Thursday, 19 September 2013

MA Summary

The presentations are over!

I ought to make an entry here about what I talked about in the presentation -

So my research topic was, 

"Enriching the narrative subtext by manipulation of storytelling pose and  secondary action in an animated film"

The main conclusions, the main topics that I have drawn out of my research are upon these headings:

  • Baseline and Enhancing Action
  • Action on a scale - Action Continuum
  • Meta -action/Mannerism
I'll go ahead and clarify these unfamiliar terms.

Baseline action is the bare minimum of the action in the scene. The action on which the emotional exchange is upon.

Enhancing action is a broad term that covers secondary action and mannerism together, and is responsible for developing context in the scene.

The Action Continuum refers to the diagram I posted a while back - here it is again:

It's labelled with the terms primary and secondary action. These terms are still useful but what you probably know to be secondary action, in reality should be more of a primary action. More of... this is why the Continuum model works. It's about relevance!

Primary action is what happens when you take your key poses, your thumbnail, and let the poses flow into one another.
The point is, depending on the story these can be relevant or totally irrelevant. So whilst it might be primary in the sense that you key it first, it's not necessarily primary in the sense that it's doing the lion's share of storytelling.
Sometimes that extra stuff you want to make your character do does a lot of storytelling.

That continuum model works also when you think about mannerism. Defined by Merriam-Webster as a peculiarity of action, I see it as enhancing action applied to baseline action (or sometimes to other enhancing actions). It's action-action. It's meta-action!

A key word in my MA topic is 'enrich'. This refers to upping the content. It refers to putting in that extra two scoops of hot chocolate powder in the mug. And those marshmallows. And that mint choc chip ice cream (try it.)

Secondary action as you know it - Enhancing action, to me, is that extra stuff. Your story can be a lot thicker by having extra action in there that tells us what the character's personality, back-story, all-round context is.

Andy mentioned a point in the presentation about action movies.
Take an action scene where a speeding car swerves round a corner, crashing into a couple of other cars.
Yeah, if the camera work in this shot is good it's exciting, but it will hit even harder if you show the faces of the poor victims who got crashed into.

It's not just an animating technique, then. It's a visual storytelling philosophy.

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