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Ed Hooks Offers On-line Coaching
How about if you and I work together one-on-one? If you are preparing a new showreel or even completing an ":11-second club" class assignment, I can help you strengthen the performance animation. If you simply want to improve your general understanding of acting basics, we can do that with discussion + a few exercises I can give you. We can discuss storytelling and screenplay basics, working together on your current project. In reality, excellent acting cannot be isolated from excellent story and compelling characters. We can do it all over Skype in just five hours. I charge US$110 per hour, or US$499 for five hours. Payment accepted via Pay Pal. All we have separating us are time zones. See you on-line! EdHooks@EdHooks.com.
Recommended: Robi Engler's Excellent Animation Book for Beginners
If you know somebody who's just starting out in animation, or who is asking you a lot of questions about it, Robi Engler's book, Animation Cinema Workshop: From Motion to Emotion is the ticket. It's a soup-to-nuts look at the different kinds of animation you can do, plus it is an easy-to-understand workbook. 300 pages long and chock full of essential and entertaining information. Robi is one of those vastly experienced pros who just happens to also be a world-class instructor. Good stuff, clearly presented. Cover price is US$37, available through Amazon.
"As you grow up, always tell the truth, do no harm to others, and don't think you are the most important being on earth. Rich or poor, you then can look anyone in the eye and say, 'I'm probably no better than you, but I'm certainly your equal.' " Harper Lee (1926-2016)
Check Me Out on CartoonBrew.Com
I wrote an acting analysis for all five feature films nominated in the Best Animated Feature Film category for this year's Academy Awards. You can find the article on CartoonBrew.com. Enjoy!
Craft Notes: "Animated movies today all seem to look alike . . ."
Alê Abreu, writer-director of the Oscar-nominated Brazilian animated feature film, Boy and the World, said something very important in a recent interview he gave to Deadline.Com:
"What I see happening with the movies is that there has been a standardization . . ., like all the movies came out from the same production company. And I think this is very poor, because if they are standard, they’re not taking advantage of the full scope; animation can be much more than that — can be much more than just technical."
He's right. I teach animators all around the world, and most of the work I see is in the Pixar style. My impression is that this is because animation teachers hold Pixar up as a standard of perfection, and so animation students want to do the same kind of thing. The problem is that Pixar today is no longer what Pixar was when it created Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. Back then, it was a scrappy, individualistic studio located 300 miles away from Hollywood. In 1995, nobody but that handful of Pixar co-founders thought CG was a good idea. John Lasseter and his team just went along their own idealistic path and made Toy Story anyway. And it changed the entire industry. Those were grand and exciting times, and the CG "look" was new.
Today, Disney owns Pixar lock, stock and barrel. John Lasseter, Ed Catmull, and the other Pixar pioneers are billionaires (that's billionaires, with a "b"), and the studio makes its movies on an assembly line. Storywise, the quality has plunged since Monsters, Inc. The plastic appearance of the CG characters has improved dramatically, and effects like hair, water, and smoke have been perfected. In fact, this year's Oscar nominee Inside Out is beautiful to behold. The script, however, is weak — largely because of the pace of production. (See my notes and analysis of the film at CartoonBrew.Com.)
It is time to stop copying Pixar. Animators everywhere need to find their own cinematic and storytelling voices, just the way that Alê Abreu has done with Boy and the World. His movie, also nominated for the Academy Award, cost only US$500,000 to make and is drop-dead beautiful. I recommend everybody study it and see exactly what he and his small team of animators have accomplished. In many respects, I think Boy and the World is the best of the five nominated films this year.