Idea Sex in the Dream Factory
"Weta Workshop sits under the hills and near the sea, up the road from Peter Jackson's Stone Street Studios and post-production lab and the Stone Street Film Studios. There are no signs or overt security; it's easy to wander right past and end up in a local chip shop begging for directions. People in and around Weta are friendly, and they're in all shapes, sizes, types and colors. The artwork, sculptures and miniatures are, well, it's a helluva candy store all right."
Colin Roswell gets invited inside Weta's workshop and lives to tell the tale.
You know, I've always wondered about the similarities and differences between WETA and the Jim Henson Company. Both have a history in design, sculpture, puppetry, movies, electronic art and the like but the respective paths they walk in the same industries are very dissimilar. You wouldn't have happened to toss that name up while you were there?
Then again the Henson legacy is a grand (and heavy) one and WETA is a comparetively young outfit.
I can't wait to hear about their next projects.
The Jim Henson Company comparison is a great point - I also think there's a free-for-all aspect to both JHC and Weta that reflects their respective founders. There's a kiwi tradition of improvisation that would definitely have come in handy when, say, trying to find modelling clay: Gino Acevedo told me that in the early days there was no good Australasian source for the stuff so they had to go make their own, i.e. wade into the riverbanks...
Since I handed 'Idea Sex' into the Escapist there have been several Weta announcements including work on The Hobbit, a new line of Doctor Who collectible figurines, and they'll be designing the costumes for Justice League. http://www.wetanz.co.nz/holics/, maintained by the excellent Rachel Service, is a great place to look for updates.
I'm sorry, this article felt a bit unfocused. It wanders about, and then just spotlights how lucky some people can get to work at this place.
When I saw this line: "What about Wellington and videogames and how doing what you love isn't what it used to be?", I thought-OK cool, we're going to get some insight on that from these people on this subject and we really don't. I choose this line because after a kind of meandering introduction, this is the one that seems to give the article some direction.
But then that direction doesn't show up.