Acting is a plum gig, and then animation is an even more plum gig.
Why animators should understand acting? It is simple. We acting all the time.
Animator is an actor with a pencil. Well, they were, until the computers took over, but that cliche still works. If you trying to tell a story of a character, you will inevitably going to act like an actor. You are trying to think through the movement of character, which you have on a screen.
You might have a feeling that with all new technologies, people do not really think that much about the art of acting anymore. I never saw English version of the Jungle Book, but our version of it, which we just call Maugil (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYlAzDjHF4A), shows how hard animators worked to get smooth and realistic movement, you could see that each character has some sort of charismatic personality. You do not always see that in nowdays animated films. Sometimes beautiful voice acting would make everything work, as we saw with Robin Williams in Aladdin. But, it all starts in the script, which nature a character will have, and thanks to good animators we could get it from the second the hero appears on the screen.
It is my second year in university and heard thousands of questions about software, textures, lighting, someone ask about character movement, but people do not really think about each character as something individual, it is all about not making a technical error, and a lot of the times i am not different. But the question is, would you think that the writer is the one who didn’t make any spelling error in his piece?
If you ask yourself what a good acting piece is, you would think that it would be something that looks real, but it is only one part of it. Great acting - is something that would generate interest. As an animator you want your scene to look real, to generate that interest from people who watch it, it is magic. That is why we like to animate. The moment you made animation, believe in it, the character you have, comes alive, and it is all down to animator who acted and pretended to be the character he worked on.
I also want to say a few things about inspiration for my animation. Phone booth scene - nothing special, and it is. But pantomime is a really fantastic and hard part for actors. It is probably one of the hardest thing in acting, that why it is so rare you see someone who is brilliant at it. All animators should watch Charlie Chaplin, it is obvious, he was a genius of pantomime. Disney animator Nancy Beiman explained why: “That is because in the end of the day, animators are actors of pantomime, and Charlie Chaplin was the greatest one ever”. But for me, i was more inspired by Rowan Atkinson. I remember watching it when i was a kid, but a certain performance of him, made me realize how amazing acting could be. I am talking about his act in opening ceremony of London Olympics in 2012 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwzjlmBLfrQ). It is brilliant, everything about it. There are also brilliant visual combinations of old footage and Rowan’s appearance. It really shows how great actor he is, and how by only his expressions and motion, he made the scene perfect.
“As he thought about it, Ben decided that the key ingredient must be “realism.” In his own experience, he had found that much of the material in cartoon films was lost on the viewers; they could not understand it or relate to it. Walt had bridged that gap with realism, or a caricature of it. His situations were understandable, clear, and funny. His personalities were based on someone you knew”1. (The Illusion of Life, page 80). Realistic acting and animation have something magical about it, you look at the characters and some of them have an emotion connection with us. Emotions are playing a huge part in any acting, it depends on a character and his mood. And animator have to live it with the character, it might be a secret of a good…