Walking With Dinosaurs helped get Marco noticed in Hollywood
Movie animator Marco Marenghi was unemployed in the Rhondda when fate set him on the path to Hollywood success.
An electronics engineer by trade, Marco was helping on his family's ice cream van when his wife spotted an animation course at the University of Glamorgan.
"I hadn't really drawn since school," he says. "I literally just went to get my wife off my back."
Now working for Sony, Marco has supervised animation on blockbusters such as I Am Legend and Ghost Rider.
Currently based in Los Angeles with his wife and two children, Marco returned to Wales in July 2009 to receive an honorary doctorate from his former college.
During his visit, he talked to Roy Noble of BBC Radio Wales about his stroke of luck in finding a chance of a second career while finding himself unemployed at the age of thirty.
Marco had to thank his wife Joanne for spotting the course and, given his enthusiasm for Tom and Jerry cartoons, recognising how much he'd enjoy trying his hand at animation.
"She realised before I did that I had a passion for this," he says.
"I was pretty good in school with the drawing ... but the first time around when I wanted to pursue an art career there really wasn't anything there," he added.
Marco took his second chance and although he initially felt intimidated by the talented younger students he says his life experience gave him the drive to persevere.
Marco (right) and Roy Noble both received honorary doctorates
After graduation he spent four years working for Framestore in London, working on projects including the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies and the BBC TV series Walking With Dinosaurs, which he still regards as his favourite work.
Marco was then headhunted by Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks studio in Hollywood to work on movies including Minority Report.
He's now employed by Sony Pictures Imageworks as an animation supervisor with budgets exceeding $50m.
Marco says he's delighted to work with talented animators from all over the world, including Germans, Brazilians and Poles, as well as Americans and sometimes old college friends from south Wales.
He adds that it helps to have a good team: "I get a lot of prima donnas, but the best animators are the ones who just get on with the less glamorous stuff as well as the glamorous stuff."
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