Steve Jobs & James Cameron

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by iStrat, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. iStrat macrumors member

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    #1
    I'm an Apple fan and a fan of James Cameron's films. I just watched Avatar and its bonus special feature stuff. It struck me that these two people are strikingly similar in several ways. I respect both of them and their work a great deal. They both are very talented, intelligent, and charismatic. They both are visionaries who have been a part of, or arguably even directly responsible for, revolutionary innovations.

    I'll start off by saying that I fully expect replies complaining that this comparison is insulting to Steve Jobs, as James Cameron is just about special effects, flash-over-substance, etc... If I were to post this on some sort of James Cameron fan site, I'd also fully expect replies complaining that this comparison is insulting to James Cameron, as Steve Jobs is just about iToys, style-over-function, etc... I believe this strengthens my argument. Both men evoke such strong opinions from both supporters and detractors. Both men's work has caused much heated debate. One thing both fans and detractors both agree on is that both men's work has been overwhelmingly popular and sucessful.

    Cameron and Jobs both consistently produced extremely high-quality and successful work throughout their careers. Cameron is responsible for the first 2 Terminator films, Aliens, The Abyss, True Lies, Titanic, and Avatar. That consistent level of quality in the film industry is extremely rare, arguably even unmatched. I don't think I need to list Steve Jobs' outstanding accomplishments here, as I'm sure we're all well aware of them.

    Both men push, or even forcefully drag, the technology of their respective industries forward. James Cameron was a pioneer in special effects, starting with the CGI of The Abyss and Terminator 2, and obviously most recently with Avatar and 3D. He also been responsible for underwater filming innovations with The Abyss and Titanic.

    I've heard both Cameron and Jobs say that much of their success is due to their ability to surround themselves with the best people. They are also are both known for being able to get the absolute best out of the people they surround themselves with.

    Both men are notoriously difficult to work with and can be quite cruel. They both have reputations for having very short tempers and a very low tolerance for mediocrity. They both have a tendency to yell, scream, and fight. However, they both are reported to also have the capacity for kindness and got along with some people just fine. I see this as a sort of Jekyll and Hyde personality split that they both share, depending on the situation and who they are dealing with.

    Cameron and Jobs are both notorious perfectionists and micro-managers. They both demand excellence, not only from themselves, but from the people they surround themselves with. They do not tolerate incompetence or mediocrity. They both are involved in the smallest of details of the work they oversee, to a degree far beyond what is typical, bordering on obsession.

    Both men ride a fine line between artist and engineer. Steve Jobs, despite working in what was typically considered a very technically-oriented field, brought a sense of artistry to everything he did, and viewed his work from the perspective of an artist, often avoiding getting too involved in technical details in order to stay true to how things should work. James Cameron, despite working in what was typically considered an artistically-oriented field, involves himself deeply with the technical details that make it all work. Not only with the CGI and underwater kind of practical stuff, but also with grounding technological art design in reality. He is concerned with not only just making things look cool, but also making the appearance of things make sense from a technical perspective. How would this actually look if it functioned this way? What would this hose, wire, button, or component actually do if it were real?

    Cameron and Jobs both have a sort of hippy thing going on. Jobs did the whole zen, vegetarian, thing. Cameron does movie themes that deal with social issues, like the environment, war, and the potential dangers of technology.

    Both men are science fiction fans. This is obvious in the case of Cameron, given his direct contributions to the science fiction film genre. Jobs seemed to also be a fan of science fiction, particularly of Star Trek, and I think this shows in the kind of technology and designs he was involved with. They both were very interested in the future, especially in the technology of the future and how they could affect it.

    Steve Jobs is obviously the more famous of the two and has had the bigger influence on the day-to-day lives of people around the world, but this is expected given the nature of the industries he was involved with, and the incredible number of industries he was involved with. Still, James Cameron has had a remarkable influence on the Entertainment industry, and also has been involved in several other fields, like Jobs. He has worked with NASA on spacecraft designs and he has worked on nautical technology, beyond just what was related to his filmmaking. The broad scope of their interests and contributions is also something they have in common.

    Anyway, I just find these correlations interesting and thought I'd bore you all with my thoughts on the matter.
     
  2. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #2
    Cameron has been making rubbish for the last 20 years.

    T2 was good (in '91) but True Lies wasn't a great movie. Titanic was sentimental tosh and T3 was awful. Avatar? Very pretty, but no plot or character development.

    He might be good at the box office, but that's about it.
     
