Sunday, April 08, 2007

Round 3! Fight!

Joanne Do

Ted Mathot said in one of his posts: "This is one of the brutal tasks that I've learned to accept from being a storyboard artist -- not being afraid to tear down your drawings if they don't suit the story, especially when they're ones you're fond of. "

I keep hearing this from every storyboard artist I've talked to / looked up, and I see that over and over again in my own experience as I'm beginning to learn the art of storyboarding. For me, it wasn't just the drawings, or whole sets of drawings that I'd hate to cut, but whole story ideas and characters as well. It seems such a bittersweet dynamic that always keeps you on your toes!

But it's a great feeling when you finally overcome a story challenge to the best of your ability, and are more than satisfied with it (compared to past attempts at the same problem). I don't think I've reached that point yet regarding the more difficult obstacles in my story, but every victory and failure is an equally valuable learning experience, and I am endlessly thankful to Mark for his guidance and support. It takes a lot of humility to realize how much you don't know, how much you need to improve, and how hard you need to work your ass off to improve. But I'm slowly learning that it also takes that confidence in yourself to effectively apply that growing knowledge in practice.

So I met with Mark last Friday, and we went over the 3rd set of storyboards:

In this 3rd round of boards there are some problems that pop out immediately, the first being the excessive cutting. This is where the confidence factor needs to come in and help me exercise economy and meaning of shots. For example, there are some shots that have storytelling potential (i.e., close up of Miss Do when she gets caught coming in late to class), but instead of connecting story ideas with camera movement and acting, I would inexplicably worry about the audience's impatience too much and cut to entirely new, "more dynamic" shots with different angles/p.o.v.'s. The result is a mess of visually unrelated shots that don't flow well together, and it would take too long and too much $$ to actually shoot the scene. Therefore my challenge with that is to tell the story in as few new shots as possible (economy), so when a new shot finally comes up its impact is clear and powerful (meaning).

A second, more specific problem is the character that validates what the girl's going through and reiterates the point of the whole story, which is that the girl had the courage to at least try this task that she initially didn't want to do, and that is admirable within itself. First it was the old veteran, but he didn't really seem to fit in the story. He came out of nowhere, and his role in the story was kind of shallow.

Now there's the boy on which Do has a crush. His character was meant to give her motivation for raising her hand in class (she raises her hand to impress him, after seeing him raise his hand), and then comment on her bravery at the end of the story (validation). However, the current presentation of there relationship is not strong or clear enough to make an impact, and I would have to change a lot of the story and set up to put more focus on him. And the main point of the story would be lost. I'm therefore learning that it's really important to effectively set up a character, so that he is meaningful to the protagonist and to the point of the story.

So there are some huge issues that I'm still struggling with, but nothing I can't tackle eventually! Stay tuned for round 4!