Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Storyboards [Rough]

Last week we were set the task of drawing a finished storyboard for our individual films for presentation today. I presented my traditional storyboards on sheets of A1 card, comprised of 141 drawings. I started with some digital thumbnails on the computer however. Unsure of what format to use, I started digitally to get it down quickly, with the intention of returning to it to tighten up for my animatic.

After getting this far, I wasn't sure where to go in my story, so I returned to my script to plan what needed to happen in words first. This helped me to structure my thoughts. Then I began sketching ideas for interactions between Amber and the Spirit of the Oak (see previous post for sketches).

Once I had regained confidence with story direction, I sketched out the entire film on post-it notes and stuck them on paper. I kept each frame incredibly rough to save time (this version would not be presented) and some drawings were probably so abstract they could only be understood by myself anyway, but that's the purpose of doing it this way.

Working on post-it notes allowed me to freely rearrange scenes and swap drawings around. I didn't have to do this very much, but it did help when I needed to. There were 119 drawings in all.

Although it was a lot of work, it really helped me to think visually about my film and to tackle elements of my story that weren't quite clicking yet. A week didn't seem like a long time to do this, but the deadline helped me get my thoughts down quickly.

I showed my first thoughts to friends and made notes. At this point, the climx of the film wasn't quite right, here Amber takes an acorn from the tree to give to her friend, the Spirit, but it is misunderstood and the Spirit sees it as harming the tree and gets angry. Because of this, Amber falls from the tree and it is struck by lightning. It all got a little confused and the motives don't read well, so I changed it for my next boards; taking Amber nailing planks of wood to the tree in order to climb it as the part where she harms the tree instead.

The following version of the storyboard was drawn in coloured pencils and stuck on A1 card so that I didn't have to do further processes of printing and so I could show a physical version to the group for feedback. Backgrounds/characters/seasons are appropriately colour coded to aid clarity.

I received very useful feedback from these today from my lecturer, James Manning and fellow students. Some were confused when the Spirit changes size, so instead of trying to make that work, I'm going to remove that aspect entirely as it doesn't add anything and is not important later on. James told me that the climax of the film is still not the drama and conflict I need to make it work. He said there needs to be some sort of barrier between girl and Spirit to create the worst possible thing that could happen to them, so that the ending means something when hope is restored.

In addition, Amber will not plant a second acorn, but instead will see the acorn that the Spirit plants in the beginning, sprout into a tiny sapling. I also hint that the Spirit then becomes the squirrel, but I will take out that suggestion too so that the emphasis is on the acorn/rebirth of the Oak Tree.

Along with other tweaks to shot sizes/angles and simplifying/cutting down action, there is a lot to do for next week, when I aim to have a revised storyboard and possibly an animatic. We are doing a walk cycle exercise next week too, so I will need to prepare final concepts/model sheets for Amber.

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