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The Girl With No Name: Storyboarding

The complexity of my previous two projects taught me the value of storyboarding a movie well ahead of time. Creating storyboards has always been time intensive, so I started looking for ways to make the process flow a little better.

I originally started my preliminary story boards by drawing them in 2:35 ratio frames printed on individual sheets of paper. To have enough sheets to sketch a scene without interruption meant that I had to print out several of these templates ahead of time, and I felt guilty about all the paper and printer ink I was burning through. So I switched to a template of six frames per sheet. This template had its own problems: Though I had clear visions for many individual shots, transitions and cutaways were not so clearly formed in my mind. I had to experiment and doodle before I got a good idea for a shot. This left me with a pile of messy papers from which there might only be one frame I wanted to keep. I would have to copy the images I wanted from the first set of sketches into the final storyboard.

The solution was sketch rudimentary storyboards on a set of 3×5 cards. Each image was very simple, just enough to get the idea of the individual shot. When I presented the cards at the next pre-visualization meeting, my Cinematographer and Production Designer could lay out and rearrange the sequence at will, even adding new shots on the fly. Using the 3×5 cards eliminated obstacles to creativity and made our work far more efficient.


Using the 3×5 cards was so effective I continued looking for other ways to help the process. I picked up a set of small 5.5 inch tall artist mannequins from Blick, with an additional 4.5″ tall mannequin to represent The Girl With No Name. The plan is to use these mannequins to block out scenes, take pictures and maybe play with lighting angles or set models. I also bought a set of toy motorcycles to use with the mannequins and eventually create animatics.