Cameron Chittock began making models and puppets as a child. Later, at Christchurch Polytechnic —where his course involved everything from graphic design to puppet making — Chittock heard about a low budget film being shot by an unknown director named Peter Jackson.
The film was called Bad Taste, and Chittock signed on to help out on some of the more ambitious special effects, including a model house which turns into a spaceship. He was impressed by Jackson's ability to know just how much work was required to make a particular illusion look convincing on screen.
During the making of Bad Taste, Chittock and Jackson came up with the idea of a film featuring puppets doing very bad things. Chittock designed 24 puppets, helping fuel a script. The plan was to make it as the pilot for a proposed TV series. Although it was never completed, the puppet idea was later resurrected for Jackson's feature Meet the Feebles.
Chittock remembers Feebles as "really tough", and "a major break for my career". On a shoestring budget, he designed and oversaw the creation of 96 puppets from a drug-addicted rabbit to a prima donna hippo, making over half of them himself. He talks about the film in this documentary; Chittock won a 1990 NZ Film Award for 'Contribution to Design'.
Chittock moved directly into a job as design manager at new channel TV3, where he produced a series of short animated films and created puppets for Suzy Cato's Early Bird Show and You and Me. After leaving TV3 in the mid 90s, Chittock got funding to make Oscar and Friends. The part-claymation series centred on the adventures of a boy and two imaginary friends. The 26 five-minute long episodes played in countries around the globe.
In 2000 Chittock co-created short film Life on Ben with Luke Nola; Nola later turned it into this television series. By then Chittock was living in Singapore, starting a four year run on his own show, The Adventures of Bottle Top Bill and his Best Friend Corky. The series featured characters and settings who were 'made' from everyday objects; the intention was to stimulate creativity in the show's young audience. Bottle Top Bill screened in Australia and Singapore, and rated especially highly on Channel Five in the United Kingdom.
Chittock then headed to Australia to join the directing team on odd couple insect series Erky and Perky. By 2009 he was back in New Zealand. Although Chittock continues to direct animated shows — including Flux Animation's Wiki the Kiwi — he has moved increasingly into producing roles, including time as head of production at Huhu Studios, north of Auckland, and producing and directing on Sindbad and the 7 Galaxies.
Ian Pryor, Peter Jackson - From prince of splatter to lord of the rings (Auckland: Random House New Zealand, 2003)
Unknown writer, 'About the Adventures of Bottle Top Bill and His Best Friend Corky' TVNZ website. Accessed 13 March 2017
Meet the Feebles press kit