Sunday, December 18, 2011

On directing friends and what to bring to animation

So since September I’ve been directing a short film at the school.
All in all we are ten people on the project, and I am credited as director (and I came with the original idea).

It’s weird to be suddenly put in a position of power, which it is no matter how you want to angle it.
I have no background to make me any more qualified to direct than anybody else in the group, and to from one day to the next, be in the position of leader towards your classmates is very challenging indeed.

What makes it even more challenging is the fact, that I have never done anything of this kind, more than anybody else in the team, but still I have to know what I’m doing, or at least know what to do if I don’t.

The big thing I take from this experience so far is communication – communication towards other people in the team, as well as communication on a story level, which leads me to animation.

When it all comes down, animation is what I want to do for a living, not directing, and I constantly try to make connections to animation, when lingering about all this direction things that is going on atm.
I’ve spend the last months on story construction, story boarding and lately 3d layout. All of this has one clear theme to it: Visually communicating an idea!
Basically the same as animation, am I right?
All of the animation principals, all twelve of them, or however you have on your own list (Which I highly encourage you to make!) all aids you – the animator – in one thing: communicating and idea, an emotion, a story point.

So what is it exactly I feel I’ve taken away so far, which can translate into animation, one curious soul might ask? Well, I _think_ it is this:
Whatever you do, every single pose, every single frame will communicate something to the audience.
But it goes beyond that. The way you choose to frame your character in the shot. The environment around it, how the chair is angled towards the table, how the window frames the character – it all communicates something.
Now the thing is, if you have so many things communicating something it can very easily clutter the message – and what is worse than just cluttering the message, is if you are not aware of all these messages being communicated, there is a big chance some of them might even communicate the opposite of what you want, causing mixed messages… uhhhh the horror!

So being aware that everything you put on screen says something to the audience, is a very good starting place. It might sound daunting, but think about the fact, that if you are able to turn it all on your side, you no longer just have the gestures of your character to tell a story, but framing, color, sound, light, appearance (hat, wig, glasses, whatever) and environment.
That is a lot of players on the same team!

I think will be it for now. Enough brain fart to let out at once. Hope it was somewhat interesting though.
I find it helpful to put words onto things like this.


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