Having just voted on more than 100 animations for the March 09 11 Second Club, I’ve noticed an epidemic of  “pointing acting” shots. You know the type… every – single – beat – of – the – dialog is punctuated by the character pointing at someone or something.

There’s probably nothing wrong with this type of shot in isolation, but when you’ve seen 80 of the damn things in a row, then it becomes evident that it’s problematic.

The litmus test is this: if it’s the *only* thing going on in your shot, then you’re probably not digging deeply enough into your shot.

Pointing is probably more effective as punctuation – you! cant! punctuate! every! word!@!!@!@ – you end up with a complete lack of contrast, where everything is at the same level.

Which is not to say that you *can’t* have a well placed point or two in your shot. People point in the real world. It can punctuate a line very effectively. You simply need a good reason to do it. Have a look at the Christian Bale Animation Contest that the Spline Doctors recently ran (saucy language alert), for some pointing that feels like it belongs.

Having said all that, I don’t believe that people should be pilloried for ending up with a “pointing acting” shot – it usually means that they’re not as experienced and may be having a hard enough time with the mechanics without worrying about whether they’re falling into cliche. We’ve all been there at some point. So treat them gently (forum flamers and those without tact – this means you), and encourage them to dig deeper next time.