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Ears motion

Posted on January 4, 2016 
Filed Under Acting, Education, Reference | Leave a Comment

I had never seen such a good example of how much the ears can move up and down when the face stretches. We are talking about nearly 1 cm here!!!



Posted on June 7, 2013 
Filed Under Acting, Animation, Education | Leave a Comment

I just discovered some really fun and catchy music videos based on News footage with very colorful characters and doing a bit more research on how those were done, I realized they were using a music software plug-in called Auto-Tune which allows to tweak the pitch of an audio clip.

So I am not going to talk about Auto-tune, instead, I want to share with you a nice video clip where X-factor’s Simon Cowell does a great “Take” following a contestant’s attack on one of the jury. This is almost a “double take” and it is so cool to be able to see his thought process so clearly and more than anything, the fact that it happens at the same time he was finishing his previous action (he was lowering his “cold pop”).

Obviously, I also have to share those other fun music videos I found. Those are real characters!

Jerry Seinfield: How to write a joke

Posted on December 22, 2012 
Filed Under Acting, Story | Leave a Comment

We hardly ever hear how stand up comedians and comedy writers work out their jokes so this is a short but pretty interesting video I think where Jerry Seinfield explains his thought process.

The video is pretty short but offers a starck contrast with an other New York Times interview where Seinfield’s co-creator Larry David explains his work practices. Skip to 7mins20 to hear his explanation ;-)

What is good acting?

Posted on October 23, 2012 
Filed Under Acting, Animation | Leave a Comment

I wouldn’t be able to give you a clear answer to that but I think we can all agree that the following example is a really fine piece of acting starring child prodigee Henry Thomas during an audition for 1982 Spielberg’s E.T.

The video just surfaced on the internet at the same time as an interview for Esquire magazine where he explains how he approached the audition.

“I read a scene from some early version of the script, and then I was asked to do an improvisation. I think the gist of the improv was, “You found someone, and they’re going to take them away from you, and it’s your friend, and you really don’t want your friend to go away.” So I started crying, and really going for it I guess.”

According to the Huffington Post, legend has it that Thomas drew his inspiration for the scene from a deceased family dog.

Okay kid, you got the job!

Thought process (The graduate) – video reference

Posted on March 23, 2012 
Filed Under Acting | Leave a Comment

I don’t normally watch TV but yesterday night I was so exhausted by a long day of doors sanding/painting and gardening that I only felt like switching on the evil box and got very lucky!

The evening started pretty badly with a weakly acted French TV series featuring an OCD striken police inspector reminiscent of Monk, then I found out that Dustin Hoffman was playing on two channels at the same time!

I started with 2008 “Last Chance Harvey” then got sucked into the very original 1967 “The Graduate”.

I had never seen “The graduate” but I loved it. It is a very light hearted movie with a fun spirit that reminded me of the French New Wave cinema for it’s very creative use of editing and reaaaalllly long shots. As noted by Mathieu Kassovitz in an after movie discussion, at four hundred, the amount of shots is well below the usual thousand to two thousand shots. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Nichols got some inspiration in watching Jean Luc Godard 1960’s “Breathless”.

The movie also features some really fun sequence transitions similar to what Ronnie Del Carmen boarded on “Up”, with the environment changing while the camera tracks the main character in the middle of an action. We see for example Hoffman leaps out of the swimming pool to lay flat on the bed of his lover ;-)

So! Such a long introduction to a very short shot that could have probably lasted few more minutes. I still think it is a great reference for Take/Thought process as it is very well acted and shows a clear change of thought. Beware, this is the very end of the movie so it contains a big spoiler.

The scene only starts 3 mins 56 into the clip but I created a bookmark just before so you don’t miss the very comic shot with the entire bus starring at the youth. A shot that probably summarizes part of the movie. Here is the bookmark followed by the entire clip.

Related posts:
Take – video reference
Kids take – video reference

Ken Fountain “Attitudes and Acting Beats”

Posted on January 13, 2012 
Filed Under Acting, Education, Friends | 2 Comments

Ken Fountain just released “Attitudes and Acting Beats”, a new video tutorial at the incredible price of $10.99.

