When Cameron was 17, his family moved to Orange County, California because of his fathers job. When Cameron moved to Orange County he learned that getting a career in movies might not be the easiest job to obtain. He let the hope of becoming someone in the movie business fade and he started studying physics and english at a local university. He later dropped out of both studies because the math in the physics course had been to hard for Cameron to deal with.
James Cameron got a job as a miniature model maker at the Roger Corman Studios. The Roger Corman Studios were studios that made B-movies. They were fast and cheap productions, and none of the people working there were professionals so Cameron fit right in. He quickly moved up the ranks in the studio, jumping from one movie to another.
Cameron worked as art director on the sci-fi movie Battle Beyond the Stars, he did special effects work and direction on John Carpenter's Escape from New York. It wasn't until 1981 when Cameron got his first shot at directing. It was an Italian producer named Assonitis who was to make a sequel to the movie Pirahna. It was going to be called Piranha 2: The Spawning. Assonitis wanted a debut director because it would be the cheapest, and the director would not question Assonitis cutting in the film. The movie was terrible of course, it had a bad cast, lousy effects and Assonitis was always on Cameron's back. Assonitis kept telling Cameron that the shots looked like shit (crap), and when the main shooting ended he would not allow Cameron to edit the movie. This made Cameron mad, he knew that the movie was bad, but it was his movie, and he wanted to edit it himself. So Cameron broke into the editing room with a plastic card. The movie was shot in Italy and Cameron could not speak Italian, so he did not know what role of films to look at, but he finally found the right ones and pieced the film together the way he wanted. Cameron was under tremendous pressure during the production, he was also sick and one night he had a dream of a machine coming from future which attempted to kill him. When Cameron woke up, he scribbled down some nasty ideas, and the ideas would later become the Terminator.
After the shooting of Pirahna 2: The Spawning, Cameron accepted two writing jobs, Rambo: First Blood part 2 and Alien 2 (which would later become Aliens). Cameron later contacted action producer Gale Anne Hurd, and showed her the screenplay The Terminator which he had written. Hurd liked it and Cameron sold it to her for one dollar. Cameron got Arnold Schwarzenegger as the role of the Terminator and Michael Biehn as the role of Kyle Reese. Actually Arnold Schwarzenegger was first cast as Kyle Reese, but then decided to play the Terminator instead.
The Terminator became Cameron's breakthrough film. It features stunning effects, even though it has $6.5 million budget. The Terminator became a great succes, both critically and comercially. David Giler and Walter Hill, the would-be producers of Aliens, were very impressed with Cameron's work, and they suggested that he should direct the second alien movie himself. Cameron did it on one condition, namely that Gale Anne Hurd would be brought on board as a producer.
Cameron got Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton and Michael Biehn to star in the movie. Aliens was a great movie, it has great...