Acting for Animators: A Complete Guide to Performance Animation Paperback – 2 Sep 2003
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A guide to acting theory for animators, covering such topics as the audience, movement, speech, the camera, and form.
Top customer reviews
Ed Hooks opens up the animators world magnificently. Ed takes you on a journey to the beating heart of the animators art and the essence of animation storytelling. The book is rich with fascinating stories, references, practical insight and ideas. I would recommend this as essential reading, not only for aspiring and practising animators but an essential for actors, directors and anyone who loves animation in any way.
It has left me with a far greater appreciation for the animator as well an arsenal of perspectives to apply in my work. I just wish I could draw.
For example in a section on "male/female relationships" in game animation he writes:
"Most often, the male and female characters (in games) do not relate on a sexual level at all, and everybody knows that is not realistic. A female may be a warrior in a game, but she is also built to have babies. ... it is not okay to deny her the choice (of having children) just because she is a character in a videogame."
In another section, on empathy, he describes how we are "hardwired by nature to respond negatively" to someone who is suffering from depression, and suggests everyone will "pull away emotionally" if depressed people don't "get it together" within a few months. The author is trying to make a point about the difference between empathy and sympathy, but ends up sounding rather heartless towards those with chronic mental illnesses, whom he describes as "pursuing death instead of life". (To be fair, he does suggest "buying them a beer" and "setting them up with a girl", but nothing about actually helping them seek treatment.)
I'm not trying to be politically correct, it is okay for authors to have radically differing opinions on social issues. The problem here is that his one-sided comments seem very out of place in a book about acting, because they make you wonder whether or not the author is able to see things in real life from other people's points of view. Surely that's quite an important quality in an actor?
Hooks uses examples from film as well as animation to illustrate each of his concepts. He also gives brief introductions to many acting theorists, enough for the reader to understand the theories, without necessarily having to read the original texts.
At the end of the book there are several acting exercises for the reader. These exercises all work best with a group so try them out with your class or find a few friends and practice them together.
Included with the book, is a CD-Rom of videos further illustrating some of the concepts discussed in the text. While it is a little basis, some may find it useful for its demonstrations of the "efforts" of Rudolf Laban.
This is a pretty useful book. It was short enough that I could read it in a couple of evenings and it gave me just enough of an introduction to theories for me to be able to decide which ones I wanted to learn more about. The animation specific acting pointers were useful as well, such as considering what the character may have been doing before the shot started and what they may be going to do when it's over. So, while brief, I would recommend this book to anybody who's finding their animation isn't quite working - all the motion is there but there isn't that spark that makes it perfect. This book will give you the advice you need to make believable, engaging animation.
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