(click to watch)
It's time to move on from this shot. Admittedly, it's not the most polished, but it is certainly a stepping stone into the realm of character performance. I now wish to write a review, that I may look back on this shot and learn from its lessons.
Why this audio clip?
Upon choosing this clip, I received many words of wisdom opposing its selection. Wizard of Oz is one of the most famous musics in the world. It was argued that any attempt at animating this shot, would be compared to the delightful performance between Julie Garland and Ray Bolger. Could I offer anything different?
For me, I saw an opportunity to explore a father-daughter relationship. Both have their insecurities, but are strengthened by their kinship. I too have my own nerves. I've often said that the 11 Second Club interviews left me with butterflies. Yet, I am carried by my passion for story, theatre and the support of my friends and family.
Frank is inspired mostly by actor Dick van Dyke, who I have always seen as everyone's favourite uncle figure. I took particular inspiration from his nose poke in the song 'You Two' from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Caractacus Potts is on a similar quest and asks:
What makes the battle worth the fighting?
What makes the mountain worth the climb?
What makes the questions worth the asking?
The reason worth the rhyme?
It's his love for his children. I find this idea inspiring.
Of the two character's, the performance of the girl was the most challenging part of the shot. I wanted to find smaller movement's that complimented Frank's big gesture at the start. Original plans to keep her minimal and simply listening were inspired by Rapunzel in the song 'I've gotta dream'. Rapunzel's patience displayed her spirit as a princess. My character was different.
I met my teacher's stepdaughter in Canada. Her energy was inspirational. I believe seeing this spirit in our next generation gives us older folks strength. It was this I wanted to capture.
However, at the stage of posing Frank, I still had little idea how this child would react. An important decision was that the nose poke must be seen as playful. Hit too hard and it looks a little violent. The stronger her reaction, the heavier the poke looked.
This challenge was overcome by a double reaction. First surprise, contained and shown mostly in the change of her face. Then a little dazed, she would shake her head. The head shake was inspired by Dopey, one of my all time favourite characters. When I was a child, I even won a fancy dress competition dressed as the dwarf. I loved his playful mannerisms.
The hands created the problem of what to do within a contained area. Simply touching her nose would not work together with the head shake, so I held the touch back til the movement had finished. Doing allows the hand to lead the action back to Frank.
This is where I'm thankful for the guidance of my teacher, Matt. Lots had to happen within four seconds of animation, which meant the careful use of frame efficiency. The poke, the tap away and the girl's nose push, his hand on heart; each beat had to be seen and lead to the next. I am pleased that the actions are true to each characters. I hope fits with Mark Kennedy's philosophy that ''true comedy comes from character''.
Eyes were another battle. Finding those moments when the eyes would meet add chemistry between the two characters.
Last choice I must mention is the crossing of the legs. This was suggested by Matt, given the character a more youthful and less formal pose. This appears true of my character. In my previous role at Computershare, instead of sitting on the seat of the bus stop like an adult, you'd find me crouched in the grass like a gnome, reading my latest choice of book. What can I say, it just feels more free!!
The goal of this piece was to present a two character relationship and play with the musical timing of the audio. It's been a challenge.
Matthew talked about a piece of animation being a composition. With little notes and beats to hit. Not hitting them, is an opportunity missed.
I'm not saying this piece is good. There is plenty of room for improvement. Hopefully, I can take his notes forward and use them to take an important stepping stone to my first industry experience.