Judging by the official blurb and teaser, that one is probably more about acting and motion analysis so it should appeal to everyone from beginners to professionals.

If you want to become a good animator, do no hesitate to buy that tutorial. At $10.99, don’t come up with silly ideas and tell me you can’t afford it! Ken Fountain worked on many movies at Dreamworks, graduated from Animation Mentor and is a current teacher at Ianimate so you are getting way more than a 90 minutes video.

I haven’t seen the tutorial yet but seeing all the effort he put into the last one, that one is a must buy.

Here are the official blurb and teaser:

The new video is officially released! Whew. My intent was to be able to focus on some of the specific areas of my process that people had asked me to elaborate on, and hopefully introduce some new ideas as well. So, in that light, this 90-minutes of lecture/demo is devoted entirely to the planning, video analysis and blocking processes, and the tools and concepts I use to execute these phases with consistency, clarity, and hopefully emotional appeal.

This video is heavy on analysis. I get very specific regarding the structures I use to breakdown a performance and turn it in to pose-able emotional moments; like text, context and subtext, a structure I use to really understand my character and their circumstance; and the pillars of my workflow – attitudes, beats and textures – to create the right body language and interesting rhythms I need to engage my audience. I also take the opportunity to go deeper in to the concept of character centers and how that can greatly effect you character’s movement as well as the graphic quality of your shot’s staging. And, as usual, you can watch my approach to staging and posing for a specific shot; one that I will carry through to the next two videos.

Thanks again for all of your input. I hope to be able to address it all over this 3-part series. And keep them relatively affordable (only $10.99!).

Buy it on the JRAwebinar website
and follow Ken Fountain Splatfrog studio on Facebook

Italian in 10 minutes, the power of gestures

Posted on December 19, 2011 
Filed Under Acting | 2 Comments

According to NLP, 55% of communication is made by gesture and body language. Watch this video and you will be amazed by how easily you understand Italian without any previous knowledge ;-)

Great reference for gestures or give personality to your characters.

Alfredo Cassano posted a nice series of illustrations on his blog. Make sure you see the three of them and maybe buy his book!

Related post:
Desmond Morris “The human animal”

Eye darts – video reference

Posted on November 27, 2011 
Filed Under Acting, Animation, Education | Leave a Comment

I was watching a documentary on the Sherman brothers and found that really good eye dart video reference with two actors only few inches away from each others. It is striking how much the actress’s eyes move around when she is looking successively at the left and right eyes then at the mouth. Also pay attention to the timing of the darts, it is between one and two frames and the eye lid seems to be delayed by one frame at time.

Related posts:
Kids take – video reference
Take – video reference

Kids take – video reference

Posted on November 6, 2011 
Filed Under Acting, Education, Reference | 2 Comments

Browsing Youtube is usually the best way to waste your time and kill your productivity but once in a while some great references emerge.

Check out that collection of Kids reactions when they ear their parents ate all their Halloween candies. It is hilarious and a precious reference to animate similar shots.

Related post:
Take – video reference

Take – video reference

Posted on October 4, 2011 
Filed Under Acting, Animation, Education, Reference | 2 Comments

While doing some research for my Character Design workshop I found that great acting moment in the Hammer’s 1960 adaptation of the 1886 Scottish novel where Dr Jekyll’s doctor friend start realising that the character standing before him is none other than his dear fellow.

Ideally we want to find real life references but those are really difficult to find and we usually don’t have a video camera rolling when we experience those moments so that sequence could be a great one to refer to when animating “takes” or when we try to conveying thought process.

Pay attention to how he relaxes the muscles around the eyes when in shock then contracts them with a subtle shift of the head as if to get closer and focus. Also notice the really interesting things he does with his lips, 10 then 12 seconds into it.

Hit the link for a quicktime version as usual and find the full movie below. It is an interesting take on the original story and it features the great Christoper Lee as the doctor’s wife lover. The featured sequence takes place around 1h26 into the movie.

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