Saturday, July 18, 2015

My nephew just got a job with Weta – the long road of the interconnected world

My nephew just got a job in Wellington New Zealand with Weta Digital, which makes the digital effects for Peter Jackson’s epics. Expertise, specialist skills and industry pockets can occur just about anywhere, as long as you have connectivity, talent and a framework of support that makes it possible. This is part of the new knowledge economy of the future, with its core of creative industries and its links to our cultural landscape. Increasingly the industries of the future are both clever and clean. At their heart are the developing creative industries which are based on the power of creativity and are a critical part of Australia’s future – innovative, in most cases centred on small business and closely linked to the profile of Australia as a clever country, both domestically and internationally. This is transforming the political landscape of Australia, challenging old political franchises and upping the stakes in the offerings department.

A while back, when my nephew connected with me on Linked In, I said, ‘this will give me far more street cred than it will ever give you.’ He’s a visual effects artist, one of the new internationally sought after labour aristocracy of the digital universe. He’s currently head of Visual Effects at Resin in Adelaide and has worked for Image Engine Design in Vancouver.

‘In the new digital industries of the future, work is international and workers travel the world looking for opportunities to develop their skills and expand their experience’

I don’t even understand exactly what he does but I know he’s described himself as a character rigger, someone who ensures that the figures in digital animations actually move as though they are real. He’s worked on Hollywood blockbusters like ‘Elysium’, the remake of ‘The Thing’ and ‘Battleship’. I’ve never seen any of them but ‘Elysium’ was made by the South African director of the quirky ‘District 9’, produced by Peter Jackson, which I haven’t seen either but it sounds cool.

Australia, the largest island, is just the start of the island kingdom of the Greater Pacific. Compared to the tiny isles further East, New Zealand rises from the ocean like a large lost world.

Nowadays he’s like so many of us, someone who manages other people to help them do better what he used to do and would still probably really like to do himself.

The neighbouring world of Weta Digital
Now he has got himself a job at Weta Digital. You may ask what Weta Digital is but when I heard the news, my response was ‘wow’. Weta Digital is part of a stable of companies, including Weta Workshop, and makes the digital effects for Peter Jackson’s epics. If you’ve seen ‘Lord of the Rings’ or the remake of ‘King Kong’ you’ve been watching Weta at work. It’s named after a New Zealand insect, supposedly one of the largest on the planet, reflecting I presume Peter Jackson’s fascination with all things insect – so strangely evident in ‘King Kong’.