Animation Guild

Fall 2019

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D E PA R T M E N T 31 KEYFRAME TO MAKE YOUR SCENE STAND OUT, HERE ARE SOME SOLID GUIDELINES. KEEP IT CLE AR. In a medium where enormous scenes and quick cuts rule, keep the audience focused and lead them to where you want their eye to go next. Confusion can take the audience out of a story or, if you're trying for humor, it can kill a joke. MAKE SURE THE Y CARE. Even if you're pretty sure this won't be the encounter in which Superman bites the dust, there has to be suspense. "It doesn't matter if you have a bad-ass action sequence. If you're not rooting for the characters and the stakes aren't real, then you're kind of failing at something," says Ant Ward. CHAR ACTER FIRST. If you haven't already established who your character is or what they're after, the action sequence should find a way to shed some light. When the character is facing down a challenge, you're right there with them. USE YOUR ENVIRONMENT. So you've got someone who has to fight their way out of a factory that manufactures Fidget Spinners and marshmallows? The possibilities are endless. SHOW, DON'T TELL, AND WATCH THE MONOLOGUING. A little bit of talk to break up the mayhem can be helpful, but it can also take you out of the scene. "Not visualizing your objectives is a trap," says Noëlle Raffaele. "For kids, especially in animation, you're trying to keep everything visually informed. I should be able to know what's going on even if I turn the sound down." KEYS TO GREAT TO MAKE YOUR SCENE STAND OUT, SOME SOLID GUIDELINES. quick cuts KEYS KEYS TO GREAT ACTION FALL 2019 31 with timing. And we have that sense of comedy in everything we try to do." One might scoff at the idea that killer action must be "character-driven," but Ramsey advises us to look to the web. At the heart of the climactic Spider-Verse showdown between Miles Morales and the Kingpin, it's the other Spiders sacrificing themselves to keep the Collider from firing so Miles can prove himself that elevates the action. "You don't want to get to the Act 3 final battle—which every movie seems to have—and feel like 'I'm not getting any new information. I'm not learning anything new about the characters,'" says Ramsey. "There's always an emotional context and a character story that's being told even if there's constant kicking or punching." Over the course of a 30-year career in animation, Capizzi has crafted stories for Jackie Chan Adventures, Transformers: Animated, Men in Black: The Series, the Gummi Bears and multiple characters in the DCU, to name a few. He recalls a scene in the kid-friendly series The Batman that found the Caped Crusader facing the series' first showdown with the Penguin in the bowels of the Cobblepot mansion. The scene's creators knew that this would be the first of many Batman-Penguin salvos, but that this initial battle between two well-known characters needed to be memorable. The solution lay in having Batman and Penguin conducting their brawl around Batman's trusty manservant Alfred, who was tied down in the middle of the floor. "It gave the scene a dose of humor, a dose of fun and made it very memorable rather than just another punch out," says Capizzi. "You're always trying to figure out what's going to make the scene memorable? Seventy-percent of the time, the answer is right there under your nose."

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