I was in Germany for the weekend, in a lovely town called Elmshorn. I don’t know much German but I have a few words and can string some sentences together. Okay, so they’re often totally wrong and messy and I have to improvise as I go (wenn Ich habe keine Wurt, Ich muss ein Substitutwurt gemakeupen) but I can sometimes make myself understood.
Language is communication. You can butcher it and it’s unpleasant but the truth is, if you made yourself understood, it’s job done. Everything else is a bonus – polish. A desired bonus and one that can bring rewards but a bonus nonetheless.
The same is true for television and film.
Not just big picture stuff (do people actually know what’s going on?) but down to the little details (will they get that the click on the track is supposed to be the foot tap of the guy on the far right?). If you made yourself understood, job done. Now go work on the bonuses that are grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, spelling and noun genders.
But all those things while still failing to make yourself understood? A waste of time.
*Big note to self here (as most things on this site are) – creating a ‘mystery’ or wanting to make something challenging does not excuse you from this. You still need to have the audience understand it is a mystery or challenge and carefully structure the communication.*
The hard part of communication, however, is finding something worth saying.
Clarity in animation is something that I’m only starting to get my head around fairly recently. Don’t you think it’s one of those lessons that you can only really learn by doing your work rather than from anyone else? I recall so very many articles, tutorials and chapters in books that have spoken of the importance of clarity in communication, yet only by being annoyingly unclear have I learned the lesson!
Quite possibly, Andy. Many things can be learned and it’s good to learn them so you can be aware of them but real understanding and application can sometimes take just doing it over and over until it clicks.
With some things, like clarity, I find I also need to be reminded at regular intervals because I can let it slip. Worse still, I can sometimes talk myself out of doing things well (because there can be exceptions) only to realise much later that I was better at justifying what I was doing than actually doing things!
Oh I’m the same when it comes to justifying things. I think having a blog doesn’t help with that! I can wax lyrical about why I am or am not going to do something, rarely do my ramblings turn into actual work!