Thursday, July 19, 2012

Something I've Been Thinking About Lately

Here's a post on Matt Williames' blog about acting and performance. He talks about the need to create perfect arcs and technically appealing spacing over focusing on the performance.

This is something I've been thinking about with my own work quite a bit, so I thought I'd share.



"This is something I feel that within the last year I've really had to come to grips with myself as an animator. If you're like me and known you wanted to be an animator since you were 9 you've been hearing for most of your life "animators are actors". You would have heard that if you could focus on one thing it should be performance. You've been hearing that animators are actors with pencils and all the other cliche things to be said. WHY then do so few of us really understand or impliment this? No doubt I include myself in this list.
We all have to come to a point in our artistic lives where we sit down with ourselves and have a very brutally honest heart to heart. We have to ask ourselves "Am I REALLY an actor/artist, or am I just a good technician?"
It's painful... growth, however necessary can be extremely painful at times. Growth shows us where we were/are weak, and sometimes it's embarrasing that we didn't see how weak we really were/are at the time. I bring this up because i feel like being vulnerable is a key elemant to personal growth but also the growth of others around you. We have to be honest with ourselves: are we really good actors, or can we just convincingly move stuff around. Understanding good weight, spacing, drawing things well or even convincingly ISN'T ENOUGH. It's something i feel like exists a lot today unfortunately (animation that is merely technically pleasing)... I wish i could say i have not contributed to it. There are so many animators out there (and I am talking specifically hand drawn although this does not solely apply to the hand drawn animation) that are very technically sound animators who blow you away with there tech. prowess. They understand drawing, and spacing, control their volumes well, blah blah blah. But they don't tell you jack squat about the characters they are performing. They don't THINK about their characters, instead they overindulge in squash and stretch, through in fancy smear drawings, flaunt their beautiful arcs... all at the price of a better pose that could have told you something important.
I think this can be partially attributed to the fact that we as a generation stand on a lot of brilliant work from the past guys to look at and be inspired by. And if you're like me you could sit around all day staring at Milt or Frank drawings/animation. It's our blessing and our curse-- we subconciously revert to what we know will work, we play it safe. That's how acting patterns begin, and cold sterile art is born. Ironically the old guys had NOTHING to look at (animation wise) and found their inspiration from life or other areas of art.
This is a tough thing to do (not copy the past)-- I am not just talking to students, I am talking to every animator: Pro, amateur, retired vet, whoever... no once escapes this question. But here's the GOOD news, no one has to create only technically pleasing art. You absolutely can create a moving performance. YOU have something special to say in a way that only YOU can say it. That is what will set you apart... the challenge is can you call a spade a spade and realize that maybe you've just been a good technician all these years/months/whatever! I know I had too and still daily ask myself why i am doing what i am doing.
The real turning point or inspiration for me was actually being rejected. I applied and was rejected from Pixar. No pity party here man, it's what woke me up! It hurt my pride a little, but that isn't necessarily bad. More importantly it showed me that I wasn't focusing on what really makes animation work, I was a technician who was fascinated with charts, solid drawing, interesting design, fun timing... so what man. So what... if none of that has something personal behind it, it's just mechanical. It set me straight--
I share all these thoughts not to discourage and get down on anyone, but to encourage everyone that they can be amazing! The trick is are you willing to look at yourself in the harsh light of day and really ask yourself this horribly honest question? I know if i want to do something special with my art, I have to every single day. NOW GO KICK SOME BUTT!"




Here's the original post.

1 comment:

Babin Sakthithasan said...

Wow, well said. I totally agree with what your saying, ill keep it in mind from now on as well ^.^