  3. iStrat thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    James Cameron was not involved with Terminator 3 or 4, only the first 2 Terminator films. Also, if your reply was meant to dispute the similarity between Jobs and Cameron, it doesn't, as I explained in my original post.

     
  4. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #4
    TL;DR.


    These threads are growing fairly tiresome.
     
  5. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #5
    I'm not really understanding the point of your original post TBH.

    1/ Jobs was a bit of a dick, and did great things.
    2/ Cameron is a bit of a dick, and did great things.

    Except Cameron really isn't all that great.

    Now, James Nolan is:
    - into scifi
    - makes better films
    - is a nice guy

    So I'm not sure if that undermines any 'you have to be cruel to be great' hypothesis you were going for?

    Or perhaps there was no hypothesis, in which case I agree with Mord.
     
  6. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #6
    10/10 for that. :cool:
     
  7. sjinsjca macrumors 68000

    sjinsjca

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  8. nouveau macrumors member

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    #8
    If so, no need to post your negativity.

    No one forced you to open this thread...
     
  9. Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

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    #9
    Couldn't have said it better myself. :)
     
  10. iStrat thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    Yeah, wow, I didn't realize this thread would generate such rancour...

    I didn't have a specific hypothesis, just a series of observations I thought someone else might find interesting. If I had to form a hypothesis, it would probably have more to do with the fact that they're both perfectionists and control-freaks, bordering on obsessive. I think that is likely a primary cause of the quality/success of their work and perhaps is even related in some way to their rough personalities. There just seems to be many parallels between the two people. Exploring those parallels may give insight into why they were successful at what they did.

    Statements like "Cameron isn't all that great" are meaningless in a comparison like this because of their subjectivity. As with nearly anything, some people like it, and some don't. Of all people, an Apple fan should understand this. What we can look at objectively is if something is well-reviewed, popular, influential, and successful. We can also objectively see if something evokes strong polarized opinions. Apple products and Cameron films clearly fit this description. This is why the fact that you personally like Steve Jobs' stuff, and not James Cameron's, doesn't somehow rule out the possibility that they are similar in many ways.

    As far as Nolan, I can only assume you mean Christopher Nolan. He directs films, most of which he and his writer brother, Jonathan Nolan, collaborate on. I am a big fan of Christopher Nolan's films too. It's obvious that not all great artists are jerks, and that was never a point I was trying to make.
     
  11. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #11
    It's not rancour I was seeking... I was just trying to draw out some point, in order to create a discussion (this being a discussion forum).

    No-one else seems to have found a point. Perhaps you should try and create threads that can be discussed.

    It seems pretty tenuous TBH.

    I hope Apple's product quality goes deeper than just mass market appeal.

    And the point you were trying to make was...
     
  12. boy-better-know macrumors 65816

    boy-better-know

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    #12
    Great post, I also admire both people and have a tremendous amount of respect for each. The only Cameron film I have been disappointed in was Sanctum. Titanic and Avatar are 2 of the best films I have ever seen, this is my opinion of course, before some film buff comes along and starts snarling at cameron films.

    From a consumers point of view, both guys have had an effect on me, I bough a 3D tv this summer, arguably down to Cameron's relentless pushing of the technology, he has been 3D's ambassador. And Job's charisma was probably one of the best ways of making me want something. I am not the only person who loved watching his key notes.
     
  13. Bonch macrumors 6502

    Bonch

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    #13
    They both were rich liberals. The similarities end there. Jobs was a genius. Cameron is an idiot.
     
  14. iStrat thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    I haven't seen Sanctum, but I know Cameron didn't direct it. He was just a producer on it. I find that the producer has very little to do with the quality of a film, because I've seen so many great directors that serve as producers on really horrible movies.
     
  15. Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #15
    When you spend as much money as Avater spent during production you HAVE to guarantee a return, not a profit, just a return, at the very least.

    If Avatar had been some incredibly complex film with an amazing story that critics were raving about and had several award nominations on the table that immediately rules out a huge percentage of the audience who aren't capable of appreciating a good narrative.

    It's a sad fact, but most people don't go to the cinema for the story, and it's been that way now for a long, long time.
     
  16. d4rkc4sm macrumors 6502

    d4rkc4sm

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    #16
    you're fairly tiresome
     
  17. StoneWilson macrumors newbie

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    #17
    The first thought came to my mind after I finish reading the thread is don't they two both were handsome when they were young? Especially Jobs, I always think he is a good looking guy. :p
     

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