Animating a shot with no dialogue is WAY more difficult than animating a shot WITH dialogue. Dialogue gives you SO many cues to work with...timing, rhythm, shot arc...it also helps you with acting choices! When you're animating without dialogue, there's the extra challenge of having to work out all of the timing and everything from scratch, essentially creating your own choreography.
To determine acting choices, the shot has to be put into the context of the shots surrounding it, to be sure that the acting stays in line with the overall story arc. And since there is no dialogue to give you cues for rhythm, it is important that the animation has an interesting, dynamic rhythm that helps to keep the audience engaged. The 'flavour' of the rhythm must match the emotional content of the scene...having an upbeat, staccato rhythm won't work very well with a sad and disappointed character. When I think of how a piece of music sounds that makes me feel a certain way, I find that's a good indicator of a kind of speed and cadence of a rhythm that might work with a shot with similar emotional content.
That's where working out the pose timing in the blocking stage becomes more important than ever - creating that base rhythm that you build all of the overlapping rhythms on top of as you add more details in the later stages. And even if the action in the shot is very minimal and low-key, there is still a rhythm to the movements of a character. Even blinks can create an interesting rhythm. As always, the blocking stage is the base on which you build the rest of your animation. The icing won't hold up on it's own without a nicely formed cake underneath.
Guest Blogger Dana Boadway