s chair after the first helmsman left the project. Though that film is notoriously awful, it gave Cameron the boost he needed to become the filmmaker he is today.

 

However, the first film that really gained Cameron notoriety was 1984’s “The Terminator.” Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, the film was a massive success both critically and at the box office, and is now considered a classic masterpiece of the sci-fi genre.

 

Having “The Terminator” as your sophomore outing as a filmmaker basically earns you your pick of projects, and Cameron followed up that film with several big budget science fiction and action films. “Aliens,” a sequel to Ridley Scott’s near perfect films “Alien,” was released in 1986, with some fans calling it better than the original. He followed up with the effects spectacular “The Abyss” and a sequel to “The Terminator” titled “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” “The Abyss” was hailed at the time of its release for its effects; “Terminator 2” is considered one of the best sequels ever made.

 

After making the relatively minor “True Lies” in 1994, Cameron would go on to tackle one of this biggest productions ever staged for film: “Titanic.” Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, “Titanic” would be a dramatization of the ship’s tragic maiden voyage with a fictionalized love story at the forefront. Though there was some doubt at the time of it being made, the film would go on to be the highest grossing film of all time up to that point and a Best Picture winner at the Oscars.

 

In an unexpected move following a feature film as successful as “Titanic,” Cameron decided to make documentaries. For both IMAX and television, Cameron directed films such as “Expedition: Bismark,” “Ghosts of the Abyss,” and “Aliens of the Deep.” All of these non-fiction features involve exploration of deep, underwater environments.

 

After 12 years of being dormant in the fiction film world, James Cameron released the sci-fi epic “Avatar.” Essentially “Pocahantas” in space, the film followed a group of aliens who fight back against militant, invading humans. “Avatar” was shot using extensive motion capture, and was perhaps the greatest piece of visual effects ever made. The film ended up beating out “Titanic” as the highest grossing feature film of all time, and won several Academy Awards despite losing out for Best Picture. “Avatar” has prompted three sequels that have been long in the making, due to the innovative technology used on the pictures.

 

Besides being a filmmaker, Cameron is also an explorer. In 2012, Cameron reached the lowest point of the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean. He documented the trip using, of course, innovative camera technology and the footage will be released in the film “DEEPSEA CHALLENGE 3D.”

 

Have you seen anything by James Cameron? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below, and find me on Twitter @TuckerPoikonen