Thursday, May 17, 2012

This Semester is... FINAL!

All semester long, we've been playing this clip after someone's shot got finaled in dailies. So, in that spirit, I want to commend the entire crew for this semester's work and declare this semester FINALED!

Crew, thanks for all your hard work this semester. This project would not be where it is without each of you! To those of you that are leaving, we wish you well and would gladly have you back, so in that spirit, I have this for you:

And for those of you staying on board for the summer, rest up and recharge your batteries, because when we get back... well, I'll let Europe tell you:

Either way, happy summer, everyone!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Keep Calm And Carry On

Production has a tendency to get crazy from time to time. You just got to keep the faith and do as the British did. To everyone on the "Just Looking" crew, and to anyone who's going through finals and reading this, good luck with finishing the semester strong!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Being Versus Doing: A Happy Artist Is A Productive Artist

West and myself signed up for this class in the Acting Department this semester, ACT 620 - 01: MS: Movement: The Alexander Technique. The class is taught by Constance Clare-Newman, who is fantastic, and focuses on learning the specific Alexander techniques that actors use to optimize movement and voice.  The class has been one that has give me more than I could've ask for. Not only have I learned how to see and approach movement, posture, and voice in new ways, but I've been able to keep my focus better and keep my cool more in HIGH stress situations.

Part of our work for the class was to do a book report on a book relevant to the Alexander technique. I, by fate, luck, or both, end up with this book:

"The Art of Effortless Living" by Ingrid Bacci has helped me personally in multiple ways, but I never thought it would help me with directing the way it has. 

WARNING: This is an over simplification of the book and I highly recommend it.

The book describes that so many of life's conflicts come from us being obsessed with "doing" versus "being". A good football metaphor for this concept is being focused on running into the endzone before you've caught the ball.  If player is too focused on the future goal he's trying to achieve, it jeopardize what he is currently doing. On the flip side, if the player stays in his body and in the moment, he'll have a greater ability to adapt and actually realize his goal. And if the player is actually enjoying him or herself, they can perform to such a high level, they make it look easy, or effortless.

That's where the book instantly change me as a director. In dailies, I decided to not focus on results or deadlines. Instead, I shift my focus to my artists' state of being. Instead of saying things like "Can you get that done?" I would say things like "How's it going with this shot?" and "You feeling good about this?" The results from this approach were visible within one week. Dailies, the week after I started talking to my animators like this, were awesome. The quality of everyone's work jumped dramatically! I could tell they were enjoying themselves and taking ownership of their shots. I have been fully convinced that a happy artist is a productive artist, and my job as a director now is to keep my artist happy and feeling good about what they do.