Sunday, September 03, 2006

Acting and Animation are not the same thing

Here is some clarification on my last post about Carlo Vinci and believable human acting:

I like some Disney cartoons: Bambi, Blame It On The Samba The Nutcracker Suite, the dramatic scenes in Sleeping Beauty and many more.

Cartoons have many ways of entertaining us.

I analyze everything I watch and try to figure figure out what is making me like it. Then I share my discoveries for free with you. In Disney, it's color, music, staging, mood and other things.

Hardly any cartoons in history had specific customized acting in them. It's not what cartoons do best. Tex Avery didn't use much acting in his cartoons (more than Disney) but just enough to make the gags funnier. I love Tex Avery cartoons. I don't enjoy Tom and Jerry as much because it's just the violent gags without the acting.

The few cartoons that DO have some non-generic acting in them stand out and I write about them and show them to you. Clampett had the most specific acting in classic cartoons. Jones next. Popeye has some.

What I find interesting about the acting in The Flintstones as opposed to older style cartoon acting is that it's very human, not stylized funny animal "sufficient" acting that the same animators did for decades on fully animated cartoons. It's what people today say the new prime time cartoons are trying to do, but don't.

I guess the classic animators had just never thought of doing believable human acting because they never animated humans in human situations and now all of a sudden they had to.

It looks to me like they had fun doing it and that makes the cartoons fun for me. They are sincere. It's like a bunch of highly skilled regular Joes were making cartoons about guys like themselves. They weren't filtering their expressions and poses by asking themselves "Gee, would Walt understand this? Or will he think it's too weird?"

I'm not comparing the "animation" to the fluidity of Disney animation.
And I also wouldn't compare the "human" acting in The Flintstones to the real acting in The Honeymooners which the Flintstones is imitating. An animator can never act realistically as funny as a skilled and funny comedic live actor can. It's impossible. But it is fun to add some of that element to your cartoons if you can. I do it all the time-but I wouldn't rely on that alone, because I couldn't do it as well as The Three Stooges or Robert Ryan, Peter Lorre, James Cagney and many of my actor heroes.

Acting and animation are 2 different crafts. Sometimes they can be done together but they usually aren't and that's ok too. I love Betty Boop cartoons and there isn't much acting in them. They are wildly imaginative and funny and pretty. What's wrong with that?

I am just separating the elements that make up my favorite cartoons and then letting you know what inspired me and my own style.

Analysis is a useful tool. It can help you build your own craft. I don't blindly accept opinions I read in books. I check the source and compare it to what I practice myself and I pay attention to my sensory organs. When I sense something I didn't sense before, I've learned something new and improved my faculties, which is always a thrilling experience for me.

I don't expect people here to blindly accept all my opinions. But unlike the books we've all read, I explain in detail the reasoning behind my opinions and then use lots of illustrations and clips to back them up.

I used to think all 30s cartoons were primitive because I was so used to the 40s style and how slick it looked. I believed what the books told me. Then I saw Swing You Sinners and was blown away. I realized I had been looking for the wrong things and then started watching other 30s cartoons and discovered tons of great practices that got lost or were abandoned by the 1940s animators. Lately I've discovered early 30s Terrytoons and I love them. They have some animation styles I've never seen before and I would love to use them myself if I can figure them out.