Animator Dormitory from Jun Sugawara is trying to make life better for animators in Japan. He helps them find more affordable housing, is trying to get the industry to change and better care for animators, and also educates people on the realities of working in animation. The Animator Dormitory puts out behind-the-scenes videos, and their latest is on staff meetings.
The new video is more than forty minutes long, so be prepared to learn a lot! It’s in Japanese with English subtitles, and is narrated by Ryoko, a fictional animator who is a composite of real animators involved with Animator Dormitory.
“I’ll be taking you inside an actual staff meeting,” she says, “that took place between the film’s director, Kutsuna Kenichi, and our chief key animator. This video should give you a better understanding of how a director communicates with key animators, and what gets discussed during a staff meeting.”
She continues, “These meetings are held as the team prepares for layout and key animation work, which happens once the storyboard is completed.” (Animator Dormitory previously released a video on how storyboards work.)
“In these meetings, staff receive comprehensive instructions regarding design choices from the producer and director. This might be explaining where and how they want certain things drawn, or what they are trying to convey through specific scenes. We call them ‘style briefings’ for short. Their purpose is to share ideas and develop a mutual vision for the art style that the animators will draw in, as well as references they should use to achieve that vision.”
After this introduction, Ryoko takes us to an actual meeting. The director and key animator are animated in, but you’ll hear their actual voices, and you’ll see the artwork they’re going over.
Take a look at the video, and let us know what you learned!
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.