Steve Jobs was famous for his “One More Thing” line during Apple announcement events.  We would wait eagerly as he was impressing us with the latest quarter’s sales results.. demonstrating a new product that we suddenly would decide was the most important thing ever.. talking about how the latest iMac was the most beautifully designed computer in the history of modern technology.

Finally, at the end of the presentation, he would pull out “Oh.. and one more thing..” and BAM!  We would all go gaga over this new product.. be it an airport.. a new shuffle.. a macbook air.  Whatever it was, the idea of “one more thing” became something that without it, they keynote would have fallen flat.

I’ve been thinking about this idea in terms of animation and of rigging.

How can we–as artists–use the concept of “one more thing” to help push our work to the next level?

I often find that by the time I’m nearly done with a shot, a pose, a rig, a sequence.. I just want to have it done and move on to the next challenge.  Usually we’re all so exhausted by our work, we’re either overwhelmed with the amount left to do, or we are blind to it and can’t see any way to improve it.

So I’m experimenting with this idea on my current shots & sequences.

Here’s what I do.  Let’s say I’m working on a pose that’s supposed to show someone being upset.  I’ll look at the pose and ask myself:

What is one more thing I could do to make him MORE upset?

Then I’ll push the pose more based off that decision, and move on to the next stage of whatever I’m working on. That’s the trick, making sure you ask a specific question regarding the one more thing, and then do it.

If I just say “what’s one more thing I can do to this pose”, then I don’t have any constraints.  There are a million things I could do to a pose to make it stronger.  It’s overwhelming!  But by clarifying my goal and asking a specific question, I can make sure I’m pushing my pose in the right directions.

This also works with shots.  Take a look at a performance and think about the goal of the shot you’re working on.  Let’s say it’s to show the character’s confusion when something happens.  Watch your shot and say “Okay, what’s one more thing I can do to show that the character is confused?”  Write down your ideas.. eye darts.. furrowed brow.. shrugged shoulders.. shaking head.. then think about which of those things will clarify confusion the best & do that.

Another way to think about this is to say:

What can I remove to clarify the intent?

Quite often we put too much into our shots and it’s not as clear as it could be.  Simply ask yourself if removing a pose or a beat can help clarify your shot.  Most likely, you’ll find that it does!

Try this technique out and see if it helps you clarify your ideas and push your work to another level!

 

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