Before I begin I just want to mention this is my 100th post! Hurrah! *throws confetti*
Now we get to the good stuff.
The first pass of his storyboard and what I had to say about it in a Mini Critique.
But before we get to that, here’s his storyboard as it was sent to me. And yes, it is quite clean for a ‘first pass’. Which is fine and dandy.
But you can be much rougher at this stage of the game with your own boards.
(Click on the images to enlarge and get a better look.)
Now here’s what I had to say about it all. Keep in mind he told me to “go all out”. So I’m holding it up to professional standards and being all nit-picky and stuff.
In a Mini Critique I scribble over your board in red and then tell you what it all means. And I usually prefer to do it in audio because I think I explain myself better that way.
But we thought print was better for…you know…reading and stuff.
(Again, click on the images to enlarge and get a better look at my scribbles.)
- What you really have to make clear right off the bat, is that we are at a prison. How can you drive this home visually? Try a pan in the first shot (some perspective issues here). Maybe have a far off guard looking down at the yards. Pan down to the entrance…make it more prison-y. Even a sign could help, but don’t rely on it.
- Second panel, start close on the video screens, to again drive home the fact we are in a prison. SHOW us what’s on the screens. All those bars will give us a much clearer picture of WHERE WE ARE. Simple, but important thing to establish. Then pull back to reveal the guard.
- Third panel. Is there a reason for the down shot? If it is to show the shadow of the janitor walking through the background, then great. But we must really see that shadow clearly on the floor. We aren’t now. If it’s not for this reason, I may just make this a regular medium shot on the guard. Could show us he’s bored…yawn etc.
- Fourth panel. Lower horizon line for perspective to work. Can add an arrow on the legs walking. (Unless you don’t want arrows for the portfolio. Your choice, but it could use some in places.)
- Fifth panel. You need a start pose for the guard so he hooks up to previous scene. This is where it’s too much like a comic book. You are telling a story with pictures, but you’re not making a film properly (if you know what I mean). Main thing you’re missing is start poses, hook-ups and enough panels to show the action.
- Sixth panel could add a little truck-in to give the camera a little movement and the scene a little “false drama”. The board is lacking any camera movement. Again, that “comic book thing”. You don’t want to over-do them, but some well placed camera moves will work wonders and help tell the story and set the mood.
- Panel one needs a second pose to get him back to reading his magazine. Needs to hook up with panel two. Panel one and two have the guard way too similar in size and position. This creates a jump cut and should be avoided. I’d shrink him in the second panel.
- Second panel maybe have the janitor whistling, all casual-like. In the third panel, I’d dump the nose pick (till later) so it doesn’t distract our eyes from the approaching janitor. This is who we should be watching.
- Fourth panel doesn’t hook up with previous. You can start the scene just with a color card (for a split second screen time) and have him rise up FAST into the scene with mop overhead. Fast, funny and hook-up problem is solved.
- Fifth panel needs a start pose. This panel can work in a comic, but animators need to know what the very FIRST drawing they draw should look like. And this isn’t it. We need that split second before he gets whacked in the head. This could be your nose-picking pose to add a little humor to the humor.
- Sixth pose needs to hook up. He can’t be getting whacked in the head and lying on the floor at the same time. We gotta GET him to the floor. Three panels. First one is the ground. Second one, he falls IN. Third one, janitor walks IN from behind.
- The first panel could be a continuation from the last scene. Janitor walks in, diagonal pan UP to his face. Takes off the props, pulls off the mask as you have done.
- NOTE: Watch out for adjusting the sizes of your characters within panels of the same scene. You kind of shrunk him in the fourth panel to accommodate the pose. Don’t do that. Either start wide enough to fit it in or you need some camera adjustment. If nothing has changed, the character size MUST stay consistent throughout a scene.
- Dump the scene in panel six and just continue the previous scene with Scapula tossing the mask and walking OUT. Don’t need this scene.
- Make panel two your first panel. He left the previous scene, so he can be anywhere now. So show that wide shot of him at the control panel. We see where the guard is…all is good. We know where we are.
- NOW put your first panel second. He approached the control panel, now we SEE what he’s doing in this shot. Great.
- Now on to panel three as is. You could repeat what the screens look like in new panel one, then that they are turning off here. Keep panel four as is.
- Lower horizon line in panel five for this to work better.
- Panel six – bag issue. Where did it come from? Where was it before? Don’t let the audience have this question in their heads. A quick close shot of him picking it up by the door between panel four and five could help. Like he had it waiting outside for him. Don’t leave unanswered questions like this floating around because you don’t want to deal with it. You have to.
Well, because I’m just so darned long winded with this critique, we’ll pause here and continue it next week, okay? (Like how I’m milking this baby?)
Let’s thank Aidan again for being brave enough to put his stuff ‘out there’ and for me to pick it apart.
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