This is a story I already told many times but who cares...
Feel free to squeeze my testicles next time you see me if you didn't like this story.
So, my first job as a "Creature animator" was at Weta Digital, the film was King Kong and the year was end of 2004 ( November 2004 to be precise ).
Me and my beautiful and talented (and many other things... ) wife Chiara left our city (Rome) ready to start a fresh new life in Wellington, NZ.
I must admit that our life in Rome was great though.
Beautiful house, beautiful friends, beautiful money, everything was beautiful...really...so why the f@ck we left our country??
The answer is probably a bit silly. We left because I wanted to become a real animator, I wanted to work on great monster movies, I wanted my name to be written in a Cinefex issue.
I'm still very grateful to my wife who let me pursuit my dream. (smack smack slurp slurp).
So, at age 33 I said "bye bye" to my parents and all my Italian life to embrace my new life upside down in New Zealand! We were on a "Air New Zealand" boing 747 direct to Wellington!
I don't like airplanes, so I was shitting my pants throughout the flight ( 32 hours trip, 32 hours of intense pant shitting ).
Once we landed in Wellington we went straight to the the Weta Headquarter (which at that time was ) in Manuka street.
I had my first company introduction there. At that time I couldn't speak any English so I was shitting my pants everytime I was introduced to a new person.
After the Weta introduction we went to the fantastic Duxton Hotel to check in to a wonderful and enormous hotel suit.
I still remember the excitement of both me and Chiara in front of the suit. Honestly, I though these guys at Weta must think I'm a superstar of the animation if they have booked such a great hotel room just for the two of us.
The day after I went to my first day at work, in Manuka Street where they showed me my deks.
They made me sit with the compositors at the ground floor, a very big and dark room. With me there were a bunch of other new starter animators ( Greg, Brett, Josh, and maybe someone else I can't remember now ).
The dream of being considered a superstar of the animation, an Italian Disney, Miyazaki, Lasseter, vanished in a blink of an eye. It actually vanished as soon as I got my first animation assignment.
My task was to animate some of the mosquitos that are populating the Jungle sequence in the Peter Jackson's King Kong movie.
Yes, all the other animators were animating King Kong or the T-Rex and the other dinosaurs... I was animating 10x10 pixel small mosquitos.
And the cool thing is that I did animate those mosquitos for the next 3 months.
I was left alone in a huge dark room, surrounded by compositor, without being able to comunicate with any human being because of my language ignorance ( at that time there were only 2 other Italians, Marco Revelant and Andrea Merlo and they were sitting in another building).
I guess at this point the story could sound a bit melodramatic, but I assure you it wasn't. I was somehow frustrated and happy at the same time. Everything was new to me, the good things and the bad things, so I was trying to live everything just as a new experience.
I don't lie to you, I really wanted to animate something better ( and bigger )than a mosquito but at the same time I was shitting my pants ( as usual ) even only thinking about it.
I was living my new life day by day, animating my mosquitos in complete silence and somehow I was grateful to I don't know who to be there.
Thanks to my wife that is a super social person and she has the natural gift to make friends very easily I was having quite a social life in the weekend, outside work but with the people who was working at Weta because at that time almost 50% of the Wellington population was people employed by Weta.
Ok, this is it for tonight.
In the next Episode ( part II ) I will talk about the amazing people I had the honour to meet while I was there. One person among all the other, Atsushi Sato the master of Creature Animation!