The Act of Creation – Blind & Frozen, #8
Background: a look into my creative process as I build a dance start to finish. See previous posts to follow along if you’ve just jumped in. Welcome to my madness!
Animations, movement, and re-thinking the costumes
When I first dove into the dance world in SL, I hunted high and low for any dance animation I could find. Four or five years ago now? This was before Bento, before Sync’d, before Abranimations became what it is today. (I do NOT miss those old testing blocks.) We all know how quickly 349L animations can dent your SL wallet…so I got a bit creative.
I bought dance machines with copy permissions, free dancers, free objects will interesting animations, boxes of animations, dance/animation huds, the entire stock of Ministry of Motion when they had a sale long before they closed (all with copy permissions). I bought new animations for each dance I created or led. I had a very generous partner who loved supporting occasional shopping sprees.
Moral of the story? I’ve collected a significant number of animations over the years. I had to clean out a lot of the duplicates (Ministry of Motion animations were in my ballet bars, some of the dancers, etc. so I had multiple copies). I guarantee I don’t have the most, nor do I need to. Now I buy a few new animations for each dance, or maybe a new Abranimations pack, or recently a small spree of 10 at MyAnimations to freshen up my animation inventory. I also keep watching for when stores have animation gifts and collect those too. You’d be surprised how even unusual animations can fit into a dance – especially when you’re dancing in a tiny/different avatar.
[On a side note: I’m a little shaken with the closing of SineWave. While they’d stopped coming out with new stuff, they had some great classics that I still use. The owner of Henmations hasn’t been seen to my knowledge (although hopefully still around in some way), and I’ve heard the owner of Studio4D has left SL, though the store is still there. If they both closed, this would significantly reduce the number of animations available to choreographers.
Support your dance animation stores! These two stores are well known, especially Henmations, but other, smaller ones aren’t. If they are legit and not copybot stores – encourage others to support them too. The more support they receive, the more encouraged they may be to create new animations. I plan on taking a trip to both soon, see if there are a few new animations that would work for upcoming creations.]
So, now that I’ve consolidated my animations into 3 animation manager pads I have about 3500 dance animations (there are still some duplicates I need to clean out though). They add up fast when Abranimations non-Bento dance packs often had 30 animations in them. This is why I needed an animation organizer to make it easy to cycle through them, quick to flip when I know the flapper animations won’t work, easy to select the ones I like.
Do I need this many animations to create an amazing dance? Absolutely not! If you are just beginning in dance, do NOT let the number of animations you have discourage you! Buy a few for each dance, mix them up – purchasing from different stores. Please, please, please don’t “choreograph” a dance with only animations from one store and one dance pack. Use your music to help you buy animations. Incredible dances can be performed with 10-20 animations! Sometimes too much is just too much. Mine are usually around 30-40, which means I have more transitions. The more transitions you have, the harder it can be to perform a smooth dance where people don’t notice the transition from one animation to another. The way I feel and create, I just tend to use more animations.
So, I worked on selecting animations for Blind & Frozen again this morning. I’m finding my morning hours are the most productive for me. I’m still on the “major store, not Abranimations” pad which has about 1300 animations in it. I find that after a while I start to lose focus. It’s kind of like wine tasting. You need a change in palette so that you can experience the next wine selection. I drank my coffee and chose animations until I reached that point. During this, I changed from my Jar of Hearts costume to my Blind & Frozen costume – assuming the animations would feel similar (and not being as lazy as yesterday when I didn’t feel like changing). Wow, was I wrong.
The first picture here is my Jar of Hearts costume. The next two (in purple) are of the dress I’d picked for Blind and Frozen. It may not convey in pictures, but having the legs completely hidden is pretty much a deal breaker for me in this dance. Once I started really digging into the animations and listening to the music, it is so powerful and so much is lost because you can’t see the leg movements…
Ugh. Double ugh. The costume is no mod too, meaning I can’t even try shorten the skirt panels or remove some. This means I need to find new costumes that fit my set, the time period, and also the expression of the dance – and not hide the legs completely. I may need to think outside the box on this one. Did I ever mention that costuming is one of my biggest challenges and a subject that I don’t ever plan to teach? (I have a friend who is wonderful at costuming – I’m hoping she’ll do a presentation at the SL academy where she teaches in the future.)
I’m glad I allotted extra time to create this dance. At the same time, I’m trying to keep a steady pace while not rushing and losing the creative quality of it, or stressing. That will be my key – keeping a steady progress going and picking the reins back up if they fall.
Off…to shop…for costumes…again….ugh
And that is why I don’t buy my dancer’s costumes until the choreo is done…
Blind & Frozen Timeline
Start date – 6/2
Performance date – 7/13
|1||6/2||Choose the music||6/2|
|1||6/2||Buy or download the music||6/2|
|2||6/3||Write up an outline for the dance, background, the story, ideas, feelings, how many dancers, etc.||6/3|
|4||6/5||Edit the music (if needed)||HOLD|
|4||6/5||Pick a costume, or something similar to what will be my costume||6/5|
|5||6/6||Listen to music for dance and change ideas||6/8|
|8||6/9||Choose animations||IN PROGRESS|
|14||6/15||Work on choreography and record|
|22||6/23||Create style cards for dancers|
|25||6/26||Plan out movers and create routes|
|27||6/28||Test and adjust movers and choreography|
|30||7/1||Test and adjust|
|31||7/2||Pack up set|
|33||7/4||Make any final adjustments|
|33||7/4||Take a copy of set and movers into inventory|