Here’s kind of a funny notion- a commercial that’s top secret while you’re working on it, and barely disclosed as it airs, and you can’t even guess whether or not you even contributed towards it. How fun! Well, I drew the following boards, and the following commercial was aired shortly after, and that’s about all I know. You might think you know even less, but, you probably don’t!
I doubt I need to spell out the challenges of working on a project in which you – A:) Know nothing about the product or company itself; B:) Can only guess if any other competitors are bidding on the same project; and C:) after the fact, searching for the final aired commercial, and finding no clear trail to trace back to anything you drew, nor to any known competitors of your clients.
Did I work on this commercial? Was it all a dream? Well, it’s on youtube, and resembles my drawings. Your guess is as good as mine.
If it makes you feel any better, the projects for Major Brand Names are like 1000x more secretive. Sleep well. LOL!
Lucky me, I got to work with the very talented folks at The Mill earlier this year, and storyboard their cinematic cutscene that they were doing for the new Call of Duty “Extinction” series. It’s a DLC expansion game, I believe, which means it’s a smaller, downloadable game, part of a very popular franchise, and it’s got a very accelerated production schedule. So, they know who to call for storyboards!
These COD projects are tons of fun to work on. I get to draw stuff like monsters, guns, battleships, weird alien environments, and I have a good deal of creative input here too, although that’s probably due to the very tight production schedule. Not enough time to split hairs, creatively!
I’m not a big video game player these days, so I’m a little unsure of the whole big story context, but in this cinematic, we see a paramilitary commander exploring a mysterious cave, coming across monolithic object of alien origin, touching it, and releasing a monster, which wakes him from his “nightmare,” into a hellish vision of the future, curated by an apparition of a woman with special powers he seeks to harness, and she reveals a startling truth, which wakes him AGAIN into actual reality, where he finds himself aboard an experimental navy seacraft, now under attack. He rushes to the medical bay and sees his prisoner, the woman from the dream, helpless and restrained, but nonetheless he suspects her of orchestrating the attack on the ship. He moves to the viewing deck and we see the attacking see monster descending upon them…
Here’s the boards:
These storyboards were the very first pass I pitched to the director after reading the script. I actually don’t have the finished boards… I have no clue where I put them! It’s possible I deleted them mistakenly. That’s a shame, but it’s still cool to compare my boards to the finished product and see the similarities and differences.
So, I’ve had to hold this one back for a while, but now I’m able to talk a little bit about the artwork I’ve been doing for the past few years on this Hotwire campaign. I’m not going to go into too much detail- other than to say this a rare scenario where I worked directly with the advertising agency and the production company. Usually it’s just one or the other. It’s really amazing to watch over time as a concept germinates and survives and evolves and eventually is born into the world. It was a blast working with the creative teams on these. I did many, many, many more drawings than what I’m able to show, but I’ve got permission to show a few things, so here’s some of the work I did and a few of the final videos. And here’s some of the spots! I’m proud to say I worked on ALL of these, and all the older ones as well. http://youtu.be/9PKzyyVKqkM http://youtu.be/MZlavmXeXFo http://youtu.be/ATeDvgROy1k http://youtu.be/QCuD7G5EDPc
[singlepic id=594 w=320 h=240 float=] Well well well, Its been almost a year since I worked on these Old Navy spots and so it’s probably ok to talk about them now. For those of you who don’t watch TV (the only excuse you might have for not seeing these ubiquitous commercials), these Old Navy commercials were for their early spring sale offerings and they are, as you might expect, kinda kooky! As all good Old Navy commercials are. What’s interesting about this project is that, with 5 spots being shot and worked on simultaneously, the line between pre-production (where my storyboards are made) and production (when they actually shoot the commercial) started to blur. It happens occasionally, but it’s not ideal, since its kind of like planning the battle while you are fighting it! More on that later. I started work on these storyboards sometime during Xmas season in 2011. I remember working (while sick with a cold!) on roughs for these on Xmas day. I’m sure my dedication was appreciated but in the end almost all of that early work went into the trash can. While this was the biggest job of my career, it was also the most stressful. There are always outside factors that necessitate storyboard revisions, but the most damaging factor is the script change, and this job had many script changes, making it very hard to show passion for my work. I love to make sure my boards are lookin’ good, but if you know the boards are likely going to be changed the next day, what’s the point? Pride, of course! But it really only goes so far before you have to start just cranking them out. Hence, you may notice, that some of these frames don’t have my usual finesse to them. The other major factor with that was our telescoping production schedule- everything was due yesterday. It got to the point that pre-production for one spot had abutted with the production on another spot. Meaning while we were planning and storyboarding the next spot, the directors were at the studio shooting the spot previous! So we production artists had to move onto the set itself and make our own little workstations so that we could be near the directors while they were absolutely too busy to give us more that a few minutes each day. Very stressful, because communication is so important, and there was very little to be had. But we persevered and relied on our experience and instincts and we did a great job in the end! Its funny how you can look back fondly on a job that, at the time, drove you bonkers! Here’s a bunch of photos I took from the set: [nggallery id=28] And here’s the boards for each spot, and to finish off, at the bottom is a link to where you can find all the final videos. Enjoy! Shape Chute New T Machine Jeanvestment Dealert Bee Bots And here’s a link to the final vids: http://www.brandnewschool.com/Projects/LiveAction/FunnovationsInc
I’ve fallen out of habit on updating this site, but I’m gonna try and get back into it. So here we go!
In early 2009 I would sometimes go out and do storyboards for a company called Schematic- another motion graphics company. These places are full of designers and normally places that are full of digital artists don’t outsource their storyboards- but sometimes they do! Usually if it involves drawing freehand stuff that isn’t easy to photoshop, like certain poses of people, or environments. So they’ll hire them out to guys like me. Schematic was in Culver City, if i recall, my least favorite place to visit, but they’ve shut down by now I believe, so I don’t mind talking about it. Kind of a neat place they had, but a little too stuffy for my tastes. I’ve seen some of the schematic people since move on to other studios, so it’s nice to see that things go on.
Anyway, this assignment was for something like a Target fashion show- probably just a pitch, looking back on it. They only need a few drawings, so it wasn’t too hard. They were pretty happy with these if I recall. I think I did a good job. This is just a little bit after I started using my latest drawing tools – more on that later.
Even infomercials have a standard of excellence, and here are some pitch boards I did for a client who was bidding to produce the Diamond Awards, where they hand out awards to nominees like Snuggie and P90X. They were necessarily drawn larger than typical storyboards and maybe more detail. I’ll discuss the vague differences between pitch boards and story boards in a later post. Really quick though: Pitch boards are large, detailed, usually fewer in number, use looser storytelling, convey a sense of mood an atmosphere, generally show set and production design, don’t follow a specific script, and can be included in a treatment.
This is a good example of the variety of subject matter that you draw in the field of commercial storyboarding. The client needed to show a classy setting, with a bit of glamour and a good amount of humor as well. I’m pretty happy with how these turned out. I find suits hard to draw because of the low tolerances for ‘fit’ and the subtleties of style, also because they must look impeccable. Looking back, I can see a few suits that aren’t fitting right. I’m not accustomed to wearing them so these errors aren’t apparent to me, but usually my girlfriend is great at seeing these flaws and pointing them out before I finish. Gowns and dresses and women’s clothing in general are a little more forgiving. Again, my girlfriend is always ready to chime in if they look wrong- I admit I’m not the most stylish person.
I’m particularly proud of the loose but effective set design and and interior sketching.