Therefore, during the “CASTING & LAUNCH” phase, is important to find all the necessary information and ensure that everyone is working in the same direction. Here I leave my methodology to avoid any misunderstandings :
THE STORY : Watch the sequence or animatic and prepare to speak to the director.
Have I watched the latest version of the sequence and understood what is his purpose in the story?
Did I understood the purpose of my shot in the story?
THE SEQUENCE : Have a look at the storyboards
Have I studied my shot in continuity?
At what moment of the story is located? What happens just before and after? Is it the resolution of a previous shot or anticipation of a next shot?
Is there an emotional change in my character in this sequence?
Is it a shot with multiple characters, Who drives the action?
What is the relationships between the different characters?
Am I free to work as I want with my shot or do I have to follow the storyboard to the detail?
THE CHARACTER : Research any information about the character
Have I checked the technical sheet of the character? (I'll talk about this in an upcoming article)
Have I talked to the supervisor who led the artistic direction of this character?
Do I know the story of this character and characteristics?
What are the needs of the character?
What is his motivation?
What would his reaction at this time?
THE SHOT : Read the director's notes and find the narrative beats
What is the most important thing happening in the shot?
What is the intention of the shot?
In wich part of the character's arc is it located?
What emotion do we want to transmit to the public?
THE STYLE : Watch others shots to ensure continuity of character
What kind of style should I use?
Did I watch at the character's test?
Did I have checked how others animators solved this kind of acting?
THE ENVIRONMENT : Take a look at the set
Did I watch the latest layout or set and understood the geography of the site?
Did I have checked the hook-ups and the eyes directions?
Have I checked whether the items and objects will bother me or if they will help me with my performance?
THE AUDIO : Listen to the audio
Do I know and understand my audio ?
THE PERFORMANCE : Watch the actor's video reference
Does the actor had gestures or expressions that can help me creating my shot?
How can the recording help me for the lipsync?
THE PRODUCTION : Check the deadline
How many time do I have for my shot?
What do I have to do first in my short?
How can I plan it to respect my delivery date?
Am I able to do it?
THE DIRECTOR : Meet the director
Do I understand exactly what he wants to transmit?
Do I have all the information needed to start my shot?
From my point of view, the director has to make clear those points:
Intention and message : What transmits the shot, what is the purpose of the shot?
Character : Who is the character?
Action : What does he do?
Dialogue : What does he really mean?
Monologue : What is going through his mind, what does he think?
Mood : How does he feel?
Style : What is the style of my shot?
Your job will be to assure that the public understands what the director wants to convey in a clear manner , original and quality.
Be careful!!! It is very important that animators understand that they serve the story and the director. Occasionally it happens that an artist wants to interpret his way up, for pleasure or to turn it into a personal work… This is a dangerous game that can bring him in the best case to a series of changes or worse, that the director gets tired and makes drastic decisions.
Of course, after working on a project for some time, some information is already assimilated and it is not necesary to redo certain steps but make sure that everything is always controlled to avoid rework later.
I hope that was usefull