Richard Taylor is the co-founder and co-director of the Weta companies in Wellington, New Zealand. Richard is the Creative Director of Weta Workshop and its affiliate businesses (Weta Limited and Pukeko Pictures). Richard has been awarded five Oscars, four BAFTAs and numerous other achievements for Weta's success in the disciplines of make up, costume and visual effects.
Weta Workshop was started over 25 years ago in the back room of the Wellington flat that I shared with my partner Tania. It was our dream to create a special effects facility to support the New Zealand film and television industry and we have since had the most incredible journey pursuing this goal!"
We started off in a small way on a variety of projects including the caricatured puppets for Gibson Group's Public Eye satire show. In the years that followed, we developed a close working relationship with New Zealand director, Peter Jackson, working on Peter's Meet the Feebles, Braindead, Forgotten Silver, Heavenly Creatures and The Frighteners. The culmination of this relationship saw the formation of Weta (Richard, Peter and producer Jamie Selkirk co-direct this business together). Over the past twenty-five years, the Weta companies have provided physical and digital effects for many films, advertisements and television shows including the popular Hercules and Xena series, Master and Commander, I Robot, Van Helsing, The Last Samurai, The Lion, Witch and The Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Legend of Zorro, Avatar, District 9, The Adventures of Tintin, and Under the Mountain."
Our crowning achievement to date has been the globally acclaimed The Lord of the Rings trilogy for which Weta Workshop provided the design, fabrication and on-set operation of the creatures, special make-up effects and prosthetics, miniatures, armour and weaponry. Weta Digital also provided the full range of digital services from simple compositing through to animation of fully computer generated creatures. For Weta's role on these films I was fortunate enough to receive five nominations and win four Academy Awards and three BAFTAs, over the diverse diciplines of costume, makeup and visual effects. And for our work on King Kong, I have been awarded an Academy Award and BAFTA for visual effects."
I often attribute a lot of my early knowledge to a very special make up training program by Dick Smith, the Academy Award winning make up legend behind films like The Exorcist, The Godfather, Amadeus and Taxi Driver."
Tania and I have continued to challenge and develop our company by diversifying into a variety of new and intriguing creative ventures. These include a high-end licensing company producing limited edition high end art pieces for a community of discerning collectors. A chainmaille manufacturing company, a publishing arm, and a mini museum and retail outlet called The Weta Cave - a place that fans and enthusiasts for Weta's work can come and enjoy a look behind the scenes."
Independently to Weta, we have also set up a children's television production company with colleague and partner Martin Baynton. Pukeko Pictures has now produced two seasons of its second television series, the WotWots (a pre-school show). Our first tv show, Jane and The Dragon, continues to enjoy a great following around the world."
Tania and I are focused on the development of highly creative projects, and embracing the enthusiasm and passion that young New Zealanders can bring to the creative arts."
I want to congratulate you on all the work you have done... Read more.
I want to congratulate you on all the work you have done and awards you have won over the years! I have watched most of the films that Weta is involved with, and love all of them.
I was involved in my first production last month and enjoyed that experience. I hope to work with you and your team some day. Hide.
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Richard, just wanted to say thank you for bringing Middle Earth to... Read more.
Richard, just wanted to say thank you for bringing Middle Earth to life. I was able to visit the exhibition of armour and costumes at Leeds Armory and could have spent all day just looking at all the amazing detail of the items from the movies. I wasn't able to attend your lecture but hope one day to be able to thank you in person for the enjoyment you have brought to me and my family. Thanks again to you and your team! Hide.
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