OK, so how did the first storyboard treat me? Well, not too bad.
I hadn’t boarded in almost nine months. And the show before that, I did on the computer in Flash. So I hadn’t done a storyboard on real paper for quite some time. It’s good. I like paper and the feel of the pencil on it. Digital and paper both have their pros and cons but I’m content to be doing this one the good old fashioned way.
So I had the director’s meeting and picked up my materials. Then I got home and organized all those materials. Then it was about two weeks of thumbnailing out the whole show. And I gotta tell ya, the thing turned out to be a beast.
It would have been about 250 pages for an eleven minute cartoon and that’s pretty huge. Usually an average page count for eleven minutes is 160-180 pages (remember that’s three panels per page). At least it used to be. Good thing I had my thumbnails! After some discussion with the director, I managed to cut out about the equivalent of 50 storyboard pages.
So it was gonna roll in around 200 pages. OK, I could live with that. It’s better for the show to time in a bit long than too short. Much easier to cut things out than add things in after the fact. But if I know it’s way too long, there’s no point in drawing all those extra pages knowing they will be cut out in the end. It just wastes everyone’s time.
Then it’s down to business. Drawing all those pages. Deep breath…
The best way to get through it is to keep telling yourself, “Slow and steady wins the race.” You can really psych yourself out by just focusing on how much there is to do. I set small goals of what I want to accomplish that day only and just worry about that.
I actually write all the daily page numbers on a post-it note and cross them out as I finish each page. Sounds kind of silly, but it helps to see the progress and little accomplishments. To be honest, I don’t always make it. Then it’s make-up time in ‘hell week’. Fun, fun.
I rough out the pages in light blue pencil then go over that in black, blue or purple Col-erase (TM) pencil. I chose black for this episode (no particular reason…but it does photocopy great). They have a much better feel than regular graphite pencils and don’t smudge as much. They’re close to a Prismacolor® pencil, but better.
As I complete my day’s quota, I also label those pages at the end of the day. I really recommend this. There’s nothing worse than spending eight or ten hours (or more!) trying to label a whole storyboard at the end. The spelling mistakes increase and you get pretty bug-eyed. Plus I like the idea that the pages in the ‘done’ pile are really done. I’ll get into more detail about labeling a storyboard in a future post.
So did I make it? Well, I can’t lie (plus the director might be reading)…it was officially due on a Friday and I needed “that last valuable weekend”. It’s amazing what you can pump out in that last weekend…truly. So it was all fine. First thing Monday morning…no real harm done.
I also made a photocopy for myself. But I can’t show it on the blog (or anywhere else for that matter) because of contract stuff. So I may post older storyboards when illustrating something. This is your portfolio people! Keep a copy for yourself.
Now it’s on to storyboard number two. Deep breath…