Thursday, February 26, 2009


If you want your daily dose of pure unintentional comedy, then dial up this recent post over at Michael Barrier's blog. I won't bother refuting the various uninformed assertions in the post because I don't have the time, nor the energy to bother. Let a man have his fun, I say. Still, I figure somebody out there might find the irony of it amusing. His site is still interesting if you're into the minutiae of old Disney info (admittedly not my cup-o'-tea)


FleaCircusDirector said...

The book he's referring to is ANIMATED PERFORMANCE by Nancy Beiman which is out later this year.

It actually sounds reasonably interesting. She's got a background from CalArts and is on the credits of films from 1980 - 2005 as animator or character animator so seems reasonably qualified to write such a book. However, as Michael says she's lacking a bit on actual acting experience. But as Ed Hooks mentions in Acting for Animators, many animators are just not the type to get up on a stage in front of people.

I presume the argument for a complementary book to Eds', is that Ed's perspective is that of an actor where as her's is from that of an animator. This does potentially give the new book a different perspective which could be useful. So I for one will be investigating the book in more detail when it comes out.

However using theatre theory with animation is something that others as well as myself believe is important.

Michael's post is also answered by filmmaker Ray Kosarin who sums up with:
"A dedicated animator will be happy to learn from a traditional actor, another animator, a painter, a dancer, or a writer: in short, anyone at all with something worthy to teach."

Anonymous said...

His comments about how easy he thinks it is to be an animator are amazingly ignorant for a guy who's writing about Disney, and his assumption that only a method actor could have something to say on the subject of acting for animation remarkably arrogant. On the whole I found the whole post pretty vile.

But his words wouldn't have gotten such a rise out of me if there wasn't at least a grain of truth to them, and I think it's this: animators sometimes *are* stuck in a bubble, just looking at the past for inspiration and not at the world outside. Not the good ones, obviously, but a lot of us. For all his risible posturing, we need people to point that out sometimes so we don't get too self-absorbed.

FleaCircusDirector said...

Maybe, like the blind men and the elephant by focusing too much on one source of inspiration such as Disney or method acting it's easy to fall into the trap of believing you know everything when in fact there is still much to learn from others.

I whole heartedly agree with the idea of looking outside the bubble although I do take that too far sometimes.

David said...

"However, as Michael says she's lacking a bit on actual acting experience."

Um... you mean other than all the animated films she has credits on from 1980 - 2005 that you mentioned ?

(puts on Rodney Dangerfield voice)
"No respect, no respect at all. "

FleaCircusDirector said...

Sure, lots of animation experience but not so much in traditional acting as in getting up on a stage or in front of a camera or microphome. She's got that one credit as a voice artist some time back.
Hence why I think Nacy should have an interesting and different perspective on this topic to Ed.

Anonymous said...

I guess we're quibbling over terms here , but I would say that Nancy Beiman's "lots of animation experience" means that she DOES have acting experience . Not live-action acting on a stage or in the movies, but as an actor with a pencil. Since she's not writing a book on traditional (live) acting for stage or screen, but rather a book called "Animated Performance: Bringing Imaginary Characters To Life" I think her experience as an actor in the realm of animation is very relevant.

Of course, I was responding to the original comment "she's lacking a bit on actual acting experience" . I think most animators who have expended a great deal of thought and practice on what works for acting in animation would be a trifle put off to hear that they are "lacking in actual acting experience" . That comment could be taken to mean that animation is not considered "real" or acting . (maybe you didn't mean it that way, so forgive me for reading too much into your words.)
One thinks of Brad Bird's ire at being asked by the press : "so, Brad, when are you going to make a real movie?" Like "The Iron Giant, "The Incredibles", and "Ratatouille" were ... what ? (I realize you didn't say that , but I'm just bringing it up to show you where I'm coming from on this.)

For the record, I agree with the quote you posted from Ray Kosarin: "A dedicated animator will be happy to learn from a traditional actor, another animator, a painter, a dancer, or a writer: in short, anyone at all with something worthy to teach." and I'm sure most animators (including Nancy Beiman) would agree with it too.