Here’s an absolutely brilliant short video discussing Character Animation that the British Film Institute had created with animators such as Glen Keane and Joanna Quinn discussing how they see character animation today.
Paul Well’s a Film Historian (whom I’ve actually seen/met-ish a few times at BAF 2011) also comments within the short and it’s a very interesting opening statement in which he talks about how animated characters are ‘illusions, they are constructed‘. It’s something that really made me smile along whilst watching it, it is an odd thing to realise that when I’ve loved, watched and in some cases analysed these characters so much that I never doubted there existence.
Something I realised whilst going over the last few modules, reading for my dissertation and even whilst talking to animators out in the industry today, I never focused enough on a very key point of animation… Who and Why. I never focused enough on the character, why are they doing what they are doing? Who are they? I developed character sheets and I worked through the development flow, but I never truly believed in the character and understood them.
Around 4 minutes in, Glen Keane talks about something that I think a lot of people, as well as myself, believes or had believed for a very long time. He talks about how he believed in some sort of formula or hidden secret to animation and he’d been hearing from Eric Larson ‘the secret of Disney Animation was sincerity’. At first he was confused as to how someone would accomplish this, until Eric had talked to him about the character he had trouble animating. He says about how Eric within seconds knew about this character and spoke of him as if it was someone he knew.
“And I realised that, this idea that animating with sincerity was believing in the character that you animate, I mean literally believing that…. It was investing myself, believing, and I became Bernard.” – Glen Keane
It once again focuses so much about life drawing and keeping a sketch book and understanding people’s movements, ideas and personalities over images. Observation is the truth of what you are drawing, as both Joanna Quinn and Glen Keane discusses.
One big very main point that did come across over all was that animation is a form of escapism, it comes from fact, it comes from reality but it can be whatever you and the audience wants it to be.
“The power of animation is that it is magic, you can rear your audience in and trap them, ensnare them, and while they’re sitting their going ‘ooo’ being mesmerised by animation, you can go ‘hahaha!’ and get all your messages across” – Joanna Quinn
I actually love how animated the speakers and especially the animators where within this short! You could see it in their movements and facial expressions, their passion always shows through.
If you haven’t already, you should watch it!
Thank you Jade for showing me this!
One issue, I’m afraid, with the video though is that 1.08 into it they show ‘Blob’ from ‘Monsters Vs Aliens’ but have labelled it ‘Monsters Inc.’ *tut tut* BFI.