British actor works with animation students to bring characters to life

Crowd of students pose for a photo
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Ravensbourne’s BA (Hons) Animation students recently completed a workshop with professional actor Bruce MacKinnon, designed to help animators get the most realistic performances possible out of their characters.

Bruce has starred in major productions including Guardians of the Galaxy, The Office and Bohemian Rhapsody, working with award-winning animator Ross Burgess as part of Improv4.

Together, they run a series of workshops designed to give animators a unique insight to how professional actors prepare for their roles, assisting with performance capture and realising storyboards and edits. The session at Ravensbourne explored the Laban principles of weight, speed, shape and time, as well as ‘emotional landscaping’ and how it informs detailed movement.

Commenting, Keefe Wagstaff, a BA (Hons) Animation student said, “I really enjoyed the workshop, I would highly recommend anyone studying animation, or even working in the industry to do it. It really helped me think about how I approach my projects — to actually get out of my head once in a while, not overthink or complicate my ideas. More importantly it got me to loosen up and have some fun!”

Bruce added, “I was so impressed with how the second year students jumped into the exercises. It was amazing to witness the transformation in just a day and I really hope they learnt more about themselves, each other, and how to approach animation from an actor's perspective. Just from the short time I spent with them, I can tell they have a bright future. They have a strong focus on the job in hand but also a curiosity and a strong sense of play and mischief — a combination which makes for not only great artists but also great storytellers and animators.”

Find out more at Improv4.

Bruce MacKinnon teaching students

Actor Bruce MacKinnon works with animation students