It’s Thanksgiving week.
Pretty soon it’ll be Christmas. Then New Years.
Then my 92nd birthday and this movie still won’t be done!
If you’re familiar with the life of Jesus, you’ll remember the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus told Martha in so many words “Hey, you need to take a break. Chill out.”
I’m the Martha of Marthas.
Take a break? For real?
Don’t worry…we’re still getting into film nerd stuff like normal in this email.
It’s not just about Thanksgiving and breaks.
But let me first say this:
We are all slammed. We have families. Jobs. Dreams.
Yet each of you take the time to read my verbose emails.
Some of you even respond or share the film with others.
Seriously…this means so much!
Thanksgiving cannot pass without a massive THANK YOU to each of you for being virtual crew. For your part in RECKONING.
My promise to you?
It’s just the beginning of movie making awesomeness!
Okay cool. Enough sappy stuff.
What’s the topic today? Story Boards.
Then and now.
In Gladiator Maximus states: “What we do in life, echoes into eternity.”
This summarizes pre-production for all movies on the planet.
What’s done in pre-production echoes into every part of a completed film.
A crucial part of pre-production is a shot list. Also supplemented by story boards and alternatively what I personally call “story maps.”
Yep, you heard that right. Story Maps. My very own coined term.
We’ve talked about some of this, so I’ll keep it brief:
Shot List: Shows every camera setup for every scene in a movie. Yes, you heard that right. A director has to “cut” their movie together ahead of time in their head.
Here’s a page from my shot list for RECKONING:
Story Boards: Drawings ranging from basic to elaborate that show camera setups from the shot list.
We’ve all heard a picture is better than a thousand words? This is what story boards are all about.
A director can show an image of their vision to a director of photography (DP) or other department heads and everyone is instantly on the same page (as much as possible).
And this is where our fun begins today!
Well…Hopefully it’s fun.
If not, send complaints to: [email protected]
Hahahaha. My wife is gonna kill me.
Following are a few story boards from RECKONING, combined with screen grabs from what we actually shot in production!
Note on the above: I haven’t told anyone this yet, but if you look closely you’ll see I forgot boots this day of shooting. And there was no way I was packing up and driving an hour back to get them.
It was black socks for GHOST that day! And it was FREEZING. Someone call SAG.
I have other story boards that are completely NOT what was shot. But hey…there are no story board police.
All of the above shots are from the beginning of RECKONING. Why?
Because I STOPPED with the story board insanity.
As fun as it is to see drawing to screen, it’s a complete waste of time for me. There are no department heads on my movies! We’re shooting Rebel Without A Crew style, so drawings were not the best use of time.
What did become insanely valuable? STORY MAPS.
These are my own combination of a shot list and visual story board.
Here’s an example:
The A, B and C cameras above don’t mean separate cameras (like it would typically mean) but rather various setups that are needed for the scene.
Story maps saved my bacon with complicated scenes involving multiple actors and a lot of movement.
And hey, wanna see something really cute?
Rose Lawson has a desk in my office. She recently decided to start putting her own story boards on the wall like Daddy…
If that isn’t precious, not sure what else qualifies.
We have a future filmmaker. If I never win an Oscar, she will.
Anyway, have an incredible Thanksgiving!
If you have the Martha disease like me, force yourself to take some moments and tell your family you love them.
P.S. Did you see the new teaser for Write & Direct? If you know anyone who’s interested in filmmaking, this is for them: