Just imagine for second that I’m representative of PIXAR Studio (it feels awesome!). I approach to you, “Sir, tell me any date, I’ll give you 3 minutes, hit me with your best, doesn’t matter you come today, after months or a year! Show me what you got? All the best. Thank You!”
How does it feel? What will be your steps? Are you thinking or not? Let me tell you one thing, its not hypothetical situation, this day will come. But here is the question; don’t you think that we should be prepared for this day? Start from right now. Think that you already have got a call and you have to prepare.
[If you are just starting in Animation, your first response will be “3 minutes, are you kidding?”
But I’m not, believe me! Every year there are Global Competitions for 2 to 8 minutes short animated movies. Some of us call it “Demo Reel” or “Show Reel”.]
So here is magic formula . . . Don’t get excited, (There is no magic formula, like a Secret Ingredient in Kung fu Panda.) But will make A Magic Formula.
For that we will start with First and Most important variable. (Ya this is the magic ingredient.)
What makes the best? Let’s find out. You must have seen many best movies of Best studios Like Disney, PIXAR, Warner Brothers, DreamWorks… As an audience you loved that movies don’t you? So what’s that which makes you fall in love with them?
In that movies we sing with characters, they made us laugh, sometimes excited, some times when shark comes we think he is coming after us, we care for the heroes. Sometimes we feel, “I wish I could help him”
Are you realizing the Magic Variable? It’s our involvement…
Ya “Audience Involvement” is the magic ingredient. You can see that in every best Animation Movie. No matter its Toy Story, A bug’s Life, All Disney Movies, Kung Fu Panda, Ratatouille and All (that we loved). Audience Involvement comes with three Basic Parts.
I know that what are you thinking, that what about Motions then? Remember this, audience believe that whatever way the character moves it suppose to be moved this way.
Let me simplify, whatever the animator do for walking, jumping… and all actions the viewer considers that they are normal (how insane is that?). They don’t know it’s so much difficult to animate running horse, but they wonder that what beautiful horse is doing in story. , how does he feel? what is his motive behind the motion? And human eye easily find faults in motion, for that one need not to be an expert.
For Audience Involvement, motion should be clean so that it won’t distract their common sense.
Let’s look at the Story part; the story must be entertaining and simple with traditional approach.
(The Setup – Conflict – Resolution)
Always remember that “Bad story can not be survived by the Best Animation and Bad Animation can not be survived by Best story”.
For holding audience it does not mean that your story should be suspense. And similarly most of the time people get misunderstood that Entertaining means the one which is Comic, no way! We don’t need to create forced Comedy sequence if it’s not the part of the script.
Don’t create circus either.
Now look at the Characters, on the stage, character become alive when it moves the way it should and makes his decisions himself.
The personality is important part of it. The most important part is that it should be like human i.e. it should have some human characteristics (emotions, physics etc).
That makes easier for him to be with audience.
There are presumptions about some animals or type of caricature already in audience’s mind. They are generalizations use them effectively. (Like wolf is mean, rabbit is helpless, etc). There can exceptions too. That is creating a scorpion as kind creature, it will be challenging but it’s possible.
Like they have done in Shrek, the lead character looks slight ugly but they made him Hero (awesome!)
Finally Emotions, it’s very important, the physiology, facial expressions and dialogs, constitute emotions of character on screen. You must find out the kind of message character wants to deliver through his emotions. The mean character is mean when he does, speaks, behaves mean. The stupid character is stupid because his way of behaving through his actions, words and expressions.
You have to master all these skills of emotions; you are the one who brings them to life.
Finally at the end lets see what we have learned about Magic Ingredient “Audience Involvement” , It consists three things that must be best and that are “ Good Story”, “Characters”, “Emotions” and one that is hidden “Clean Motions”
I’ll discuss in detail all the three things that are essential for “Audience Involvement” and in upcoming articles.
In next article I’ll discuss about the “Story”
Stay with me, we will definitely make the Magic formula for Best Animation Movie (It may be of 2 minutes or of 2 Hours) don’t we?
For All Animation Story Writing Lessons click here