Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Ed Hooks and Nicolas Schmerkin: Autour de Minuit

Ed Hooks - What is it - Fear?
Ed Hooks - Suspending Disbelief
(Remember, if you click on the pictures you can see them larger)

Ed Hooks - Acting for Animators - Masterclass

Drawings Copyright (c) Jenny Soep 2008

Wow, what a first day! 4 hours of fun, laughter, agony, tension, involvement, and empathy with Ed Hooks workshop 'Acting for Animators' with the final conclusion ' - 'It's not possible to go too far as long as honesty and truth are beneath it', pinpointing this particular era as being a very exciting time for Animators. The enlightening phrase 'We have a license to stare' and the proclamation of our duty as storytellers in this noble profession were encouraging. Hey, I don't know why I'm including myself in that statement; must be the wannabe animator in me. I don't believe anyone who attends these workshops will walk away uninspired without the realisation that we all have stories to tell, each with the potential to engage and entertain an audience.

What did we learn today? Empathy: to put emotion into - Sympathy: to feel emotion for - 'the audience don't want to follow something's pursuit of death, we want to watch something's pursuit to live - the moment a baby is born, it fights to live - the moment just before a person dies, they fight to live'. Well, I don't know if that's entirely true - there was a very intriguing debate over the film 'Leaving Las Vegas' starring Nicholas Cage where Ed felt it was a waste of money to invest in a film where at the beginning we're told the main character is going to drink himself to death, which he then does. What some members of the audience pointed out was among other things, that the entertainment of the film lay in the female main character's struggle to change his mind, her desire for him to pursue life.
I also agreed with these opinions that the film had a very valid raison d'etre in that the desire to end life does exist, and we as the audience want to feel we're not alone in being unable to change the minds of those in our lives who desire their own oblivion. Some excellent examples to learn class acting - Charlie Chaplin's 'Gold Rush', Marlon Brando in 'Street Car Named Desire', and references to an excellent animation 'The Iron Giant' with examples of adrenalin moments, heroes and villains.

There was some good live examples using a couple of volunteers from the audience to participate in Ed's role playing experiments. All in all, very worthwhile if you want to know how to flesh out the characters in your stories.

Masterclass with Nicolas Schmerkin, Autour de Minuit:'Flesh', hairy girls, and splicing mice...

Nicolas Schmerkin - The Terrorist...

Nicolas Schmerkin - Experimenting

Then for something completely different - Masterclass with Nicolas Schmerkin, a French producer for the company Autour de Minuit, who have produced a wide ranging group of challenging and experimental multi award winning films. From the humerous 3D animation 'Dog Days' that challenged our perceptions of commercial beauty and success, to the 'in your face' political and provocative 'Flesh', via splicing mice and chick fights, we were bombarded with treats. It was a late show, (9-11(ish)pm) but very much worth the wait.

Anyway, enough about me and my opinions of it all - if you attended the events yourself and you disagree, then post a comment. If you didn't get to go, then buy some tickets (if there's still some left!) and come along to join the debate in what's good or not, what's the worth, get educated, and be entirely entertained along the way!!

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