Wow I loved this book! So many great lessons were learned reading this and I’ll try to use these principles of performance in my work from now on.
A record of notes from the book, I really recommend it.
Emotion tends to lead to action.
Audiences only empathise with emotion.
You always want your character to do something, eg. Jiminy Cricket struddling with the oversized book when telling the story at the start rather than just talking to the camera. Adding a small amount of conflict to an exposition scene.
In a gag when one event triggers a series of others the trick is that each of the resulting events must, in hindsight, be utterly logical.
Comedy is drama extended, elevated and exaggerated.
A scene is a negotiation and in any negotiation there must be a way to win and a way to loose.
Indecision is actually a series of tiny decisions and changes of mind.
Sadness will tend to make a character feel heavier.
Gags should come from logic of the scene.
A hero is an ordinary person who overcomes great odds or a great enemy to achieve a positive goal.
Show dont tell.
Acting is doing; it is not enough to simply convey feelings.
Emotions carry zero theatrical currency.
If you are going to add gags to a sequence, ask yourself if the information being communicated is useful to the story.
A gag is not in itself going to carry a whole lot of voltage if it isnt hooked into the character development and story.
A characters strength is often best exposed via small glimpses of vunererability.
Ambivalence is played by making choices and then changing your mind.
Characters need to have a reason for entering a scene and a reason for exiting.
The more specific the acting choice is the better it will play.
A villain can be defined as a regular person with a fatal flaw.
Moments of truth and insight tend to be very still. Time seems to stop.
Acting has almost nothing to do with words.
We as humans do not easily share our emotions with one another.
Sometimes when you are telling a good story, you have to know when to stop.
The last thing we try to do before we die is try to live.
Stillness (“ma”) is good in animation if it is filled with emotion and intention. Everything does not have to stay in constant motion.
The more specific the characters thought process the better the performance.
Play an action until something happens to make you play another action.
A lower power centre (where the body language donimates) requires a slower character rythm. Anxiety is a high and heavy power centre.
The fetal position carries a lot of visual and epathetic energy to the viewer.
In life stupid people do not think they are stupid.
There is a big difference between being a victim and being victimised. If you portray your character as a victim you run the strong risk that you will lose the empathetic response if your audience. Humans act to survive. We want to see characters do something to survive, even if the choice is wrong.
Comedy deal with our human limitations.
A gesture does not have to be merely an illustration of the spoken word.
Unless you have purely transitional sequence, a character should 100 percent of the time be playing an action in persuit of an objective while overcoming an obstical. These are three kinds of conflict; with self, with the situation, and with another character.
The more powerful the emotion, the more you can justify in terms of extreme action.
When we are threatened, we get a huge adrenaline rush and our blood goes straight to our extremnities so we can fight or run away. This kind of automatic reaction was key to survival in prehistoric times.
There are seven possible human emotions; surprise, discust, anger, fear, happiness, sadness and contempt.
Pycological gesture, eg. When Tarzan says of Kala “She is my mother” he touches his heart.
A powerful performance is made in small details.