For nearly 10 years I have subscribed to exactly zero YouTube channels. Impressive for someone so excitable. That all changed this weekend though. “Every Frame a Painting” is a YouTube channel that produces short documentary-style videos about the art of, well, video.
Topics include a look at how Vancouver, a city riddled with IMDB credits, never actually plays Vancouver in a film, or how Jackie Chan masters the art of being funny while kicking ass or, even harder, taking a hit to the jaw or various other soft spots.
The one that hooked me though is this thoughtful look at character development in the Looney Tunes series. I had never thought about how difficult it would be to follow a similar format episode after episode and keep each one feeling fresh. This video illustrates how the artists did this through storytelling and character development; the takeaways could be applied to almost any kind of writing.
Some of my favorite points:
- The story should sell itself by the way it moves.
- Big gestures and small gestures can both convey lot of meaning.
- Since animation lets you do anything, you have to think about what you won’t do and enforce those boundaries. Oh, this just applies to so many things in life, no?
- When developing a character you must have discipline in regards to what that character would and would not do so that viewers have a subtle intuitive sense of consistency. For example, the audience knew Bugs Bunny would never pick a fight or that the dancing frog only ever sang that one song.
- Artist Chuck Jones’s advice for success: “Reading. Read everything.”