[...] I have not gone into the matter of composition in staging,
because there I am encroaching somewhat on the problems of the
layout and background men. The animator, in being careful of
his composition, as we are taught composition, is careful to
have his lines and poses leading the eye toward the focal point,
so that the eye has an easy time finding the important action,
and is not fighting a losing battle.
I found another interesting thing in the magicians' books
that is very important to us. This gets right in to the director,
layout man and animator. Contrary to general belief, a magician
would prefer to work right up close to his audience, rather
than stand fifty or one hundred feet away, because the audience's
focal point becomes so scattered when he is close to them that
their eyes cannot find that spot which would expose the trick.
We should remember that in the use of close-ups. If we are not
careful, the eye might tend to be misdirected. The magician
can confuse you much better if he is close to you.
As we take up the question of timing, I want to make it clear
that I am not referring to the spacing of drawings as timing.
I am referring to the basis for analyzing a situation. When
Perce Pearce spoke to us recently, he was not talking on timing,
but on pantomime; he illustrated his point with the story of
the man who was sitting in the chair when the door opened slowly,
and I noticed in that illustration of his that one of the basic
points he was stressing was a matter of timing. The suspense
of a gag lasts perhaps only for a moment and unless the gag
is properly analyzed and the story point thoroughly known by
the director, the animator and the story man so that it is properly
timed, the gag won't get over. A broad illustration of this
timing principle is the Laurel and Hardy double look. When we
get to the point of delivering the gag, so much depends on the
timing of it. An analysis of the mental reactions of the person
or character involved is very important. I don't think a director
or animator can guess at a problem in timing. You must have
something fundamental on which to build, to put it over properly.
We must think about this sort of thing, because we are going
to have to use it more and more in our pictures. Along with
the problem of timing comes the statement of those three points
-- clarity, simplicity and directness of the idea.
The next thing in the matter of spot-staging is a point with
which most of you are familiar. I bring it up only because it
has so much to do with presenting an idea. I wish to bring up
a problem for us to attempt to solve. It is what I call double
trouble, when we get two or more characters in a scene, or two
or more ideas of one kind or another. This was a stupendous
problem with the dwarfs [...]