Film making begins with a process called storyboarding. My initial storyboard was scribbled on scraps of paper. As it progressed, I transferred it to a storyboard template and roughed out camera angles, motion & action, timing & pacing.
Professional storyboards have all the details necessary to script out a film. It’s the vehicle that captures the director’s vision of the movie. In my case, it captured the critical scenes and allowed me to visualize the entire film before building out the characters and sets.
It also allowed me to test and iterate on timing and pacing with the music. A very helpful tool was making an animatic based on the storyboard and audio tracks. It was gratifying and motivating, to see this rough cut early in the production process.
Talking about the production process. Remember how I thought paper cut-out animation was the easier way to go? It is easier in that I didn’t have to draw and color all the pieces. However, my set designs got away from me.
Turns out that I liked scenes with lots of moving pieces. Each one of those pieces were flimsy bits of paper that any gust of wind could blow away. I also tended to forget which piece went where for each of the 1/24th of a second of motion.
Luckily, I followed a tip from a professional: use pizza boxes to layout your scenes. It was a good idea for animation and sound advice for dinner too!
Pre-production planning, prep and filming was labor intensive work. I can get very absorbed when doing projects like this. I zone out and lose track of what’s happening around me.
One day I was working on the sets when I heard shuffling noises outside my window.
That must be my neighbor Ron, I thought. Ron who lives in the condo upstairs often came home for lunch. After ten minutes of shuffling, I glanced up and out the window. What is he doing out there? I didn’t see him, so I went back to work.
Shuffle. Shuffle. Shuffle.
A little while later, I got a text message from Ron. “There’s a bear outside your window.”
All that shuffling had been a bear!
Early on in the process, our teacher had asked us to share BTS photos. I didn’t know what that was and Google unhelpfully told me that it was the name of a Korean pop group.
In our context, BTS stands for Behind The Scenes and the photos offer insight on the process of making animation. After making my final film, I had enough photos to make a short BTS film. Enjoy!