Sunday, September 25, 2016

Loren Bouchard Speaks

The creator/showrunner of Bob's Burgers says:

... I truly believe animation enters your brain differently.

I am fascinated by that. It would be really interesting to keep picking at that.

I’m hopeful that in a way, what it means is we can connect with the audience in a very deep way. Good storytelling connects, you don’t have to be making animation, obviously. But my optimistic hope is that there’s a light we can turn on, that we can reach, in the back of the brain that no one else can. As deep into your childhood or your lizard brain or whatever you want to call it, there’s a lightbulb in there that I want to get to and fool around with. I assume this is hard to do and do a show on a deadline, so in a lot of ways we just have to discover it together if I’m right ...

Animation comes at television or theater audiences by a separate route than live-action because people know what they're watching isn't real.

Old-style live-action, on the other hand, was real.

When you saw two characters fighting to the death, actual carbon-based life forms were flailing away at each other. When a squad of cavalry came thundering toward the camera, it was actual horses with actual human-type persons sitting atop them. And when you saw a man getting flung through a glass window, the window panes might have been spun sugar and balsa wood, but somebody was actually going through the damn window head first.

All those things impact nerve endings differently than Wiley Coyote going through a window ... or falling off a cliff ... or shooting past Mars on the nose of a rocket. The perception of risk and danger are different. There's a subliminal realization that with analog live-action, actual events in the space-time continuum, staged and choreographed though the events may be, are actually happening.

In the digital age, of course, it's different. When Captain America is duking it out with Ironman and knocking him the length of a football field, or Deadpool is jumping though the roof of a car from two hundred feet up, the action is so over the top and ludicrous, that nobody registers it as "live action" in the way that, say, the chariot races in the 1959 or 1926 versions of Ben Hur come across as flesh-and-blood occurrences: real people at real risk causing real sweat on the palms of audience members. (In the '26 edition, you look at a massive pile-up of chariots and know it's genuine; crew members in knickers are running out onto the track to tend to injured extras).

Chariots plow into each other at 10:02.

In 2016, much of live-action has become a cartoon, with gravity and physics distorted in ways similar to the world of Wiley and his Road Runner pal.

But Mr. Bouchard strikes a chord about good storytelling connecting with audiences. Otherwise audiences wouldn't weep when the dwarfs gather around the funeral bier of Snow White ... or clench with fear when Woody, Buzz and the rest of the Toy Story troupe is swept toward the fires of a furnace.

Are there differences between animation and live-action? Abso-freaking-lutely. But each has the capability to reach audiences.


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