Behind the Title: Weta Workshop’s Jason Aldous

NAME: Jason Aldous

COMPANY: Wellington, New Zealand’s Weta Workshop

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
A weird and wonderful (emphasis on wonderful) collection of artists, craftspeople and some of the most creative minds I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Any one day can have leading costume designers, sword-smiths and game creators working under a single roof.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Project manager for communications & media production.

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
On the surface it sounds pretty straightforward: product marketing and product packaging. But like a lot of things at Weta Workshop, once you jump aboard the train it turns out to be more like a roller coaster.

On a daily basis this role could involve product design, presentations, photo shoots, brainstorm sessions, client visits and modeling. But the heart of the role is making sure we’ve got everything we need (information, planning, resources and inspiration) to make sure every project meets the Weta Workshop standard.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
This is the type of role that can scale up or down in responsibility depending on the size of the project and the size of the team. In a smaller team on a small project, you could spend time being involved in planning, creative, copyediting and graphic design. In a larger team on a big project you keep it to the basics while the team cover their bases.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
When the schedules fall into alignment, everything is perfectly balanced, and the team is creatively challenged.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
When we’ve made way for an urgent request and everything is looking steady and then… a second urgent request rolls in. With such a wide and varied company with clients, fans, employees and projects from all over the world, the surprises are unavoidable, but it’s pretty rewarding to deliver on too!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Afternoon walk. There’s always someone thoughtful enough to round up a few people at a time for a walk. It’s a good time to get fresh air, talk about work, not talk about work and generally give your head a bit of a refresh before truckin’ on to the end of the day.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I’d be getting back to planning some short films. Ideally ones that involve food.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I wasn’t initially looking to re-enter the field of graphic design, but I saw a compelling role that I fit the bill perfectly for. The appeal of working at Weta Workshop helped push me out of my comfort zone in editorial to keep developing in another field.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
The Art & Craft of Weta Workshop exhibition in Wuhan — sharing the work we do with people who might not have the chance to visit us in Wellington. Also brand development for the Mini Epics line of collectibles. I really love the product packaging we’ve come up with and I can’t wait to see it on shelves.

GKR: Heavy Hitters was my first time working on a board game. Plus, it’s an IP of our own, created by three artists who I had admired from afar for a really long time!

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
Recently, Middle-earth: From Script to Screen. I can’t claim a great deal of ownership over this project, but to have been involved with a team of experts detailing how the world of Middle-earth was built for screen has been an absolute privilege and an adventure.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Fujifilm x100 (taking photos)
iPhone (viewing photos)
Printing press (properly viewing photos)

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
I stay tuned to Twitter personally and professionally. But my favorite place for social media content is Instagram.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK? CARE TO SHARE YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC TO WORK TO?
Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy has been my go-to night shift and focus-inducing music for years. There’s always a place for The Commodores on the late-night playlist too!

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I used get out for a run on my lunch break, if I could. I think I’ve taken a change of pace and moved onto dog walks. But nothing can beat a multi-day hike in the New Zealand bush!

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