Acting for Animators
Ed Hooks' essential acting guidebook for animators has been fully revised and updated in this fifth edition, capturing some of the vast changes that have affected the animation industry in recent years. Written specifically for animation professionals instead of stage and movie actors, this book provides an essential primer for creating empathetic and dynamic character performance and, in the process, shows how the strongest storytelling structure works.
Hooks applies classical acting theory – from Aristotle to Stanislavsky and beyond – to animation, as well as explaining scene structure, character development and the connections between thinking, emotion and physical action. Theory presented here applies to any and all character animation regardless of style or animation technique. Whether your project is stop-motion, 2D, 3D or a blend of techniques, audiences are audiences are audiences, and they have shown up at the theater or cinema so they can experience and enjoy your story.
New to this fifth edition:
- Four new scene-by-scene acting analyses of animated feature films: Flee, Soul, Porco Rosso and The Triplets of Belleville
- A comprehensive and updated section titled "Classroom Notes" which includes a segment on experimental animation, a brief history of acting training for actors and guidance on Motion and Performance Capture technology
- Updated online database of Hooks' previous film analyses, all in one place
Acting for Animators is essential reading for all students and teachers of animation courses.
Let’s Start with Definitions
Definition: Acting is behaving believably in pretend circumstances for a theatrical purpose.
For a theatrical purpose
Action → Conflict/Obstacle → Objective
We are narrative-seeking, storytelling animals
Long-term and short-term objectives
Baymax in a shopping cart
Pursuing a negative objective
Acting and the CG Pipeline
Animate the thought (acting is a process of exposing, not of hiding)
Willing suspension of disbelief and the Uncanny Valley
Regarding the animated documentary
Who is your intended audience?
The 4th wall
Storyboards vs. complete screenplays
Comedy vs. drama (intro)
Gags lack structure
Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Laurel & Hardy
Heroes and villains
Empathy vs. agency in games
Non-player characters (NPC's)
Character design and narrative
A few more thoughts about blinking in games
Scenes begin in the middle
Acting is doing; Acting is also reacting
The adrenaline moment
Regarding those talking dogs in Pixar’s movie UP
Laban movement analysis
What does listening look like?
Anger and yelling
Punctuation in scripts
My acting gift to you is a surprise
A scene is a negotiation
Relationships are the way that characters feel about one another
A brief history of acting training (for actors)
Animating aliens, robots and other non-humans
Grave of the fireflies
The Triplets of Belleville
Training for the Tour de France
The Tour de France
French wine center/the sinister crime
We meet the Triplets of Belleville
"PSSSST . . . a few words, please, with animation teachers and mentors . . ."
Create a character profile
Open script exercise
The transformation game
Walt Disney’s 1935 memo to Don Graham regarding how to train animators
Ed Hooks annotates an animation master into "actor-ese" ...
Ed Hooks annotates a section from the book The Illusion of Life
Becoming an artist
The future of animated storytelling
“Acting for Animators is written specifically for animation professionals and provides an essential primer for creating empathic and dynamic character performances and shows how the storytelling structure works. Not only will every animation professional benefit from reading this book, every animation student can use it as a basic tool for the foundation of their career.”
Nancy Denney-Phelps, Animation World Network, USA