Animators by day Animation teachers by night.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Why We Animate...


I was listening to a great interview with Woody Allen on NPR radio today. It was about a new film he is coming out with. The interviewer asked him why he does what he does. His answer was "To escape everyday life." Ultimately he wants to go into another world and leave the regular life behind. I guess for me, animating is similar. I'm trying to create this performance that takes place in a virtual world. When I'm animating, I am trying to get into the characters skin and really feel what they are feeling. Animation is different from live action in that its not improvisational. It takes alot of sweat to recreate a performance that looks natural. What I found interesting about the Woody Allen interview is that he, with all his stardom, still wants to escape every day life. He also said he does not have many friends. Work is his ultimate passion. At 72 he still has the same drive. I ask myself... will I be able to animate with the same passion in another 10 to 20 years, much less 30 or 40? I think it comes down to alot of factors. One, is never feeling like you have arrived. One thing that Woody said was "Don't listen to them when they tell you are great, and don't worry what they say if they don't like your work. Just shut up and work." I think that egos can get in the way of good work. I think its so important to try different things. If you are an animator, you have to challenge yourself to do different characters and scenes. I think what I find most difficult these days is putting the grease and polish back into the shots. Some of my students that work here now, have polish that blows me away. I love asking them what they are doing to get that. You really always need to be a student in order to keep up. Sometimes, when I'm sitting in my office, I forget to pull in a buddy to get their opinion on a shot. Its so important to do. I guess the point of all this is to stay hungry and understand why we love what we do. Its very easy to get jaded in this industry, but ultimately, animating, and creating character is one of the best jobs out there. Take a listen to the interview. If you take one thing away from it that you can use, it was worth it.

-Andrew

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is so true. It IS important to remind yourself where your passion lies and why you are doing what you do. I will take a listen to the interview. Great post.

Thomas.

3:33 PM

 
Blogger Frank Spalteholz said...

Hey Andrew!

Great post and thank you for the link! I really adore Woody Allen and it was quite interesting to listen to. I absolutely understand what you mean by saying that animation is great in terms of being free. The sky is the limit and it’s totally the same to me why I’m so addicted to deep into something that’s so different from every day life. But for me there are two sides of the coin.

Let me compare it with Wendy from Peter Pan. When Peter took her to Neverland, she was almost an adult. She should leave the nursery the very next day and by that also leave all her childish imaginations and dreams. But she “escaped” from that. On one hand that’s exactly what an artist needs: Seeing real life through the eyes of a child and “play” with the impressions, anyways if he/she is an animator, a sculptor, a painter, writer … what ever. But on the other hand every artist has to combine the two worlds of reality and imagination. Maybe it is little bit nitpicking, but I have a little problem with the word “escape”, because that could also implicate that there is something wrong in the real world that forces you to “escape” and live the whole day in Neverland like Peter. For me I’m absolutely sure that every artist has to find its own way to grow first in real life as a strong personality being always grateful for your skills and remember Neverland every time. Only then he/she will be able to get strength and inspiration from that to discover new ways of expressing his/herself through whole life in a “healthy” way.

But unfortunately many of the greatest artists became “Peter Pans” and had so many problems in real life that they “escaped” each day from that and that’s maybe a reason why they could work like crazy their whole life over and doing what they are now so famous for.

But that’s just what I think.

Cheers Frank

12:10 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whenever someone says my work is looking great, it instantly reminds me of my worst work.

11:38 AM

 
Blogger pink hippo said...

Hi :) This may not go with the subject posted but anyways I wold like to mention it.

Couple of weeks back I saw Ratatouille with my in-laws and by the end of it my Father in law turned and asked me " Are you sure the crowd in the background ( in the hotel scenes) are not real ?? and I dont think Linguini is animated he looks so real " I was really surprised and amazed at this question as from animators point of view the crowd moved so little and in contrast Linguini had such a broader actions and still a common man buys them as a real actors, which shows what amazing job you guys have done :) Congratulations !!

And as an animator it made me think,it is so important to strike a balance between doing broader and subtle actions as in this case Linguini's broader actions are enough broad where it still makes audience believe that he is real and same goes for the subtle actions of crowd in the restaurant. I sure got to learn something from this experience and I am equally grateful towards you guys for creating such a marvelous Performances which keeps all of us motivated. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I am looking forward to exciting 2008 from Spline Doctors :)

Thanks,

Vin

8:38 PM

 
Blogger Taber said...

Here here! Great little bit of advice!

10:42 PM

 
Blogger k. borcz said...

Thanks for the link, it should be a good listen.

12:20 PM

 
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