He says it is the New Zealand culture that makes him feel at home.
The people in New Zealand remind me a lot of the people in Minnesota, where I grew up. Very friendly; hard workers with a good sense of humour."
And, ironically enough, it is a New Zealander that inspires American born John. "I really admire Burt Munro*, and anyone who never gives up in pursuit of their goals."
John was recently featured in NZ Computerworld Magazine, talking about the computer needs of Weta Production's Jane and The Dragon. Click here to read the article.
*Burt Munro is the subject of the internationally acclaimed film ‘The World's Fastest Indian' played by Sir Anthony Hopkins. Burt built a record breaking bike in his shed in Invercargill, NZ and took it to the US Salt Lakes and won.
Weta Workshop's IT Manager John McMullen is one of the friendliest guys you'll ever meet. Warmly regarded by his colleagues as the smiling-can-fix-anything guy, there's not one technical challenge John shies away from - even when it is as simple as flicking the ‘on' button...
With a Bachelors Degree in Film Studies from the University of California and a background in digital effects in the US, John worked at Centropolis Effects in Culver City and Digital Domain in Venice California, where he was involved in projects such as Godzilla, The Thirteenth Floor, Stuart Little, End of Days, The Patriot, K-PAX, Monkeybone, Eight Legged Freaks and Peter Pan.
It was the prospect of working on King Kong that drew John to New Zealand, where he joined the Weta team in 2005. "I had been following Weta's incredible work since 1994", says John, "when I first saw Heavenly Creatures, and thought it would be fantastic to work with the same team someday. I was absolutely thrilled at the prospect of working on King Kong, as the original is one of my all-time favourite films."
For King Kong, John took the role of Technical Support Team Leader at Weta Digital, overseeing the animation and motion editing department needs.
After King Kong wrapped up, John joined the team at Weta Productions, where he was the IT Manager for the ‘Jane and the Dragon' children's television show. This involved ensuring the team's technical needs were looked after, managing the blade servers, workstations, software licensing, cleaning up the server's storage and archiving the data once the show was completed.
John is now the IT Manager for both Weta Workshop and Weta Productions. Four years on from joining the team at Weta, John says that every day is full of surprises. "To continue working with amazingly cool and talented people on incredibly exciting projects is really inspiring", he says.