Milt Kahl and the head swaggle

I know I’ve blabbed on about Milt Kahl quite a few times and I’ve no doubt gone about how much of a brilliant animator he is and how much I adore the brilliant-ness of the man’s work. As one of Disney’s nine old men there would be no question as to how brilliant of an animator Milt was and without having the title, within his work it was very clear that the man had an incredible skill and grasp of people and movement.

Sacha did however pass on a very interesting post on Cartoonbrew about Milt and this interesting article about Milt Kahl and a small animation trait most known to him which was his ‘head swaggle’.

The article discusses a point I’ve never actually noticed myself, about the way in which Milt Kahl seems to reproduce this movement quick a lot within the famous Disney animations. I felt a little upset through the blog post thinking “this just feels like he’s having a go at these great animators, how dare he” but then I was questioning whether or not I was really asking the same questions simply because I was a fan and didn’t want to think any other way of the action. So I looked at it again and thought about the points he raised whether it be about another animator with such high skill or level. He does bring forward some very fair points in that I am sure that animators do have certain traits and something that has been mentioned before is how some animators of course take to some scenes and moments better than others, this is something that could relate directly back to the way in which Milt chooses to animate or personify a certain scene. In my eyes, his opinion of Milt is some one difficult to take compared to the barrage of information, media and the change in the way we see animation in today’s world compared to the times and outcomes that Milt and the other great animators had to aim or work for back when these animations where coming out.

I would be most against the writers comments about the way in which some of the animators didn’t make the ‘characters were sincere, emotionally driven personalities.’ but he did not feel this within Milt’s animations. I feel as though the issue I have with so much animation these days is that some people have forgotten to do this which all those classic animations encompassed. Although yes there are a few characters you could say have less personality or less of a true large stance on the animation, but in some cases it feels as though this comes from how the director wanted the character to be in the end. There must have been a lot of times for animators to have to do certain tasks or certain scenes that they would not have been able to animate as they would have wanted too. This is just down to being set the project or task and fulfilling it but without a doubt the animators that worked with Milt or himself could handle any shot given to them.
Although the writer also discusses the sometimes re-used movements or things along those lines, I’m sure the writer will know full well, but it is more than a task to have to create such animations again and again within a certain amount of time with people over your shoulder. The re-use of shots has been argued about before and to me, if it’s done in a way that doesn’t hinder the animation and story, and it has to be done due to time or other issues, then this has to be an economical way to get around that. It would be great if they didn’t but it just sometimes has to be done on a project with animation especially in their classic hand drawn approach. This also brings it back around to the time when these pieces where not so easily at reach by the public as well as being for a main audience of younger people who would not most likely point and shout that out.

But from the article comes some very interesting debate and points around both Milt, the points raised in the article and animation in general. It’s interesting to see all the different view points and good to take it in as someone who wants to be within that area for the rest of my life. Although there are some that go a little bit off topic, they bring some great points and thoughts that I have missed sometimes things I’ve never even heard about. If you get time be sure to just have a skim because although I would usually miss those parts for most blog posts or articles, it seems CartoonBrew has some very interesting readers never mind the writers!

Within the line of extra comments and people discussing posts, I saw this little article also within CartoonBrew about, how they describe, ““Kairos” is the Most Exciting Hand-Drawn Animation You’ll See Today”. It was definitely exciting and something I will have to look out for, but noticing the creators and team where mainly French, I had this weird feeling that I knew where they study/studied and reading the article after watching it, it was all confirmed.

The animation is great and it seems to me as though anything animated and coming out of Gobelins is just at a ridiculous quality with a great story, animation, look and team and the majority of it is in 2D. By looking through some of the comments, it seems as though I am not alone on that idea neither! It’s interesting to see the three main discussions from the animation bloom and take into account the points they put forward. The three main ones I see and had a little read through were centered around Gobleins, the approach to animation in terms of method of 2D animation and then the take upon Japanese animation within a lot of todays. It was most interesting to see the comment about the ‘Disney-smooth’ approach. I think the biggest thing I’ve grasped about animation from my dissertation research and this last year, was that there is no real way to animate, or at least a right and wrong way to animate. Although it’s great to know the ‘Disney way of animating’ and the principles their artists brought forward. It is important to understand and use those but creating your own approach and that mixing with what makes Japanese animation or other forms of animation good with these ideas and practices is the only way you can evolve and tell the story better than you could before. This is something I really need ot learn and the next projects I have in mind for myself, are all about developing other animation styles and other things to animate. This breaks away from only thinking, 2D or 3D but also looking at how to show a performance and being able to capture that within any style.


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