Monday, June 18, 2012

Writing Music Videos with Words and Storyboards

I recently collaborated on a music video for an up-and-coming talent.

The director gave me a setting and a theme as my only parameters.  I wrote a treatment, which consisted of story beats that I later fleshed out with loose line art storyboards. Dropping in the music track, I rendered the frames as a QuickTime movie and presented to the director. During this process the director was able to prepare his production team for the shoot, get budgets approved, and schedule any post. My narrative called for two interior locations that the director secured up front, and one long exterior shot.

When designing music videos, I try to expand upon the story that the lyrics may be suggesting while enhancing the mood set by the music. I remember the rise of music videos in the 1980’s and how a video would tell a great story, using powerful imagery to lock the song into my consciousness. I would tell me friends about the video, anticipate seeing it again, and think about the video whenever I heard the tune on the radio. As a result, I fattened up my vinyl collection with artists that I might not have noticed had I not been privy to the complete audio/visual experience.  

I relish any opportunity to contribute on this level for any project. The energy and momentum I gain spills over into other assignments as well as my personal work. I will be sure to share the finished video and reveal more details about this talented artist and music video when it is released.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

This is a Spider-Man color study that I always wanted to develop. The rough has been sitting in my sketchbook for years, so I finally am getting around to it. I did a red pencil on paper and quickly blocked in color digitally. I plan to paint it in acrylic, to see what I can contribute to that approach. I am eager to see my progress.

One thing I enjoy about my profession is that for the most part, clients are flexible regarding what media I use. When I ask clients if they prefer digital or traditional media, I am usually witness to a short pause, then an "Ummmm..."followed by a "whatever you think works... ." type of response. Many clients are eager to see results, but by taking the time to ask a few questions up front I am able to evaluate and suggest the best approach for their needs.

I may start out with pen thumbnails on paper, present them for discussion, then work them up into rough storyboards on my next pass. Other times, clients find my thumbnails clear enough to ask for scaled-up value studies, where I can lay values over my original sketches. Often I go straight into a full size pencil rough for approval and notes, then refine for a final pass. For collector commissions, I will work entirely in acrylic, oil, or watercolor on board - an exercise which forces me to draw preliminary studies in pencil. Anyway you slice it, the medium is a means to an end.

In this Spider-Man pin-up, I found much encouragement from friends who were kind enough to share their feedback at each step of the process. Thanks to my long time buds Ray Lago and John Amos for their time and suggestions.