Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Universal Short Film?

Digital Camera 001
Originally uploaded by teresan18
My mom teaches 1st grade and one of her students created this today in writers workshop. The translation is...
"I had to share my barbies with my sister Reina, she wanted to play."
What cracks me up is she has herself as the girl on the the exact same position as the girl in my film.....on her knees and her sister comes in on the right standing up... and waving the barbie around.
heheh anyways, I just thought it was cute! :)

Acting and Physics

I just wanted to link to some things that we've been talking about in class. Mostly for future reference so I can always find them! :)
This site is a great resource for animation physics...

and here are some great Michael Caine videos on acting...

Acting is sooo important in animation!
I really am convinced I need to watch The Odd Couple now... what a great example of power centers and really great acting!

lol, while I'm on a youtube posting spree... I might as well throw this one in as well! :) I just re-watched Beauty and the Beast the other night after talking about James Baxter and spacing... what an incredible movie.. I love this one so much... and to slow-mo through parts of amazing!

Oh, and I found this too... animated by my mentor Sean Sexton!

Anyways, enjoy!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pet of Horror Sketch

Here's a quick little sketch I did for fun.
The theme of this week was Pet of Horror.
I decided to go for a pun on a horror movie...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Secrets of Body Language Summary

The History Channel had a special on the Secrets of Body Language and I found the show super interesting. It could almost be a school lecture in itself!(if you missed it they are replaying it quite a bit I think) Anyways, I just thought I'd take some notes here on what I think the most interesting parts were (well notes as in, going back through it, pausing, and trying to type out what they say in the most interesting parts of the show).

The explanation of the show states "Experts report that 93 percent of all communication is through gesture, facial expression and body movement, not words."

Body language says it all if you look beyond the words.
"When you can read body language...every moment you spend with others you can make it valuable and if you're in business profitable." I would say it's crucial for animators to read body language so we can put our observations from real life into our animation and make the characters really come to life!

They described a video clip, of Vladimir Putin and President Bush,as a striding contest between two powerful world leaders. The faster you stride..the more powerful and fit you are. (I tried to look on youtube for the exact clip, but can't find it)
It's not just the speed of walking that sends out messages. Vladimir has an animal power, a strong man power. He walks by having his shoulders bounce back and forth and he makes gestures and is very active (described as a sexy walk). Bush on the other hand has a traditional American power. There is very little movement above the shoulders, he's trying to look controlled, there is no extra wasted energy.

The next clip shows 3 world leaders trying to go through a door. There is great meaning behind who goes through the door first. In the west it doesn't really matter, it's polite maybe... but in the Middle East it has significant cultural impact. The host, power person, says I'm in control I'll help you through the door and show you the way. The last man through the door is the winner.

Even when friends and allies meet subtle cues reveal who's top dog. (George Bush and Tony Blair are the example here). Tony Blair should be in charge and the boss, but he accepts the seniority in place here is Bush. So the president is in charge of the choreography and goes through the door last, even putting his hand on Tony Blair's back to help him through. He then gives him three little taps on the back. A tap on the back is one way to demonstrate power, getting the upper hand is another.

(picture from
When world leaders get together they know there is one sure way to show power and that's in the hand shake. They always want to be on the left of the picture so that they can be on the top of the hand shake. The visual impact of important hand shakes was first appreciated in 1970 when Elvis Presley famously visited Nixon at the white house. Nixon has the upper hand. They then had a clip of Putin greeting other world leaders, where he was positioned to be on the left of all the photos. When George Bush comes in he realizes he's on the wrong side and immediately crowds Putin, so Putin's left arm is in no position to grab hold of Bush's right arm. As soon as Bush turns out he immediately goes to tap Putin's back, to actually give him a push, but not to be out done Putin puts his right arm out and gives Bush a tap as well.

(left to right, Winston Churchill, FDR, Joseph Stalin)
Even seated the bodies of world leaders can speak volumes. February 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill famously met at the Yalta Conference. The allies had worked together for 3 years, but with the end of the war insight that was all about to change. We see three men wanting to dominate. Visually Roosevelt was in the center and the center figure always appears to be the most important. Even when Roosevelt is talking to Stalin he turns the opposite way and Stalin leans in and follows FDR, Roosevelt is the real leader of the two. Churchill's body language is conveying Britain's diminishing status. He doesn't look like a fully engaged participant, he has both of his elbows out. You can see how each of these men, each a master in their own country, interact with each other on the world stage.

