Visual Storytelling Class #3, 2/9/2012

Story Scenes: Levitating Woman

In the homework exercise for this class, we were given an initial shot of a woman levitating above a deserted country road, and then asked to compose the next four shots. One way to proceed is to write down what each shot is going to be about (what one piece of information do you want to convey), and decide where you are leading the audience. According to our professor, Mark Andrews, there must be progress from shot to shot, either the intensity increases or decreases, but it should not ‘flatline’. As the story artist, you  must decided, ‘what am I trying to say (information)?’, and ‘what is the best way to convey that information visually?’. Since the best way may not be readily apparent the first time you draw the shot, and there are many ways to convey the same thing, it is important to make thumbnail sketches that experiement with camera angles, variety of presentation, and composition. One issue I came across is that of  ‘geography’ — it is important to understand where all of the pieces (characters, scenery, props, etc.) reside physically within the scene. By drawing a plan (aka top-down view) of your set or scene, you can ensure continuity of space from shot to shot, and avoid breaking the dreaded ‘180 rule‘ , for example.  A major criticism of my work (above) was that I hadn’t put the audience in the space (the viewer should see what the ambulance driver sees when looking up at the enchanted tree, let the viewer ‘have that experience’), and I had repeated information from shot to shot. Anyway, below are some key elements to consider when composing the shot. Must strive for ‘clarity of information’ and ‘polished thinking’.

  • Screen Direction
  • Composition
  • Staging
  • Variety of Presentation
  • Progression of Intensity
  • Emphasis
  • Geography
  • Creating dynamic shots & ideas
Scroll to Top