The Guy in the Model Shop that Everyone Hated

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

James Cameron describes his early work for Roger Corman:

I had been sort of preparing myself for a career in visual effects by learning about mold-making and sculpting and matte camera and optical printing on little film projects in Orange County with some other eager wannabes. And we got a lead that there was a film being made up in Venice with visual effects for Roger Corman. I knew who Roger Corman was, and I knew the films he had made.

So I trooped down there, and they had an opening for a modeler. I started off as the lowest man on the totem pole in the model shop. I was just happy to be on a film — I didn’t care that it was a pretty rinky-dink production. This was at the lumberyard, which was basically just an empty building with a floor that was flooded.

Roger came through one day, and he kind of threw down a challenge to everyone in the model shop. Actually, he was kind of pissed off. We’re so many weeks away from shooting, and no one had even designed the main character ship for Battle Beyond the Stars.

The main space ship had a female computer. It was kind of a HAL 9000, but female. He said, ‘I want a design in the next two days.’ So it sort of became a sort of design contest, and I thought, OK, it’s Roger Corman. He does girls-in-bamboo-cages movies. What is he selling? He sells tits! So I designed a kind of Amazon warrior spaceship — basically a spaceship with tits. It was a cool design.

Roger came through and he looked at all of the designs, and he stopped at mine and he went: ‘This is it, this is exactly what I want.’ He said, ‘What is this?’ And I said, ‘This is a spaceship with tits.’ And he says, ‘Yes, that’s exactly what it is. You build it.’ So suddenly, I was the guy in the model shop that everyone hated.


  1. Chris C. says:

    Secret to success:
    1. Who is your customer?
    2. What does that customer feel he/she wants?
    3. Figure out a way to provide that.

Leave a Reply