Monday, April 09, 2007

Acting 2 Jackie Gleason - acting - reacting

Here is some stuff from the greatest sitcom of all time.

This is entertainment totally written for performers.

Watch how interesting and fun even the characters who aren't doing the talking are!

The one who isn't talking is still reacting with both body language and expressions.

This all can be helpful to animators. And fun to draw!

I use a lot of this character chemistry in my own cartoons. Characters should always feel like they are alive and thinking. Even Stimpy-as retarded as he is, thinks about each retarded thing he does and I got that not so much from watching cartoons (Warner Bros. excepted), but from watching people, and also from watching old movies and TV shows.

The Honeymooners, "A Woman's Work is Never Done" (1955)

The cartoon sitcom folks always compare their comedy to live action, rather than cartoons. They snub their noses at cartoon stuff. They think they are writing "realistic" situations. They aren't. They write mannequin situations in my opinion. Live action stories need to take the acting and performance into consideration and that takes a lot more skill (and experience performing) than the cartoon writers have. Have you seen any cartoon sitcoms that have scenes of acting and performance anywhere near this? Warm, alive... throbbing with engorged corpuscles?

The cartoon sitcoms to me, fail as cartoons and fail worse as live action. They don't even attempt to do what either medium is capable of.

The Honeymooners, All In The Family, The Beverly Hillbillies, Seinfeld are not only hilarious - they are gripping - because of the great performances and the writing that is geared to character, rather than writerspeak jokes and pop-culture references that could come out of any available open puppet mouth in the cartoon.

Note how specific each character is in their design and their expressions and gestures. There is nothing generic about them. Note also, how often they go "off-model". Real humans are off model all the time. That's what's funny about us.

Only store dummies and modern cartoons are "on-model" all the time.

The Honeymooners, "Better Living Through TV" (1955)

The strangest phenomena about modern cartoons to me is that they are not even as cartoony as real people are. I'll bet your Dad makes a million funnier expressions than any cartoon Dad you've seen.