Storyboarding Your Film

Lesson 4/10 - Storyboarding Basics


Storyboarding Your Film


Lesson Info

Storyboarding Basics

Some of the most basic things about storyboarding is just like, you know, he's going to do some little from their lead panels of templates yeah, just again yeah, but jason was later on the computer to because you have a lot of this set up in the computer but yeah, I mean some of things you know it's like you know why? Medium close up extreme close up you know, it's like this stuff we're getting real basic here but you know, it's probably worth going over this stuff you know? You know, these are some of the language is a film that you, uh, learn about a wide shot medium shot close up extreme close up anything to add to that one pretty self explanatory right there. Uh when you're communicating stuff to storyboard artists or things or even as a storyboard artist or as a director to dp these are the kind of things you're going toe figure out another one is, uh you know, some, uh, you know, over the shoulder is a really common technique for dialogue scenes o t s way that that's an and it's ...

ah, this brings us to one of the things that I remember when people in film when I was in like art school people who talk about like the one eighty degree rule a crossing the line and things that I didn't really have a grasp on it until I started working and I was like oh this is so simple lacking anyone have explained this so in order to achieve and over the shoulder shot like this right one thing that is a rookie mistake that people make is you know if this is your a shot and this is your be shot this is one character and this is you know the same character is sometimes the way to poorly execute this is to cross the one eighty which is this is your character and this is your character well, you end up with is a jump cut there because it looks like your character's they're just going like pimping their like snapping back and forth and what you want to do you want to imagine that if you're shooting these two guys if you're looking kind of like down right looking down at the ground and these two guys are having a conversation this is the ground that there's like an imaginary line right here right? So uh if you place your camera like here this is a kind of how you draw a camera and say that this is your field for this right? You reverse you want to have your camera here right it's on the same side of this line this is your one hundred you know if this is three hundred sixty degrees all right, you want to stay in this one hundred eighty degree circle because if you put your camera here you get the sad face you don't want to do that because then you end up with this jump cut here um uh and as long as you are tracking a scene with your camera on this side like your wide shot you're establishing shot you want the same thing because this ties into an overall storyboard concept of going to jump for demand going to jump back to one eighty which is screen direction uh if you want clarity and then we'll get into later on breaking the rules to like you were saying these are the things you learn and then you can once you learn them then you can decide to throw him out but he kind of wants once your character is like, you know, kind of like established in one direction you kind of want to keep him in that direction you know? You're even if you're doing a you know, straight on shot, maybe they favor this side of the screen because you start toe show a guy always walking this way all right? And then you have another shot at the wide shot and then he's walking the other way you know, if he's walking this way in the wide shot it's just gonna be confusing it's like it's not something that is necessarily like you know no one's going to understand what's happening it might just be jarring almost imperceptible and people are like how there's something deserving about that sequence but I don't understand why it's weird to like it's weird understand till you actually are boarding off a script and doing it and then when you see it or you encounter it you're like oh that's not some weird here yeah it's like some of the virgin mistakes and even experienced guys you know, because you get into it and then you're on a schedule whatever it's like you know, one of my most common notes to board artists is like flop this shot and it's all gonna work like you're you're headed this way you've established your guy is going this way you've established the momentum of the scene is this way and then this one shot breaks that up if you flop that it's going to work and then you know, that's uh that's something that screen direction this one hundred eighty degree rule or someone like that most like key basic things if you could wrap your head around that you're in great shape, you know, because if you you know if you visualize this shot right here you know it's you know it's essentially this right? But then this version of that shot is, you know, this which is jarring if you're cutting from like you're you know character one two character too and then when you cut why if they've suddenly switched positions that ends up being just jarring and weird calling not you don't break the line kind of you learn this if you are a live action film maker and film one o one class or if you are you pilot ferguson's when you start to board but if you're serious about boarding it's totally smart too probably you know these things and get like just a just almost like a basic filmmaking one on one type book you get in a college class or course or whatever words probably even online like I think it's like the references that you could find that I ever made you came out of like, you know, art school is aboard artist that made their own films and I'm giving them this note and they don't know it how did you learn this? But then I used to I would