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Animator Kyle Balda recommends some good books on story writing and editing, and talks about his beginnings in animation...

READERSVOICE.COM: What are some other favourite books whether on animation, biographies of animators, history, writing, novels or anything else?

KYLE BALDA: My favourite animation-related books have more to do with the process surrounding animation. Staging has a huge appeal for me and I was really enlightened by Bruce Block’s book The Visual Story. It talks a great deal about the narrative implications of on-screen “space”.
A popular screenwriting book is Robert McKee’s Story. I think this can be very useful for animators and directors in that McKee breaks down so well the structure of sequences and the value reversals that characters go through.
And another favourite is Walter Murch’s In the Blink of an Eye which is a very short book on film editing. It’s very rich though, even though there are not many pages, and it talks mostly about the criteria involved in deciding when to cut to another shot and what to cut to. But the common theme between all three of these books is good solid story telling.

READERSVOICE.COM:: How long did it take to put together your two-part Masterclass video for 3D World magazine and what were some of the difficulties if you had any?

KYLE BALDA:: If I remember correctly the brief from the magazine was to do it 20 hours and I had to screen capture the entire 20 hour process. So I did this in about 5-6 sessions and had to move on from the early blocking phase rather quickly. As the tutorial was mostly about process this required moving forward a little earlier than I normally would have: where I would have explored other acting options rather than committing so quickly.

READERSVOICE.COM:: How did you meet the Disney animator you talked about in one interview who hooked you into animation, and how old were you and what were some of the lessons you learned?

KYLE BALDA:: Dan Jeup, whom I will always be grateful to for his advice and for mentoring me into animation, has a brother who is a friend of my extended family. When I was 18, at the reception of my cousin’s wedding, she told me about him and said he would be open to talking to me about my interest in animation. At that time it was really just a fantasy I had, but Dan, who had just finished working on The Little Mermaid, put everything in perspective and showed me the path I would need to take to get there.

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-copyright Simon Sandall