Wednesday I flew down to Texas for a motion capture shoot for a key scene in the Mad Scotsman’s story, that will also be the backbone of the story trailer!
This is the first time I’ve ever directed mo-cap. As with most motion capture shoots, we already had edited audio — I recorded one actor in London, and another in Toronto. Now we needed to give arms and legs to those voices.
So motion capture is a bit like dance. My job was choreographing the movements and gestures that are supposed to sell the emotions in the voices. I had a general idea of where the actors could move in the imaginary space we’d already built. On the mo-cap stage, I worked with the actors to express the characters they were there to inhabit. The mad Scotsman is big in all senses of the word. The other person in the scene is a British aristocrat who measures her every move.
But it’s not just gestures. As I was working with the actors, at a couple of points we’d rehearsed a scene to the point where the two actors were getting everything right; but I wasn’t feeling
In one case I realized that the other party was just sort of hanging out with our mad Scotsman; I needed to tell the actress playing her that she had something urgent she needed to do elsewhere. Suddenly the scene woke up. It’s funny, because exactly none of her gestures changed. But now, I felt it.
In the other case, I hadn’t given the actress her intention. She was saying stuff to the mad Scotsman; but she wasn’t trying to convince
him. The actress didn’t know the character’s “verb”. And again, not a gesture changed, but as soon as I gave her an intention for her character, the whole scene came alive.
I find the two most powerful questions I can ask about a scene, whether it’s written, or recorded, or edited, or mo-capped are: do I believe it? And, do I care? If I can get both answers to yes, I think we end up with something pretty neat.
Rest of the team's reporthere
Labels: directing, mocap, We Happy Few