get the no two and I started so that you can actually everybody gets that times and you're juggling a lot of stuff we're on this way have a student drying assignment because you have students here great right drawing stick figures yeah, yeah all right here we know I mean stick figures and pretty much stick figures here let's see so why don't we do a one hundred eighty degree will summit so imagine we'll just draw it again you know you're the's top you gasol dramas literally a stick figures here all right these two guys are having a conversation and here's what this guy's wearing a hat this guy has no hat right so why don't you want this simon is imagine this one hundred eighty degree rule there's a line an imaginary line it's like right between their eyes it's going right till I want if I was looking at christie would be like t so wherever you place your camera first right I'm going to see I'm placing it here um you know why don't you come up with three shots where you don't cross the one eighty degree line in the conversation and you know you could just draw mystic figures like so you know and uh see how that works out that might be the back of a stick figures head or something along those lines so it's an assignment uh let's let's do it let's do a scene with the coverage of three shots maybe like to use our language of film stuff maybe a wide shot and two over the shoulder shots how's that sound so should we give some drawing time there should I also if I do the assignment if I do the assignment is that cheating let's have you guys drawing? You're not allowed to look up. Okay, right. So what I do in this case right I'm going across this one out is this is it you know I do the most simple set up of like this is kind of the most common set up right let's say this is our this is our first shot which will call one this is our second shot which will call to this is our third shot which will call three right so shot one is our establishing shot are wide shot we'll call this the wide and any shot that's descriptive in the beginning of the scene which is often a wide shot it's called you're establishing shot which you know in the traditional filmmaking uh techniques is to establish where everyone is on the scene to make it clear for your audience you know sometimes it's even just an exterior of something you know in this case it always starts to be outstanding right? And then they're inside so if this is our first shot camera one shot you know uh it's camera probably would technically be further back but let's say it's a really wide angle lens you know, this is our field this is what the guys shooting so if you imagine the year this camera right well then had guys on this side right there's hat guy and here's non hat guy and they're having a conversation right um so now you've established your screen direction right? You've established what side of this one hundred eighty degree line you're on? You're on this side you don't want to move the camera around to anything else, right? So shot two isn't over the shoulder, right? So for over this guy's shoulder, right he's already been established here, his big fat head is here with his baseball cap on other guy is standing here right that's going to keep our screen direction consistent, we don't have our guy go like keeping and flip back and forth, right? And then we're over the shoulder are other guy for shot three um then you're happier non hat guy in here and you have your hat guy here, which keeps the same screen direction because you could see, you know, that guy is always on the east and I'm hat guys, those on the west, those are the kind of, uh, like, you know, basically when you're talking about screen direction, at least in animation, you talk about north south, east west because you don't get confused is like, do you mean the characters left or the audience is left? You know he'd get confusing when you talk about left, right? I personally like to use north side will just make sense, you know, the guy in the east, nobody gives these two heroes here is there's always here? Well, I guess see that's where it gets confusing because I'm saying east is here but to that camera that's like crazy but anyway, so this is the simplest version of the scene and this is the simplest way to cover a dialogue scene and what most see most folks do and I had a friend who worked on I won't get into the names of the shows but worked on some syndicated show and uh with producer uh would sometimes that the director was getting too fancy going over budget would come down to set, kicked the director off the set and be like wide over the shoulder over the shoulder moving on you know? And we just covered the scene like that because everybody knows this works there's no like this is like the most basic way to board a dialogue that's another thing with everything but with boarding always like had this old boss he always used to say he just right kiss it just means keep it simple stupid it's like just the simplest way the most direct way is usually the best way and it sounds dumb but it's hard to be simple cause you often overcomplicated overthink it even when you were explaining this I was like offered about this it seems so confusing then when you do it and you see the example it's like a super super actually check it out all right here's what we're going to do so now I'm going to do like so we've got hat guy here right and non hat guy here we've got again hard won eighty right our established one r o t s the suit the wrong version and then well they got mixed up ah men they cross the line for three we'll see what that looks like then you've got, you know, essentially the same established that he had here that guy it's one you get the same over the shoulder here non hat guy here he's a little bit more said in this version and then three man what happens now? It looks like