Class Conducted by:
October 13, 1938
T A G I N G"
As Applied to Presentation of
Story and Gag Ideas
When the subject of "Staging" was assigned to me, I thought
I had a cinch. However, when I attempted to do some research
I found that nothing had been written about that particular
subject. I could find absolutely nothing on it anywhere I looked
-- that is, on the subject of staging as it applies to the presentation
of ideas, not background or effects staging. Since I could find
nothing in books that would help me out, my approach to the
subject becomes a matter of personal opinion. I want you to
remember that all I will say is based on my own judgment, and
I want you to analyze carefully before you accept or throw out
any of these statements.
I found upon getting into my subject that I could not start
with the staging of a scene. At first, I felt I could do that,
and it would be very easy -- I could talk about silhouettes
and go home. But I have decided to approach it from all the
angles of build-up into the final putting over of what I will
term a "spot gag" or idea. By that, I mean the very point we
might have been building up to for a few feet or for many feet.
So when I use the term "spot", I mean the gag or idea that is
being presented on the screen at the moment.
The first thing I think we should all be very conscious of
as we work on pictures is transference of thought. Our entire
medium is transference of thought. The thought is created first
in the mind of the story man or gag man, then transferred to
the director, who attempts to transfer it to the animator. This
is where the big problem of transference comes, because the
animator then attempts to transfer it pictorially. He takes
it out of the intangible, and places it in tangible form, in
picture, for transference back to the mind of the audience.
I feel that if we have a better understanding of the fundamentals
of our medium we are better able to spot-stage our ideas.
There is an old Chinese saying that "One picture is worth
ten-thousand words." I add to that - "One picture
properly staged is worth
ten-thousand words." The Chinese were considering the fact that
picture presentation is clearer than any other means of transferring
thought from one person to another. [...]