Carl Beu

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Carl Beu, and I’m a background painter on Motorcity!
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I drew portraits at events and theme parks for a few years. You never knew who you were gonna draw, or what their expectations were. I drew everyone from biker gangs & 90 year-old grannies to Punk rockers and screaming babies.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with an absolutely amazing crew on every animation project I’ve been on so far, but Motorcity in particular has been pushing the bar very high. It’s exciting to be on such an ambitious show!

How did you become interested in animation?
When I was in high school, I attended the CSSSA summer program for animation at Cal arts. That experience, and the wonderful friends and teachers like Linda Dorn I met there transformed me from just another kid who liked animation into someone who was genuinely passionate about it and interested in it’s career potential.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m originally from the Washington D.C. area, but I moved out to Los Angeles to find work in the arts post-school. After spending some time in game design, I was picked up by Six Point Harness studio for background painting work.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Mostly we’re painting backgrounds in Photoshop, provided by our extraordinarily talented layout team. Our directors come by once or twice a day to provide feedback and answer questions about anything we’re working on.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
It’s great working with so many talented and good-humored people. There’s a great spirit of collaboration and openness within the Motorcity design room, and it pushes me to do my best work.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
One time I was manhandled by someone in a gorilla suit, who then threw a piece of plastic poo at me. I don’t feel I have to explain this one further.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
We work mostly with high-tech, touch-sensitive light-emitting diodes, which transfer our brainwaves into digital images via our hands. Technology is great!

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Probably making coffee at odd hours. Once I almost electrocuted myself! …But of course, in reality it’s the unpredictable nature of the industry, and knowing even the funnest gigs have a set end-date.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Some of my more experienced co-workers developed key parts of movies and shows that I loved while growing up. I’m constantly in awe, and slightly intimidated by the level of talent I get to work alongside. In terms of voice talent, I’ve collaborated with people I never imagined I’d have the honor to work with, and thinking too much about it makes me nervous.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Back when I was first trying to make it out in LA, I was sleeping on my friends couch and just scraping by. After 3 months of searching, had just enough money left to buy a metro ticket downtown to interview for my first job.

Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’ll be doing an artist table at Anime Expo LA in late June, and maybe one at CTN. If you see me there, come say hi!

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I’ve been trying to get into geocaching lately. It’s like modern day treasure-hunting except the treasure is usually tiny and kind of kitschy.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business? Consider small game studios as well as animation companies. My first jobs out here were in game design and involved minimal amounts of animation, but it built the resume, and I gained a lot of production experience I still draw from today.


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