this guy just got a hat and this guy's had disappeared that doesn't work that's bad again you're imagining it. Yeah, exactly. Well, something again even if you're experienced like we'll be looking at anna matic and it's like you're busting it out and you're thinking a million things at once like this story in this and that and then you see it and everyone in the room will kind of like what happened jump cut that feeling of it like limping like that and you're like, oh yeah exactly and that's the kind of things it's like once you get a handle on these kind of basic rules it's like, you know, whatever twenties or something they hadn't figured this stuff out yet and it's like it's only because there is this one hundred year history of film that we like all these rules have been established and we know what works and it's zizi you know I'm sure figuring this stuff out what they were like why does it look weird I don't know man they eventually came up with these rules but I'm now we get to the point of breaking the rules right so if you want to create confusion if you want to create a feeling of chaos in your film or uncertainty that's the time to break the rules that screen direction thing you know if you have a guy walking this way and he cut and he's walking the other way and cut you know that's a way to establish you know a tense feeling or feeling of like you know uncertainty or or you know any kind of like negative emotion but you need to have the handle on the rules in order to break right I used to um oh go ahead question yeah yeah I was just curious what's a really good way like have you ever gotten really confusing feedback from a director and like what's a good way for a director to give proper notes I guess for for you guys that you can do the best job man I think like clarity and honesty like in this in this scenario are you the director or the person getting notes the director ok so let's go if you were the director first right don't the worst thing is try to make somebody feel better and not telling the truth like I think if you you know it takes a lot some people are better at it than others but the best way is just be like totally honest and truthful on d like this isn't working and here's why if you could take some time to explain why that's I think the best way to deliver a note rather tryingto pussyfoot around it or sugar coated or whatever what do you think no it's because I had times you know when I started I think it was hard but I think I felt you know when I when I did my show wanted super jails the first time I was the director I've done all these other jobs now I was telling people you know in the beginning I was really hesitant was like I don't want to make you do this but but I knew what I wanted and being assertive and knowing what you want there's no reason to get mad or be weird and it is weird because some it all depends on your cruise sometimes we'll have someone takes stuff real personal and you have to kind of baby I'm a little but it's best to kind of try to move beyond that because the sooner you're could be clear inarticulate it just saves a lot of time and it's it's it's and the more you know more you baby people too and the more you kind of you end up re doing their work without them and then they find that it like it's always better even if it's heartbreaking for someone initially it's always better in the long run to be clear like like antonio is so good at that like he never never should have hopes that he's always like this is wrong this is wrong and people respect he's our creative director at the studio like super good it just being like not not not taking it personal either not saying like you know, I think the way to deliver is without a lot of negative emotions like you know like how did I won't name you know who was always she was always like either like she was extremely emotional on either side you might know this person whatever I'm not gonna get to it but it was either like she would hug you it's this is the best thing that's ever been done or should go what why did you do it this way? Why you know you like you know but if she was just like I don't like this you should do it like this this was my intention when I imagine the scene you don't feel like oh, I did something bad you're like. Oh, you know, this is what the director wants. I'm going to execute it, it's funny because, like with with super jail to, like every season, sometimes you get a new crew, we had a guy like I was telling you before that a lot of this, you know, different shows have a different style super deal is very flat, I never used over the shoulder shots, I never use them, I don't like him for that show, but I had a guy that was on things like archer, like a really normal sitcom pic sure, they always what he'd always do over the shoulder shots and I always be like, dude, like, don't this isn't wrong, it's just don't do it like we don't know it's, not the style, the show. It took a while, and he would I think it wasn't like he was doing it to be a jerk. I think he was so used to you get used like that's, how a board so he was like, I, you know, I forgot it would kind of got funny after all that and then because when you work on a show for a while, you start to you'll start drawn like that show and thinking in that way I have always been all day like when I get off a project, sometimes I have to really just draw my own stuff for like a while to get back out of that mindset because liked to something it's funny like when we're working with I was working phil who had been storyboarding on super jail on us having him do something like, uh you know, I like a style that I like is like adjusting with action, right? So if, like a character, you know, you start with the field, I think I got through this one over you start with the field and it's framed for that character, you