p. 114 p. 115 p. 124 p. 126

Animating dialog—the vocal expressions of cartoon characters—demands a special talent of the animator

WHEN A Cartoon CHARACTER speaks on the screen, the effect of his speech depends as much on how the character is animated as on the dialog text. The great appeal of animated cartoons lies in the realistic, life-like manner of the characters. When they speak, the dialog is accompanied by the same facial expressions we see when people speak the same words with the same emotion. These life-like mannerisms and facial expressions are as carefully executed by the animator, in what is known as dialog animation, as all the other action or movement given the cartoon character throughout the production.

The animation of dialog presents the animator with problems quite different from those encountered in animating straight action, and imposes demands on the animator’s ability to analyze not only action, but emotions, pantomime and all the other basic fundamentals of acting.

In the early days of sound cartoons, a character didn’t get much acting into his dialog. It was mainly a matter of opening and closing the mouth, trapdoor fashion. Dialog was generally spoken to a definite rhythm to fit the musical pattern or score to which the first sound cartoons were animated.

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