This sample of an academic paper on Narrative Animator reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.
An Example of Narrative Animation: Duck Muck During the golden age of Hollywood short cartoons, from the 1 sass to the sass, Disney and Warner Pros. Were rivals. Disney animators had far greater resources at their disposal, and their animation was more elaborate and detailed than the simpler style of the Warner product. Warner cartoonists, despite their limited budgets, fought back by exploiting the comic fantasy possible in animated films and playing with the medium in imaginative ways.
In Warner Pros. Cartoons, characters often spoke to the audience or referred to the animators and studio executives.
For example, the Warner unit’s producer Leon Schlesinger appeared in You Ought to Be in Pictures, letting Porky Pig out of his contract so that he could try to move up to live-action features. The tone of the Warner cartoons distinguished them sharply from the Disney product.
The action was faster and more violent. The main characters, such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, were wisecracking cynics rather than Innocent altruists like Mackey Mouse. The Warner animators tried many experiments over the years, but perhaps none was so extreme a s Duck Muck, directed by Charles M. (Chuck)Jones in 1953.
It is now recognized as one of the masterpieces of American animation. Although it was made within the Hollywood system and uses narrative form, it has an experimental feel because it asks the audience to take part in an exploration of techniques of cell animation.
As the film begins, it seems to be a swashbuckler of the sort Dad Duck had appeared in before, such as The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950)?latest a parody of one of Errol Flan’s most famous Warner Pros. Films. The credits are written on a scroll fastened to a wooden door with a dagger, and when Daffy Is first seen, he appears to be a lulling musketeer.
But almost immediately he moves to the left and passes the edge of the painted background (10. 102). Daffy is baffled, calls for scenery, and exits. A giant animated brush appears from outside the frame and paints in a barnyard (10. 103). When Daffy enters, still in musketeer costume, he is annoyed but changes into a farmer’s outfit. Such quick switches continue throughout the film, with the paintbrush and a pencil eraser adding and removing scenery, costumes, props, and even Daffy himself, with dizzying illogic.
At times the sound cuts out, or the film mess to slip in the projector, so that we see the frame line in the middle of the screen (10. 104). All these tricks result In a peculiar narrative. Daffy repeatedly tries to get plot, any plot, going, and the unseen animator constantly thwarts him. As a result, the film’s principles of narrative progression are unusual. First, It gradually becomes apparent to us that the film is exploring various conventions and techniques of animation: palate Docudramas, sound erects, Trading, music, Ana so on. Second, ten outrages perpetrated against Daffy become more extreme, and his frustration mounts steadily. Third, a mystery quickly surfaces, as we and Daffy wonder who this perverse animator is and why he is tormenting Daffy. At the end, the mystery is solved when the animator blasts Daffy with a bomb and then closes a door in his face (10. 105). The next shot moves us to the animation desk itself, where we see Bugs Bunny, who has been the animator playing all the tricks on Daffy. He grins at us: “Anti I a stinker? ” (10. 106).
To a spectator who has never seen a Warner Pros. Cartoon before, this ending would be puzzling. The narrative logic of Duck Muck depends largely on knowing the character traits of the two stars. Bugs and Daffy often costarred in other Jones cartoons, and invariably the calm, ruthless Bugs would get the better of the manic Daffy. Duck Muck’s use of animation techniques is Just as unconventional as its narrative form. Because the action moves so quickly, we might fail on first viewing to note that aside from the credits title and the familiar “That’s All, Folks! Logo, the film contains only four separate shots?three of which come in quick succession at the end. The bulk of the cartoon consists of a single lengthy and continuous shot?animation’s equivalent of a long take. Yet the settings and situations change quickly as the paintbrush and pencil transform the image and Daffy moves in and out of the frame. Often he appears against a stark white background (10. 107). Such moments emphasize the fact that in cell animation, the figures and background are layers that could easily be photographed separately.
In Duck Muck, the only certain space is that of the frame itself?a quality quite different from the clearly established locales provided in more conventional cartoons. Similarly, the temporal flow becomes warped as Daffy moves into and out of dietetic tuitions, launching into one possible plotting only to find it cut short by the mystery animator. Daffy keeps assuming that he is at the beginning of the cartoon, but time is flowing inexorably by in the outer cartoon, Duck Muck itself. Traditionally, cartoons were around seven minutes long to fit into the shorts section of movie theater programs. ) At one point more than halfway through, Daffy shouts, “All right! Let’s get this picture started! ” Immediately a “The End” title appears, but Daffy pushes it aside and tries to take charge: “Ladies and gentlemen, there will be no further delays, so I hall attempt to entertain you in my own inimitable fashion,” going into a soft-shoe routine against the blank background. Duck Muck also plays with onscreen and officered space.
Many of the startling transformations we witness come from outside the limits of the frame. Most important, the unknown animator occupies the space from which the camera photographs the scene, with the brush and pencil coming in from under the camera. Daffy enters and exits frequently, and the frame often moves to reveal or conceal new portions of the scenery. When the sound cuts out entirely, Daffy asks to get it back (10. 07), and then we hear a scratchy sound, as if from a phonograph somewhere outside ten Trace playing a worn record.
I Nils unseen phonograph provokes inappropriate noises?a machine gun when Daffy strums the guitar, a donkeys bray when he breaks it?an elaborate Joke on the fact that in animated films, the sound is never really produced by the characters and objects we see on the screen. The most spectacular gag involving the space outside the edges of the image comes when the top of the frame seems to collapse, dripping down onto Daffy like black syrup (10. 108). For a moment, we have the contradictory situation of having the space hat we know should be invisible outside the frame suddenly become visible on the screen. 0. 108 In Duck Muck, Daffy struggles to preserve a bit of space for himself as the frame collapses on him. The inventiveness of Duck Muck sets it apart from more conventional Hollywood animated films. Yet it also motivates its play with the medium through its adherence to narrative form, the genre of comedy, and familiar characters (Bugs mistreating Daffy, as usual). It is possible to go even further in exploring the medium of animation and to depart from narrative altogether, as our second example shows.