AD's 2

Friday, December 11, 2009


“Toto, I've (got) a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." – The Wizard of Oz.

Love drawing cartoons, then storyboarding is for you. Storyboards work for all - features, Tv serials, AD films, and even for animation. It helps some more than the other.

What is a Storyboard?
A Storyboard is a way of pre-visualizing the directors thoughts or ideas (mainly scripts) into illustrations or images so that the director and the team can see what he plans to shoot or do.
What does a Storyboard look like?
A Storyboard is a series of still Images or illustrations put in story order to explain to everyone what the directors vision is. They could just be images put in order which explains everything, or usually there is a description alongside which describes the camera size (like wide, mid, etc) and the dialogues that go along with the frame. The dialogues could also be broken up based on the edit pattern that the director has in mind. For presentation the general norms are to have the image on the left and the description on the right, these could be 4 per page or if the other pattern of 2 a page is used then description is put below the image. Sometimes this pattern is used to put as many images in one sheet as possible so that the entire story or scene is on one sheet so that the overall idea could be seen faster.
Storyboards can be done differently from 2D to 3D they can be done in black n white, or in colour, even still’s are sometimes clicked to make one. Storyboards can be done in detail, with as much information in it as possible, which means that camera lensing, set area, props etc all included. This detailing helps all departments to plan what needs to be done by just looking at each frame. Sometimes there is not enough time or money to get the entire film boarded so key scene’s or just key frames are boarded. Further lack of time also calls for just doodles to be drawn by the side of the script to be a quick fix.
Where and to whom is a Storyboard the most useful?
It gives the directors, producers, cinematographers, commercial advertising clients, etc a tool to visualize the scenes and find potential problems before they occur. It helps in planning story flow for the edit and move shots around if need be. The AD’s can go ahead and plan the shoot accordingly to the board, which would help in saving time so that set up of shots don’t have to be repeated.
In commercials the storyboard holds quite a important place in the process. Besides the shooting crew which follows the board quite closely, the first use of the storyboard starts at the pre stage where the board is shared between agencies client and production house, here at this stage mostly each frame gets studied and based on this board changes are suggested based on brand guidelines and the image of the brand. Like the use of certain colours which match the brand, or the non use of certain objects because of legal issues. All of this helps so that all corrections could be made before going ahead with the shoot which helps in saving of re shoots or any surprises left on the day of the shoot. The meeting which happens with agency, production house and client is called a PPM - Pre Production Meeting, this is usually a few days before the shoot which gives enough time for the changes to happen, sometimes there are more than one PPM as either there too many changes or too many levels of clients to go through. (like when the main brand team belongs to another country)
The process of putting stills or a series of images along with a rough audio or a track together s called Animatics. This tool is increasingly used by advertisers and advertising agencies to research the effectiveness of their proposed storyboard before committing to a 'full up' television advertisement.
History of Storyboards?
It is said that the storyboarding process, in the form it is known today, was developed at theWalt Disney Studio during the early 1930s, the first storyboards at Disney evolved from comic-book like "story sketches" to illustrate concepts for animated cartoon short subjects. Websitesand other interactive media projects are the most recent known use of Storyboarding during thedesign phase.
When and how does a Storyboard come about?
Well first obviously there needs to be script or a screenplay, in advertising this is usually comes from the creative team, in films is the script or screen play writer from where this would come. Then the director has to break it into the no of shots or cuts that he wants to put into the film. Referencing through images is one of the key factors during the making of the board. Key things to know before starting are live location vs set, look of key props, the way the camera moves in certain cases and sometime look of the costumes are also needed. If it’s a live location then a recce of the place before or pictures of the place in detail, or if it’s a set then a proper layout design of the place helps, here a meeting with the production designer (if there is one) or the art director, where a brief is given (along with the references) and then they draw up a plan based on which a storyboard is done. This holds true for most cases but sometimes the director may want to make a board and then brief the art director what all details he is looking for in the set. Either which ways the director has to have references of the kind of look of furniture or style of house etc to show the storyboard artist (Most of these references are chosen keeping the target audience in mind that is intended)
The key to a good board is how much it helps each department, so the more detail in the board the better, the no of cut one wants to have decides the no of frames to be drawn, a fast paced film will have more number of cut’s therefore will have more frames. Montage, Action are usually the times when you have a lot of frames for a short period. For animation usually almost all key frames have to drawn as the team can then follow the direction correctly.
Different ways of making a Storyboard?
Besides the normal 2D drawing there is also 3D way of making storyboards. The advantage of 3D storyboards (also called 'technical previsualization') is they show exactly what the film camera will see using the lenses the film camera will use. The disadvantage of 3D is the amount of time it takes to build and construct the shots. 3D storyboards can be constructed using 3D animation programs or digital puppets within 3D programs. Some programs have a collection of low resolution 3D figures which can aid in the process. Some 3D applications allow cinematographers to create "technical" storyboards which are optically-correct shots and frames.
Making of storyboards are also helped with a number of tools, StoryBoard Quick, StoryBoard Artist, Storyboard Pro, FrameForge3D, etc all these software’s basically help a common man to make boards and not have to wait for a professional artist to come to work for you. They offer usually a range of sets and shapes of houses, cars etc, some of these lets you import your own pictures so you can use the pictures from your location to see what you film would look like. Most of these come with customable characters of male, female, age, height, colour etc etc.. you could also add audio to some of these and watch them back in proper timing.
If there is still doubt and clarity is required then shooting the script on a home camera or cellphone and then editing it down also helps in clearing the doubts, this could be done with the help of the actors as a rehearsal or with assistants, in any space. This edit help all to see the problems that one may encounter in the final shooting, like timing of actors, number of cuts required, more or less shots to be taken, etc.
Lastly for live locations or usually when the set is ready, (on the tech recce) what also could be done is a what is called a walk thru, wherein the cinematographer or the director uses a still camera (ideally with different lenses – like the ones used in the board) and does a run through all the shots in the same blocking that is intended for the final shoot. If one has the budget then even the film camera with the intended lenses can be used and the rehearsal could be recorded on the video assist. (not rolling the film) This process is usually called blocking and is the first time a Storyboard can be seen in the semi-final state before the shoot. These stills if it is shot properly could be used as the final board before shoot.
In Television serials and Feature films where time and money does not permit making of detailed storyboard, just stating camera cuts at the side of the script, Like dialogues are marked at the side from which to whic is Wide and what dialogues go as a close up etc. So whatever you do, a detailed board or a doodle, having a shot breakup at least in your head is important.

