Acting Tools for Character Exploration 

Format: Lecture/Class exercises
Venue: In-Studio or Zoom Class
Duration: Half-Day.
This session is best when combined with "Meet Your Face" for a full day.

For the actors, creating an emotional arc which resonates truthfully and organically is essential to moving the audience.  For the animator, understanding and experiencing this arc is key to creating a great animated performance.

This class is all about how to explore the character's emotional life for the purpose of building a more powerful performance. The animators learn how connect to the circumstances of a scene to make what's happening in the moment feel real and be able to express it outwardly on a character's body and face.

Animators will learn specifically about the timeline of expressing emotions on the face, from the onset (trigger) to the response (emotional state) to the conclusion (recovery), and all points in between.  

Using what we have learned in the Meet Your Face session, the class takes the animator through the whole emotion building process. This course isn’t about dredging up or dwelling on past events. It’s all about combining technique with artistry.  It will also cover:  
  • Understanding and experiencing the Emotional Timeline: How, where and why an emotion begins and how, where and why it ends.
  • How to create and relate a history that makes the emotional response credible and dynamic
  • How to activate the correct muscle groups to start the emotion building process
  • How to pinpoint and connect to a trigger with the appropriate timing
  • Experience how the emotion grows from the most subtle to the full expression to the recovery
  • How to use sensations and impulses to deepen character motivation and action 
  • How to create a more useful reference

Class Schedule

Creating and Relating to History (1 hour)
 - Exercises to create a character's history.
 - Understanding how a character's history influences their emotional responses. 

Introduction and Class Overview (30 minutes)
 - Understanding the importance of emotion in animation.    
 - Class objectives and expectations. 

Activating Emotional Muscles  (1 hour) 
-Techniques for activating the emotional muscle      group to start the emotion building process.                 - Understanding how different muscle activations contribute to different thoughts feelings and emotions.

Understanding Emotion Building (1 hour)
 - The science behind emotions.    
- The process of emotion building: onset, response, recovery. 

Class Wrap-up and Q&A (30 minutes)
 - Review of key class concepts.
 - Open discussion and Q&A .

What Students Have To Say...

By the end of this course, students
will  know: 

  • The process of emotion building. 
  • How to create a character's history and understand how it influences their emotional responses.
  • How to activate the emotional muscle group to start the emotion-building process.
  • How to create a more realistic and valuable reference. 

Materials Needed:
Notebook and pen for note-taking, laptop or tablet for online resources (if applicable).
Participation in class exercises, demonstration of understanding through Q&A. 

Knowing how to analyze and interpret material and/or direction is a vital skill and often separates technicians from storytellers.  It guides the animator in and out of any shot or sequence, gives clarity to what the shot is about and lays a path not only to the big moments, but all the smaller, more intimate moments as well.

To learn more about this class and others offered, click the button below and set up a time for us to chat.