I have been working on a very ambitious corporate job for a major client, something I do a couple of times a year to keep the boat afloat. It’s usually a lot of fun too and we all get a chance to work with actors, use new cameras and turn out some polished work. Best of all it’s usually very focused and done and dusted before you know it.
I have learned on these jobs, that if at all possible, create an animatic. This is a kind of animated story board with a voice over and music. The problem we film makers have with corporate clients is that they are not used to reading scripts and often don’t ‘get it’. This is where an animatic comes in. It’s almost like you made the film but just on paper, and it brings the script vibrantly to life. It also forces us to face exactly ‘how’ we plan to film each shot, how long it will take and reveals hidden problems in the schedule and budget. So if at all possible, I can’t recommend it enough.
It’s something I also did with Gone Fishing, and you can see the completed animatic storyboard as part of the Gone Fishing workshop – I remember when I watched the Gone Fishing animatic on the day of the workshop, I was struck at how powerful a tool it was for me, saving us shots and scenes that I would probably have cut in post. Of course it’s not always possible to hire a professional storyboard artist, but you can even do it with stick figure drawing – anyone can do that. What it really does is force you to consider every shot, why you choose that angle, how it cuts with the shots on either side, what is visible in the frame, what is not visible, can you merge two shots into one to save time?… The list goes on.
In essence, you are making your film at your desk and dealing with all the problems BEFORE getting to set. And that’s a really powerful exercise.
Onwards and upwards!
Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author
May I add my storyboard artist's view? The most important reason to storyboard your film is that it forces you to scrutinise your script for how visually it tells the story. This is where you notice that there is a lack of action descriptions, or continuity issues like a bruised face, which would probably have an impact on most subsequent dialogues.
It is one of the last revisions of the script before shooting. It is the first step in the process of taking the story out of the reader's head, into the director's hands (or the director's instructions to the storyboarder). I'm looking forward to storyboard your feature film 😉
Thanks Gabriel – his website is at http://www.gabrielschucan.co.uk