By James Cameron
Avatar had a long gestation period. James Cameron first wrote a treatment for the story way back in 1994, before he had even made Titanic. As he was working on Titanic, he announced that filming Avatar would be his next film.
Cameron was supposed to begin filming Avatar in 1997. But he decided to postpone when he realized that the technology just wasn’t there in order to do his vision justice. Instead, he focused on making documentaries and developing the hardware he would need to make his dream project.
Cameron felt the technology was ready, and that he could begin Avatar’s production. The only question now was whether he could convince studios the same. Fox gave Cameron $10 million to shoot a test scene, so that they could see if he really could pull it off.
Time to Prep
Cameron did just that, and eventually was granted one of the largest film budgets of all time to realize the world of Pandora. He enlisted experts from fields as varied as linguistics to plant physiology to build out the universe he had in his head.
In order to pull this off, Cameron teamed up with Weta Digital, the pioneering digital effects company founded by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. With Weta, and virtual-production supervisor Glenn Derry, Cameron did nothing short of inventing a new way to film.