I wanted to bring the subject of timing back, but this time as opposed to the “American Beauty” clip example, how it applies to comedy in this case. I chose an example from “Seinfeld” because it’s a show I’ve been learning a lot about in different areas. So much gold in this show. Can’t recommend it enough to animators. So first, watch this particular clip of George changing his mind about something:

In this clip there is a lot going on…many of which we can easily take for granted. So what I gather from it is:

  • George changes his mind…TWICE.
  • First time he says “Five Thousand”…quickly goes into getting more excited while saying “Ten Thousand”. The excitement and confidence level when he says it is so high (“Ten….TEN thousand”) that when he changes his mind next, the contrast is so high it instantly becomes funny.
  • Additionally, the timing in the through process is considerably different from the first thinking time to the second thinking time.
  • Pay attention to the body language in this second longer thinking time…especially what’s going on with the shoulders/arms. Very subtle…but somehow it shows disconfort, and almost builds it up.
  • His facial expressions should be mentioned…especially on the non-dialogue moments. Sometimes you get facial expressions almost as if he’s saying “I’m awesome”. If you have that inmediately followed by someone doing something completely opposite, the contrast again makes the situation very enjoyable for us the audience.
  • The arm gestures work and again add comedy. The reason being is because of the subtext going on in these gestures. When he says “Five Thousand” the second time, pay attention to the gestures…and see what they tell you. To me, my interpretation was “Yep, I’m back on my original course of thinking”.
  • If we add his over the top performance with that of Jerry/Elaine which seem very relaxed tthroughout the whole conversation, that makes the overall interaction a lot more interesting.
  • The overall thing is also working because the personality complements the performance, and adds more comedy/enterntainment value to it. This choice of acting wouldn’t work as good in a character with different personality.

I hope this makes sense.
Have a good week everyone.

Carlos.