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INTERVIEW
TOTAL LICENSING
Richard Taylor Weta Workshop
“We’ve been developing ideas around carefully and tweak the content where
this over the last eleven years but it’s we need to.”
only recently that we’ve managed to On the broadcasting side, ABC TV
really move into this genre. Over and launched the program in its primetime
above The WotWots, we have five new kids slot on ABC1 in April and the
shows in different stages of develop- program has also been successfully
ment.” launched in New Zealand and the UK
Richard’s average day is unusual, to say where Five’s Milkshake moved Spotty-
the least. “This morning I had a two
hour meeting discussing designs for
The Hobbit”, he explained. “This af-
ternoon, I had meetings to talk about
WotWot publishing.”
However, whilst The Hobbit and
WotWots would seem to have little
in common, actually there’s a shared
theme that runs through both. “In the
end, it’s all about the quality of the
work,” outlined Richard. “My experi-
ence on movies like Lord of the Rings
has been invaluable on Jane and the
Dragon and WotWots.”
Richard was, and still is, a huge fan of Wot and DottyWot into their prime-
The Clangers, Bagpuss and Ivor the time morning slot this September.
Engine. “These really are some of the Alongside the broadcasting, Hasbro
most charming shows ever created for are the toy and licensing agent for the
children,” he said. “And they are just property and have produced ranges
as appealing today as they were when of plush, figures and playsets. In terms
they first came out all those years ago. of licensing, a range of publishing for-
Richard Taylor is the creative mind be- That’s what we’re trying to create with mats from Ice Water Press launched
hind Weta Workshop in New Zealand our children’s properties.” in August through Australia and New
and, over the past two decades, has The WotWots are siblings from outer Zealand and exclusive apparel from
worked on movies including Lord of space who land in the middle of a lo- Design Works launched in September
the Rings, King Kong and The Lion, The cal zoo. Through their escapades, the in both territories.
Witch and the Wardrobe – movies WotWots encourage children to be Richard Taylor is, clearly, excited by
that have earned him five Oscars, four creative, inventive and expressive. Weta’s foray into children’s television.
Baftas and numerous other awards. “We have a great way to test the ma- “A real bonus has been that, working
So, when Richard decided to turn his terial we produce,” explained Richard. alongside our core team, we’ve been
hand to children’s programming, un- “At Weta we have built a full-size cin- hiring some really clever and skilled
derstandably, the world took notice. ema, primarily to we can see the daily graduates who bring a new excitement
His first series, Jane and the Dragon rushes. Our staff at Weta have sixty and a fresh quality to the production.
debuted a couple of years ago and children between them and these kids It’s been really great to be able to en-
Richard is currently engaged in The come in and we show them WotWots. courage this talent.”
WotWots – an animated television se- We watch the children’s reactions With WotWots into its second series,
ries for preschoolers. Richard is hopeful of more to
Total Licensing caught up come. “I know it’s never easy to
with Richard, who is also commercialise children’s televi-
at the moment working on sion,” he remarked. “The quality
the big screen version of has to be as good as you would
The Hobbit, and talked to make for adult audiences. If you
him about his new venture can come up with something
into children’s animation. that engages children with a
“My private dream was good depth of character and
always to make children’s great storylines, it’s the most re-
television”, he told us. warding thing in the world.”
60
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