Are Storyboards necessary?

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sepiatone

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Are Storyboards necessary?

PostSat Jun 10, 2017 1:17 pm

necessary, to actually get the film made? I remember watching one of the episodes of Kevin Brownlow's classic "Hollywood" TV series and Colleen Moore said something about working with scenarios or basic outline of what was to be shot not a script. Francis X. Bushman also mentions in a recording that in the old days they would buy a story out of for example The Saturday Evening Post, and have the story shooting before the cameras that same day. Lastly Keaton is seen brilliantly improvising on the set of The Railrodder (1965), or actually the behind the scenes Making of the Railrodder, one of his last appearances though he is not the official director, he mentions something about '..scenes not matching'. I think he was referring to a scene from a previous day being continued the following day and the clouds or sky wasn't cooperating. All these years later I still remember Buster talking about 'scenes not matching'. Obviously improvisational, no way you could storyboard.
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luciano

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Re: Are Storyboards necessary?

PostSun Jun 11, 2017 10:06 pm

sepiatone wrote:necessary, to actually get the film made? I remember watching one of the episodes of Kevin Brownlow's classic "Hollywood" TV series and Colleen Moore said something about working with scenarios or basic outline of what was to be shot not a script. Francis X. Bushman also mentions in a recording that in the old days they would buy a story out of for example The Saturday Evening Post, and have the story shooting before the cameras that same day. Lastly Keaton is seen brilliantly improvising on the set of The Railrodder (1965), or actually the behind the scenes Making of the Railrodder, one of his last appearances though he is not the official director, he mentions something about '..scenes not matching'. I think he was referring to a scene from a previous day being continued the following day and the clouds or sky wasn't cooperating. All these years later I still remember Buster talking about 'scenes not matching'. Obviously improvisational, no way you could storyboard.


Storyboards (if your speaking of sequential drawings) are extremely helpful in giving a tasteful design to a shot or gag. I'm sure Keaton did this in his time to roughly estimate the most visually funny set up. It also depends on what your doing as well. A quick Sennett comedy…just go out and get it done. You need your players and settings and thats it. Get your light and do it. But Voyage to the Moon? You need some drawings, and proof exists of that.

The difference is that a story board is usually used for animation now and takes a rather long time to develop. In the silent era, they most likely would have grabbed any piece of paper they could get and drew it out in a very short amount of time, so it was it all very casual. There’s more planning to these films than meets the eye, though. Take Keaton for example. For years Keaton maintained a sense of simplicity to his films. But after seeing so many foreign prints and different versions, it’s easy to find that he had a more complicated working method than we think. Just recently the script for The General was discovered, with many complex annotations from Keaton. Before that we didn’t know it had been scripted.

As I recall that "not matching" bit came about because the director switched gags on Keaton at the last minute. Keaton obviously realized how unprofessional this was of the director and wouldn't have it, so it was a rather odd problem.
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Rodney

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Re: Are Storyboards necessary?

PostMon Jun 12, 2017 8:53 pm

Your mention of The General reminded me of something I noticed when I was working on our release. There's a sequence, after Annabelle puts the train in reverse and they almost run into the two pursuing Union locomotives. Because the switch was sabotaged, the two engines go up a ramp, one almost falling off the abrupt end of the ramp. After watching it several times I suddenly noticed that the smoke was going backwards in one shot... from the air into the smoke stack. Watching it more carefully, there were shots going both ways, and I realized that all of the shots of the engines going up the ramp were filmed backwards, so that the engines were at no real risk of falling off the ramp.

That made it clearer how much thought went into constructing that particular sequence to make it go by smoothly and quickly in the final film. I'd love to see that script, to see how carefully that sequence was described in planning.

Keaton did a similar trick in Sherlock Jr., filming the sequence backwards when the motorcycle cuts just in front of a train. But there the engine is clearly not working as hard, so the smoke is barely visible.
Rodney Sauer
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
www.mont-alto.com
"Let the Music do the Talking!"
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Big Silent Fan

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Re: Are Storyboards necessary?

PostWed Jun 14, 2017 10:40 am

[quote="Luciano]The difference is that a story board is usually used for animation now and takes a rather long time to develop.[quote]

The true purpose of the storyboard is to highlight everything possible about a story before it's scheduled to be filmed or sent to the animators to complete the story. Remember, most films are filmed out of sequence. By preparing storyboards, each scene when it is made will support the other scenes.
I'm reminded of the many examples of storyboards I've seen in Hitchcock documentaries showing how carefully each scene was planned out, including the lighting and shadows. One of many examples was "The Wrong Man" starring Henry Fonda, but the same is true for "North By Northwest" and all of his films.
As Hitchcock's been quoted saying, for him, storyboards were the most important part of his film making. Once he began filming, the excitement was gone because he had already envisioned everything including shadows in the storyboard.

I've reverse engineered my favorite films back into a storyboard format (using 'still images' instead of drawings) to introduce the Silent film's story to those unable or unwilling to watch the Silent film. I did this also with foreign language films so that, after viewing my storyboard (with English captions), the person could then watch the same story in a silent film without the distraction of foreign titles that could not be read. I had removed the unreadable foreign language titles since they are simply a distraction.

This was very easy to do when I created my websites using WebTV. I'm glad I archived many to DVD since WebTV is no longer available.
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silentfilm

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Re: Are Storyboards necessary?

PostSun Jun 18, 2017 8:54 pm

Storyboards can also be important for crew members like set dressers, editors, and cinematographers so that they can get an idea of what the scriptwriter and director are trying to portray.

Stephen Spielberg almost always uses storyboards, but he famously abandoned the storyboards for Schindler's List and improvised many scenes with the actors. Robert Altman never used them.
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SilentEchoes57

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Re: Are Storyboards necessary?

PostMon Jun 19, 2017 8:31 pm

Rodney wrote:Your mention of The General reminded me of something I noticed when I was working on our release. There's a sequence, after Annabelle puts the train in reverse and they almost run into the two pursuing Union locomotives. Because the switch was sabotaged, the two engines go up a ramp, one almost falling off the abrupt end of the ramp. After watching it several times I suddenly noticed that the smoke was going backwards in one shot... from the air into the smoke stack. Watching it more carefully, there were shots going both ways, and I realized that all of the shots of the engines going up the ramp were filmed backwards, so that the engines were at no real risk of falling off the ramp


Great observation Rodney. Keaton's Cops, and Harold Lloyd's race to the altar in Girl Shy, were filmed at dozens and dozens of unrelated locations, scattered all across Los Angeles. They HAD to have planned this out in great detail.
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sepiatone

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Re: Are Storyboards necessary?

PostMon Aug 07, 2017 7:02 pm

Werner Herzog online filmmaking, gives his ops on storyboards 8)
Last edited by silentfilm on Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Embedd YouTube link

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