Thursday, 9 April 2020

Storyboarding Is Back on 1 July 2020

Francesca "Chess" Adams
Our evening class in Storyboarding with Francesca "Chess" Adams, veteran story board artist at Blue Zoo, one of London's leading animation houses, is back on 1st July 2020.

Our next evening class in storyboarding is scheduled to be taught online, and runs for eight weeks.

Chess brings her long experience of working on shows like Digby Dragon and The Go Jetters, reflecting the huge increase in animated content being created right here in London in recent years, and the growing trend towards digital storyboarding tools such as Panel Forge, which speed up the process and help to bridge the gap with 3D Layout.

Panel Forge
This storyboard evening class is an 8 week introduction to the art and craft of storyboarding, taught by industry professional, Francesca "Chess" Adams.

Chess is a full-time board artist at Blue Zoo animation in London, with many years experience in the industry. Chess also supplies a live industry brief to give our students experience of what a standard industry storyboard test is actually like.

Who this is for
The class is aimed at anyone who wants to learn storyboarding, whether for live action, animation, commercials, or your own film independent projects.

Course content
The course is spread over eight evenings. Each class involves a blend of one-on-one feedback, lectures, and simple in-class exercises, completed with speed and spontaneity.  Each week students will receive a homework assignment to complete and bring in for review the next week. This way, students will get meaningful feedback on their work over the full eight weeks of the course.

Francesca Adams boards at Blue Zoo Animation
Course: Storyboarding
Duration: eight weeks
Start date: Tuesday 1 July 2020
Principal Tutor: Francesca Adams

Normally, £995, but this has now been reduced to £699 as this is (for now at least) an online course.

Course Outline
Week 1 - General Introduction to Storyboarding: Introductory Exercises. Creativity, ideas and inspiration for stories. Gesture drawing, fast sketches, and research.
Week 2 - Creating images which tell a story: Single images that tell a story. Gag drawings. Situations and character-driven ideas.
Week 3 - Standard industry storyboarding process: Script, beat boards, story reel and animatic. Movie structure analysis. Camera and Layout. Reverse-storyboarding a pantomime sequence.
Week 4 - Character Design and Art Direction: Introduction to principles of design and visual development.
Week 5 - Structuring a Scene: How to break down script pages. Progression and punctuation in a sequence. Staging.
Week 6 - The Performance: Story beats, narrative structure, pacing, cinematography.
Week 7 - The Animatic: How to edit, cut and time storyboards in Premiere, to create a storyboard animatic. Music, sound effects, voice over and dialogue.
Week 8 - The Pitch: How to pitch your storyboards. Acting, performance and delivery.

We have a number of new software packages recently installed at Escape Studios, much of which is now available for download from home.
  • Toonboom Storyboard Pro, arguably now the industry leader for storyboarding. We have a number of licenses available for home use. 
  • Panel Forge, a new hybrid software that blends 3d modeling resources with drawing tools. Panel Forge is essentially a stripped-down version of Maya, pioneered by Blue Zoo and Jellyfish animation, that greatly speeds up the storyboarding process. 
  • Storyboarder. This free software is open-source and a welcome addition to the board artist's toolkit.
Storyboards by Anastasia Gurova
Where and when
The course, which traditionall takes place at Escape Studios at 190 High Holborn, London WC1,  is now being conducted purely online, using platforms such as Google Meet and Syncsktech.

Class starts on 3 June and takes place on Wednesday evenings from 7:00pm-10:00pm

Jobs in storyboarding
Skilled storyboard artists are in high demand, and industry tells us that there is a serious skills shortage here in the UK.  Storyboarding is a complex craft that involves the ability to tell a story visually using both traditional drawing and also (increasingly) 3D skills.  Storyboard artists must also understand acting, performance, cinematography - and also have a sense of fun and entertainment about their work. Above all, they must learn to be clear.  Great board artists often become directors - storyboarding can be a route to the very top of our industry.

Storyboard by Anastasia Gurova
Success Stories
A number of Escapees have gone to successful careers in storyboarding:

Official page
To find out more, take a look at the Escape Studios official storyboarding course page here.

Finally, to take a quick peek behind the scenes at Pixar, and see a story pitch by the late (and much-missed) Joe Ranft, one of Pixar's most talented storyboard artists, watch the video below. Storyboarding hasn't changed a whole lot in the years since it was pioneered at the Disney Studio in Burbank. It's still about story, story, story.

Official page
To sign up, find the official page here.

How to get ready
To prepare for this class, all you really need do is sharpen your pencils (soft pencils please, 2B or softer), and do some warm up sketches. You might do quick sketches of yourself, your friends, and (in general) the world around you. You should also consider learning the basics of Photoshop and also Adobe Premiere, both of which you will be using extensively in class.

Reading List
The main book on storyboarding that we recommend is Prepare to Board by Nancy Beiman. You can read more about it here

MA in Story & Previs
We are also running a new MA in Storyboarding and Previsualisation, starting in February 2020, for those who want to dig deeper into the story and previs skillset.

Storyboarding Links
To see more about storyboarding, follow these links:
The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our new BA/MArt, now recruiting for September 2020, follow this link.   To apply, visit the official page here.

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