Friday, 7 August 2020

Story & Previs MA Demo Reel

We're proud to present our very first Story & Previs MA Demo Reel, a showcase of work done by students on our Master's Degree course in Previsualisation and Storyboarding, which first launched in September 2019.  Four student films: Street Ratz, Moon Rockz, Animal Lover and Hat Shop, were directed by our MA students, and have recently been entered in festivals, already winning selections and awards.  Developed in consultation with industry, and formally validated by the University of Kent, the MA in Story & Previs is a unique opportunity to learn industry-level skills and also earn an internationally recognised academic qualification.

Iliana Franklin teaching Story & Previs at Escape Studios
Previsualisation is one of the fastest-growing areas of digital film-making, with companies like The Third Floor (our industry mentor) expanding rapidly to help clients achieve their vision as early as possible in the film-making process.

Previsualisation and storyboard artists share a common goal - to pre-imagine the story, and bring it to life before the expensive business of animation or principal photography begins.

Storyboard by Ronnie Kim
Two Disciplines
Our course teaches both disciplines, allowing students to focus on two career pathways: using traditional drawings skills (storyboards), or digital skills (previs).  Storyboard artists and previs artists both have to solve many of the same problems, including shot flow, cinematography, narrative rhythm, and continuity.  Both work closely with the director and editor to bring the story to life.

Storyboarding is an important part of the story-telling process and one that is currently an area of skills shortage. Industry has long told us that they cannot find enough skilled storyboard artists to satisfy the huge growth in animation and vfx production in the UK in recent years.

Storyboarding is a basic skill that every film-maker should have; being able to express a sequence of shots visually is one of the key skills in narrative storytelling.

We have a number new software packages recently installed at Escape Studios.
  • Toonboom Storyboard Pro, arguably now the industry leader for storyboarding
  • Panel Forge, a 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.
Previsualisation is taught in Autodesk Maya. As a student, you can download your free copy of Maya from their Education site.

Wacom Cintiq - industry standard kit
We have some great new kit for the course - full-scale Wacom Cintiq tablets so that all our students have access to industry-level hardware.

Who this course is for
This course is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the art and craft of storyboarding and presvisualisation.  We teach all our students from scratch (though some knowledge of Maya is helpful), and our goal is to make you job-ready by the end of the course. As befits a masters' degree, you will also engage with the theory and practice of the medium at masters' level.

Where and When
Storyboarding and Previs will taught at our Central London Campus at 190 High Holborn, WC1. The course starts on 28 September 2020.

Iliana Franklin teaching at Escape Studios
The lead tutor is Iliana Franklin, an experienced animation artist whose credits include Framestore's The Tale of Despereaux.  Iliana is a veteran storyboard artist and also runs her own production company Mediaframe.  You can see more about Iliana's work at her online portfolio.

Course content
Module 1 - Introduction to Storyboarding
  • The foundations and theories of writing, creativity and storyboarding
  • Different storyboarding techniques and their application 
  • Cinematography, 3D layout and the use of cameras 
  • Design and character in storyboarding
  • The video production pipeline from concept to script to final output
Brodiaga by Anastasia Gurova
Module 2  - Advanced Storyboarding
  • Mime and pantomime
  • Storyboards, storytelling
  • Editing techniques
  • Camera, continuity and cutting
Module 3 - Previsualisation
  • Creating and animating basic 3D assets
  • 3D cinematography
  • Character and creature performance 
  • Previsualisation editing techniques
  • Sound design
Module 4 - Studio Project
For this module students work in teams to an industry brief.  This group project will allow students to use the tools and techniques learned to create industry-standard work.  Four student films: Street RatzMoon RockzAnimal Lover and Hat Shop, were directed this year by our MA students, and have recently been entered in festivals, already winning selections and awards.

Module 5 - Production Project
For this final project students work independently and develop their own project. Students refine and produce a substantial storyboard/previsualisation project that will showcase their best work.

Success Stories
To see some of our Escape Studios animation success stories, follow this link. We're proud of our track record of helping our students break into industry.

Official site
Follow this link to the official site.
You can also read about the course at

Evening class in Storyboarding
If you don't have the time to commit to a full MA, we also run evening classes in storyboarding. The next class, taught by the very talented Chess Adams, starts on 8 January 2020 and runs for 8 weeks.


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 offical page here.

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