Storyboards + film preparation on a low-budget!
Even on the biggest features, you'll be pressed for time. It just seems to be a fact of filmmaking. But with something as small and gung-ho as Suburban Wildlife - there's even less. We were moving locations up to 3/4 times a day - not shooting chronologically - struggling to film in 40+degree summer heat, in the back of cars, in sweaty rooms, next to highways. You name it!
And with 4 main characters carrying different storylines it was so important that I prepared as much as possible before the shoot. Part of this glorious prep is STORYBOARDS. They were an invaluable reference point during the shoot, when my brain was fried and time was marching on, and to share with other heads of departments (our cinematographer, costume / production designer / actors etc).
Here are some TOP TIPS:
1. You don't have to be an artist! Stick figures are more than enough to get across the jist of what you're doing.
2. Make sure they're clear and simple as possible. If someone can get it in a glance, you've done well.
3. They're a great guide, but be prepared to let them go. In the crunch of things, sometimes you have to let some prep go. But make sure you've got enough of your KEY SHOTS to communicate the STORY. On the day, things happen that might mean you have to throw them out altogether. As long as you know your story and the function of the scene you can adapt - and who knows, something better might come about!
Check out some of the storyboards for our FIRST SCENE here...