Auggieism:- What would you say if Auggie got wet in the rains...
Ans:- Soggie..

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My First Attempt at Direction

"According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway. Because bees don't care what humans think is impossible." - Bee Movie

Check out my first attempt at direction,
These were made for a competition for the London Film Festival, (MOFILM)
I made both of these without spending a penny, got favours from a quite a few people
lack of budget (no money what so ever) did restrict me to a lot of compromises but it was good fun and a great learning experience none the less.
One is called Nokia beach, Other is for AT&T called blink

Do let me know what you guys think of this first attempt.

Auggieism:- What would you say when auggie shoots in smoky conditions
Ans: Smoggy

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Thursday, July 2, 2009


"Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." - Forrest Gump


So what’s the difference between a script and a screenplay? Well actually not much, a screenplay could be your script but a script is not necessarily your screenplay. A script can be the written text for a play or radio or the basic start (rough draft) for the film. Screenplay on the other hand implies a greater emphasis on the visual aspects of film-making. After you have written your story its time you put it in screenplay format, which also may be called shooting script (at a later stage), if you have the software for it then its easier as it imports some formats like word directly and converts it into the screenplay format, but if you don’t then here is some rules that make it the standard format, make sure your story is almost locked for henceforward changes can only lead to confusion especially if not followed properly.

