Well, last month I discovered a site called the 11 Second Club (11secondclub.com). It is an animation site that hosts a monthly competition. An 11 second sound clip from a movie is selected each month to be animated by people from around the world (mostly students).
I decided to compete, and after a week I came up with this:
The results came back today, and I placed 234th out of 284 entries. I didn't do well, but I did get one helpful comment:
"no staging, no body language. lipsync done a bit in a squishy way. Try making some reference. Do MANY references, it helps a lot to understand what could the character do when he says this particular sentence. looking forward to see your next animation !"
Let's break the comment down and figure out what I need to work on:
"no staging, no body language."
Yep, I didn't do either of these. Since this was my first dialogue animation, I really just focused on the head and lips. I guess I was too afraid to try any interesting gestures.
"lipsync done a bit in a squishy way."
Looking back at my video, I see what he means by this. The lips are timed well, but they really only move up and down, not making any interesting shapes. About two thirds of my time was spent on the lips and jaw, leaving little left for other important parts.
"Try making some reference. Do MANY references, it helps a lot to understand what could the character do when he says this particular sentence."
I guess I didn't think of doing any video reference to help myself out. I drew a few vague poses to test out the timing, but that was nowhere near enough preparation. Many professional animators talk about recording themselves before working on a scene, so I will make sure to do this for December's competition.
"looking forward to see your next animation !"
Well, thanks! There will be many more to come. With more preparation and better planning, I'm sure I'll do better next month.
So I've downloaded the December audio clip and will now try again.