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Okay, I have a confession to make.


Well, I can but unless I spend hours on one tiny drawing they tend to turn out looking rather, well, crap basically.

Now, storyboards, as far as I'm concerned, are as essential to filmmaking as gaffer tape and grip's bum cleavage ie you can't make a film without them. Don't get me wrong, I've shot films without boards, but only the more simple of concepts or if I'm trying to capture a pseudo documentary feel (even then I'll often do a rudimentary board).

The thing is storyboards have at least 3 major functions:

(1) They help you, the director, to visualise the film; to explore the various aesthetic options and to begin to gain an insight into the pacing of the various scenes.

(2) They are a shorthand way of explaining to your crew/editor/post production exactly what you are trying to achieve.

(3) When you're on the set and its all going off and you're running behind and the wheels have fallen off the dolly - it is very easy to lose the plot. To have a quick, instant visual reference is a life saver - believe me, I've been there (I used to make copious notes before a shoot for me to refer to, but for some reason when I'm shooting I seem to lose the ability to read!).

Also, its worth noting that before every commercial, for example, you have a gathering of people involved (agency, client, production company) known, rather unimaginatively, as a pre-production meeting. Now client and agency do like to see a director's storyboard, they help the meeting go well and put the client's mind at rest. It can make the difference between a 45 minute PPM and an 8 hour one (my personal record - it was in Paris, it was raining and frankly I'd rather not talk about it).

So here was my problem: at the start of every PPM I would find myself apologizing for my woefully crappy boards and never feel that I was best explaining how the final film would look. I mean take a look at these:

diner board 1diner board 2


These are a couple of panels from a commercial I shot last year. Imagine 2 pages like this! And they took me hours!!!

Okay, so they do the job, and believe me I'm not suggesting that everyone should do what I did next. I mean, I've seen some top director's boards and they make mine look like works of art.

But at the end of the day I'm the sort of person who concentrates on my weaknesses and tries to turn them into strengths (I know that sounds a bit pretentious but, hey, its my website).

Now I may not be much of a sketch artist but I do know my way around a computer and I thought it would be really cool if I could build my sets and characters in 3D, light them like I would for real and then put my camera anywhere I pleased. So I did.






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