I took a couple of weekends off from pushing the puppet. The first, to get a breather since I was getting a bit burnt out from the day job. The second, to hang out with family visiting from out of town. It was a nice little break but now it's time to get back out to the garage and get some shots done. I've got the next two shots lined up (same angle) and have let the action brew around in my noggin' for the last two weeks. There is such a difference between the quick pace of working on a TV series and being able to take your time with a personal project. At my current job, we are assigned a minimum of 12 seconds of animation to complete a day. You get to work and pretty much have to start shooting without a lot of planning and thinking out the shot. This is good and bad. It creates a nice spontaneity and forces you to simplify the action "pose to pose" style to make it a clear read. On the flip side, it doesn't give the animator enough time to get into nuance and subtle acting, or to really work out posing and timing ahead of time on the exposure sheets. On my film, I really like to know where I'm going with a shot ahead of time. Often, this means simply acting out a shot myself until I am familiar with all the moves. Other times I will make detailed exposure sheets with thumbnailed poses and notes about the acting. My stopmo brother Misha Klein is even videotaping himself acting out each scene to use as reference- and he's getting some great inspiration that way. There is something kind of magical about performing a well planned out stopmotion shot. I say "performing", because it truly can feel like you are an actor performing a scene through this little rubber figure. In it's most rewarding moments, animation feels effortless, with no barrier between you and the puppet.
OK- enough geeking out. Got to get ready for today's twelve seconds.