ACTING for ANIMATORS
A couple of weeks ago, I participated in Spain's most important animation festival, Mundos Digitales, in A Coruña, Spain. This was the event's 15th anniversary, and I simply want to applaud how it was organized. Manuel Meijide, Director of ILUX Visual Technologies, is the Captain of the Mundos ship, and he is enthusiastically supported by Gonzalo Rueda, David Miguez Blanco, Raúl Carbó, Fernando Suárez and Laura Fernández. The event was deservedly SOLD OUT (!) and attracted animators country-wide. I had a terrific time and made valuable new friends. Thanks in particular to Peter Plantec for introducing me to Manuel and Mundos Digitales in the first place. The international animation industry is in a transitional phase right now, becoming less Hollywood-centric. There are new forms of financing, new platforms for exhibition, an intense need for adult-themed animation. It is time for the world to stop trying to copy Pixar and Disney and to create its own brand of animation. Mundos Digitales is a strong step in the right direction. "Gracias y abrazos animados!"
Animation Nights New York:
A Wonderful Showcase for your Short Animation!
New York animator/interactive designer Yvonne Grzenkowicz started Animation Nights New York (ANNY) a year ago, and it has taken off like wildfire. Today it is an ongoing monthly screening and networking event being held in NYC's South Street Seaport. Screenings are curated, and all of the films selected for screening each month are automatically entered into consideration for a yearly event. Once a year, 20 of the 200 screened films are shown in a big "Best of Fest!" event. This is good stuff, folks, artists supporting artists, and I'm 100 percent on-board. Submit your short animation FOR FREE and gain some invaluable New York exposure. Attend the ANNY screenings and make new friends and industry contacts!
"The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire, and before art is born the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation." Auguste Rodin
Pixar sells toys...
Pixar's long-time story supervisor, Matthew Luhn, gave this interview to CampaignLive.Co.UK. No real surprises, but he is uncharacteristically candid about the role in script development played by the studio heads of merchandising, finance and tech. "Story" may be the Pixar thing paraded at TED Talks, but if a story won't sell toys, it is not going to get off the floor. Interesting article.
Acting for Animators Workshop Schedule . . .
August 20-21, Ringling College of Art + Design, Sarasota, Florida
September 15, Universidade Catolica Portuguesa, Porto, Portugal
September 21-28, Zagreb Film, Zagreb, Croatia
Some Like it Hot:
A 3-minute-scene Acting Analysis
Jerry (Jack Lemmon) and Joe (Tony Curtis) are Chicago jazz musicians who unintentionally witness the famous 1929 Gangland wipe-out known today as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Fearing for their lives, and with the Chicago mob boss in hot pursuit, the men masquerade as females and join an all-girl's band on tour. This 3-minute YouTube clip is when Jerry and Joe – now calling themselves Geraldine and Daphne, join the band. Let's go through the scene, and I'll explain how the acting in it works. First, take a look at the sequence and then come on back. I will wait here. "Tick...tock....tick...tock...tick...tock...."
Welcome back. Let's get started:
ADRENALINE MOMENT. An adrenaline moment is one that a character will remember when he turns 85-years-old and looks back on his or her life. When something happens in your life that is important to your survival – whether positive or negative – your brain is bathed in adrenaline, and nature says, in effect, "Remember this moment! It is important!" Jerry and Joe will forever remember the time they had to dress up like women and run for their lives. It was a matter of life or death. The adrenaline moment is important to strong storytelling, always.
POWER CENTER. Neither man has previously worn women's high-heel shoes. Joe is better at it than Jerry, but neither of them would escape detection on a modeling runway. Even though each man has "normal" power centers in everyday life, in this scene, they are both worried about their feet. They are walking briskly, but they are trying not to topple over on their broken ankles.
When Marilyn Monroe appears on the railway platform a minute or so into the clip, note that her power center is in her hips.
ACTING IS DOING! PLAY AN ACTION IN PURSUIT OF AN OBJECTIVE WHILE OVERCOMING AN OBSTACLE. Both men have the same provable objective: to escape the mob boss who's pursuing them. They are trying to join a traveling band partly because it is traveling, leaving town. This is an action in pursuit of their objective of escaping the mob boss. Purchasing women's clothing and dressing up are actions in pursuit of their objective. They have conflict with their situation because these are very masculine men who are masquerading as women.
COMEDY IS A FACTOR OF MAN'S LIMITATIONS. Think about it. This is an outrageous situation when you have to dress up like a woman in order to save your life. For sure, this is a limitation in life. Bad things happen! Note that neither actor is trying to make gags. Both of them are seriously trying to pass as women. Rememer, COMEDY IS DRAMA ENHANCED. Play it for truth, not for comedy!
PLAY AN ACTION UNTIL SOMETHING HAPPENS TO MAKE YOU PLAY A DIFFERENT ACTION. At 0:51 on the YouTube time code, the men see for the first time that they are going to be closely checked when they enter the train itself. Now they have a new short-term objective: fool the people doing the inspecting. Not only that, they must officially join a larger group of women, which means it will be more difficult to blend in. In other words, at 0:51, the stakes for the scene are raised. The chances of failure are greater. This, in turn, makes the comedy richer.
1:08-1:27 MARILYN MONROE – Power center in the hips.
1:52 THINKING TENDS TO LEAD TO CONCLUSIONS; EMOTION TENDS TO LEAD TO ACTION. Jerry realizes that this entire idea of dressing up like women is insane and very likely to fail. (Conclusion). He decides to drop the whole idea. But before he can do that a newspaper boy passes by calling out the day's headline: "Extra! Extra! Seven Murdered in North Side Garage!" That would be the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Suddenly, fresh emotion overcomes the men, and they feel more urgently than ever the need to escape. There is no time to drop the female disguise, so they must re-double their efforts to masquerade.
3:00 ACTING IS RE-ACTING. Jerry and Joe realize that Sweet Sue is skeptical about them. They worry they are not being convincing enough as females, so they turn up the heat on their impersonations. Now they are using fake female voices and giggles. Actually, they are a little over the top at this point, but the fact that the train is just about to leave the station works in their favor. Sweet Sue does not have long to study the men.
Until next month...
Copyright © 2012-2017 Ed Hooks