A politician's body language can easily give him away, especially when he's under pressure. November 13, 1973 Watergate is at its height and Nixon holds a live televised question and answer session. His body language says it all.... (I couldn't find a very good clip online..the show had a much better one where you could see his hands behind his back and how he really was leaning on the podium). He has his hands behind the back that gives the indication that he has nothing to hide, open front. However, he is holding his wrist and rubbing his arm, which is called the self-touch gesture. His words are combative but his body language betrays anxiety. He's holding himself away from the podium like he's going to be attacked, he's trying to defend himself from searching questions. After he says "I'm not a crook" he immediately goes into retreat. When somebody makes a definitive statement and immediately retreats we know they didn't tell the truth, they're escaping that lie. Then he crosses his arms right away to protect himself. He displays tellingly defensive body language throughout the speech.

Reading body language you look at what is normal for that situation and what is normal for that particular person. That way you have a "norm." If someone's body language departs from the norm it can often be a sign that all is not well.

My favorite part of the show was when they talked about President Bush's body language! I don't know why but it really reminded me of talking to Carlos and how they animated Skinner in Ratatouille. Carlos said that they animated Skinner with the attitude of a 5 year old I think (or something along those lines).. and he would pout. Anyways.... it's not the same because Bush doesn't act like a little kid when he gets angry.. it just reminded me of that conversation for some reason.

One world leader has a unique way of using body language to slide through any situation no matter how embarrassing, George W. Bush. The thing with Bush.. no matter if he says something wrong or makes a mistake, he gets like a kid. He becomes this little six year old kid, like "oh, I made a mistake." It's this playful likable trait that if you saw your 5 yr old kid you'd want to pinch his little cheeks..but it's the president.

This is a classic example of George Bush getting lost in what he's saying. He pauses a long time and knows the next word is "shame on you," but he also knows he's completely lost the next sentence. Then he comes up and misquotes the next part. There is a long pause where he is evaluating whether he's made a complete fool of himself, but then carries on regardless.

Image is everything!

Politicians realized body language was powerful in 1960 where John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon debated in the first televised debate. Nixon looks far less assured in front of the cameras than Kennedy. Nixon had only just come out of the hospital from an injured knee and he refused makeup for the camera. He also sweat under the lights, he compared unfavorably with the tan and fit looking Kennedy. In the polls after that debate, Nixon to the radio audience that only heard him, won by a landslide..but the poll of the audience that saw the debate, Kennedy won by a landslide.
Many politicians employ coaches to shape their image.
These clips about body language in politics on youtube (these aren't from the show, but I just ran across them on youtube trying to find clips and thought I'd include them)

Coaching give aways, are when the gestures don't feel natural, when the beat is off slightly... when I'm thinking and then I'm showing. When you coach a politician you have to create an illusion that they're loved by many... so to do this you pretend there are people out there that you know personally, people you are thrilled to see. They point to the audience and say "hey thanks for coming." Then when you watch it on tv you think "wow, she knows so many people."

Every good speaker expresses from the heart. Bill Clinton expresses from the heart, he gestures on the beat. In telling whether somebody is authentic you want to see if they're gesturing just a second before they say it.
You feel it, you show it, and then you say it.
The real mark of a body language master though is how they deal with a difficult situation. They show a clip of Bill Clinton where he gets a question he's not happy with and he does this little thing with his mouth where you can tell he's unhappy..but then he quickly gains his composure and answers it.

Ok, well I need a break... so I'll post this for now..and maybe later I'll finish going through the show, lol. :)

Edit--- So I ran across a few quick clips of the show on Youtube. Here it is if anybody is interested:

Actually.. it looks like the whole show is up.. it's just broken up into lots of little segments. Travel over to this youtube user if you want to view the whole thing. :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thoughts... and hunting the dream!

I was reading the Tips and Tricks article, in this months AM newsletter by Shawn Kelly, and it really hit home for me. I could completely relate to everything Shawn had to say. His article really solidified my dream to animate and I am actively hunting that dream down, now, more than ever! :)

It's easy to get discouraged with graduation looming.. (which is indeed a most happy event!)... but with it comes the worry about looking for a job. Questions arise, like am I good enough? Will anybody see my potential? Will my dream really come true? Who am I kidding anyways? What in the world am I going to fall back on if I don't get a job in animation? It's all I've ever wanted to do since I was 7! (that's right..7) I have no back up plan and to be honest, that's a bit frightening.

