As you may have seen in one of my previous posts, in the last week and a bit we have had Ed Hooks lecturing us at Bournemouth Uni. Now his lecture series has come to a close I'd thought I would share with you some of my thoughts about his theories, and expand a little bit more my previous post and the question are animators actors?
First of all I'll talk about the last of his lectures. We started looking at psychological stuff, more specifically status transactions and negotiations. Ed Hooks says that status transitions happen all the time through 'negotiation'.
A conversation is a perfect example of status transition. For example students give a lecturer high status by listening to them, then when a student asks a question the status is transferred to the student as people are listening to them now. A good example of a negotiation is eye contact, we do this all the time, when people catch you looking at them and you look away quickly. You are 'negotiating' at this point, if you hold their gaze you're engaging them in some way, whether it be showing you're listening or challenging them. When you look away you are saying 'fine you caught me I don't want anything to happen'.
He went on to talk about how as humans we see 80% and hear 20%, therefore what you show the audience carries more power than what is being said. This is where 'psychological gestures' come into a performance. This is when an actor makes a gesture that contrasts what is being said, and by doing so adding some more depth to a performance.
For me personally this is a really fascinating way of seeing our social interactions, it's really interesting how quick negotiations can be and how our body language can contrast what we're saying, it definitely puts a new perspective on things when I'm people watching. As Ed says, if you're an animator, you have a licence to stare!
Animators & Actors
There was some more stuff Ed talked about regarding heroes and villains, human emotions and micro expressions, but I'll save that for another day. I am now going to delve into the are animators actors debate once again.
I said in my previous post that I believed animators were actors. I wrote this post after coming out of the lecture, and I had my stubborn head on. After posting I had a discussion with a course mate about the issue and it really got me thinking.
My course mate (who isn't an animator) agreed with Ed on the issue of the present moment vs the illusion of the present moment, whereas I've always gone with the whole 'animators are actors with a pencil' argument. The case I was making was that Hooks' argument lies solely on one point, a big point, but still just one part of a larger process, and if the process is almost identical then I don't believe the two areas can be so definitively separated. Hooks' argument essentially boils down to spontaneity and that animators cannot really achieve this as an actor would. Anyway this debate left me thinking for a few days about my stand point on the whole issue.
So some time went by and i had another discussion with an animator this time. We discussed some more things Ed talked about, in particular delving deeper into the present moment argument. I mentioned Ed made a point about eyebrows. That an actor is not concentrating on his eyebrows during a scene, but as an animator we think about them for every frame and what they're doing and when exactly, emphasising his theory of the present moment again. He believes the characters are the actors, which is fine, they are technically the ones 'on stage'. But surely just as a live action actor would get into the character, an animator does as well. It just happens to be for a significantly longer period of time.
My animator friend then came back and said that an acting choice is an acting choice no matter how long it takes to arrive at that decision and if you're not a performer you'll never "get" the character enough to convince people. This is exactly what I agree with, to create a convincing performance you have to 'get' the character, regardless of the medium you are using to create the performance.
It was nice to hear that someone shared my original views of Ed Hooks' theory, and after some more time deliberating I've decided I am going to disagree with Ed Hooks, and I'm going to stick with my original belief that animators are actors. But it is nice to now have a deeper understanding of why I believe this.
Well that was a long post, I hope people out there find this stuff as interesting as I do, it's nice to get into discussions about these things, it gets you thinking. If you made it to the end congratulations. :)