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Overdoing it

Posted on February 3, 2010 2 Comments
Filed under Acting, Animation, Education

Avatar’s producer Jon Landau made a very interesting comments some time ago and a lot of people failed to understand what he was talking about.

Here is an extract from the article published in the Australian

To me, it’s the exact opposite,” Landau says. “Our goal on this movie was not to replace the actor, it was to replace the animator. If you think about it, what a great actor does and what a great animator does are antithetical to one another.

“A great actor withholds information. Dustin Hoffman in All the President’s Men can sit there and do nothing. No animator would ever allow that, they would put in a twitch. So our objective was to preserve Sam Worthington’s performance and have that be what you see in those characters.”

As animator we find it difficult to keep our characters completly still. Because we get paid to animate and because we love to see animated things we feel compelled to add twich, eye darts, shoulder raise. Top Disney animator Mark Hen made a similar comment in one of the Animation Mentor lectures and more recently the good people from the “Speaking of animation”.

The reason I am bringing this topic today is because I found a very cool clip that will illustrate something very similar.

The modelling industry has very specialised professionals called “Body parts models”. Don’t believe me? Hit the link ( Those people get hired for photo-shoots mainly when nice looking hands, arms, shoulders, bums …. are required. They are obviously cheaper than full body models but do the trick for close ups. Now the problem is that very often those “body part models”, similarly to animators, just… just overdo it! Instead of “straight acting” their part, and just display what they are supposed to display, they feel compelled to “hit the pose” and come up with the most over-the-top gesture or poses that will justify their pay check.

Now I have a very cool clip where you can see one of those models illustrating this perfectly. Pay attention, well, how could you not pay attention to the silly hand gestures of the woman holding the Emmy award on the right hand side. It is so over the top that Ellen DeGeneres can’t help mimicking her towards the end of the clip.

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