Reverse Storyboarding

I am taking another class at RISD|CE this summer, this time on storyboarding. One of our ongoing assignments is to “reverse storyboard” a couple of movies each week.  I think I’ve already overdone it: I picked Ralph Eggleston’s For the Birds (Pixar, 2001), which is “only” a little over two and a half minutes long, but it took me a whole day and 107 separate thumbnail drawings to do it!

I was exhausted by the whole process of looking so carefully at every little thing going on in the frames and the edits that I think I have to wait a day or so before going back and being able to process, as an overview, what I was seeing at such a detailed level.

For the Birds had a lot of cuts, but surprised me in that with a minor exception, the “camera” stays in just about the same spot, and just shifts sideways and zooms in and out.  I am reading Joseph Mascelli’s  The Five C’s of Cinematography for the class, and it’s really helping me understand what I’m looking at, and to have some vocabulary to use to describe it.

I had been thinking about trying Doug Sweetland’s Presto! (Pixar, 2008), but it’s over five minutes long, and I thought I’d start with the shorter one first. Whew!  I read that Presto! had to be pitched 10 times, and they did over 3000 storyboard drawings to get it to where it is now.

I think I will attempt a briefer reverse storyboard of it, constraining myself to look at only the different camera angles, and not work so closely with all the action, etc.  See if that can make the process go a little more efficiently…?

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