Ok, this is something I’m actually not sure if I’ve ever talked about, but it’s everywhere.
Sometimes we hit a pose, and we hold in that pose…and we can be on that pose for a long time. The character is still alive thanks to either residual movements from hitting that pose, thanks to keep alive movements (breathing, eye darts, blinks, small mouth changes), etc. However, there are these things called micromovements (don’t know where I heard that word…don’t know if it’s the right word…but it makes sense to me). These are tiny actions within a hold pose that are still giving new acting ideas and choices.
The best example I saw recently is from the mockumentary “I’m Still Here” with Joaquin Phoenix. A piece with some interesting stuff in it. Some hilarious, some really random. Whatever. The section that cached my eye was the part with Sean Combs. In hearing the Director’s commentary, most people in this mockumentary are acting. And Sean Combs did a hell of a job in this section. This is the part where Joaquin Phoenix is showing Sean Combs his music for him to produce it and record an album. The situation is so awkward it’s hilarious. So as you watch this, check out Sean Combs hitting a pose (towards end of clip) and at that point his eyesdarts/eyelids/eyebrows as well as some really small head nods do the rest. Really tiny things. You may want to watch a few times. But these small movements in the head/eyes changes the direction of the character and the scene 180 degrees, and I find that really powerful.
WARNING: the music uses some strong words. Don’t watch if it offends.
This is the kind of stuff I can watch for hours as an animator. I hope you find it as helpful (and as entertaining) as I did.