I’ve started working on my next animation: someone trying to wake up in the morning. The scenario just came to me and I felt like animating it so I just did. I started blocking out the actions which I made up as I went along, there was no planning for future actions.

I built a basic bed and put my favourite rig into the scene (I’ve been using this one a lot, it controls very well). I wanted to make the starting pose the best I could, rather than just the default which I often forget to pose. Just subtle changes like the feet not being symmetrical, the shoulders rested back, his body tilting ever so slightly.

The scenario starts out in the bed, and the alarm clock goes off so the character attempts to hit the snooze or off button. It takes a few tries but he apparently gets it and returns back to rest. He pauses a small moment before making a small attempt to look up and observe his surroundings.

I’ve blocked out the rest of the scene just basically, he does decide to wake up and sits up, slowly turns to the side, but eventually collapses back into bed. I decided to have this extra action at the end just to round things off. I feel it would be a bit boring to end with the sitting up. Humour after all is worth the extra effort.

I’ve been reading Ed Hooks’ Acting for Animators and one of the seven acting principles he writes about is “A Scene is a Negotiation”. Similar to Robert McKee’s “Story”, they both describe the three types of conflict: inner, personal and extra-personal. In my scenario the whole scene is a negotiation, the negotiation with his inner thoughts and body to get out of bed. Because of this, I wanted to show the process behind his own thoughts. The small attempts to wake up, the yawn, the hitting the alarm. They’re all conflicts which he has to overcome to wake up, meanwhile battling his own desire to sleep a little bit more. This is something I haven’t really considered in this much detail but after reading the book, it makes sense, and thinking in this sense has been educational.

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