Monday, 1 November 2021

Stanislavski's Questions for Actors & Animators

Constantin Stanislavski
Constantin Stanislavski was a Russian actor and theatre director who was one of the first to set down in writing the principles of great acting.

Many actors credit him with inventing "the Method" - the means by which actors immerse themselves in a character. 

Animators are actors with a pencil or a mouse, and we need to give a performance that is just as credible as anything that a stage or screen actor will create.

So, what can animators learn from Stanislavski's seven questions for actors?

Alien by Jeton Lakna

Start with Your Character - Who Is It?

One solution to this problem is to think about character - who is this person, and what do they want? Animators are actors, which means that we must think hard about our characters wants and desires.

Stanislavski's Seven Questions
The great Russian actor Constantin Stanislavski suggested that an actor to should ask seven questions to understand the nature of a character.  Stanislavski is considered the father of the "Stanislavski System", which heavily influenced "The Method", the acting system whereby an actor immerses themselves into the character in order to create a truly believable and convincing performance.  Stanislavski suggests that there are seven questions that an actor (or animator) should ask themselves to understand who their character truly is:
  • Who am I? Start with the basics and then fill in the gaps with your imagination
  • Where am I?
  • What time is it? 
  • What do I want? 
  • Why do I want it?
  • How will I get what I want? 
  • What must I overcome to get what I want?
School Run by Lee Caller

Who am I? Where am I? And what do I want?
For practical purposes, we can boil this down to three essential questions: Who am I? Where am I? And what do I want? Answer these three questions and you are well on your way to creating a scene that is meaningful and interesting. Remember this basic point: if you don't know what your scene is about - your audience won't either.

Victoria Bailey 11 Second Club 
Below is Animation Apprentice Victoria Bailey's take on a past 11 Second Club entry. 

Acting and Performance Resources
To see more resources at Animation Apprentice on how to approach an acting shot, read these blog posts:

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