Think about the most compelling characters in animation- Woody, Simba, even Mr. Incredible - we see the wonder, pain, joy come through on their faces. We connect, relate, and root for them. Good on-camera actors know how to do this. And as we all know, animating IS acting. We want to distill the moment, bring out the personalities, frailties, eccentricities of our characters. Like Frank and Ollie said, we want to create “the illusion of life." 

On-Camera Acting Tools for Animators

Whether the creature is an animal or a human, single shot or a sequence of shots, having the skills and tools of an on-camera actor is what will bring your animation to "infinity and beyond." Whether you are making your own reference, or animating your scene under deadline, these classes can take your animators from technicians to storytellers. 

All workshops or consulting options are customizable. See what workshop fits you or your company's needs. 

Meet Your Face

This session is designed to give the animator a tour around their own face. I’ll supply the tools and show them how to locate, isolate, activate specific facial muscle groups in order to elicit certain feelings. In doing so, the animator can experience, first hand, what emotions feel like in the body, sound like in the voice and look like on their face.  

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Emotion Building

Emotion Building takes the animator through the whole emotion building process. From the onset (trigger) to the response (emotional state) to the recovery and all points in between.

 This course isn’t about dredging up or dwelling on past events. it’s about combining science with imagination. 

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Analyze This!

In this session, the animator will gain the tools and information needed to analyze and interpret storyboards, previz, voice tracks, and/or direction to clarify the intent of the shot. These skills can be used to create better reference for the shots and to determine the cadence of the action, facial or otherwise. 

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Character Facial Development- Consulting

This is project-specific.  Here I work with small groups or 1 on 1 to build character or develop personality through facial expression. Consultation packages also available.

 

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... creating interesting and unique characters or a useful and inspiring reference, starts with knowing what the emotional muscle groups look and feel like on your own face and how to activate them and then reveal them with the appropriate timing, intensity and duration.   

Meet Your Face: The Animator's Guide to How Your Face Speaks

Format: Lecture/Class exercises Venue: In studio or  Zoom  Class  Duration: 1/2 day

This session is designed to give the animator a tour around their own face. I’ll supply the tools and show them how to locate, isolate, activate specific facial muscle groups in order to elicit certain feelings. In doing so, the animator can experience, first hand, what emotions feel like in the body, sound like in the voice and look like on their face.  We will also touch on how to create a truthful response. This introductory session to emotions and emotional facial expression is the first step the animator takes down the path towards learning how to make the inner emotional connection and express it outwardly, on your face. 

  • Acquire the tools and information to activate and isolate the individual emotional muscle groups.
  • Learn what specific emotions look and feel like on your own face.
  • Learn how to adjust the intensity level of emotional expression
  • Experience how the emotion grows from the most subtle to the full expression.
  • Learn how to pinpoint and connect to a trigger with the appropriate timing.

 

The animator who knows how to explore a character’s internal life and express it accurately through their body, voice and face will be better prepared to make a more detailed and useful reference which, translates into a more believable and interesting character. 

EMOTION BUILDING

Format: Lecture/Class exercises Venue: In studio or  Zoom  Class  Duration: 1/2 day This session can be combined with MEET YOUR FACE for Full Day

Using what we have learned in the Meet Your Face Session, Emotion Building takes the animator through the whole emotion building process. From the onset (trigger) to the response (emotional state) to the recovery and all points in between. This course isn’t about dredging up or dwelling on past events. it’s about combining science with imagination.  I  will also cover: 

  • How to create and relate a history that makes the emotional response credible and dynamic. 
  • How to you the emotional muscle group to start the emotion building process
  • How to pinpoint and connect to a trigger with the appropriate timing.
  • Experience how the emotion grows from the most subtle to the full expression to the recovery.
  • How to use sensations and impulses to deepen character motivation and action  

Knowing how to analyze and interpret material and/or direction is a vital skill and what often separates technicians from storytellers.  It guides the animator in and out of any shot or sequence, gives clarity to what the shot is about and lays a path not only to the big moments, but all the smaller, more intimate moments as well.

Analyze This!

Format: Lecture/Class exercises: Full-Day or 2 - 1/2 Days (This is a follow-up to either Finding the Emotion On Your Face or The Emotional Facial Experience workshops.) Note: This class is not film or project-specific.

 

In this session, the animator will gain the tools and information needed to analyze and interpret storyboards, previz, voice tracks, and/or direction to clarify the intent of the shot. These skills can be used to create better reference for the shots and to determine the cadence of the action, facial or otherwise. These skills also help stop over-animating as students can see what is really important to get across to the audience. The class will help lay a path not only to finding the big moments but all the smaller, more subtle moments, which are what makes a character most real and believable. 

The life of an emotion- how to evoke an emotion and guide it through the body, voice and face.

How to find all the emotions in a scene and determine which ones are best for telling the story 

  • How to make a more truthful, useful and inspirational reference.
  • Learn to break down, analyze and interpret material and verbal direction.
  • How to use facial expressions to define character, enhance a type or go against a type.
  • How to interpret and incorporate nonverbal cues.

BOOK JOHN HERE

Click the box below to set up a time to discuss your needs and to determine how we can be of service.

Character Facial Consulting - Project Specific

Format: Small groups or 1 on 1

Duration: TBD

Description: Working with animator, animation director, or modeler to build character or develop personality through facial expression.

Interpret and break down voice tracks, previz, character designs and descriptions, sequence footage, Mocap or FACS data and other sequence materials turned over or generated by production. (Can be either mocap or keyframe project.)

Available in Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

ACTING: FACE TO FACE

Check out the Acting: Face to Face Series. Both books are now available in digital and paperback. 

"These books are worth their weight in gold!"

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