Friday, May 2, 2008

revising the syllabus

After teaching this class for two terms, I've been given the go ahead to draft a new syllabus. I'd really appreciate you input, as you have a better idea of what is or isn't effective about this class.

There were some speedbumps this term, as the class shot up from 10 to 22 students, making lectures challenging., so I'm throwing out some questions your way..

which would you rather have more of.
if so, on what and for how long

theory and technique

individual critique
i made the call to focus more on maximizing the time on critique this term and attempted to roll in a theme or two per class and to explore that through the work.

and on to the bullet points of syllabus 2.0

  1. ball bounce. - cycle lecture
  2. cycle with character - run or walk, hop or skip. up to the student.
  3. cycle final
  4. idle to walk off stage
  5. idle to walk offstage 2
  6. idle to walk offstage final
  7. pantomime exercise. blocking
  8. pantomime exercise first pass
  9. pantomime exercise. second pass
  10. pantomime exercise. polish
  11. acting. blocking
  12. acting. first pass
  13. acting. second pass
  14. acting. polish pass
  15. last class. individual reel critique, cleanup on any pieces from this term.

Your input is important - my only interaction with the academy is showing up once a week and trying to cover as much ground as I can. I've found so far in every class there's a pretty broad range of skills and by having a longer period for each assigment, it will allow people time to take their work to a more finished level.


so far it seems people would like to see more of a focus on weight mechanics as well as class demos.

One thing I'm struggling with is whether to keep the exercises the same for everyone, but have and advanced portion to them, or keep them a little more general, so that if we're doing a pantomime piece, the student can use that to do a weight exercise. I don't want to punish the beginning or advanced students, and it seems the syllabus needs to cater to both.



Steve Masuda said...

I think having individual critique would be nice, and perhaps more focus on weight shifts. That was one thing I seemed to struggle with on the get go, and I can see that issue pop up in almost everyone else's animation, along with drift. Thats all I can think of at this time.

jeff said...

that was the idea behind the 3 week idle to walk piece in the's nothing but a weight shift exercise, but i'll make sure that's a priority

Edward said...

From all the lectures I think explaining your own work flow benefited me most and reading about similar work flows like on TJ's and Keith Langos blogs. I thought one of the most important parts is how you broke down the video reference and take note on a lot of the mechanics that happen. That would work best during the walk in/out exercise.
As far as the pantomime exercise, I think it's a good chance really to be able use the stage without having to worry about too much of a lip sync, though maybe a weight lifting assignment would be nice too. At least the classes that I have taken in the past never had a weight lift exercise.

Steve Masuda said...

I agree with Edward...I only had one class that went over a lift exercise, but we did not spend much time with it. I too also benefited from your lectures on this blog and live. It made me more aware of the problems I have in animation.

jeff said...

this is helpful - keep the comments coming. so i'm thinking at first maybe lighter exercises which require less critique, and more focus on workflow and methodology

Brent said...

Yes, workflow and methodology at the beginning. Demos would be awesome. I really like the PDF's that you gave each week as well. They were very helpful. I like Steve and Edward's ideas of weight shift exercises.

jeff said...

i was thinking of something along the line of this for a weight shift exercise, but leave it open a bit, and to use the pantomime piece for a weight shift piece...let me think on this and take another pass at the syllabus.

Steve Masuda said...

Jeff, I was thinking about that exercise too. I noticed that Animation Mentor makes you do a 180 turn, and I think that gives you the opportunity to explore weight shifts. Even if its with Norman or the ballman rig. I think integrating a 180 character turn would be good to do for a couple of weeks.