Monday, January 25, 2016

Some storyboards in color, a relative rarity

These boards were for the Samsung OLED curved-screen television. An odd feature of this particular set of boards was that the agency requested that I cast Francis Ford Coppola as the grandfather — not a lookalike, but Mr. Coppola himself. That's the reason for the film posters in the last two frames. The logic behind this escapes me. I don't know if the spot ever aired, so I don't know if they were successful in their efforts to recruit him.

The subdued color was an attempt to lend the boards a more "documentary" feel. That was what the art director requested at the last minute, after the boards had been drawn and colored. Decreasing the saturation seemed the only option short of a total redraw. Fortunately, it achieved the effect they were looking for.

There are some collage elements in these boards. It's not always worthwhile to draw every element when time is of the essence. What might be considered "cheating" in another context is just a means of enhancing verisimilitude and saving precious minutes where storyboards are concerned.

The original sketches featured a more curly-hired boy accompanied by his mother; the grandfather only appeared in the last three frames.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Some storyboards for Geico and The Prancing Elites

I recently had the pleasure of working with Cowboy Bear Ninja, a New York-based production company, on several spots. The first was a promo for Season 2 of The Prancing Elites Project on Oxygen. The Prancing Elites are a high-camp African-American dance troupe from Georgia who caused quite a stir when they performed, clad in midriff-baring Santa outfits and hot pants, in a Christmas parade in Alabama in 2013. Here are the boards, all executed in a single day:

The final commercial can be seen here. A number of changes were made, but the good folks at Cowboy Bear Ninja — particularly Producer Rufus Lusk, Director Corey Tatarczuk and Editor Jillian Schlesinger, were very pleased with the boards and said that they helped a lot with a particularly complex shoot.

It's always interesting to compare the storyboards for a commercial to the final edit. Storyboards rarely dictate the composition of every shot; they frequently serve as much to identify decisions that need to be made as to provide definite solutions. Directors and editors need room to be creative, too!

Geico Promos to be aired during A&E's War And Peace 

This was my second project for CBN. The cast and locations were at least partly determined by the time I began work on the boards, so I was able to save some time and mental wear and tear by using reference. Of the three spots, "Power" most closely resembles the storyboards. These were lots of fun to work on. My thanks to Director Matthew Semel for his expert guidance, sense of humor, and openness to new ideas.

Here are the boards for "Strategy":

The second board was for a spot called "Town Crier". The period costumes and environments made this a lot of fun to work on.

And last but not least, "Power". This one has a bit of a Mel Brooks quality, thanks to to the lead actor's over-the-top performance:

All of the above spots can be seen here for comparison.