The end of another year. I hope that everyone is happy, healthy, and excited about what's to come. :)
Last night I was talking to a good friend of mine. We are both graduates of Animation Mentor and met while taking classes, so a good portion of our conversations relate to animation. Last night we were talking about what we found fascinating about animation... what was our real draw to it and why do we want to do it. We started talking about 'moments'.
We kind of struggled to define a moment, but that's just it.. it is hard to describe. It's that little magic moment when you connect with the character, when the character is alive, gets swept away in their actions. When YOU the viewer are uplifted and inspired because of what is happening on screen. When you think about it long after it's through. And, sometimes, when it changes you. That's what we want to be a part of. As my friend said, "the who and the why instead of the how". It's a weird thing, and like a dream, sometimes the grasp of it escapes me.
Ratatouille. I was asking myself why did I find this movie so appealing, so moving. Why am I able to watch it again and again. I don't particularly like rats, and I don't like cooking (except cookies and pies :). On paper the movie has nothing for me, but despite of that I find myself able to relate to Remy. The movie has many 'moments' for me. The one that sticks out first is when he first starts to fix the soup. I love that scene! He gets so swept away into what he's doing that he can't help himself. What's more is I always get this great uplifted feeling just seeing this rat doing what he loves and enjoying it so much! He is cooking with his heart and bounds of joy and you canFEEL it! What I love about animation is that it is so powerful. Throughout that whole sequence Remy doesn't say a word, but there is no doubt at all what is going through his mind. When Linguini discovers him I am startled right along with Remy because I was so absorbed by that moment. I was able to escape into Remy's world for a moment. Why? It's like a little bit of what made him tick leaked out for all to see. Same with Ego when he takes that bite.
"Moments" aren't unique to animation by any means. They happen everyday, big and small. I was telling my friend that there is a clip on youtube of Sarah Hughes skating in the Olympics back in 2002. No one expected her to be a contender. Going into the Olympics she was certainly not the best skater. Good, but not the best. While others were duking it out for the gold, Sarah had the skate of her life. She knew that a victory was unlikely, and skated with joy and passion and life. She ended up surprising everyone (including herself, I believe) and won the gold. I have watched that clip several times looking for the 'moment'. The moment she knew she was on fire. She was so caught up in it. Stuff like that. What made that skate more special than any of her others? Why was it contagious to the audience? Why do I care about it? Why did she win when nobody even thought it possible? I believe that nothing that night could've stopped her. It was her moment.
Stuff like that fascinates me. It's so amazing what people are capable of. Animators who create them obviously put so much of themselves into their work. I can't see any other way they could do it.
I am really glad my friend brought it up. I think moments can be different for every individual. Personal, almost. But it was really eye opening to break down what it is about animation that we love. It's not the moving stuff around. It's the ability to capture a moment and make people care, and the potential that we too will be able to do that one day.
Have a wonderful New Year, everyone! Take care.