Sunday, August 03, 2008

Animating Sincerity

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. ;)

Hope you enjoyed my rant. Til next time!


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