This is Adrien Van Viersen’s premiere guest post! He’s going to expand on my first article in the series of “Getting the J-O-B” about Training. (In case you don’t know, P.O.V. means point of view.) -KJL
I completely agree with Karen on the training aspect. You simply can’t go into animation storyboarding without some training in the field, or at school. I learned storyboarding on the job at an animation studio, first as a clean up artist and then as a revisionist. Only after a year of doing these things was I allowed to tackle a show.
And even then, I wasn’t given a whole show. I was given an act. This way, if I screwed up, the show wouldn’t be in in trouble ‘cuz they’d have my act done at the same time the other acts were being done.
If you want to get into storyboarding animation, but you don’t want to go to school ‘cuz yer a really good drawer, you can do it the way I did and get in by designing backgrounds. Not a bad way to start.
You can then learn all the other aspects of the field through osmosis and study the boards being produced in the office. Then you volunteer to revise them. Nobody WANTS to do this job, so people will look at you like you’re insane.
Now it’s a different story for film.
You can do it without going to school, but you can’t learn it without study. You have to know film: what makes a good scene, what makes for good drama, good action and basically really good storytelling with clear, concise action. You really have to love it. Know what motivates a scene or the camera to do what it’s doing, so you can take a mundane moment and make it interesting.
I have memorized a great deal of film. I watch them over and over (I have more than 350 of them). I have seen the top 100 films of all time. You should all know these. I often run into a director who asks for a scene played out like…(movie title here). Nobody has new ideas anymore.
The one thing that most novice board artists do is ‘cross the line’. That’s another blog post in itself, but it’s the one thing that most newbies screw up, myself included. It’s a tricky thing to learn. But you can learn it from a book. Drawing skills are needed in film, but it’s more about composition and draftsmanship than it is about being ‘on model’ with strong poses and acting.
Always leave the acting to the actors, unless it’s a specific beat in the script.
Being able to interpret lenses is something nothing but experience, trail and error and a good view finder can teach you. If a director wants to see you draw the shot with 28 millimeter lens, you have to be able to give a good approximation. Not exact, but wide enough to be close. Once you’ve learned these, you’ll be able to look at a movie and know what lens they’re using.
So, how do you learn these things from a book?
Well, there’s a bit of dry reading ahead. I own these books and swear by them. One can’t do without the other. Both books compliment themselves and can be referred to like a manual once you’ve read them.
UPDATE: Here are the other posts in this series.
Getting the J-O-B Part 1: Five Key Things You Need to Storyboard Professionally
Getting the J-O-B Part 2: Building a Storyboard Portfolio
The Live-Action Go-toGuy’s P.O.V. on Portfolios
Getting the J-O-B Part 3: Professionalism in Animation…or Anywhere
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Professionalism
Getting the J-O-B Part 4: Contacts in the Industry
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Contacts in the Industry
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Contacts in the Industry-Part 2: Unions and Film Commissions
Getting the J-O-B Part 5: The Right Attitude
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on the Right Attitude