Strange creatures and unusual gadgets began infecting the imagination of Zane Holmes as a child. So it makes an odd kind of sense that both of them pop up in his screen career as well.
Zane's tech-savvy father spent many years in the navy, and brought various gadgets home from his travels. Holmes has memories of continually getting his hand stuck inside the family's 8 track player, as well as a box of lights and switches his father created for him specially.
Zane's childhood love of movies and how they were made paralleled an explosion in science fiction that had begun hitting cinema screens. Aside from Star Wars and The Black Hole, Maurice Gee TV series Under the Mountain was another strong influence. The show's slimy alien monsters were even more terrifying to him through having made their lair close to his house in Auckland.
After studying film at South Seas Film and Television School, Holmes got a job at post-production company VTR. In the late 90s he successfully campaigned to get one of his first editing gigs, cutting occasional pieces for iconic children's show What Now?
In 2000 his prowess with editing and digital effects won him an invitation to work on as post-production supervisor on an offbeat production being planned by South Pacific Pictures: Being Eve. The show's fresh style included fantasy sequences created partly through CGI. Holmes' part in creating the show's distinctive visuals saw him winning an NZ Television Award for Design. It also impressed Being Eve producer Vanessa Alexander, who gave him the chance to direct two episodes in the show's second season. The show would also win an NZ Television Award for best drama, and one of the episodes Holmes edited was nominated for an Emmy.
Post Being Eve, Holmes worked in a variety of roles on children's shows, concert specials and documentaries. Editing formed the main throughline. But there were also occasional chances to direct, including kidult spy show Secret Agent Men. In 2004 South Pacific Television invited him to join the producing and effects team on Maddigan's Quest. The (comparatively) big-budget fantasy was a co-production between South Pacific Pictures and the BBC. Holmes also created a new opening sequence for SPP perennial Shortland Street, which was used on the show for four years. In 2009 he began the first of two seasons as a visual effects supervisor on Spartacus.
The wide variety of gigs was providing valuable experience in the varied skillsets required to take a television show to completion. It was also making Holmes aware how keen he was to work on a project from idea to final lock-off.
In 2010 writer and performer Jeremy Dillon invited him on board a project called Pop-Up. Starring an enthusiastic creature named Rufus and aimed at the under sixes, it was an ambitious mixture of puppetry (Dillon), children being themselves, and animation. Dillon and Holmes initially produced 10 episodes. When cable channel TVNZ6 (and later TVNZ7) asked for another 32, Holmes joined Dillon as a partner in company Pop-Up Workshop, and the pair got even busier.
After the demise of TVNZ6 and 7, the pair approached Channel Four, and set about creating a character who might anchor the channel's fledgling children's slot — and once more walk that thin line in offering both joy and educational value. The result, debuting in 2013, was Moe, inspired by the legend of Coromandel apeman the Moehau Monster. Only the new moe was far more likely to stop for a chat and a hug.
Moe expanded into the more ambitious Moe Show that debuted in 2014. Holmes has also directed multiple episodes of Let's Get Inventin' — another show which reminds him childhood joys can continue into adulthood.