It’s been a while. Been busy so whatever I’ll be posting I’ll try for it to be helpful. So, with that said I have to say I just love the internet. Really. What a wealth of invaluable information.
I found some links of some actors sharing their thoughts on acting, that I wanted to pass on. How that translates to what we do as animators, I wanted to bring my thoughts on as well:

This what a great one as he basically is telling us, sometimes you don’t need to do much to convey strong powerful emotions in the scene. Sometimes is nice to let the camera do part of their job. If you have a slow push in on the character, but the character is moving a lot, what happens is, first you miss what the camera is trying to do. Second you miss a great opportunity to get internal on the character. As animators (especially starting) we always have this desire to do a lot, to always have our character gesturing, to have a wide range of facial expressions. Well, some shots will call for that, but other ones certainly will not. So keep that in mind when approaching your shots. There is a nice sentence he says at the end where he goes “Don’t signal to us what you are feeling, speak the text, be clear”.

Another area he discussed, which I thought was great, was when he was talking about a Meryl Streep’s comment on one of her scenes. Her point being that sometimes concentrating too much sometimes creates the opposite effect to what we want, because by concentrating we are tense, we are thinking about it too much, etc. So sometimes is the opposite (lack of concentrating) what we want. Just letting go and relax and see what comes out. Think about that when shooting video reference for your shots. It’s not always good trying too hard to bring out some sort of emotion.

Wonderful stuff. Interesting the thought from Rod Stieger as wel as James Lipton throughout. Ultimately it’s about the choices in the scene. As animators, you can have great polish, great poses, etc…but if the acting choices aren’t there, then you still got nothing. That’s why it’s great to observe what great actors do…definitely observe what real people do. There you’ll find really unique stuff. As actors we are always doing our own interpretation of a feeling, an emotion, a moment. But real people when they do that, it really is the real thing. So watch documentaries. It’ll give you absolutely great choices.

Think about this for a second. Imagine you have to animate a scene in where a kid is struggling thinking about something. The scene could go in a lot of different ways…he could be struggling in a sad way, he could be struggling as if he knows something but doesn’t remember it, he could be struggling as if he doesn’t want other people to know, you call it. Well, you can act out that stuff, but you can always find real case scenarios like the documentary Spellbound where you’ll find plenty of cases where kids are thinking, struggling and coming up with wonderful choices.

Back to the Brando Method, there is a section where James Lipton puts it very clear:

“[…]…2 actors and a Director making choices that are unique to the actors, that are unforgettable and that have made a four minute scene one of the most famous moments in cinema history”

There is a scene talked about in part 3 about the scene of Brando/Eva Marie Saint and the glove from “On the Waterfront”. It’s great in terms of working with the circunstances, given an accident (glove dropping) and doing something different and special with it. Read more on it here. All of a sudden, Brando adds a new dimension to the scene, something that was real, that both him and her could work with. In the animation world, it’s always something worth exploring for me. What props are in the scene, is there something on the set that I can use? Can I do something additional in the exchange between characters that not only does what the scene calls for and what the director wants, but adds an additional layer of interest? Many times this is hard, but when you find it, it certainly pays off.

Watch all three parts of the Documentary on Brando. It gives you a new insight on what it is that we do. This is to me what we aspire as animators. In creating scenes that while are very much on character they still have unique and original acting choices that are memorable, real and thruthful.

Hope this helps.
Have a great Sunday.

Carlos.