If you know the name David Tremont, then you’ll already be aware of how immensely talented the guy is. If you don’t know him yet, and you’re interested in model building for TV and film (or just for your own enjoyment), then you should acquaint yourself with him and his work.
Based out of Weta Workshop in New Zealand, David (who is also a lifelong Gerry Anderson fan) has built models for films like Avatar, Lord of the Rings, District 9, The Chronicles of Narnia and Thunderbirds 1965. He’s a very talented modelmaker and is passionate about practical effects, miniatures, set building and puppetry.
He’s poured all of his passion and expertise into a new book: Make Stuff… and Let Slip the Androids of War, and I had a quick chat with him about his new book…
Jamie Anderson: What inspired you as a kid to make you get into the world of building models for TV and film?
David Tremont: Growing up in the 60’s was a great time for a child that loved to imagine, as all do. Thunderbirds and Doctor Who were new on TV and was the start of a life long passion to make stuff and tell stories.
JA: Why did you put the “Make Stuff and Let Slip the Droids of War (MSaLStAoW – catchy, eh?) book together?
DT: The book series is my way to pass on information and hopefully, a passion for making stuff, telling stories and having fun doing so. I love the process of writing, creating characters and worlds and then building them, building what is in my mind. It is not important to be good at it from the start, it is important though, to have a desire, a passion to do it, to create. The skills are something that are learned.
Most of the book is me ‘letting go’. All this stuff is running around in my head, I have a character but have no idea what it is going to look like, I do not design it. Instead, I take shapes, model kit parts, plastic toys; holding these items, I start to see other things in them – this old torch looks like a robot head, this toy car looks like a section of body, and so on, each piece informing the next. I do not know what the character will look until it is finished – I let go and just go on a journey of making stuff and writing the story to go with it.
JA: Do you think the book will help aspiring model makers?
DT: There is a step by step guide to how I built the characters and my thoughts behind them. All children build stuff with whatever is at hand and they will always make up stories and that is the style of this book series. The Robot characters have their own world, their own story and the book series will take readers though the process of creating this and having a great deal of fun doing so. The book is also riddled with ‘in world’ ads and graphic stories.
JA: It looks tough to make those characters and models… the skill that model makers shows always impresses me. Is it as hard as it looks?
DT: The characters can look a little complicated but are exactly what I wanted to see when I was a child trying to figure this stuff out, trying to find inspiration. I would not have feared trying to create these characters, I would have thrown myself in completely with an absolute belief that I can learn how to do this.
JA: If you have one hope for the book, what is it?
DT: I want to inspire young people to become model makers and story tellers. Even in a digital world, a basic understanding of ‘real world’ is a major part of that process.
I’ve got a copy myself, and it’s pretty inspiring stuff… so if you’re looking to get into model making, or improve your building, kit-bashing, or creative skills then I highly recommend you get a copy.
You can get a signed copy of David Tremont’s fantastic book Androids of War from the WETA Workshop website.
Book blurb: A book about model making, telling stories and having a lot of fun with that process. Writer, David Tremont, puts forward his passion for model making and how easy it can be if you are willing to learn. His silly sense of humour ties it all together showing that we can have a lot of fun with the process of Building Stuff and Telling Stories.
Photos courtesy of David Tremont and his Droids of War Facebook Page.