The font to be used is courier in 12 point size. The way its finally structured is usually one page equals one minute of screen time, which means if your screenplay goes up to 120 pages then your film would be 2 hours long. Knowing how long your film is going to be in advance helps in budgeting and also determining if you want a film that is so long or short. There are different things that constitute the screenplay’s layout. It is mainly broken up into two parts action and dialogues. Also part of it are scenes headings, transitions, parentheticals, etc.
Here is an example of a screenplay

Now as we see from this example, your screenplay will have page numbers on the top and scenes are assigned numbers alongside the scene headers, a new number is assigned every time there is a new scene which usually when there is a location change, or the day has changed. The scene numbers provide a convenient way for the various production departments to reference individual scenes. The page numbers on the top helps when there are revisions and the production can replace you with the revised pages, example pages 5, 7, 12 and 35. So the whole script has not to be reprinted as a new draft. These page numbers have to be locked after the first draft as that becomes the reference point for all departments. If the length of the new pages are longer then it moves into 35A, 35B, or if the scene is deleted and there is no other scene on that page then a fresh page of 35 with OMITTED is given so as to avoid confusion of a missing page at a later stage, reason for also submitting only these revised pages is to avoid the different departments to rewrite all the handwritten notes all over again in the new draft.
Revision pages are distributed on colored paper, a different color for each set of revisions, with each changed line marked by an asterisk in the right margin of the page. The progression of colors varies from one production house to the next, a standard sequence would be: white, blue, pink, yellow, green, gold, salmon, cherry, white (this time known as "double white"), and back to blue ("double blue"). Usually before the start of the filming process a final draft is given out with all scenes and pages renumbered. The other way to also do it especially if coloured paper is not easily available is to keep an index at the end of the script and a note made each time the pages go through revision. Example
It is best that scene and page numbers are maintained throughout because too many changes could lead to some departments missing out or overlooking some of the changes. When a numbered scene is split across pages, (CONTINUED) appears at the bottom of the prior page, and CONTINUED: appears at the top of the subsequent page.
Each new scene is numbered differently so that any part of the script can be referred to by their scene numbers, scenes which are broken up into a edit pattern so that it moves back and forth from locations continue to have the same scene number, like a phone conversation that cuts back and forth to 2 different people at different locations but is still the same scene, for shooting purposes these are sometimes numbered as 7a, 7b, 7c or 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 this usually depends on what is comfortable with the production house and assistant directors.
Scene titles also known as slugs tells the reader that the story has changed in location or time. It tells the reader where and when the action appears and the line comprises three parts:
INT. or EXT. - is the scene an interior or exterior scene?
LOCATION - where does the action take place?
DAY or NIGHT - what is the time of day?


--> -->
Action is the part which usually follows the scene title, it is usually written in the present tense. This part tells the reader what is happening in the scene, at times it also includes camera movements, lighting pattern, or costume description etc, The dialogue are the lines the characters speak. The name of the character is written in all caps followed by the dialogue
Mumbai logo ne aaj tak mumbai ko
kya diya..?? meine ye sab diya hai
Mumbai ko. Ye sab mera hai..
When the dialogue is split across more than one page then (MORE) or (CONT'D) appears below the portion of dialogue on the first page, the remaining dialogue is headed by the character's name, which is extended by cont’d e.g. SHARMA (CONT'D). Sometimes the character speaks continuously with action lines splitting the dialogues, for such situations parentheticals can be used in the subsequent speeches. Parentheticals are positioned the same as standard ones, below the character's name and indented from the dialogue. Some writers use (CONT'D) beside the character's name for dialogues that are split between action (the same as for dialogue split across pages). Many writers choose not to indicate consecutive dialogue at all.

There is lot more to know but with this much of knowledge one can easily write your first screenplay. So now that your screenplay is ready just remember one thing, if your story aint’ good, your wasting time on the screenplay’s technicalities is useless.


Auggieism:- What to you say when Auggie is singing his heart out.....
Ans:- crockie..

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009


“What if I told you that instead of gettin` older, I was gettin` younger than everybody else?”The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.


