Storyboarding Keeps the Process Going

I am the epitome of a visual learner. Pictures > words, movies > books, Pie charts > statistics. It’s much easier for me to visualize an answer, a plan, or an idea rather than explaining it with, what society calls, words… It’s a gift and a curse, it can make explaining my extremely dynamic, profund and meaningful shots, well, fall flat. BUT,  luckily I can rely on images to communicate what my mind has made up with storyboarding.

Storyboarding’s main goal is to communicate information. The quality of the drawings doesn’t matter, even the framing doesn’t matter at times. Storyboards can take many different looks and feels and hence express different information. Sometimes, the storyboard can literally become the script, think Sin City, Walking Dead, ETC. From production logistics like Shot size, framing, and lighting to storyline details like characters, story, mood. A storyboard can help get your entire team on the same page, literally.

If you want high quality content you have to take the time to plan and and execute when ready.  Consistency and developing a process will help maximize your ROI with video content. A strategic video can increase awareness, develop branding, educate your audience and potential audiences all to attract new customer’s. I wanted to showcase 3 of my favorite Rowlbertos projects and how storyboarding was used in each.

RODE REEL

This was a project we had in mind for months, we even had a pitch day where the whole crew submitted our ideas for the contest. An idea I co-wrote with Rowley was chosen. But we got busy and it got put on the back burner and such is life. I hadn’t done nearly as much pre-production as we intended and wanted to. BUT we had a commitment and we aimed to stick to it. We could’ve let it fall to the wayside and probably nothing would have happened but we put a big importance on sticking to our goals.  We wanted to win the RODE REEL contest yet we were up against a wall and when your pushed up against a wall you push back and make magic happen.

Slap in the Face

Since we had minimal storyboarding, I literally drew 3 shots,  we did a mini pre-production meeting before to get everyone heads wrapped around the project. You can see the more involved shot-list we created in our BTS video. My goal was to get 3 shots per action. A hit, A reaction of Ryan and reaction of Drock. We never shot a fight scene before and thought this would give us the coverage we needed. We ended up using all 3 cutaways in the final cut to give it a dynamic feel. Crazy enough, we ended up winning BEST COMMERCIAL!

Lafayette 

For this video we needed an almost exact storyboard per shot. We wanted to use some visual effects to bring the postcards to life. Hence our storyboards had to relay information to two key people. Communicate the shot idea to my camera operator and also our graphics person. Graphics specifically needed to fully understand the shot to give feedback before we even took out the camera. They were able to give me advice on lighting and positioning to make everyone’s job easier.

Like all shoots we had to deal with a couple of curveballs. Luckily since we had the shoot so engrained in our heads, we could make decisions without changing the core story. Things like not having 3 females available for the group shot or the hotel misplacing the inflatable balls for the pool drone shot. With a little creativity, we made it work!

She’s Mine

In this Music Video with our friends Creature Canyon Sotrybaording was the most involved of the three. This was a big collaborative project with the band, and our crew. We had a couple pre-production meetings just to lock down ideas and we had A LOT. Once we all had the same idea in mind we created the storyboards. We had 4 key scenes, a BAR scene at Blonde Bar, an exterior BAR scene shot at Media Arts Center San Diego, A forest scene somewhere in suburbia and a dinner scene. We did some location scouting and really thought through every single scene. Since our goal for this was to literally get us all on the same page, you’ll notice the shots in the final video are almost exact to what we planned in the storyboards, even the location scouts.

One of my favorite parts of the production process is seeing the final product. I love comparing my scratchy, scribbly drawings to the final piece of movie magic. It’s always humbling looking back the amount of work, crew, and time spent to create something that pops in your head. I literally created some of these images our of thin air. but with a clear goal and “legible” storyboard you can pass along the information needed to convey the meaning intended.  It’s very powerful. Learning how to utilize this knowledge and proper pre planning with storyboard, shot-list and script can help make your content much more effective and entertaining.

Leave a Reply