Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Storyboarding for the first time: Amazon, Avon and American Express

Without realizing, I have always been storyboarding - when memorizing things for school, when thinking of ideas or planning how a plot would reveal itself, or even when planning my life.

I am a big fan of visual thinking, and I feel it lays out things quite clearly. I really really hate people who have stopped using pen and paper while thinking - I don't how that works. It feels very dry. Very excel sheet like.

visual thinking

But storyboarding, as a proper craft - I have done for animation when I was making my first animated film with Shivang Chopra. Its called taming horses

And the second time, when I and Adhiraj were working on Aaapki Poojita's animated trailer and the subsequent episode (WIP). Point being, I have done it, mostly for myself.

Aaapki Poojita Storyboard

As a cartoonist, I thumbnail a lot. and really badly. day and night. its bad thumbnails where a good idea comes from - mostly because you are not afraid. And as a self-taught artist its really important for me to not be afraid.
I've also made my clients comfortable with the idea of seeing very badly drawn thumbnails - just to give them an idea of what will go where.
Again - I do not understand designers who work without thumbnails - It's super strange to me.

Badly done thumbnail

Coming back to storyboarding, its heavily used in filmmaking, specifically advertising. And benchmark in that regard has always been Saumin Patel's work. They are pieces of art in themselves.
You can see more of them here.

Saumin Patel's work

Recently for the first time, I was asked to storyboard. I would be storyboarding for the first time - purely storyboarding, not presenting a book, not building a campaign but just storyboarding.

Personally, I can draw and present my badly drawn thumbnails - but when there are more than two people involved, they have to be clean and clear, and that's why I think Saumin chooses stunning, well lit, clear storyboards over rough squiggles.

These were three films for Amazon.

Amazon headphones film

Amazon omlette film

Amazon dancing film

An important lesson I learnt was, that you have to really break your head over shots. I make comics so rarely think about how a camera would move, because my medium isn't constrained. But this is. That was my major lesson learnt.

Next, I was storyboarding for this American Express film. Their design guideline was very particular about even the transitions - headache level particular. So I really really worked on my transitions and made the storyboards. They turned out alright.


Amex Munnabhai

After this, I worked on this Breast Cancer awareness film for Avon, but here the idea was to use my illustrations to create a film. The ad agency had someone who was confused about animating with line drawings and stop-motion animation with cutouts and they just sold the hybrid baby of both to the client. And the poor people at the production house even made it. I just had to do that art. With some pain though. I got brain cancer. They later made the whole film all over again.

All in all, I am professionally storyboarding now. But still with some caution - making sure that I only pick things that I can deliver. Still learning!