Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Let's Stay Friends

I'm taking a break from the shot list to enjoy a little Maker's Mark on the rocks, write a new blog, and listen to the new Les Savy Fav album, "Let's Stay Friends," which just arrived in the mail. I pre-ordered it through Newbury Comics so that I could get a free booklet autographed by the band. Yes, I am that much of a dork. Turns out to be the same booklet as the one that came with the CD, but it's still cool to have it signed. Another bonus is that the one in the CD was a little bent, and the signed one is pristine. So there you go.

As I mentioned before, I'm (still) working on the shot list. I've decided to take a different approach from my short films and am writing out each shot on index cards and only storyboarding shots when I have either something specific in mind, or when I'm trying to work out something that I can't quite get my head around. In the past I've taken different approaches to storyboarding. My short, "Small Little Thing" was storyboarded so extensively that I actually created a kind of animatic by scanning and importing the boards into Final Cut Pro. Let me tell you, it's a real time saver not to storyboard the whole thing.

I guess that brings up an interesting point: whether to storyboard or not. I think most directors have some idea of how they're going to film a scene, whether it's the traditional kind of coverage (Master and Close Ups) or whether they're waiting for inspiration on the day of the shoot or even just planning to shoot as if they were filming a documentary. I like to...actually, I NEED to have a good sense of these things ahead of time for basically two reasons.

First off, it's the image that attracts me to movies. I love a good story, and I've come to love to write, but really, the reason I make movies is to make images, to get them out there. If it weren't so, I'd either let someone else direct my scripts or let them live content little lives as novellas or short stories. The idea that we choose most of the movies we see by plot descriptions seems ridiculous to me. It's the images and mood that fascinate me more than the plot. Case in point, He Got Game, Birth, and Mean Creek are all movies that I skipped in theaters because, after hearing the plot, I dismissed them. For one reason or another I revisited them and was completely blown away. All three are great films that completely transcend their respective plots. On the opposite end of things, I'll see an image from a film, have no idea what it's about, but know I need to see it.

I realize I'm probably in the minority on that.

Second, I know only too well, and from experience, that I'm not always as creative on set as I'd like to be. I have my moments, but usually I'm sleep deprived and overworked and stressed and in a borderline state of panic. This sometimes makes it difficult to form coherent sentences, and waiting for inspiration in this state becomes about as pointless as waiting for Godot.

So that's why I create a shot list and storyboard.

The pic above is of my stack of index cards up to page 50 of the script. Right now I'm on page 72 and expect to have somewhere between 400-500 cards by the end of things...

Wish me luck!

p.s. In case you're wondering, that new LSF album is pretty damn good. Hopefully the next one won't be another six years away.

p.p.s. They actually make software to create storyboards, but I'm too cheap to spring the couple hundred dollars for a program like Frame Forge and I just couldn't get any of the free ones to work on my Mac.


kirsten said...

software for storyboarding is cheating! you're doing it the right way... even if it is tedious! i'm a fan of doing things the harder, traditional way... the way it was meant to be!

Mike Harring said...

Yeah, it's really no fun unless you suffer.