Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Working on a post about the Canadian Style...

a few people have asked me "what is this Canadian style you speak of"?

It's not an easy question to answer and I don't even know if it's all that important. But I'm working on a short historical post that traces the roots of the Canadian commercial style (as opposed to the National Film Board animation, which comes in many styles).

It may be important in this respect: regional styles are like accents. Many people don't know they have accents, because they grew up with them.This is very true of Canadians who all think we talk like American newscasters.

I got a rude awakening when I moved to LA and everyone started making fun of my accent. I swore to them that there was no such thing as a Canadian accent, which only made them laugh harder.

The image “http://www.badmovies.org/capsules/r/rockrule/rockrule_cap2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
There is also a Canadian visual cartoon accent that most Canadians don't know they have, but it's blatantly obvious to me because I watched it develop. All my animation and cartoon influences are directly American and the Canadian style didn't start to appear until I was fully formed, so I escaped it.

America, having a much bigger population than Canada, has a few regional cartoon accents,The Cal Arts accent being by far the strongest and most influential today. Cal arts style animators, like Canadians swear they don't have a style or visual accent, but it is completely obvious to cartoonists who don't have it.

Having an unthinking regional style or accent is like being trapped in a cage. Once you can recognize your accent, you can work to allow other influences to keep your accent from holding you back.

It's not an insult to say that groups of people have a group style or accent; it's merely a fact of nature. It's up to teachers to show the students the difference between stylistic habits and real technique. Visual elocution should be taught in animation schools to broaden our visual communication skills and help us to recognize the difference between proper technique and blind habit. Substance over naive style.

Let me say, that a personal accent is an attribute; a group accent is a handicap. Some animators are like character actors (Ken Duncan, Carlo Vinci, Rod Scribner); they can do something that is purely unique to themselves and that should be taken advantage of, the rare times it appears. Unfortunately, animation tends to encourage herd mentality and forces everyone into the regional styles.

Weiner noses are part of the cartoon accent in Canada:

maybe I'll have something ready and up tonight with more detail and fun.