What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Louie del Carmen and I’m a story artist at Dreamworks Animation
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m originally from the Philippines and moved here to the US in 1989. After realizing I should make a move to an animation career and after 2 years of drawing for a portfolio, I got my first gig as a character designer on the Nickelodeon show AAH! REAL MONSTERS which was being produced by KLASKY-CSUPO. I took a character test and whatever I did impressed them enough. Designers Alex Dilts, Chris Battle and producer Cella Duffy were instrumental and I am glad to say I am still good friends with them to this day.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Drawing lots and lots of story panels, attending story meetings and brainstorms, pitching, pitching, pitching… did I say pitching yet? Fortunately all the crazy “let’s get panels to editorial” frenzy is balanced by enrichment classes like gesture drawing and film theory and guest speakers like James Cameron and George Lucas…
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
telling stories. It’s a rather corny answer but it’s at the essence of being in the film making side. Even something as mundane as a character walking the sidewalk can have so much weight and emotion that you can give life to. When it’s working it’s the most beautiful thing. When it’s not you want to gouge your eyes out. The struggle becomes something rather addicting because you know the breakthrough moments are such a rush of exhilaration. I also like the interaction, camaraderie and even in some minor way, the friction between your colleagues.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Short deadlines and not enough donuts. I happen to think short deadlines sharpens your focus and thus better work comes out of it. It’s just when you try to tap that well once too often. You end up with work that could have been better.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I get asked to do things that aren’t exactly appropriate like paint murals for baby bedrooms or draw someone’s grandmother’s idea for a children’s book. Other than that the biz is cool.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
A Wacom Cintiq, a stylus and Adobe Photoshop. Everything a growing boy needs. If Coffee can be considered technology, count that in as well.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I took Richard Williams masterclass and became an instant fan. I think he’s the right balance of insanity and genius. He has such a genuine approach that you can’t help be inspired. I’ve never formally met Glenn Keane but seeing him draw is really amazing and reminds me how much more of that mountain is left for me to climb.
Describe a tough situation you had in life
When my father passed away. Something you prepare for but you’re never truly ready for it.