Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Rehearsal of "Plaything" in an upstairs rehearsal room. We're not working with the set yet.

The rehearsals for "Plaything", this dance project, are getting fast and furious now. Wide-open playtime is narrowing down into refined ideas. Soon those ideas will be honed into clockwork-precise timing, and a fifty to sixty minute-long show.

I have some fun new software to learn that lets you mess around with video live during a performance. Quite a bit more animation to do. Some sound synching.

Here are some major differences between pure animation (film and TV) and animation with live performance:

- Live performance never really solidifies until the last couple weeks. So there's a lot of going back and adjusting timing. In film and TV, your shots are usually done when they're done. This means that animation for live performance tends to be less refined. You can't make 100% sweet-ass character animation, because it might change at the last minute.

- Animated shots in live performance are usually way longer than in film and TV. I often have to do several 3000-9000 frame (3-5 minute) scenes, along with some shorter ones. The scenes are usually simple, though, because other stuff is happening at the same time.

- Working with live performance is a hell of a lot more fun than film and TV. You're working with people who enjoy experimenting, who are creating their own work (so they're delighted, not bitter), you never work more than 5-6 hours a day (except for the animator, who pulls heavy overtime, as usual), and you're working with people who have a huge and diverse range of skills, from acting to dancing to rigging harnesses to puppetry to composing music to construction and lighting and costume design.

- Every performance is a reinvention from the ground up. Nothing is a given, nothing is standard. You're never trying to make your work look like something that's already been done - quite the opposite, in fact. You're always trying to push further and do new things.

This involves a lot of risk-taking, and it's a delight to be taking risks with a whole posse of people at the same time.

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