“It’s an escape from the ugliness of the outside world. It’s dream land.”
One life goal checked off the list: I had the chance to see inside the studio responsible for Lord of the Rings, Prometheus, District 9, and a slew of my other favorites. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take pictures inside the studio, but that’s a small concession for the incredible insight we were given into the creative process at Weta.
First off, I have to comment on the unbelievable evolution Weta has gone through since it’s humble beginnings. Richard Taylor and Rodger got their start in 1987, creating puppets. It’s hard to believe that these two bohemian artists would someday go on to head the studio responsible for James Cameron’s Avatar, but, as the quote from Prometheus goes “big things have small beginnings.”
My inner child kind of took over when we got to the part of the studio where they kept all the Halo stuff. For those who don’t know, Halo was the flagship video game for Microsoft’s Xbox, and a staple of my childhood. I admit to drooling a bit over the functioning Warthog (combat vehicle) they built for the Halo 3 trailer. Apparently, the jeep-like vehicle is capable of plowing straight through concrete walls. They found this out, quite by accident, when the stunt car driver drove through the wrong wall during filming. I must say, I was not disappointed to hear this. New life goal: take this Warthog for a test drive! Crossing my fingers.
Among the countless curiosities and fascinations scattered around the Weta workshop, I found their 3D printing area to be particularly interesting. The sophistication of the suits of armors was unreal. Our guide went on to say that the use of 3D printing has implications far behind mere prop building. In China, they are 3D printing houses, and now, it is possible to 3D human flesh! Eventually, you’ll be able to 3D print replacements for your organs and perhaps, even your extremities.
As we left the Weta Workshop, I reflected on how inspiring it is to see how love and dedication can lead to such unforeseen success. We’ve seen it again and again, the way larger than life accomplishments come together, first with uncertainty, then with inevitability. I’m taking a page from that book and moving forward with it. Start small and keep creating. It seems, the recipe for success is vision, and perseverance. Or as they say on the T-shirts in the Weta gift shop:
“Be creative, and make cool stuff.”
Truly, these are words of wisdom.