Monday, August 20, 2012

Need Ideas for Acting?

The acting by Max Schreck was very specific to his personality. He was a loner and had an unusual sense of humor. He liked to spend his time walking through dark forests. Only he could of done this role the way it was done at the time. 

  When you start on a new movie, assignment, or project, you have to get ready to bring some new ideas to the table. For animators this might be inventing a character's personality from scratch. for painters it might be creating a mood and composition from nothing, and writers might have it the hardest, they have to create a whole world. My advice still can apply to everyone: you have to study people who can achieve what you want better than what you can.
     For animators, we want to achieve a performance. An original raw performance acted out by our character that has it's own personality, life, and quarks. To get that specificity some people like to reference their favorite movies and others might search youtube for hours. Sure, those are fine but I'll share what I like to reference. Audition tapes. They are not perfect performances and sometimes the subject has to look down at their paper, but their acting is done on the spot and it's spontaneous. There is no set, there is no context or supporting actors on the side..there is JUST one actor. They have to transform on the spot into a character and make it believe able and authentic. 

     There are a few other reasons why I choose audition tapes and maybe you should apply these reasons when looking for something new and authentic to reference:

-I look for something a lot of people haven't seen before. 
-I look for something that is done better than I could ever do on my own. 
-make sure its unique enough and not just your biased choice of your favorite actors shitty performance. 

     Here are a few I have found. The last one is a video of the great Kevin Spacey. Watch how it's not just his voice, but his mannerisms and the faces he makes. Watch his mouth shapes and how unique each character is. Think to yourself, "Can the character you create, be worthy enough to be impersonated by Kevin Spacey??" 

      There are tons of other examples on the web but if I would post them all here then I wouldn't be promoting good researching skills. Hope this post was helpful to some of you.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wreck-it-Ralph and tips for Crunch Time at a Studio

       Crunch time is over! I've been gone working at Walt Disney Animation Studios helping animate their next upcoming film, Wreck-it-Ralph. I can't say anything new about it other than whats already out there on the inter-webs but I can say that you've never seen a movie like this before. It's going to be a fun one to watch the world react to it. Already I'm starting to see a lot of Ralph around LA.

-sanity_going out,fun and food
-drive_dont give up bc you have 2 hr of unproductiveness
-concentration-turn off internet
-strategize_when to show, control image of yourself

      Hey, remember what it was like to have a life? To go out, actually have time to sleep? Maybe even entertain a hobby?? most people who under a crunch time do not. You do not want to be one of those people. If it's a friday night, you got work tomorrow, but everyone kinda wants to go out and grab a drink at a bar... GO. BAar scene isn't your thing? Who cares, GO!! You benefit in two ways bc of this. One: you give yourself a break form the work-home-work routine. You spend some time with co-workers and keep your social skills up. Two: Remember, you get animation ideas from real life, so go out and live a little.
     Do not underestimate what your body can handle. You can easily go to sleep at 1 and wake up at 7:30 to get up and go to work. 6 hour sleep is just fine to recharge.

     Working hard all day, 6 o'clock hits and you still have a lot of work to do... so you stay 2 more hours and you realize you're not getting anything done. Now you have a choice: the tempting, "I should just go home and tackle this in the morning, I've been staring too long at this." Or my choice: you put your head down and power throw this 2 hour artist block bc sooner or later your mind gives up on procrastination and says, "FINE DANNY, I'll work I'll work just as long as you promise to go home after this" Sometimes I have unproductive hours but I dont give up, I work through them and sooner or later I get a second wind and complete a lot of work!

Remember all your work pays off. Pull your weight, you are now part of a team

      You don't have time for a 2 hour artist block? Your shot is due in an 1 and a half hours and you barely finished blocking???? I go into a code red mode, I turn all chrome, safari, internet explorers OFF. emails turn off, iphones go in the drawer, heads phone go in the ears but have no music (keeps people from talking to you and block out noise)  ..This is my code read I have to get shit done mode. Its not fun but you turn up your productivity 200%

      Probably one of the most important topics in this post, you only learn this through experience but I'll try my best to explain this.
     You are in control of how people see you and your work. Here's an example of bad control: You might be a perfectly capable animator but you show too early all the time. Then you do not show until you have polished your shot.
      I would say this is a bad strategy. Here is why, when you show early and its too under-baked, this is the image and memory you are leaving your supervisor with. And even if you turn your animation into a wonderful finished piece a week later, you left them with all that time with an image/memory of crude bad animation. The memory of the wonderful animation you just turned in will be erased once you show blocking two days later and its crude and too early once again.
      Another tip, Do not have facebook up when people walk by, let them see you working THEN bring up your facebook page even if they are there. These might be little differences but it can mean the difference of - "oh he's always on facebook and only works when im around." or "he's always working, ah he's just checking facebook. cool"
     -Always show strong work, with a lot of information and breakdowns. Give your supervisor as much information in your animation as they need so they can give correct accurate notes. Do not be afraid of doing a lot of work and then changing your animation. Do not be afraid of doing surgery on your splines and blowing stuff away and redoing it. Its your job. Don't treat your animation as if it's precious, it's the directors idea so be ready to change things at a moments notice. Always do your best. If you ever have a bad dailies or a bad drive by, make sure the next time you show makes up for that, make sure its GOOD. You don't want to be the guy who always has problems with their animation.

be aware of where you fit in your team. are you helping out, are you dead weight?  Do they really need me? What am I bringing to the table...

      Thanks for reading. We wont be starting on the next film for a while, expect a lot of new posts weekly and please don't be shy in sending new me work to check out! Whether its animation, short stories, drawings etc!