Friday, March 30, 2007

Scene Planning For TV - Setups for storyboard and layout 3

Once a layout/pose artist has drawn all his setups with all his character poses complete, and he has done a rough indication of a background, he gives to the BG designer to draw a more finished BG.

Hanna Barbera used the simplest possible staging in their first cartoons because of the severe budget restrictions. This drives Eddie crazy.

I used their staging in this manual just to give people the basic idea of how to reuse shots in other scenes.
Here is a sequence of storyboard from Ripping Friends which had a wider variety of shots.

If you look through these boards you can see shots that have been reused from earlier scenes. There are reuses and "works out of" poses and expressions too.

I still planned the show to reuse shots, but the layout artists were redrawing the same angles from scratch every time, because of the strange production system being used at the service studios in Canada. (This happens at overseas studios too-they hand out the same setups to different artists who don't know that someone else already drew a setup and BG that they themselves could use to save time, so they redraw everything 20 times) This cost extra time and money, and way too many backgrounds to paint when we couldn't even afford real background painters. The production managers tried to tell us they could paint in photoshop and we would never be able to tell the difference between fuzzy photoshop paintings and real paint. Now the Ripping Friends live in the Land Of Fuzz.

So I made this manual to help the production managers save time and money and make it easier on the artists. Unfortunately, the manuals sat on a shelf hidden away from the artists who could have used them to save some sweat.

Maybe they will help someone out there in the ether.
These gutsy manly storyboard drawings were done by Jim Smith.
The extra doodles and notes under Jim's drawings are my additional breakdowns of expressions for acting. All this stuff was way toned down in the layouts, and so I then had to make another manual explaining how to not tone down expressions and poses. Those production managers had impressive looking shelves, piled high with Spumco manuals that
were never opened!

BTW, this section is all exposition. In the story, it's meant to make fun of shows like Superfriends where there are too many characters in a scene and they all just talk and explain what's going on to each other. Those scenes are always hard to board, because you have to come up with interesting angles for static mouth flapping characters. Jim solved it by putting them in funny heavy poses and making funny compositions.

We were always trying to figure out how to make fun of seriousness. Serious superheroes to me are automatically funny, but not so to the audience, so we tried to emphasize how silly serious superheroes are.

more to come....