Thursday, April 16, 2009

Director James Cameron to showcase a "making of" for AVATAR

Recently I recieved a press release from a PR firm about an upcoming conference for producers of flim, TV, and video games.  Here's the full press release:




The most innovative filmmaker to utilize 3D technology will share insight into his next blockbuster and lead a rare personal discussion on the future of filmmaking at the inaugural Produced By Conference

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (April 14, 2009) – If sinking the Titanic was a filmmaking and storytelling marvel that led to the largest grossing film of all time, then Jim Cameron’s Avatar has the industry buzzing about what the maestro of mega-films has up his sleeve with his next hotly-anticipated holiday season blockbuster. Attendees at the PGA’s inaugural Produced By Conference will get to hear first-hand from Cameron when he makes a rare appearance to discourse on “Seeing the Future in 3D,” June 6 at Sony Pictures Studios.

Cameron, a pioneer of digital 3D filmmaking, will unveil the craft behind the making of Avatar with its combination of live action 3D and computer-generated, photo-real visual effects. Avatar, to be released by 20th Century Fox in December of this year, is one of the most highly-anticipated films ever and is Cameron’s first narrative film since Titanic, the biggest box office hit of all time.

James Cameron noted, "This is the perfect opportunity for me to share what I've learned from making AVATAR about the cutting edge 3-D technology that is re-shaping how people make and view movies."

The Oscar-winning producer-director plans to emphasize where filmmaking is now and where it is going, both creatively and as a business.

Cameron’s “Seeing the Future in 3D” is one of more than 30 extraordinary lectures, panels, and workshops at the Produced By Conference. Other producers on the dais and the panels for this first-of-its-kind event include Betsy Beers, Ian Bryce, Bruce Cohen, Roger Corman, Carlton Cuse, Clint Eastwood, Mark Gordon, Marshall Herskovitz, Gale Anne Hurd, Kathleen Kennedy, Norman Lear, Bill Lawrence, Ali LeRoi, Michael London, Gary Lucchesi, Jim Morris, Gordon Paddison, Sabrina Wind and more. A complete list of sessions can be found at

Created and hosted by the Producer’s Guild of America, the Produced By Conference marks the first time that an educational and collegial event has ever been staged to bring producers together to advance their knowledge, creativity, resources, vision and connections. The Produced By Conference unites the entire producing profession—from acclaimed Oscar and Emmy winners, to experienced team members, to the young storytellers who represent the next generation of creative entrepreneurs 

The Produced By Conference, presented by Plymouth Rock Studios, will be held June 5-7 at Sony Pictures Studios. The conference features an incredible array of speakers, seminars, technology demonstrations, networking opportunities, social events and vendor displays.

In addition to hearing from Cameron about the latest application of 3D and motion capture technology, Produced By Conference attendees will get an up-close-and-personal look at the newest generation of digital cameras, learn the ways to finance and distribute their films, discover how to perfect their pitches and find out how the best television series are developed, produced and sold. 

The sessions are designed for both established and emerging producers, and include panels and roundtable discussions with the producers of Iron ManWALL-EThe Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonGran TorinoThe TerminatorBlood DiamondGrey’s AnatomyDesperate HousewivesScrubs and many more.

Seats to Cameron’s session are limited and are exclusively available to attendees of the Produced by Conference. For more information or to register for the Produced By Conference, visit

About The Producers Guild of America (PGA): 

The Producers Guild of America comprises 4000 members working in all areas of film, television, and ancillary production. The Guild’s leadership, guided by its President, Marshall Herskovitz, is committed to just treatment for members of the producing team, from rigorous enforcement of workplace labor laws to fair and impartial standards for the awarding of producing credits.   

# # #

Media Contact:

Insignia, Inc.


James Cameron would certainly HAVE to show a scene or two from AVATAR in order to show how they did a making of. Hopefully we'll be able to get a taste from it too.

I think what's most interesting about this is that it's almost like a "behind the scenes" type showcase that is usually reserved for DVD extras. I really think some good money is going to start to flow in the direction of the artists who worked on this film, including Lightstorm Entertainment, and Weta.


Wayne Haag said...

Sorry Matt, but unless the individual artist's have negotiated it into their contracts, any such financial flow on from DVD extras etc will not make it into their pockets. Weta does not pass financial windfalls onto their artists!

These companies own all IP you create the second you step into their front door. You get a salary and that's it.

Unlike other areas of the illustration/photography industries, film concept artists/matte painters, animators.. dont own copyright to the art they create.

Where other artists can earn from secondary usage rights, films guys cannot...

I wish it wasn't so!!

Wayne Haag said...

.. I forgot to add.. that's all assuming you are employed and not a contractor. But they wont give you the work as a contractor until you've signed their contracts anyway..

In Australia, freelancers and volunteers own their IP unless you sign it away, you are commissioned by the government or you are a employee.

As a freelancer I've yet to see a cent from any film/tv project beyond the original commissioned rate.. except for the book covers I have created for the publishing industry.

Matthew Scheuerman said...


Thanks for commenting. Some good points here, but I may have miscommunicated my point about money flowing in the direction of the artists working on AVATAR.

By means of VFX companies, artists will continue to be able to practice their trade and get paid to do something they love. It seems that "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" so to speak.

From what I understand, VFX supervisors and directors tend to favor certain facilities regardless of bids because there needs to be a certain level of trust associated with working on such large projects as VFX heavy films.

Michael Bay has had a long standing relationship with Digital Domain, and I can imagine that if Transformers 2 does well then he'll probably hire DD to work on the third film as well. Some of the same artists that worked on Transformers, are now working on Revenge of the Fallen. So there is money flow to artists by way of films doing well and therefore VFX companies doing well. However I do understand that this isn't always the case.

Weta seems to hold onto it's NZ employees pretty tightly and from what I can tell, if you work there enough you will continue to work there for quite a while. Weta digital and workshop have already had a great track record of getting hired because of previous work, and the same artists work on films year after year.

Having worked on AVATAR would certainly be impressive and I would think that most of the artists looking for work would have an easier time getting new gigs with this on their resume and reel. AVATAR is proving to be the most anticipated film of the past few years and much like Star Wars, I think a lot of BIG careers are going to be made from it. Money flow there as well.

I really meant that I believe there is a positive flow of money to artists by means of association, and if I wanted to make money off of an IP than I shouldn't strive to become a matte painter.

However, James Cameron worked as a matte painter before becoming a director. At least that's what I heard from the guys at FXPHD

Wayne Haag said...

Hey Matt, I see what you're saying... yes, a big name film on your cv will do wonders.

Most vfx houses I've worked in/for have revolving doors, ie artists are in and out and move around a lot. Digital Domain is not the same DD I worked for, I doubt there is a single person there now that was there when I was.. Not so much with Weta as it's staffed with a lot of locals who may not want to leave NZ, however there was still a big turn over when LOTR 1 wrapped.

But yeah, Avatar on the cv wouldn't do you any harm that's for sure!

Velwyn Yossy said...

Hey Matt! Sorry for the longgg reply, I've been busy. Sure I can send you the brush. I'm not sure how I should do it. Do you have any email that I can send to?