That’s not a question.
I’ll tell you what’s wrong with your storyboards.
Not as much as you think.
So to help out, I’m going to tell you what the wrong stuff is. The mistakes you might be making that I would make you fix, without argument. Because they’re wrong.
Here we go:
1. SCREEN DIRECTION AND CROSSING THE LINE
I could write a whole post on this. And I probably will (I sense a series coming on).
You have to know what the 180 (or action) axis is and why it’s wrong to cross it.
A proper definition is: “An imaginary line drawn through the center of an action. A sequence of scenes can only be shot on one side of the line; otherwise the audience’s point of view will be disorientated.” (Thank you Shamus Culhane).
I’ve seen live-action movies sometimes get away with crossing the line and switching screen direction. I still think it’s wrong, but sometimes it works (or slips by us). They usually use some ‘artistic’ excuse for doing it. Which means they probably screwed up the shot and used it anyway hoping no one will notice. I think live-action is more forgiving for this.
But in animation, it’s wrong, wrong, wrong. It looks wrong, it feels wrong, it is wrong. You must learn this principal so you can avoid doing it. Next post.
2. BAD CONTINUITY AND MISSING HOOK-UP POSES
Ever see a film where the guy is holding a full drinking glass, then in the next scene the glass is almost empty? That is bad continuity.
Again, for live-action films it is very often forgivable or overlooked. I could show you a bunch of examples where I hadn’t even noticed until it was pointed out to me. That means I was concentrating on the story instead. That is a good thing. It was shot that way, so the editor had no choice and it was put in the film. It was wrong, but in live-action situations, sometimes it can’t be helped.
In animation, it can be helped.
This is the storyboard artist’s job. You must make sure continuity mistakes don’t happen. You do this with the hook-up pose. Which is visual continuity between the cutting of two scenes involving the same character.
Short version is, if the guy was scratching his head in the long shot, when you cut to the close-up, he should still be scratching his head in the hook-up pose (the first pose). Then he can lower his hand. I will devote a whole post to hook-ups too.
3. BAD CUTTING
This can be a gray area. Is a bad cut, a wrong cut? Yes, sometimes it is.
I’d say the closer in similarity two shots (cutting to each other) are, the more chance you have of it being a bad cut that must be changed. If it creates a ‘not for dramatic effect’ jump cut, it’s wrong.
Say you have a wide shot of three people and you cut to the next shot of the same three people and that shot is just a little closer, you probably have a jump cut on your hands. Change it.
Again, a post (with samples) on the horizon, addressing the jump cut and bad cutting.
4. BAD LABELING
If you numbered the scenes wrong. Wrote ineffective action notes. Have lots of spelling mistakes. Put the wrong name on some dialogue. All that kind of stuff.
Those are mistakes that should be fixed. That’s the easy stuff.
More information on proper labeling of a traditional storyboard in the future as well.
That’s pretty much it.
Those are the main areas where I would tell you, “That’s wrong and it must be fixed.”
Learn to do all that right and nothing will be wrong with your storyboards. But before you start giving yourself high-fives, there’s much more to that statement than meets the eye. Yes, when storyboarding, there are relatively few things that can actually be called wrong.
But can your storyboards still suck?
Yes. Yes, they can.
Because all the rest of it is choice.
Shot choice. Camera choice. Acting choice. Posing choice. Timing choice.
And you just might be making some crappy choices my friends.
Choice is harder.
Choice has many, many possibilities. If it’s not wrong then how do you know if you’re making the right choices?
That’s the tricky part, ain’t it?
Yes, there’s definitely a series ahead. 😉
UPDATE: Here are the posts of this series.
Read the Storyboard Blog by RSS Feed or by email to see the rest of this long-ass series.