One thing I've been wondering about lately is how one can work in a creative field and constantly be pouring creative energy in their work day after day, and not get drained out?
Now, I'm not saying this due to any sort of recent personal experience. Sure, I've been burned out in the past a couple of times for short periods of time (and once for a very long time before I figured out this animation thing) but I'm doing just dandy now.
I sort of feel like you must pour out that energy and then you recoup it by enjoying what you created. Permit yourself to brag a bit (in your head, of course) and soak in the aura of the great work you created. Cause you are really trying and it's better than the last thing you animated, right? ;)
*ahem* Well, we all slack every once in a while but you can still find something to be proud of.
If you're working on something fulfilling, either high quality or great storytelling, then that's AWESOME and probably keeps those inspiring juices flowing. If you're not, than you probably need some outside inspiration, like fun exercise (if you're like me and like to go galavanting up big mountains), or watching great films/animation, or creating your own art, for you and you alone, or whatever inspires you.
If you keep your free time mind happy, it flows right on into work. If you don't... well that makes everything a bit of a bummer. And I bet many of my fellow employees by day and fulltime students by night know that feeling! Don't forget to have fun, eh? How can you animate people if you never see them? :)
I'm having some trouble getting started on my new dialogue shot so I'll just take this opportunity to ruminate on the last one. ;)
For my first dialogue shot, I chose to try something really emotional and subtle, something challenging. The odd thing is, this is what I always find easiest to animate. While most people seem scared to animate "sincere" shots, I'm terrified of big broad acting and comedic stuff.
The reason emotional shots don't seem as difficult to me is because I can analyze it and break it down more easily. For this past shot, the dialogue is as follows:
"I play mother to everybody. Take everybody's troubles on my shoulders. Helps salve my conscience. Hmph.... (long pause and breath) Don't ever hurt a person, Matt."
I wrote all of this dialogue down and started analyzing it. Not for the lip sync, no, but for the meaning, for what's REALLY going on in this shot.
I don't usually write an internal monologue, that doesn't help me very much. Though here and there, I may insert a strong thought as a sentence. I start by writing what I think the character is feeling and break it down roughly by phrases or more likely by sentence. So in this shot, for instance, I decided that she starts "kind of annoyed and accepting, becomes more thoughtful and a bit wistful, gets a bit amused and mocking of herself, and then she feels very vulnerable and a bit sad." Very easily broken up into those four sentences.
My next step was to break down these phrases/emotions more visibly. Whether they feel open, closed, aggressive, retreating, big, small. And where I feel there might be a big change. For instance, I described her final change as "melting" into a more vulnerable person. Since I had decided this was a closed pose, I thought a nice way to represent that would be to have her comforting herself by touching her hands together in a barrier in front of her to shut out the world.
And you can see earlier in the shot that in the first line she's a little open, then she closes off a little, bringing her hands in to fidget as the gets a bit thoughtful, and then she snaps herself out of it with that big open declaration before giving in to how she really feels.
So, you see, with analysis like that, I find it less difficult to act out the shot (don't get me wrong, it's still hard!) and get something really genuine, if not a bit calculated.
But on a more fun shot, I get a little lost. I find it harder to pick any one approach. Oh well, I guess I have plenty of time to figure it out. ;)
I am a Junior Staff Animator at Blue Sky Studios, currently working on Rio 2. I also temped there on Ice Age 4 and Epic. What a fun place to work!
Before that, I broke into feature by animating at Rhythm & Hues for Alvin & The Chipmunks 3, and at Sony for the Smurfs before that.
I grew up in southern Rhode Island and went to school at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, graduating in 2003. I quickly got a job at Anzovin Studio in Northampton, MA, leaving after five years to enroll in Animation Mentor.
I like to travel and have spent a lot of time kayaking in Florida, and driving to almost all of the states in the US, mostly for outdoorsy reasons.