Inspirational Thursday

It’s Thursday!


As animators we should be students of film, not just the acting side, but the storytelling and editing side as well. This past year I’ve been trying to do that more so here are some great Youtube channels I’ve been following  that study the art of editing and film:




Every Frame a Painting


The Royal Film Society


But I want to hear from you. How do you study film? How have you studied editing? Let me know in the comments!



Acting for Animation Study #8

This is a clip from the 1994 movie Miracle on 34th Street.

In the clip the mother tells Santa that the little girl is deaf. He doesn’t have to talk to her, she just wanted to see Santa.

Look at the quick emotional changes in their faces.

Pay attention to 0:11 where Santa is processing what he was just told. His smile fades away as he thinks about it, and he looks back and forth between the girl and the mother.

At 0:17 His smile slowly comes back before he breaks into a huge grin.

At 0:26 the girl breaks into a huge smile when she realizes he can speak to her.


Throughout the clip look at the genuine joy in the eyes. The bigger the smile the more the eyes squint.  I had a teacher once tell me that the upper lids communicate what the emotion is, and the lower lids communicate how strong that emotion is felt.


Inspirational Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Today’s inspiration is brought to you by this reindeer:



and the inspiration is two versions of the same Christmas song Step Into Christmas:


Isn’t it interesting how much variety there is in this world? The same song can have a completely different feel depending on who sings it.

The same goes for art and animation. The same subject can look widely different depending on who draws/animates it. Don’t forget that you have a unique perspective on the world!


Thank you reindeer.


Christmas, Stop Motion and the Value of Entertainment

In keeping with my Christmas themed blogs I thought I would take a look at the well known Christmas stop motion TV movies!



In the 1960s a company called Rankin/Bass Productions started putting out stop motion Christmas specials for NBC. You’ve probably seen at least of few of them. All these years later they are still shown at Christmas time. The Year Without a Santa Clause, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jack Frost, The Little Drummer Boy, etc.

As far as animation goes, they are not the most beautifully animated movies of all time. Honestly, the animation can get quite clunky in some spots, and yet they are still beloved, they are still shown on TV every year. Why is that?

Entertainment, story, and characters are more important than beautiful animation. There I said it. As much as I love beautiful animation if you don’t have a good story to back it up nobody is going to remember it.

The reason these movies are still remembered today is not because of the animation itself, but because their stories have heart and their characters are memorable. (Although I give massive props to this company and anyone who does stop motion animation.)

Take a look at this clip from Jack Frost:

This isn’t a clip I would go back to study animation, but I always remember this clip from the movie because it’s amusing, and it shows an interesting side to the villain of the story.

And then there’s this sequence from The Year Without a Santa Claus:

The animation isn’t as fluid as it could be, but…. I don’t care because it’s such an entertaining, memorable part of the movie!

So, keep striving to get those beautiful arcs and believable weight, but the next time you sit down to make an animation remember that if it’s not entertaining it won’t be memorable!

Inspirational Thursday


Happy Thursday!

Today’s inspiration is brought to you by the flavor Peppermint.


It’s finally December! Yay! Let the Christmas season begin!

Ok, to be honest my Christmas season begins in late August or early September, but I tend to keep that to myself because most people hate the mention of Christmas before December. Well, I no longer have to hide my love of Christmas! So let these Christmas paintings fill you with cheer:


Christmas at the Courthouse by Thomas Kinkade


Radio City Music Hall by Thomas Kinkade Studios


A Christmas Welcome by Thomas Kinkade

Acting for Animation Study #7

This weeks acting study comes from the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I had never seen this movie until this past year, but, I gotta say, I really enjoyed it. I think it is Jim Carrey’s best performance. He plays serious roles surprisingly well.


Let’s look at the characters, Clementine and Joel, and their different body language in this clip. We have two different personalities. Clementine doesn’t care what people think. She starts talking to Joel without a second thought. Joel, on the other hand, is more reserved, he’s a little uncomfortable that someone randomly started up a conversation with him.


Things to look for:

• at 1:12 notice how Joel starts nervously playing with his hands and bobbing his knees.

• Joel shrugs a lot. He doesn’t like conflict so when Clementine challenges what he says he tries to shrug it off.

•  Joel sits pretty still. He doesn’t want to stand out. He gestures are small and contained. Clementine on the other hand moves across the train to talk to him, she doesn’t mind turning around and being propped up on the headrest, and then at 1:52 she slouches down across the two seats. She’s much less concerned with her appearance and her gestures are larger.



The next animation your working on pay attention to the body language of your character. Are they more reserved or are they outgoing. This should be conveyed in the way they hold themselves and how big or small their gestures are.

Inspirational Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Today’s inspiration is brought to you by the color orange.


What a gorgeous color it is!

Today be inspired by the beauty that is around you. Look at the trees and the sky. Look at your family and friends. Look at the food before you. Look at the gorgeous stars in the sky.

How incredible is this world we live in. How beautiful the people are. How thankful I am to be alive.

Take time to rest this wonderful Thursday morning.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John Lubbock