We have chosen to utilise a story boarding methodology for the short film for obvious reasons (there is no script). However beside the lack of dialogue and script etc we are already seeing the difference that working with story board can achieve. Now i am not saying you have to be artistic or employ an artist to do the story boarding, what i am saying is that a script and a story board are two different things and hence both have there place in the right production. I myself started with stick figures on paper and basically comic booked the scenes. I feel this really allow me to see where the story was and wasn't working. The next level was finding an ipad story boarding software by "Cinemek, storyboard". The software had the added bonus that you could "play" the story boarded film and the software simulate the planned camera movements.
For the budding film maker with minimal funding, gear and setup, one thing you do have that is very valuable is actually time. Plan plan plan. If you don't have dollars to blow stalling on set, when you helpers and actors are ready to work, then spend a greater time planning or watch out for crushed production dead lines. If your a director or cinematographer etc then you need nothing more than your mind and quiet place to plan to invest in your production in the the most easily accessible way. Let me also stress i dont advocate story boarding every single shot, just where you feel you have to, but if your story is being portrayed purely by the cinematography, like in this case then its pretty much essential. The boarding will become apart of the plan to tell the story how you envisioned, ensuring you don't miss anything and promote you to think about the emotion of a scene and what the actors are feeling ahead of time allowing you better shot selection.
Another point to bring up is that story boarding can be a double edge sword. I believe if you have a good story board, this is basically your shot list and you can just go capture those shots, job done. The editing and cutting of the story is already roughed out allowing for a quick post production process. The buzz phrase at time's in the industry is "Shoot for the edit" for which i very much agree with. The only danger here is if the scenes don't exactly cut together how you envisioned. Therefore i am take the stance that whilst i have a good story board and i know what shots i want i will still take advantage of capturing more footage than was scripted to allow a leeway in the editing process and be open to creative angles and lighting in the locations that may have been over looked during the scouting process. Bottom line is, planing is awesome but keep an open mind to additional great shots that you could get at the time after you have nailed the story board shots.
Lastly a factor to consider in the story boarding of this short film was the alternate story lines within the main story it was important to factor in how we were going to make the scenes look different so as not to confuse the viewer. All thing being considered i have decided to have the "alternate" scenes take place at night to differ form the main scene (on the street during the day) along with the style of shooting and Point of view (POV) to also change. The beginning and ending will be shot using a glidecam and be mostly from the male characters POV to give a "reality feel" and an understanding of where he is at, in life and location. The alternative scenes will be shot to provide a "watching" feel. This means utilising linear motion sliders and static tripod setups to help the viewer gain an understanding as to where these characters could be.
Next post will be on finding shoot locations.