Let’s start where this all begins, from an idea, a thought, a dream, a nightmare, a book, or just plain inspired from a movie. So wherever this seed is planted it has to be put down and watered and taken care of so that it grows into the big tree that bears fruits. If you are planning to write for a feature there are 3 important things to the story,
1. The Begnning
2. The Middle.
3. The End
The Beginning is the portion wherein you introduce your characters and the plot. One should remember never to overspend time on establishing the characters or the plot as audiences will tend to get bored quickly. There are also options of starting from the end or the middle and then going into flashback mode and moving forward.
The Middle is where the meat of the film is, this is part which takes the plot up to the heights of the film where it’s supposed to be, the climax, all linkages and setups done earlier in the film come together here.
The End is the conclusion of the movie, The Hero wins or if it’s a sad ending they die, then there are also ends where you leave the seed for further stories. Whatever the case the end is the conclusion of the plot that was set up at the beginning.
Whatever you write, the key to a good end product starts with a good script, twists and turns are key to keep the audience gripped and a twist every 15 mins. of screen time helps just to do that.
Before you get into technical aspects of writing always remember to put down your story in short, then identify the key scenes and moments and only after that go forward to writing it into a structured format which will help in getting a good screenplay out of it. The key questions one should ask while writing are what makes this story worthy of cinema? Is the plot coming through? Or is it getting hidden in the treatment of the film, who are the characters? Where have they come from? etc
Writing the story in the standard format helps make your work look presentable and professional. There are some technical aspects to it, you can use paper and pen, typewriter or a computer, but there is a format to be kept in mind that will help in the production of the film at a later stage. Some of professional software’s used are Movie Magic screenwriter, Final Draft and many more, you can buy these online but remember to try their trial versions and see if you are comfortable with it before spending your life savings on it, also keep in mind if the software is compatible to others (producer, director etc) which will come in handy during production stage of the film where software’s like EP scheduling, and other budgeting will be used. Do a comparison of the software’s that you choose to see what benefits they can give you. What you should also do is check out scripts, screenplays of already released films to get an idea before going about your work.
In commercials you don’t have too much of time or rather seconds to build up plots and characters, therefore costumes, locations, makeup etc play a key role in helping you get there faster. The key to writing a good commercial is remembering that the product is the hero and has to stand out in the end. It should make the audience watching want to go out and buy the product.
Doing things differently or sometime doing just a plain and simple thought can bring about a good liking to the audience. Target audience has to be kept in mind before writing a commercial, also sometimes it has to be part of a bigger campaign and has to fit in to the larger scheme of things. The writer also has to keep in mind music and visual effects that can be achieved for raising the standards for the product. At the end of the day if the message is clear then surely the film should work.
In tv there are different styles of writing, episodes are what one normally writes for, the story is broken up into seasons, the plan for the entire season is first drawn up and then detailed episodes are written, if it’s a continuous story the writer has to keep the interest going through the episode and yet not loose the overall scheme of things, the style of writing be it comedy, or drama etc is very important in keeping the audience attention.
Then there are also single story episodes where the characters stay the same but the story beings and ends within the episode. Whatever the kind of serial that one writes for Character build-ups play a key factor for audiences to want to come back and watch more of the serial. Also growth of characters over a long running series should definitely kept in mind, especially with kids as they tend to grow a lot faster and begin to look different within a short span of time.

In conclusion what you write is yours and don’t forget to register you script before you share it with others, getting professional opinion is a must but make sure you are not the inspiration for someone else.
So whatever you do if you use a software or not just remember that it’s the story that will make it a better film and not the software. So would like to end on a note “Go ahead and sleep, for its in dreams that our Movies come to life.

Auggieism:- What to you call when Auggie is in a very sleepy mood.....
Ans:- Groggie..

For more interesting articles click on Auggielicious Index to see the list, and to be in touch hit like / follow on the blog button on the right hand side or hit like on the Facebook page Auggielicious for information beyond the blog..
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