know, the characters here on then they like whatever like, walk up into this corner and it's like I won't move the camera and adjust up with this character, you know, when they move and then that board artist was like christie doesn't like that he doesn't want to adjust with the character he wants to keep it, you know, keep it simple and make sure that the framing incorporates all the action that you intend to do in that shot at least that's what he expressed to me that you know, yeah, yeah, steven stylistic you know, like there's a guy we both worked with, but it was this thing of he just come off of working on this for, like, eight months, and now he has to switch gears his brain to work on christmas show it's like it's hard because it's like relearning yeah, that's one of the challenges of storyboard artist it's like, you know, like there is no right or wrong, I mean beyond, like, some kind of really basic rules that we just went over, like cross the one eighty year, like those air rookie mistakes that you don't want to make in less like your director intentionally tells you, teo teo, you know, break him, but stylistic things, you know, everybody's different everybody has a different take on what they want, especially with animation, because, you know, some shows a very graphic and flat or somewhere, like really animated and really, you know, like, like your your style I always perceived is like a stream of consciousness, like one thing happens. This leads to another thing happens with these. Would you follow the action like this? Guy's brands get blown out the splatter on this guy's face, which makes involvement on this cat, runs across that's a good example like I'm always trying to move directly like like, like you know, like west east north you know, this way down you know like this whereas other shows it's like you wouldn't move around like that it's supposed to be a crazy fight you know, like one of the kind of rules of story born in another one of these things is like you don't uh you don't truck in and then your truck out, you know, like it's one of these stylistic things that's just kind of like a jarring thing so it's like you don't do this in one shot where you like you zoom in on somebody's face and then you zoom out to do something else, but I think you do that I don't think with all the time like because it's part of that but it works for that but it works great for that show at a funny story when I first started doing super jail I was I was doing a different studios to all gambling it's on I would break the line a lot but not intentionally and because in my mind I was looking cameras here and I'm now over here and he was like I thought you were doing that on purpose because because he's a huge david lynch fan david lynch breaks that line all the time because he said he was like he wants to make you uncomfortable so he does it on purpose because he wants it to be jarring and it's in, you know, get it, but it's like you should know what it means or why you're doing it or why you're not doing there like something that's hard to get, you know, when you're doing an over the shoulder over the shoulder with two characters it's much easier to wrap your head around this this one hundred eighty degree rule, but when you're dealing with, like multiple characters are going to think of, the exact date is, like, exact set up, but I remember dealing with this with the director on metal lock lips earlier on where it was like, you know, I'm just going to do the simplest version there's a bunch of characters here and there's like a guy over here or something and then in the reverse, uh, how do you have it? He had the guy, you know, over here and the characters back here, and I was like, you're breaking the one, eighty on that, but he's, like, but if you move the camera around, the guy would be there, but I'm like, yeah, but if you think about a little camera, the camera could you know, if you if you really think about a scene right, if you're looking at the front of that guy you could put the camera here that's camera. Or you could put it here. So, if you imagine, yeah, sure if the cameras on that side it's here. But if you imagine the camera on the other side of his head, it's here and it's like kind of weird stuff to wrap your head around, I don't know if this is getting to maybe it's getting too specific at this point.

Class Description

An inability to draw doesn't make storyboarding obsolete – no matter how simplistic and basic your stick figures are, you can still use storyboards as a guiding blueprint for your production. In Storyboarding Your Film, Chris Prynoski will show you how to develop simple, effective storyboards which allow you to tackle all kinds of filmmaking challenges.

Chris has used storyboards to develop his best-known works including, Metalocalypse, Freaknik: The Musical, and Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja. In this class, he’ll teach you how to use the basic tool of storyboarding to deconstruct a scene or sequence and how to implement the storyboard as a useful aid for both camera and crew. You’ll learn:

  • Which projects to storyboard
  • Alternative uses and mediums for storyboarding
  • Optimal tools and instruments for storyboard creation
  • How storyboards serve filmmakers

Chris and special-guest instructor, Christy Karacas (director of Adult Swim's Superjail!) will share both original and pre-existing storyboard examples to help ensure your own boards advance your project and act as a useful guide for other key collaborators. You’ll learn simple approaches that will make the creation of storyboards less intimidating and more inspiring.

If you are ready to incorporate more advanced techniques into your filmmaking, Storyboarding Your Film with Chris Prynoski will guarantee your next project is more polished, prepared, and cinematic.