Weta Workshop was established in 1994 in Wellington, New Zealand by Richard and Tania Taylor, Peter Jackson, and Jamie Selkirk. Their goal: to provide special makeup effects, props and other services to local film and television productions. Today Weta Workshop is a 65,000 square foot dream factory employing over 200 artists and craftspeople, creating everything from weird creature makeups to the design for fantasy vehicles, weapons, and entire worlds for blockbusters like The Hobbit, King Kong, and Avatar. The Workshop’s extraordinary work has earned it five Academy Awards.
For my wife Tania and me, The Dick Smith Advanced Professional Make-up Course was greatly beneficial. We were two practical effects enthusiasts working away at the very bottom of the world, and we felt, at the time, that we were a long way away from the industry. Our interaction with Dick and his wisdom within the pages of his course helped bridge that gap. He assisted by sharing his skills and knowledge, and it helped to bring a bit of Dick’s movie-magic to New Zealand. When Weta Workshop embarked on The Lord of the Rings, a great deal of our crew had a lot to learn and little time to learn it in. Again, we turned to Dick’s course. This invaluable teaching resource added to the foundation on which we built the special make-up effects for the films.
—Richard Taylor, CEO and Co-founder, Weta Workshop