On a warm August day in Malibu, Calif., James Cameron sits inside a dark editing room, staring at a video monitor. As the director scrambles to meet a release date that has already been pushed from July to December, his epic Titanic still runs long, and he’s shaving footage in order to bring it down to what will be its final running time — three hours and 14 minutes. Call it artistic revenge. For Titanic — the most technologically ambitious and most expensive film in Hollywood history — has no doubt shaved some time off the director’s life as well… [read more]
Before he shot Titanic, James Cameron needed to experience it himself. So he rented two Russian submersibles, built special cameras and organized a 12,000-foot dive. He almost didn’t come back. Long before torn ticket stubs littered theater floors, when Titanic conjured historical tragedy, not Hollywood spectacle, writer/director James Cameron had a dream. With the help of otherworldly technology, he would dive to the bottom of the ocean to see for himself what catastrophe and the brutal elements had wrought. Cameron’s mission was complicated by the fact… [read more]
Some are born to greatness, others have it thrust upon them, and still others have it programmed into their operating systems. Such was the case with HAL, the iconoclastic digital antagonist of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Debuting in a science fiction cinema whose conception of artificial intelligence amounted to clunky chunks of rolling metal like Robby and Gort, the sophisticated, subtly neurotic HAL redefined Hollywood’s portrayal of thinking machines. It should surprise no one that Kubrick — who has applied his skills to a variety of material, from pulp to period drama –now appears ready to turn his attention back to themes of man and automation… [read more]
Call it the revenge of the nerds. The business of computer imaging has become so hot that top animators in the field can name their price. SGI’s are being uncrated by the dozen at companies all around Hollywood, the only problem is finding enough qualified people to run them. Dreamworks SKG plans to hire 100 computer animators, and people who might normally make US$50,000 a year have tipped well into six figures. RAM jammers are outearning MBAs. They’re being referred to by the establishment as “talent,” a term normally reserved for actors that even when used derisively — and Hollywood is probably the only place it can be — carries a grudging respect… [read more]
At first glance, Scott Billups’ Spanish-style manse looks like any other in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles: a hacienda, on one of those verdant hillsides basking in a high-income hush. It’s only when you walk through the living quarters to the back yard, littered with asteroids that you realize he’s not living quite like the neighbors. The pile of technojunk is a byproduct of one of his Billups’ latest movie projects, a space Western called Precious Find … [read more]
Paula Parisi’s longer feature articles can also be viewed here.