2nd Edition

Acting for Animators
4th Edition

ISBN 9781138669123
Published April 21, 2017 by Routledge
228 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations

USD $48.95

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Book Description

Ed Hooks' essential acting guidebook for animators has been fully revised and updated in this 4th edition.

Hooks uses classical acting theory – from Aristotle to Stanislavsky and beyond – to explain everything from character analysis and physical movement to facial expression and scene structure. He speaks directly to animators, instead of stage or screen actors. Acting for Animators is an invaluable primer for beginner animators and a useful reference for experienced pros.

New to this fourth edition:

- 6 new scene-by-scene acting analyses of animated feature films, including Zootopia and The Little Prince

- an annotated analysis of Walt Disney’s famous 1935 memo to Don Graham, regarding how best to train animators

- advice to the animator about how best to perform visual references

- a chapter on Virtual Reality

- an online database of Ed’s previous film analyses, all in one place.

Table of Contents


534-Word History of Acting

Animator versus Stage Actor - Vive La Difference!

Before we Start, A Few Useful Definitions...

  • Acting
  • An Illusion of Life
  • Action
  • Objective
  • Conflict

Acting: 9 Basic Principles

  • Thinking Tends to Lead to Conclusions, and Emotion Tends to Lead to Action
  • We empathize only with Emotion
  • Empathy vs. Sympathy
  • Theatrical Reality is not the Same Thing as Regular Reality
  • Your Character Should Play an Action in Pursuit of an Objective While Overcoming an Obstacle
  • A few words about .,.. Super Objectives
  • Acting is Doing. Acting is also Reacting.
  • Play an Action Until Something Happens to Make You Play a Different Action
  • Scenes Begin in the Middle, Not at the Beginning
  • A Scene is a Negotiation
  • Relationships are the way Characters Feel About Each Other


Why Story Matters

Animating Dialogue

Power Centers

Status Transactions

The Psychological Gesture and Use of Atmosphere

The Adrenaline Moment


Animating Force vs Form

Laban Movement Theory

Heroes, Villains and Your Intended Audience

Our Sense of Sight is More Powerful than ...

Acting is a Process of Exposing, Not Hiding

Active Listening

Video References and Mirrors

Character Analysis - A Template


The Expression of Emotion in the Human Face

The Willing Suspension of Disbelief and Animation


Farce - A Particular Kind of Comedy


Virtual Reality

Video Games


Acting in Video Games

1. Eyes

2. Humor

3. Performance Capture

5. Credibility

6. Dialogue

7. Male/Female Relationships

8. Can a Videogame make a player cry?

Short Animation Guidelines

Introduction to Film Analysis

Acting Analyses:

ALADDIN (1992)







Walt Disney's 1935 Memo to Don Graham


View More



Ed Hooks was a professional actor for 30 years before becoming one of the most respected acting teachers in the world. He has taught Acting for Animators for most major animation studios and video game companies, including Disney Animation, Valve Software, Ubisoft, Warner Brothers, Sony and Electronic Arts, and has been a featured speaker at many international animation festivals and conferences. He teaches at schools such as Ringling College of Art and Animation (Florida) and Filmakademie Baden-Wurtemberg (Germany).