It took a lot longer than I expected to arrive at this layout. A lot of rethinking and reworking throughout the week. I was over-complicating things. You know when you have an idea in your head and you can’t fully see it but you know what you’ve got on the screen in front of you isn’t it? Yeah…
I think I got close in the end though.
Shooting reference is always fun. It’s like being a kid again, running around the house, jumping on the furniture (don’t tell Mum). I’m not a natural actor and as soon as there’s a camera around I get self-conscious (even if there’s no one else in the room). But I think I’m starting to get the hang of how to use video reference in my workflow. I like to shoot a lot of takes and then chop it up, find the best pieces from each take and stitch them together. My background in editing is useful here. Then when I get to animating, I find the reference mostly useful for timing. The poses will always need to be pushed and pulled in different directions to strengthen them and give them greater appeal. But honouring the timing of the reference has yielded me good results in the past, at least for more naturalistic styles of animation. With this piece I want to focus on really strong poses, so I’ve pulled out some key poses from the reference and use those as a base going into blocking. From there I’ll work iteratively, gradually fleshing it out.
One thing I’m not too happy with in this reference is the facial performance. The main guy is too angry throughout the piece. I think the performance needs to be peppered with more moments of jollity and revelry in this fantasy he’s having.
With this project I find myself struggling with how broad to go. On one hand I feel like some of my acting choices are far too literal and obvious but on the other hand… it’s a musical. I think that gives you license to be big and theatrical and kinda cliche.
I wanted to have the character designs all done and dusted this week as well but it didn’t happen. I did some research though. I’m trying not to look at any stuff from the actual musical so I can do a fresh take on it.
I’m starting to realise how close this is feeling to the source material. Not that I’ve seen the stage show, but the names Bonnie and Clyde surely conjure up certain images. We’re always encouraged at AM, to steer well away from the source material. Students frequently take dialogue into entirely different and often zany contexts. Personally I find it can feel a little contrived if it’s too far removed. The reason for avoiding similarities is that you don’t want the audience to be comparing what they’re seeing to what they remember from the film or show. This is also why you shouldn’t use audio clips that are iconic or highly recognisable, because the audience will bring their own baggage attached to the scene or the character or the actor from which the dialogue is taken. Which shouldn’t be too big a problem here since the show only ran on Broadway for a month or so.
I guess all I’m really taking from the source is the setting. Because I thought it was cool and fun and interesting and a period piece is something you don’t typically see in animation. I’m not using the character of Clyde, although my character probably bares a lot of similarities. But I think that’s only because the cues I’m taking for the character’s personality are based off my interpretation of the lyrics and vocal performance, which I would be foolish to ignore purely for the sake of originality.
I’m not sure who I’m arguing with here… I think I’m mostly just trying to justify my choices to myself. =P