An Animator’s Open Letter to Andy Serkis

 Via: Collider

Andy Serkis has become the public face of motion-capture technology and one of its biggest proponents. However, it seems that he also believe that a motion-capture performance is worthy of an Academy Award for acting.

Animator Tim Borrelli took issue with this and has crafted an open letter in response where he outlines why, if motion-capture is considered an “act”, then animators must also be considered “actors”.

It’s a very well written letter that does outline the fallacy of suggestion that motion-capture is really acting. Serkis’ stance is actually quite surprising, given the recent push to have motion-capture considered as animation. Thankfully, that campaign was rejected by the Academy, leaving motion-capture to inhabit a wasteland between live-action and animation.

Borrelli really does hit the nail on the head with this statement though:

Animators, both hand-keyed and motion capture artists, breathe life into their characters. They push performances of their characters to an artistic limit, based on the direction they are given

He’s absolutely right, and that fact has been gnawing away at animators for years (even decades) because they are never recognised as being actors, even though they produce an acted “performance” (one frame at a time).

It’s Now 10 Years Since the World Was First Spirited Away

 Via: Inside Pulse

Today marks ten whole years since Studio Ghibli first shared Spirited Away with the world. Thus far it is the only foreign film to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, which says a lot about it and its success with foreign audiences.

Spirited Away is one of my favourite films for the simple reason that it has a lot going for it. A great coming-of-age story, a quirky yet layered set of characters, fantastic animation that stays true to traditional methods while incorporating digital technology and a superb score by Joe Hisaishi all combine to make it a very enjoyable film yet at the same time remain an emotional tale.

Its hard to believe its now 10 years old but it is. A true testament to the deftness and skill of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. John Lasseter also deserves an honourable mention for handling the better than usual English dub.

Oliver Good over at The National has a nice write-up on how Spirited Away helped break the mould for Japanese movies.



Why You Should Remember That Cost is Not the Be All And End All in Animation

Via: USAToday

It can play a part, but it as with any movie it does not a winner make.

Take for example the Academy-Award nominated short, Let’s Pollute. Can you guess how mush it took to make it? That’s right, $15,000 or in other words, less than the cost of a new MINI Cooper.

This should be seen as a sign that films do not need to cost the earth and that with careful planning and execution, you can make a really funny film for very little money. It makes me think of the many student films on display at the annual ASIFA-East Festival. I’m sure they were made on a shoe-string but they are often some of the wittiest, humourous and inventive pieces of the evening.

The great thing about the rise of the internet is that distribution costs have now approached zero, so getting an audience for your film costs next to nothing. Now there are folks out there who decry the internet as a terrible place that will steal your first-born before making you money, but I beg to differ.

I have found that people tend to focus on different aspects of animation when it comes to judging quality. Some people look at backgrounds, others look at the direction, still others focus on the writing. I tend to focus on the characters, if they are interesting and complex enough to capture my attention then that is what makes a good film for me. Creating good characters costs next to nothing (in comparison to everything else).

So just keep that in mind when you think that good animation has to cost a lot of money. (It also takes away another excuse you had for not making that independent film!)