If you don’t have a good story then any project is typically doomed from the get go. No sense putting in months of modeling work for a scene that will never be used. To understand what will need to be created before the camera though one needs to develop a storyboard. To know what needs to be in the storyboard we have to look at the script and to have a script we need a story that is worth telling. That is why we start at,
Good animations / stories start out with good solid story concepts. No sense working on a dragon model for 14 months when your story doesn’t have a single shot with a dragon in it. Yet time and again 3d hobbyist modelers work at modeling objects to learn techniques as demonstrated by others. Quite often though, these object/models have nothing to do with the story that hobbyist so dearly wish to communicate and are very rarely used or modified as such. But which object to focus on?
In order to speed up the overall process one needs to have a clear story concept before modeling to capture the essence of the object/character and its little nuances, such as a minor rigging so that an animator can move an eyebrow.
When doing research on a character Pinterest can be a great asset where you can collect and note hundreds of reference pictures on a single board or see what other people have collected. These boards instantly communicate underlying ideas and help aid the focus of a story. ONENOTE is another free app. that can be used when collecting various thoughts.
Whenever a new novelist starts writing a book it is always a good idea to start out by mocking up the back cover of the book. This form of ‘aspect summary’ needs to clearly communicate in seconds what the entire story is about. And as such helps the writer by clarifying the objective.
Good stories have drama – and drama is conflict.
The seven main types of drama are
- Man vs. Nature
- Man vs. Man
- Man vs. Environment
- Man vs. machines/technology
- Man vs. the supernatural
- Man vs. self
- Man vs. god/religion
Once we have a good story to tell, then we’ve got to get it set in print or as a file so that others can see it. Scripts and Screenplays are nothing more than novels with specific formating so that actors and directors can see who is saying what, and know what is being seen. For this part of the process you can use any word process like MS Word, but the formatting can get tedious.
Enter in CELTX, another FREE semi-online software app. With this program you can do both scripts and storyboards along with a whole boatload of other features. While some of the more advanced features do require purchase of the program, the basic free version is more than enough for anyone starting out on their first feature film.
Another screen writer is TRELBY
For those that would rather tuff it out on a wordprocessor or typewriter here are some of the basics of formatting:
Use Character Development Sheet, Character Database and Character Development Book
Characters and Sets List
Script: 1 page = 1 minute of film time approx.
Font: Courier 12
Speech: Indent 2 spaces
Characters: Indent 3 spaces + Bold
Ext or Int: External or Internal notes general type of scene location – no camera angle or detail crap.
KEEP IT SIMPLE! (Major Parts of Script)
1. # of characters
2. Locations (Small in numbers)
3. Beginning (Initial Character Intro.)
6. 2nd Complication
After writing the story, sharing with others, removing what is boring or slow you are now ready to start sketching out 3×5 cards of the scenes/shots. You can do this in a bunch of different ways. Some people just stick with the 3×5 cards. Others like to do art sketches digitally. In either case, you will at some point have to scan in the picture scenes in order to do an Animatic which is a really rough slide show with voice over to get the feel of what a movie would be like. Once again Celtx can do the job.
Tip: Change shots every 8 to 10 seconds. Shots should almost never be longer!