September 26th 2010 ASAHI newspaper

People: Successful Transition from the Securities Industry to Computer Graphics - Masataka Narita (47)

The release of the remake of the classic horror film " A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010" found Masataka Narita sitting in a suburban Los Angeles theater in the dead of night. Spying his own name in the credits, his eyes blurred with tears, and they teared up again during his drive home from the theater.

As a "modeler", it was he who created the main character Freddy's hollow-cheeked face using computer graphics. This was a huge break for someone who had only a-year-and-a-half prior, at age 45, left his salaried job [in the financial industry] and plunged into Hollywood.

Born and raised in Aichi prefecture, he joined a large Japanese stock brokerage firm during the bubble economy. Then, 13 years ago while serving as a trading systems specialist, he chanced upon a Computer Graphics (CG) software demonstration at a computer technology exhibition, and it spurred his dream of working in movies.

Realizing that he "could produce his own animation with software," he lived for the next three years in front of his computer screen, aside from eating and going to the office. Then when his Japanese employer reduced its overseas operations [while he was stationed in NY], he seized the opportunity to reinvent himself. He attended professional school to learn the latest technology, and started at a [low-paying] $300/week job. This was followed by an assignment for an automobile commercial, and then Freddy . .

Such rapid success was supported by his experience as a hobbyist in plastic scale modeling. To achieve more realistic effects, he had become skilled at painting, weathering and other techniques, winning a US Master Modeler award. To make Freddy's wound look real, he studied the anatomy of the human face.

Now when at home, he no longer does CG or scale modeling, but instead savors time with his family. His next dream is to become an actor, which has no retirement age. We wish him luck for many years in Hollywood.

(Picture and text: Takashi Horiuchi)

translated by Robert Klein