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Posts Tagged ‘Pixar’

Developing dynamic and moving performances can be one of the greatest challenges for actors and directors working in collaboration.  Let’s add to the mix another set of creators who generate performances in motion pictures: animators.

Here are some interesting resources that highlight the extensive work of animators in developing compelling and well-defined characters through drawn or CG images.  First, there is an excellent article on the work of Pixar animators for a new movie featuring a beloved character: Woody in Toy Story 4.  Along with Tom Hanks’s exceptional voice work, a team of animators led by director Josh Cooley (at least for this fourth installment of the franchise) worked diligently to capture the wide range of emotions and traits seen in Woody and the rest of the Toy Story gang, and this is explored extensively in this piece by journalist Darryn King.

To investigate the ties between acting and animated film, it is critical to explore the creations of the Japanese master director Hayao Miyazaki.  Here are two articles on Miyazaki: an interview from The Telegraph and an overview of his career and the films of Studio Ghibli.

From “Cumo” by Emily Fabrizi

Speaking of performance through animation, here are two films from students of mine.  Cumo is an exceptionally crafted and delightful piece of animation by high school senior Emily Fabrizi that is highly worthwhile to explore for its reliance on performance — and without dialogue!  Another animated movie that weaves a strong character-driven portrait — and once again without any dialogue — is this award-winning college project by my former student Brendan Kirschbaum: Solo.  Both shorts feature many elements worthy of study for nuances in performance, all crafted by animators.

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Daniel GersonI am deeply saddened to receive the news that Daniel Gerson, one of the screenwriters of Monsters, Inc., Monsters University, Big Hero 6, and others, has passed away at 49.  Dan was one of my classmates in the NYU Graduate Film & TV program, and he was always such a friendly, profoundly funny man.  All those who worked with him share many fond memories of fun times and very memorable shoots and hilarious writing by Dan right from the start.

I highly recommend checking out this video of Dan and frequent collaborator Robert L. Baird discussing their writing for Monsters University and the process of developing a screenplay with Pixar from the red carpet premiere of the movie.  Also, here is another piece in which Gerson and Baird discuss story specifics of Monsters University including the overall theme of the movie, character development, and writing a prequel.  

He was always such a stellar person in a sometimes not-so-nice business. Our condolences from my family to his.

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