Posted Sep 24

From Maranhão to the world: Meet Fellipe Beckman, Lead Environment Artist at MPC Film Montreal

by Giovanna Borges
From Maranhão to the world: Meet Fellipe Beckman, Lead Environment Artist at MPC Film Montreal by Giovanna Borges

Fellipe Beckman is one of the most anticipated voices at the Unhide Conference, tabbed as the largest Digital Art event in Latin America, set to take place in São Paulo, Brazil, from September 27th to 29th. The Brazilian has traveled the world chasing his dreams and was part of major projects for MPC Film.

The Focus spoke with Fellipe to learn more about his inspiring journey and life at MPC Film.


The Focus: Tell us a little about your story.


Fellipe: I’m from São Luis do Maranhão, a small town in the Northeast of Brazil. It all started in 2004 — at that time, I didn’t have the internet or a computer and my family had no money to help me buy one. It was very difficult. When I said I wanted to work in 3D, my parents looked at me and said: “What’s that?”. In small towns, people want stability and most of them want to pursue a career in the civil services. My parents have had stable jobs all their lives, so that’s what they wanted for me too. I studied alone from 2004 until 2006. I couldn’t travel to Sao Paulo to take a course. When I was able to raise money to buy a computer and start studying, I only had information through the help of 3D Max software, which, by the way, was all in English which I couldn’t speak. How would I read the tutorial? I had to study hard and have a lot of dedication! In 2006, I went to Belém do Pará, another Brazilian city, to take a course at Mister Chip School in rigging.


I always loved movies and I believed that this was the career path I needed to follow. I watched animated features and wondering how amazing it would be to work on them. But in Brazil, at that time, there wasn’t much in the way of film visual effects, so I ended up going into advertising.


In 2012, I left Brazil and went to Russia. I spent five years there as a freelancer. It was pretty hard because I didn’t speak Russian and the culture was completely different from mine. There, I learned English and started doing more interesting 3D modeling, texture and graphic design projects.


After that, I was called to work in Dubai. I lived there for two years working on advertising projects. After a while, I decided to pursue working in cinema, which I’ve always been passionate about. So, I decided to go to Vancouver, Canada, and started working at MPC Film. After eight months, I transferred to MPC Montreal. It took me 10 years to learn everything I know today. Nowadays, a person with more resources can take just one to three years.

TF: What is the biggest difference between advertising and VFX?


Fellipe: The biggest difference is, certainly, the deadlines. In advertising, everything is very rushed while in VFX things take time to happen.


TF: Why did you choose the environment department?


Fellipe: I chose environment because of the demand for it. My background has always been lookdev, texture and grooming for characters, however, in environments, I saw some stability since all projects need that department.


TF: What is your biggest challenge in your role as Lead?

Fellipe: When I accepted the position of Lead, I wanted to make sure I became the Lead I had always imagined being. I wanted to be approachable and be on the same level as the artists. The idea is and always has been to build a team that works well together. I know I need to have leadership skills, be able to delegate tasks and help them when they need me. The challenge is to give the artists freedom and let them be creative, but also give them a touch of leadership.

TF: How is the routine of a Lead different from an artist?


Fellipe: I arrive very early because I like to take my time, read my emails calmly and get ready for my day. As an artist, I had no such concern. If today I get to work at 9am, along with everyone else, I know I won’t have time to get organized and plan the day. As an artist, my concern was to make my shots. As a Lead, I need to think not only about the project itself, but about each person’s shot, organize the team calendar as well as my own shots. Another thing is that there are a lot of meetings. As an artist, you have the dailies and a few others when needed. Leads have meetings all the time!


TF: Which project did you most enjoy working on?


Fellipe: Detective Pikachu. Pikachu was part of my childhood, and I never imagined working on such a cool movie. I can even retire after that because I was really proud of working on that movie.


TF: What is your advice for anyone dreaming of working in VFX?


Fellipe: It’s a cliché, but it’s true: nothing is impossible. Be patient! A lot of people want everything at once but it’s not like that. Don’t think about the end and enjoy the journey. You need to have focus. Is that what you want? So go work for it! Learn how to prioritize your dreams, balance your social and professional lives and set a goal! —


This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

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