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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Phil Chronicles: Jose Antonio Cerro

On “The Ledge end of Phil (from accounting)” I had the luck of working with a character who supports the emotion and evolution of the over all film. I decided to focus on the acting and spent quite alot of time talking with Paul to find the character. The design gave a good idea of how he was going to behave, but we wanted to push it to really make the contrast between the workaholic guy and the one who dreams about freedom clear. Luckily we agreed in every point we discussed, which made me think all directors should always be like Paul Ó Muiris, because he has it all clear in his mind from the very beginning. We spoke alot about characters that already exist as references, as actual actors do.We talked about Phil being a nerd, really shy and not communicative at all. Someone who had his social skills deactivated.

So I started to search for poses that could show those kind of things. Like having his arms and legs as close to his body as possible. But we had to face the fact that Phil would need to stretch his body out to reach the sheet of paper on the windows ledge!! So, difficult but not impossible. We realised he had to be grabbing the window frame or the wall all the time to show his insecurity... Also we had to add a quick recoil to show his hesitation. These are the times where we can feel he is thinking. Where he is trying to solve his problem. Then once he remains out, the change starts. We had to be careful to show his evolution as gradually as possible. At this point, the mental process of the character is essential the audience needs to understand that he's thinking.

This doesn't need a special animation or move, just expressive poses, expressive faces. This is something that Japanese animation does all the time with wonderful results. Most of the time, a strong pose or expression is more than enough to show an emotion and its easier to communicate it if there is no movement at all. In this case the wind blowing through Phil's hair helped to make this even more clear. The character is not moving at all, but his expression tells us what he's thinking, the waving hair clues us not to perceive it as a frozen frame or a mistake, leaving the main attention to the expression, to the real soul. As you can figure out, I am not speaking about animation technique here. I am talking about acting all the time, assuming that the rest of the principles of animation are used somehow and as tool to reach the soul.. This is what this film is all about, in my opinion. About feelings and attitude in life. It is a piece or art, because the meaning is adorned by beautiful designs, color, animation and music. I am sure everyone who will have the chance to watch the film will agree with me!

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