Animators by day Animation teachers by night.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Thinking about a shot

Billy and I get a lot of questions about how do you get good acting. Well we can't really answer that it's subjective and also relates to your inherent ability to act. But there are tips for how to help you come up with acting choices.

Here is an example of the things you might want to be thinking about when approaching a shot.

The Shot
Character at a bus stop and he just missed his bus.

All the stuff you need to know to animate this shot.
• What is the story point of this shot?
• Why does this shot exist in the film?
• What is it you are trying to tell?
• Who is this character?
• What was the character’s emotional state before he/she got to this shot? In the Sequence and film?
• How does the character feel about missing the bus?
• Where did he/she come from and where is he/she going?
• What time of day does the character arrive at the bus stop?
• What is the weather like; cold, hot, windy, rainy etc?

Answers to questions like these will help you start to understand the character and their appropriate reactions to situations like a character missing his bus. These answers start to help you build your performance, the character’s acting. You start having things you can act out that make sense rather than just hitting a bunch of standard poses that don’t relate to the character’s current emotional state and situation.
The first thing I do, which I think is super important, is I try to capture all of the above questions in one frame. I create my story frame or my KEY, Golden drawing, whatever you want to call it, and then determine what else needs to be in the shot to get the story point across. Less is more.
There are a million more questions you can ask yourself about any shot these are just a few to help get started. What questions can you come up with?

Dr. Stephen G.


Blogger Aaron Stockton said...

Good stuff Stephen! When I was in acting school, we had a 63 question character analysis about our characters. We also divided up the entire show into beats and had another 20 question analysis for each beat. It sounds like a lot of garbage, but it is so helpful when trying to develop a strong character. Even background characters have a story.

10:28 AM

Blogger Kimotion said...

I think each of those questions can lead to many other questions, especially: Who is his character?

Is the character male or female? What is the age? Does this person go to school, work or both? Does he like his job? Any significant others?

Question about age: I find it harder to animate "older people" because I just don't know how an older person feels and thinks. The only references I have are people around me and in films (which are fine references btw). However, when a shot calls for very subtle, deep emotional acting of an older character (ie age 60), is that shot normally given to a more experienced, mature animator? Or is it a good animator's job to dive into the acting and emotions of a character of any age? Wierd question, I know.


10:46 AM

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