These are the brief notes based on what I tried to scribble along in a lecture by Ed hooks in this years International animation day.
We were there sitting in the auditorium and Ed hooks started his lecture and made his points clear by going points to point in the film, 'the iron giant'.
I hope you have seen the film. Then he (E.hooks) said, I loved The Iron giant, I liked monsters Inc and I did not like shrek. I mean what a courageous thing to say, but he did... directly say that amongst so many people?!
... so yeah he started with the intro, In the Iron giant the fisherman is fishing and some meteor falls into the stormy sea... then he sees a lighthouse as the last hope, he hopes to be rescued until the giant lighthouse turns around and those are nothing but a pair of big giant white robot eyes! he pauses: says... the character go on doing something that they are supposed to do, untill something causes them to stop them, then they overcome the hurdle... (the fisherman is doing his daily job of fishing in the sea, gets caught in a storm and sees this bizzare sight) we as human empathize with emotions in the characters, the Iron giant is a robot, he is not human(nised) yet and something about emotions leading to action... he said... acting for actors and acting for animators is very different as actors need to feel and do right there, right then on the stage, while the animator can pause the action at any frame and ask...
WHAT IS THE CHARACTER DOING?
I mean yeah he is scratching his head or stumbling but that's not what he is doing... that is his behaviour, what is the emotion/purpose that is driving the character?
WHAT MAKES A GOOD STORY?
now we skip to the next clip where hogarth is trying to pursue his mother to keep a tiny squirrel, he leans on the counter on the cafe where his mom works and plays on one of the stools, the round ones, you know the one at the bars which rotate, he said, see how he's playing on the stools?
well what is this character doing?>he's trying to pursue his mother to keep the squirell >he's playing on the stool, nagging his mother to keep the squirrel: that's his behaviour, not what he is doing... (I hope you get my explanation.. lol)
Now this was very useful for me... when mom finally agrees to see the squirell that hogarth has brought, he realises that the squirel has escaped the box, he frantically searches everwhere until he spots it right there running away under one of the tables, crawling he reaches the table where a man is reading a newspaper, he calls the man again and again, and when he removes the paper, the man is sleeping with his head back and sunglasses.. pauses... see now.. how this has so much information squeezed into a single frame?we can see this person is tired, maybe lives alone, is a roaming person etc etc... (I forgot)cont. hogarth talks to the man, while the squirel crawls into the man's pants.. biting his lips and squinching he cannot take it anymore... he gets up and turns his back to the camera... unzips his pants! the squirel jumps out, and the whole room goes ooooh!you have to see the scene man, I can't descibe it... brrr
anyway here he pauses and says.. this is the adrenaline moment, it is something that the characters will never forget, the mom will remember it as the day when her son brought in the squirell, the boy will remember it as the day when how the squirrel he brought in the other day caused a havoc in the cafe, the man will remember it as the day when a kid's squirrel got into his pants and the people of the cafe will remember it as the day when a squirell went up and man's pants and then he had to unzip it in order to get it out and caused a large havoc in the cafe... etc
it was such an amazing shot... you have to watch Iron giant again and the and then read this crappy explanation.. that shot was an assembly of adrenaline moments!
Another important thing he described was the concept of ''mah'' or what I thought it was called. Once an interviewer questioned Hayao miyazaki,
''What was the difference between the western animators and ghibli animators?''
and in reply he clapped his hands (I thought.. yeah, how typical of genuis people, they always do things that we don't understand) then after a pause he said, in Japan, we have an actual name for the space between the sound of claps, the Japanese animators also used the 'mah' or the space in animation, western animators think they have to make continuous noise to tell a story or fear that the moment they stop making the noise, the audience is going to get up and walk away, but it is the space that adds essence to the story, when the space is added in the right amount in the right place, it can work wonders, great musician know that as much as the notes are important to make music, so does the space between them, increasing or decreasing the amount can make a huge change
On ACTING: Acting is not hiding.. acting in a story is exposing, little by little as the story proceeds the nature of the character, the true nature of the character is revealed in a crisis. (Like a dignified villian etc)
There are many more points that escaped me during the session, thousand apologies for that, as my pen could not keep up with his lesson, I wish I could record it, but I tried to recall most of it... :D