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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Rusty works in the animation industry doing Storyboards, Timing, Animation and Directing. Recently he has worked at Disney TV Animation and Universal Animation Studios. He's best known for his Directing and Producing for Warner Bros. on "Animaniacs" and "Pinky and the Brain".

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A World of Motivation

Animation film making and storytelling should always involve motivation. Too many times it seems that I see it missing in so many places. Take for instance a simple pan. To me a pan needs to me motivated by either the action or story point. Often I see storyboards where there's a slight camera adjustment simply because the artist couldn't keep their drawing inside the field. Camera adjustments should be to help reveal something or to include another character. For example, in the image presented here, the gag would be made funnier simply by starting on the smaller character then pulling out to reveal the bear getting ready to kick him. Remember in the haunted mansion ride at the Disney parks. The elevator at the beginning has paintings that seem to stretch. Each of those paintings reveal a gag once they are fully stretched out.
Motivation should also be what makes a character do what they do. Here is a simple list of questions to help understand the motivation in a scene.
1. Who or what are they reacting too?
2. Why does this scene exist?
3. How does the character feel about what just happened or is about to happen?
4. How does their environment effect them?
I always ask myself these kinds of questions when working on a scene either in story or in animation.
I wonder why more people don't look for the motivation behind the story points in a film. Convenience is not a motivation but rather a easy way out. It's used way to much in stories these days. Figuring out the proper motivation may take a little research or perhaps a new story point elsewhere in the story.
Let's analyze a quick idea here. Say we have a super-hero with extraordinary powers. There is a love interest who is in the proximity of a car and truck that are about to collide. The super-hero goes to prevent the accident. What is the motivation? The motivation might be to save the people in the car and truck. Or it might be to show off for the love interest. Depending upon the motivation will depend on how the super-hero feels, reacts, and even the out come of their actions.
So even a simple walk needs a motivation to know how the character will walk. And remember motivation isn't always positive.


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