Hey, spreading the word, there's a new animation podcast site out there, Speaking of Animation their first interview is with Ted Ty 2D guy who's 3D now. I love these things, it's great these guys are adding to the wealth of knowledge.
Words of wisdom from 37 minutes in:
The trick is to get them [the directors] what they want but in a way they wouldn't expect
I think that's really essential, that's where originality comes in and thats your ability that grows as an animator.
This person is picking up a cup and they sit down at a table and they pick up a cup, that's it straight. And if I did that with physics 100% accurate and everything it would be fine, but there's a million ways to pick up that cup. They could pick it up and their hand could slip, or they could be tentative, or they need this glass of water more then anything, or they could be distracted because they just lost their job. So adding something into it that doesn't dilute the idea but heightens the performance is essential in everything you do. Unfortunately in your reel out of context it will look like someone just picking up a cup, but in context in a film it can lend so much to the understanding of a character and what their feeling.
(check the elf drinking from a mug in the next post to see this idea in action)