How cool, the very first unofficial ask the AM students flash meeting hosted by Aja, Benjamin DS, and Freddy. It's so nice you guys took the time out to answer some questions of new and prospective students, like how does grading work, the workload, the rigs, the short story classes. There was tons of great information and advice in there, and plus I miss y'all so much it's just nice to see your smiling faces.
*the session really gets up and running about 11 mins in, so feel free to hit the fast forward button
**there's also a "chat" button where you can see the live chat going on, and the corresponding responses of the AM students
In the second class at bang, we worked on spacework, making a pantomine action realistic and interesting while at the same time not letting the action take over the scene. We started off playing in a huge field of dry leaves, then a room full of cotton candy. It was interesting to attempt making walking and wading through these 2 different objects believable, not only because of the different weight and textures of the two, but all the difference in attitude each substance conveys. Then as a group we created a room full of objects, the trick was to remember what each of the objects were and to keep the integrity of the room structure. For instance if someone has created a counter top to use, the next person cannot just walk through the space the countertop inhabits. It was sort of a memory challange as well. All in all the idea of spacework is new and interesting to me, it also seems really hard to come up with objects or sets since there is such a wide range of possibilities open to you as the creator. Another important factor is making the action as simple, clear, and readable as possible this is not only for the benefit of the audience, but also your scene partner as well. This is definitely an area where animation overlaps.
In addition to my level 1 class, I also signed up for an improv class at work on Friday afternoons. Hopefully this double dose will give me an infusion of creativity to improve my animation and improv skills.
An absurd existential life loving dark comedy. This is the first time I've ever seen this 1971 masterpiece of life affirming hilarity. Definitely recommended for comedic timing, and contrast of characters.
For my first dialogue piece in AM Class 3, I choose a clip from My Fair Lady. I ended up getting a full time job midway through Class 3, at the same time we had to start up a second dialogue piece which meant I had to move on even though I wasn't completely satisfied with my final animation. I had always wanted to revise my Queen of Sheba animation, but haven't had much time since, so I thought the best decision was to lay it to rest and not look at it for a few months. A few weeks back I found myself with a rare free weekend and had a go at a spirited round of revisions on this old animation. In only 2 days I think I was able to fix a lot of the major problems. Although this animation is still far from perfect, I definitely think it's better now than what I handed in for my final assignment in October. This Bishop model has a muppet mouth and limited facial, but since then I have learned so much about lip sync that I was able to make the best of the limited rig. At that point last year I didn't even know that Bishop had teeth and a tongue that you could animate, I didn't even know what to do with them so I just left them, but since then I've learned the major importance of the teeth and tongue for lip sync.
Last night I stopped by Bang for The Big Show, a show where a bunch of the master classes get up and perform on a weekly basis. I had a few friends from work who had gone through the program and were in the show, this was the first time I had been able to go check out a show at Bang. There were 4 different master class groups, these groups are formed by who you end up in classes with as you move through the program, it's scary to think that the people I just met on Tuesday may be the people I will get up there on stage with one day, we hardly know eachother now, but I guess after months and months of practice and getting to know one another it might be easier. I thought all the groups did really well, and it was really funny. At the beginning each group asked for a suggestion from the audience, and then the entire improvised performance was based off of that first suggestion. Fascinating to watch, but also really scary to think I may have to do that one day.
I also bumped into my old AM pal Brad Bradbury who was also in the audience. Brad is in Level 2 at Bang and already a seasoned improv guru. I will have to go to him for all my improv advice from now on. Does it get any less scary as the classes move on, Brad? It was also great chatting about the assignments and students at AM, I miss all you guys so much!
Yesterday was my first class at Bang Improv Studio. I had originally intended to enrol about 6 months ago but had to cancel due to my work schedule at the time. Since we have had a little bit of a breather I thought it would be a great chance to get back into improv, so I enrolled in the level 1 class.
I had taken 1 improv class back in NYC at the Upright Citizens Brigade. It was really interesting to see the different approaches of the 2 teachers so far. Some of the exercises we played seemed familiar but also very different approaches. For instance one exercises we played last night was an activity game, a person was to start an activity on stage and the next in line was to begin acting out the activity in sync with the person, when you realized what they were doing, you said "we're brushing our teeth" or whatever the activity was, then you begin a new activity of your own. In NY we played the "what are you doing?" game which was sort of similar but quite different. In "what are you doing", a person would start by doing an activity, say brushing their teeth, then the next person after realizing what they were doing would ask "what are you doing?" the person would then respond something totally different like "I'm stretching for a marathon" and the next person would have to take on that activity.
Last night it seemed a lot of the exercises were to try to get us to be on the same page at a subconscious level, we did this mirror exercise where you are supposed to match your partner's every move as if you were one. It was really interesting to see how in touch with one another you can become with the right level of concentration. We also jumped right into scene work, and did our best. I was really nervous, but I think most of us were. It was really fun overall and I can't wait for the next lesson.
A great thing is that Bang students get into shows for free, so I will definitely have to take advantage of that great offer.