Founder of Weta Workshop, the most well known film prop and special effects company New Zealand has ever known, with a phenomenal global reputation, Sir Richard Taylor doesn’t need much of an introduction. Recipient of five Academy Awards and a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, being carried away with success would be justified. So the fact that he is more down to earth and hardworking than many is that much more impressive. His involvement with causes such as the Malcam Charitable Trust, The Neonatal Trust and many more, demonstrates his intentions to give back and justifies his reputation as one of the most influential New Zealanders of the day.
What’s happening in the world of Richard Taylor for 2014?
It has been a very busy year for me thus far with business trips to LA, Florida, and China, conventions and make up demonstrations in Germany, Canada, China and Korea and opening a Fantasy Art Exhibition in Seoul to bring some joy and delight to the young people in that city. I have also been spending many wonderful hours in the sculpting studio in China where we do our large scale public sculpture creating some new sculptures for future installations. Back in NZ the workshop has been as crazy as ever with lots of projects on the go. We are getting a chance to work with some amazing clients from around the world.
Describe the most generous person you know & how they influenced you?
My good friend and colleague Fred Tang, who runs the manufacturing facility in China where we make our collectibles and public art sculptures along with various props for the films that we’ve worked on. He runs a very large team producing some of the world’s most incredible products and he does all of this with incredible generosity, a sense of grace and a jovial disposition that rides out the obvious frustrations that can come in running a facility such as this in China. Fred looks after his team, makes sure they all well fed, housed and secure and enjoys the benefits of working in the creative industries.
Name an everyday action that makes the world a better place, yet is underrated?
Compliments – I am always amazed how others pay so little compliment to those that do things over and above, in their daily life. I am proud of the fact that our Workshop operates on the strength of compliments from one technician to another, and on acknowledging the big, and small efforts made by so many when trying to do the extraordinary under demanding deadlines and often challenging circumstances. A small amount of thanks can go an awfully long way in acknowledging someone’s effort.
Tell us three things that inspire you and why?
1. Lack of cynicism - people who can go through life looking forward with optimism and enthusiasm. We are very lucky with our lot here in NZ. To look at any of it with cynicism seems somewhat lacking in appreciation for what we’ve got.
2. I also love the optimism in China, and how the people endeavour for something better each day. Nothing is too much of a challenge. There is a great sense of camaraderie that can be found working alongside Chinese artists and technicians in their own environment.
3. I never cease to be amazed by the creative excellence and imagination of the young people that join us in the workshop. Just when you think you have tapped into every possible creative outcome and solution - you are surprised and thrilled to discover there is a whole other level of extraordinary creativity sitting inside a young NZ persons head. It is incredibly inspiring to work with our team, and putting a more experienced artist together with the newcomers and seeing what distils out of this amazing energy and what can emerge from their creative interaction. Priceless!