Why We Animate…


I was listening to a great interview with Woody Allen on NPR radio today. It was about a new film he is coming out with. The interviewer asked him why he does what he does. His answer was “To escape everyday life.” Ultimately he wants to go into another world and leave the regular life behind. I guess for me, animating is similar. I’m trying to create this performance that takes place in a virtual world. When I’m animating, I am trying to get into the characters skin and really feel what they are feeling. Animation is different from live action in that its not improvisational. It takes alot of sweat to recreate a performance that looks natural. What I found interesting about the Woody Allen interview is that he, with all his stardom, still wants to escape every day life. He also said he does not have many friends. Work is his ultimate passion. At 72 he still has the same drive. I ask myself… will I be able to animate with the same passion in another 10 to 20 years, much less 30 or 40? I think it comes down to alot of factors. One, is never feeling like you have arrived. One thing that Woody said was “Don’t listen to them when they tell you are great, and don’t worry what they say if they don’t like your work. Just shut up and work.” I think that egos can get in the way of good work. I think its so important to try different things. If you are an animator, you have to challenge yourself to do different characters and scenes. I think what I find most difficult these days is putting the grease and polish back into the shots. Some of my students that work here now, have polish that blows me away. I love asking them what they are doing to get that. You really always need to be a student in order to keep up. Sometimes, when I’m sitting in my office, I forget to pull in a buddy to get their opinion on a shot. Its so important to do. I guess the point of all this is to stay hungry and understand why we love what we do. Its very easy to get jaded in this industry, but ultimately, animating, and creating character is one of the best jobs out there. Take a listen to the interview. If you take one thing away from it that you can use, it was worth it.

-Andrew