So I went to a seminar at the Dutch Film Festival this weekend. It was quite enjoyable since the topic was animation scripts. Some of the speakers were Piet Kroon (Shrek 2, Rio 2) and Gideon Defoe (Pirates! Band of Misfits!) among others.
They both had great talks about the process of animation and the studio system. Gideon definately instilled his great british humor into his talk as well.
But the most interesting talk I found was from someone I did not expect. It was from Fernando Trueba (Chico and Rita), even though he was not talking about animation for 80% of the time.
He talked about music, a live-action documentary and the inspiration for most of his work.
I was captivated.
This was strange to me, seeing as I was there with a purpose, to hear about scripts and specifically how to write them. The other speakers talked about animation and the script writing process. Why then, did I not enjoy their talks as much?
Why was I more interested to listen to a director who spend most of his life making live-action films, and who only made one animated short in his life which I’ve never seen?
In retrospect, it’s because of a very simple reason.
It’s amazing that I only realized this now.
Fernando talked with such great passion, he captivated me, and I totally forgot about animation. He made me want to listen to Cuban music from the 40s. He made me want to get to know him as a person.
His passion was contagious and I felt passionate about all the things he felt passionate about.
Passion is super-contagious. Being born in Spain, passion comes naturally to him, ofcourse.
At one point he said something a long the lines of “Oh I’m sorry, I’m here to talk about animation”. Obviously his passion made him want to keep on talking about something else entirely than what he was there for.
The audience did not mind one bit that he was talking about inspirations and cuba. It just felt completely honest.
We do, however, all want to go to Cuba now…
So if you want to captivate your audience, be passionate.
When doing a talk, be sure that the thing you’re talking about is something that resonates with you and that you could talk about it for hours without even preparing (Fernando did not prepare, he came on stage saying “I thought this was going to be more of a Q and A type thing?”).
Equally when making an animation, make it about something you love! I love miniatures and comedy. Hence Gracht.
Make sure though, that the thing they are hiring you to talk about is also the thing you are passionate about. Otherwise you’ll wind up with a bunch of convinced beekeepers, buying MG convertibles, driving to Sweden all the while screaming “Je ne regrette rien” by Edith Piaf.
So be passionate, or Spanish.