Wee! It’s finally here! The day you’ve all been waiting for!
My Birthday!!! Woo Hoo!
Oh yeah. And that interview thingy. (Just kidding Rob!)
Today he talks about all things storyboard-like.
As an added bonus, we also have storyboard samples from Rob himself. They’re from the premier episode of Kid vs Kat, ‘Let the Games Begin’.
Now I must eat cake, throw on a hockey mask and maybe kill a few teenagers. : )Click image to enlarge.
7. How did you end up as a storyboard artist? Was that your initial plan?
I certainly wasn’t a natural animator, and I was told by a VFS instructor early on that storyboarding was a path I should look at.
Storyboards are like extended comic strips when you think about it: the mechanics of a gag in a storyboard aren’t far off from what you would do in a 4 panel cartoon or a larger Sunday strip.
Strips are all about being economical with your drawings and making sure the gag or situation reads loud and clear – I found that mindset ultimately helped me become a decent board artist.
My first storyboard gig was working on ‘Ed, Edd n Eddy’ at aka Cartoon.
I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and looking back on it the majority of us that were there had no right to be storyboarding on a major network show. (Editor’s note: What?? Umm…yeah, you’re probably right…)
But we all learned from making spectacular missteps, and if you watched that series from start to finish you would see how skilled those board artists eventually became.
I only stayed for a few years, but I learned more about storyboarding during that time than I did at school.Click image to enlarge.
8. What’s the best part about doing storyboards for you? What’s the worst?
I love the initial roughing (or thumbnail) stage – it’s the most creatively challenging time for me.
The story lives or dies based on the choices I make here: shot selection, camera angles, acting and expressions all need to work together to keep the story clearly moving.
Storyboarding for me is as much about thinking as it as about drawing, and I’ll usually spend a couple of days just reading and rereading the script until I can see the visuals clearly in my head. Only then will I start to draw.
The worst part of storyboards for me is the actual clean-up. I just find it so tedious!
My thumbnails are usually tight enough to be blown up twice their size without distortion, and my boards usually don’t change much from the thumbnail stage to final, so I always feel like I’m wasting time doing things twice. (Editor’s note: Yes. He is wasting his time. Draw thumbnails quick and dirty people!)
People always ask why I don’t just rough boards out full size to begin with (I believe we’ve had that conversation more than once!), but I find that I get bogged down with unnecessary details that way.
Tight thumbnails just work better for me, but I always advise people to not do as I do in that case.Click image to enlarge.
9. Do you feel being a storyboard artist made you better prepared for the role of creator/director?
In some aspects, yes.
Whenever I would read a script I would try to look at it from the perspective of a storyboard artist.
And the story editors would inevitably get a note from me saying something like: “Are you crazy? Do you know how hard that sequence would be to storyboard?” Or: “You know, I hate drawing characters on bicycles. Make this a wagon instead.”
I also tried to make sure that backgrounds were designed at lower angles that could actually be used in the storyboard as is.
I’ve worked on far too many shows that would provide backgrounds from useless top 3/4 angles that could never be used in the board.
We tried to make the design packs as storyboard friendly as we could in the time frame we were working under. (Editor’s note: This rocked. All shows should do this.)
But as you can confirm, being a storyboard artist tends to be a very solitary existence.
You do your job with minimal contact from the rest of the crew, so it didn’t prepare me to suddenly have to deal with so many people and so many aspects of production that I would simply take for granted as already being done for me.
The schedule for a board artist is also quite luxurious compared to the schedule of a director, let me tell you! (Editor’s note: Luxurious, my ass.)
10. Any area of the directing role do you wish you were better prepared for? What was the biggest learning curve for you?
I wish I was better prepared for dealing with the network notes, to be honest.
I can be a very stubborn person and I have a nasty habit of reacting to things before I’ve fully thought it through – both are not good traits when it comes to dealing with networks.
There’s a fine art to considering another point of view and clearly making an argument for and against it, and I had a hard time learning such diplomacy.
In the end I had to realize that their notes came from the same desire we all had, and that was to make the best show possible.
(Thanks Boots. Part 3 of the interview to follow next week!)
Where you can watch Kid vs Kat (the pimping continues):
In Canada you can catch Kid vs Kat on YTV, Saturdays at 8:30am, then 6 and 6:30pm (check local listings). http://www.ytv.com/programming/shows/kidvskat/
It’s also currently on the ABC in Australia.
In the US there will be a sneak peek on DisneyXD (formerly ToonDisney) Feb. 13th, before settling into its regular time slot on Feb. 21st. http://tv.disney.go.com/disneyxd/
The series will also premiere on Jetix Europe then the rest of the world will follow.
Please tune in!
Read the Storyboard Blog by RSS Feed or by email to catch Part 3 of Rob’s great interview!