Thursday, August 20, 2015

Orphan Black

Hey guys! I mentioned briefly at the end of class last night that the TV show Orphan Black has some interesting acting in it, so I thought I'd share some videos about how the show is made, hopefully you guys find this stuff as interesting as I do!

So, Orphan Black is a show about a group of female clones, all played by the same actress. They don't discover that they're clones until they're adults, so each woman has grown up in a different part of the world, under different circumstances, etc. This gives the actress, Tatiana Maslany, the chance to differentiate each woman (specificity!) in terms of accent, body language, hair, makeup, etc. So she's using the same "rig" as it were, to portray a number of different characters (I think she plays six characters in season 1, more as the show goes on).

Here's a little scene of a bunch of the clones talking to each other on the phone, you can see even here how different she plays each of them.

Where it gets really interesting is when she plays clones in the same scene. There's a very technical side to it, she doesn't get to really act in an organic way like a normal actor (something closer to how animators often have to think about things) Here are a couple videos explaining how she has to shoot those scenes.

There are certainly actors who could portray these differing characters but I think the technical underbelly to all of this is what makes her so intriguing as an actress. The way she has to act in the scenes alone and also worry about where her eyelines are, her staging, blocking, etc is of extra interest to us animators.

In a later episode they did a dance scene with four clones and one other non-clone character, which has some very strategic staging/flow to make everything feel natural.

And here's an explainer of how they did it:

I'll probably end up writing this post up again on my own personal blog since I think it's a neat thing for animators to pick apart but for now I hope you guys enjoy!

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