Friday, January 02, 2009

Staging 4 - one action at a time

Stage One Idea or Action at a time - let it settle in

This is a really important point to me. I always tell my artists to not combine a pile of ideas into 1 drawing, because none of them will sink in with the audience.

Use a logical progression of ideas and present them one at a time so that people can follow what is happening.

This is true for all film and stage and even dance. Everything should be staged around central events and ideas that develop themselves with variations as they go. Even Busby Berkely led you along from one crazy visual idea to another in a logical progression - but that's for another analysis.

I wish I had some good digital copies of Tex Avery cartoons. He followed this concept as if it was law. He turned the one idea at a time thing into a formal art that is beautiful and funny even without the gags.
Here's a dialogue scene showing Ernie's thought process and sequence of emotions in a scene from "Cans Without Labels":

Lots of negative spaces both inside and outside the silhouette to help you see what I want you to see.
Most of the focus of each of these poses is the facial expression. The hands are either out of the way, or will add a supporting gesture to what he is thinking or feeling.

"Twins" sneak in...