Chase Tag Exercise for Animators

World Chase Tag being played

I recently discovered there is an adult competitive league for the child’s game of tag. It’s a one on one game played for 20 seconds on an obstacle course. It’s probably best to just roll the video.

Most animators are familiar with the sport of parkour, and this game obviously shares most of the same physical skills. I have seen many student videos that feature a character doing parkour, as a way to demonstrate body mechanics.

As an alternative exercise, may I suggest having two actors playing tag? I think this has some significant advantages over parkour.

  1. Parkour is a solo event, but in tag, the players have a relationship, they interact. You can add emotions to the performance.
  2. Tag includes a chase. Chases are a basic tool of physical comedy. Tom & Jerry, the RoadRunner, etc all include chases.
  3. The environment could be anywhere. As simple or complex as you want. Where would be an inappropriate place to play a game? You can even have props a character can move to obstruct the chasing player. Get creative.
  4. Chases can involve hiding, which allows for the possibility of surprise. Maybe the chased player ducks out sight, appearing in an unexpected place.
  5. It can have an ending, with a player being tagged, which can be dramatized in any way you can think of.

There was a feature film, “Tag”, made about a group of adult men who had been running the same game of tag since they were kids. Perhaps watch that for inspiration. Here are a couple of shots from that.

Tag movie image 1
Tag movie image 2

Think about it like a Jackie Chan fight scene. Jackie is often trying to avoid blows, so he bends and twists out of reach. He gets extremely clever in setting up scenes.

Jackie Chan hiding.

Everybody knows the game of tag, so they can relate to what they are seeing. If you simply have “tag” in the title, viewers can immediately know what’s going on, and you don’t need to waste any time. PLEASE let me know if you do an exercise like this, I will promote it for you!

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