Hayden's story: Digital Storyteller, Studio Founder and Creative Technologies graduate

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Hayden Steedman - Digital Storyteller and Studio Founder 

Graduate of Bachelor of Creative Technologies (see similar programmes)

Where did your passion for creative technologies start? 

I became a cabinet maker after high school, and found I always leant toward the technical side of the job. There’s heaps of hands-on work, but there’s also a lot of technical drawing and 3D modelling. Being a younger guy amongst a bunch of older guys who were terrified of the technology, I always put my hand up for it when I had the opportunity!   

Why did you decide to study Creative Technologies? 

In my teens I loved art and drawing, but during my 20s I spent most of my time working and travelling. When I returned home from the UK after I turned 30, I decided I wanted to study something creative. I’ve always loved movies and CGI - I remember watching Avatar for the first time and thinking “Man I want to do this, this is cool.” Being able to focus on animation at WelTec was a major draw too. 

How was returning to study in your 30s? 

Because I’d spent my 20s travelling and working, when I came back to study I wanted to absorb everything I could. I wanted to learn about this world I was getting into. At WelTec they were not only good at teaching me the fundamentals, but also answering all my questions and sending me off to learn more. I came out of the programme with such a wide range of skills – game development, animation, VR, web development, film, tv. 

How did your game development company, WildEye, come about? 

I've always gotten a lot out of being self-employed, so after freelancing for a while, I decided to start WildEye. I had been a generalist for a while, but I always found myself sticking with game development. The first couple of projects I landed were focused on Te Ao Māori (Māori worldview), and that’s just carried on! 

What is your favourite thing about your work?  

I enjoy game development because it’s super challenging. It’s really hard, and you want to give up, but when you finish, you’re rewarded with seeing how this thing you’ve created has come to life. 

What’s one of your favourite projects? 

A favourite project of mine is The Navigators, a 360-dome experience we made in a 3D creative tool called Unreal Engine, which was a challenge on its own. It’s a story about how Europeans and Pacific Island Māori used the stars to navigate. It’s a 3D animated short that’s a permanent fixture in the Carter Observatory in Kelburn. 

Did you learn anything invaluable from study that’s really helped you now in your career?  

Learning and practicing design thinking helped me learn how to tackle creative problems, and the amount of collaborative work we did taught me the power of working in a team. This work takes a lot of time, and you need people with you on the journey. 

What would you say to someone wanting to study creative technologies?  

Go for it! It's challenging - you’ve got to put in the work, but I think it’s the best time to do it. When I left school, I thought it was impossible to get into this space, but the industry has never been more accessible.  

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