Anyways, if you let yourself get caught up in all this worry it can be downright miserable... I have been trying my hardest to push all of this self-doubt aside and remain positive. After talking with my friends, watching The Pixar Story, and reading Shawn's article I feel like I did when I was 7. I feel like anything is possible and I can't give up... no way.... not after I've come this far. This is my dream and I'm going to give it all that I've got! The older I get and the more research I do... there is all this talk of how much competition there is out there..and how unrealistic it is to dream of getting into Pixar or a big studio.. but you know what? I'm a big believer of if you want something bad enough and work as hard as you can to get there, then why not give it a shot? Somebody has to work there. My high school teacher always repeated the quote "luck is when preparation meets opportunity." Well... when that opportunity comes knocking, I'm going to be ready! I love how Shawn said that you shouldn't be afraid of the competition, and that if you want it more than anyone else and work harder than anyone else.... it's them who should be afraid of you. I've got to start telling myself that so I don't get freaked out and fall back into that self-doubt.

When Shawn talked about wanting to animate on Star Wars even though they hadn't announced plans to make any more of them... that part was completely relatable to me. When I was 7 and saw Toy Story in theaters... I knew that's what I wanted to do more than anything else in the world! I wanted to animate Toy Story... so from that day forward I made Pixar my goal. Now they have plans to make Toy Story 3!!! oy... anyways....moving along...

I'm not exactly sure how to put all of my thoughts into words... but I kind of want to talk about why animation is my dream and how long it has been a dream of mine. I say that it was when I was 7 and watched Toy Story in theaters for the first time, but I think the seeds of it started even earlier than that. lol, who knows maybe it dates all the way back to my Mickey and Minnie Mouse birthday cake for my 1st birthday!

or the Mickey and Minnie Mouse birthday cake my dad made for my 3rd birthday... :)

I guess I really can't pinpoint exactly when any of it began because I feel like animation has been such a big part of my life all the time. I'm really not sure how my parents didn't see this coming.. lol, no actually they realized I wasn't going to grow out of it early on. In fact my mom has always told me to go for it!
My passion for the art runs so deep.. I get so excited just thinking that this dream could really come true! I grew up on all of the classic Disney and Pixar movies and I can't picture a more rewarding career than getting to be a part of that process and make films that will be enjoyed by generations... by kids you don't even know, but have the ability to inspire them to dream big! To just be able to give back to what I've enjoyed so much growing up would truly be a dream come true.
I loved so many great characters growing up.. and to be able to be one of the ones behind the scenes giving those characters life and personality would be so much fun!
All of the great stories touched my life and shaped me to be who I am today... a dreamer!

I really can't put my passion and love for the art in words.. but I think you get the idea...
I will end this with some of my favorite inspirational quotes from movies!

"You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you that you can’t do it. You want something? Go get it. Period."
‘Pursuit of Happyness (Will Smith)’

"Working hard is important, but there's something else that's even more important: believing in yourself. Look at it this way: every great wizard in history has started out as nothing more than we are now - students. If they can do it, why not us?" Harry Potter 5th book

Josh Groban song from the end of Polar Express...
"Believe in what your heart is saying
Hear the melody that's playing
There's no time to waste
There's so much to celebrate
Believe in what you feel inside
And give your dreams the wings to fly
You have everything you need
If you just believe"

"But I've always said to myself.....if I could do it over again, I would follow my dream. You've got greatness in you, Rodney. Never doubt it. You go to Robot City. You go meet Bigweld, and you show him your big ideas. And, Rodney.....never, never give up. " Robots

(lol...sorry about another "lengthy" post) :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Short Film 2/3 Rough Blocking

Originally uploaded by teresan18
Just thought I'd post some progress on my film.
This is the first two thirds of it in rough blocking..
lol, there is so much left to do and change, but I want to get the last third blocked in before I go back and fix the stuff in here.
Oh, and I stumbled across Jack Johnson's 'The Sharing Song' this past week... and I thought it fit pretty well. I dunno, anyways.... I digress.
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