It seems like a contradiction -- one is spontaneous, invented on the spot while the other requires countless painstaking hours to create. Yet when unscripted audio is met with the appropriate animated imagery, the results are often hilarious, heartwarming and highly entertaining.
I first became aware of “unscripted animation” back in NYU film school. Under Professor John Canemaker, I was exposed to the work of John & Faith Hubley. Animators both, the Hubleys would secretly record their pre-school children playing, telling bedtime stories and just being kids. The children, totally unaware of their parents’ covert surveillance operations deliver intimate, unfiltered performances that would be impossible to reproduce in a studio. The audio, when visualized through beautiful watercolor animation, cleverly expands the world of the children’s imagination and allows us to share in their make- believe adventures. As demonstrated in their 1959 Academy Award winning short MoonBird and their 1973 short Cockaboody, The Hubleys have achieved an effect that is somehow vividly abstract and yet warmly familiar all at the same time .