The end of the month of July suggests the end of the Direction in Animation course with Anthony Wong. And it was two very inspirational and creative weeks. Yes, I know, these words are being used and abused among creative artists so much, but when you have a chance to do nothing but create and still take it easy, at the end it is very inspirational wether you like the results or not. One way or another, people learn here a lot.
In my previous post, i mentioned we had various opportunities to take direction. This second week was defined by more story practices while Anthony concluded with the short film story so we could take it to a motion capture studio and see what this opportunity could give us with what we have prepared for the occasion. But to be able to reach the point to have a complete story ready on time and yet still with some level of satisfaction, we worked simply had to work closely together.
We designated 3 story teams with storyboard artists in their cores, Anthony shared his feedback about areas of the story which he considered not working, he also used feedback from his friends from PIXAR, and gave the 3 story teams goals to come up with ideas to fix and take further the sequences they became responsible for. What a way to develop collaborative art. Anthony is a very self-motivated man and his standards and expectations he has for himself are pretty high. So when he arrived, he was not really happy with that current state of the story, so the challenge was in the air, while not having too much time before we were to shoot. But to my sincere excitement, after having the story teams work on the issues under Anthony’s direction, he told me one day that things improved so much now he was (almost) happy. Great, nothing more satisfying then making your director happy
The next day we moved to the motion capture studio. It was a new experience for everybody. I realised how much acting skills this opportunity requires and if you realise that most animators are really bad actors, I felt like we just test the suits, have fun and yet label the recorded work useless. And I still don’t know how it turned out, but we managed to make all the shots and if anything, it gives us a really great chance to use the data for further development. And that’s really the point to achieve better results, Development to me is about cycles of tests and intense work that could eventually end up being “only” a good experience to go in a different direction. But it is so useful to be able to make up our minds and do it visually. We have yet one more session at the studio, so there we go with our second cycle.
This two week opportunity was put together with a specific idea to create an environment in which people can develop quick ideas, storyboards, block character moments with unique rigs and prepare a short film for shooting. Two weeks pack with opportunities. So I love what people can do when they are given a chance. I feel like it does not really matter if you have experience or skills, if the set up is professional or not, if there is a production that takes care of your catering and lunches, instead, you don’t need much to create and develop. All that matters is dedication and a simple goal to exploit each moment and ideas that happen to be available at the moment of sharing and working together. Collaborative research and development is the key to success (to me). If you have a direction. And that’s all that matters to me during development of a project and I definitely wanted to bring this mindset more and more to the core of ANOMALIA training and networking.
To me, a development phase, if done collaboratively and focused and with the “right” people, is the most important part of the craft. A project cannot skip properly dedicated development, a training opportunity should not either. Because dev is about learning, so to me, training and development is one.