A miscellany of weekly ramblings on comics, art and film by Ted Mathot, storyboard artist and writer/artist/self-publisher of graphic novels and comics

Monday, December 19, 2005

Storyboard Study: Action

Here's another of those storyboard breakdowns I did a while back. This is part of one of my favorite action scenes, the attack on a caravan in Clear and Present Danger (directed by Philip Noyce).

I wanted to break it down to try and get into the director's head because this scene is very entertaining and very clear, two things you don't find together very often in action scenes today. These boards read across the page, not up and down like in The Gift board study.

Of special note is the 180 degree camera rotation in the third row. It's a great move, and introduces the bad guy. The 180 spin really tells us someting is going to happen that is not the norm; a perfect usage of WHY to go over the 180 line (see the "Over the Line" post).

Also note the low angle on page 2, row 2; this is another big moment where the imposter shoots the real motorcycle cop.
The close up in row 4 shows us the determination on the bad guy's face; he has succeded in infiltrating the caravan. These three moments are the key bits of storytelling in this short section and the shots tell us this.

When I get around to it, I'd really like to draw up and break down the second half of the scene...


Monkeyfeather said...

Another set of cool studies. I as well always liked this sequence.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever considered teaching? I know that there is online animation schools and blogs like Spline Doctors. Your post is analytical and practical approach to storyboarding. I am going to forward this blog to a friend of mine who is interested in animation.


Ted M said...

monkeyf - thanks!

charles - I have definitely thought about teaching, but because I storyboard mostly on impulse, I still need to coalesce my reasons for doing things into some kind of curriculum or teachable format (as well as overcome my stagefright). Thanks for forwarding the blog on to your friend.

Louie del Carmen said...

I love this movie and sadly this one of the last good ones that Harrison Ford was in.

This sequence is indeed well staged and very intensely edited. Your breakdown rules!

Not to beat a dead horse but back to the 180 degree line, this is clearly a good example how it can be used to heighten a scene. A sequence like this is the perfect time to jar and shake up the audience by giving them conflicting paths of action. When things call for chaos, breaking and moving the line is necessary.

Another great post. You SHOULD consider teaching. It seems to come very naturally to you.

Jeff Pidgeon said...

Man, you make me feel lazy. :)


amelia said...

Thank you- all of your storyboarding posts are really insiteful to the inner workings of a storyboard artist's job. Actually I thought one of my biggest handycaps was stagefright, because the job requires you to perform in front of people... I enjoy acting, but giving speaches and stuff, I hate doing that. Anyway, thanks again for all of the tips.

Wout Paulussen said...

Very inspiring blog.
I'll be back in the new year.