Earl Bassett: "Damn it Valentine, you never plan ahead, you never take the long view, I mean here it is Monday and I'm already thinking of Wednesday... It is Monday right?"
Knowing what you are going to animate is essential. I know it sounds redundant, but so many students (me included) are starting a shot without really knowing what to do, waiting for happy accidents, etc.
Take a day and really think about the end result, try to see it in your head, draw thumbnails, act it out, have someone else act it out.
There are shots that took me days to block out, shots that were only a few seconds long. It's really frustrating.
But my "Ze Chair" shot took me two days to block out, and the shot is about 45 seconds long. Why? Because I knew absolutely everything about that shot (I'm not saying that what I knew was right :-) ). I had a plan and I knew what to do. Plus I was motivated and I had a lot of fun. All that helps a lot in terms of speed.
When someone asks you what is going to happen in your shot and you can't tell that person frame by frame what you are about to do, then you're not ready yet to start animating the shot. But of course that's also a bit unrealistic. You may be faced with a deadline and have no choice but to animate, no matter what. But other than that, use all the free time to plan out your shot. When you wait for the bus, at the bart station, in line at the post office, in the bath tub, etc. plan and act out your shot in your head. At least have a solid idea of what you want to do before you start.
I have a plan.
Russell Ziskey: Great, Custer had a plan, too.
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