Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now (1979); Storyboard Artist: Dean Tavoularis

Coolest thing today: Storyboards!  Some old, some new– all fantastically rendered ideas brought to cinematic life for we mere mortals to marvel. Funny thing is, having seen Argo recently (I was the late kid in the theatre, by several weeks), I got fired up seeing Ben Affleck’s use of storyboards in the film– and to great effect, I might add. Being a huge fan of the storyboard as a production tool, I dug around in the big Bucket that is the inter webs… yielding this collection of classic coolness. This was a Must Share, surely.

Inception (2010)

Inception (2010); Storyboard artist: Gabriel Hardman

Lo and behold, seems Flavorwire’s FIlm Editor Jason Bailey was on the same wavelength, and being far better at this game than Yours Truly, he scored big time. Unlike Manny Paq-man of late, we’re all winners this round. Here’s a tease from the full article; “… Alfred Hitchcock was one of the first directors to rely heavily on storyboards in the production of his films. He would map out his distinctive set pieces using drawings that show exactly what will be in the frame and any movements the camera might make, and would then create them on set, often shot for shot.”

If you’re not familiar with the storyboard as a production tool, try it out. One need not invest time and money in procuring all manner of digital device or program to drum something useful by way of ‘boards to use– no, no, no. Pen/ pencil, pad of paper (pocket size is handy, or large– you’re preference), and some ideas of how you’d like to visually tell your story. That’s it. Stick People drawings are fine, doodles are cool– as long as they help you tell your story, describe a sequence of events for your crew, cast, anyone working to turn your ideas into cinematic reality. Nothing fancy, just useful. Storyboards are a tool, not the end of the exercise. How fancy you need them to be is a result of the end purpose, really. Need to pitch an idea? Create some clean, well drafted ‘boards, and if you aren’t up for it personally, hire an artist that can do the gig for you. Personal use? Do it up yourself. Not much of an illustrator? Google around, theres an app for that. Some app’s even move your camera around, giving a very clear idea to all (within sight of your screen) as to what you have in mind for the shot/ sequence/ film. Fantastic!

Going into the deets on all that are available is another article, or maybe an eBook– which I won’t be doing for the moment. BUT, grab a pencil, pad and start drawing. You’ll only get better as you work out your stuff. True.

For the Full Monty of the article, do yourself a good turn and head over to The Atlantic.com. The storyboard collection compiled there proves a wonderful, albeit brief, source of cinematic storytelling in it’s conceptual form.   Excelsior!  -M

(original article: Jason Bailey for The Atlantic.com)

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