Eric Siandon is one of the many long-haulers down at Weta Digital in Wellington, New Zealand. Having joined the company way back in 1999 – did I say that right? Way back in 1999? Yeah. Way back. 22 years is enough to call it “way back.” Jeez… Anyway – Eric has worked on a plethora of some of the most well-known projects the company has been involved with, including The Green Knight.
His story is typical for anyone working in visual effects. Originally from Maine, Eric went to school to study architecture. He took one animation course, and as the nature of these things tends to progress, he met Mark Sylvester in a bar in Seattle, who offered him a job at his animation software company Wavefront (now AliasꟾWavefront) in Santa Barbara, CA. You know. Same old story you’ve heard a thousand times before.
Better Than Toilets!
“It was a lot better than drawing toilets, which is what you do coming out of architecture school.” So says architecture student-turned animator Eric Saindon.
After working for Wavefront and doing a side-gig for Santa Barbara studios, Eric met up with a producer and visual effects supervisor from Weta in 1999. “They were doing this Lord of the Rings thing with the guy that made a movie that I really liked before that called Bad Taste. And I though ‘Wow, the guy that made Bad Taste is gonna make Lord of the Rings, this should be interesting.’”
Assuming he’d be in New Zealand for about 6 months working on the project, somehow Saindon has been there for 22 years.
“It’s a weird path to get to where I am now, but interesting all the way.”
Some of his favorite projects include the Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong, I, Robot, The Hobbit trilogy and Avatar. Eventually Eric worked on the remake of Pete’s Dragon with director David Lowry, who he would end up working with again on Ghost Story as well as the topic of today’s interview, The Green Knight.
“That’s how I met David for the first time. I really got along with that whole crew. A really talented group from Dallas. Just super creative and super motivated to make films. They, honestly, are always working on films. It’s an amazing group.”
“I said this is a small project, The Green Knight, you know. But it’s actually got a little over 200 [VFX] shots, which is the same as the first Lord of the Rings.” Saindon commented about the project, which is seen as being a smaller indie project (it was released by acclaimed independent entertainment company A24), despite being visual effects heavy, like some of it’s tentpole counterparts.
Eric and I continued to talk about his work on The Green Knight in the interview above. Have a watch to see more of my conversation with the Weta Digital VFX Supervisor!
The Green Knight is in theaters now, and also available to rent from your favorite digital streaming service!