Saturday, April 29, 2017

"The Greatest Escape", My On-Line Portfolio #5

This storyboard is from a never-produced DRD called “The Greatest Escape”. I worked on this feature in 2009, between the cancellation of “King of the Hill”, and my next staff project, “Neighbors From Hell” for the newly formed Bento Box Entertainment. 

“TGE” tells the story of Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus’s escape to Egypt following Herod’s death sentence on all male children. It is told from the p.o.v. of Herod’s daughter, Cleangela (pronounced “Klee-angela”, not “Clean-gela”). She has been assigned by Daddy to visit Jerusalem and rat out the newborn king. The sequence I’ve chosen shows her as she follows the Star of Bethlehem which acts as a beacon, leading her directly to her quarry.

I was raised by an Atheist father and an Agnostic mother. My Higher Power is silent when I pray for details about its nature. I have no particular interest in the subject matter of TGE. That said, I’m a whore who’ll do practically anything legal for money, especially when the director/producer Is (was) Kevin Altieri, who I’d greatly enjoyed working with on many projects, including “Batman”, “AlfTails”, and “Stripperella”.

Most of my research for this storyboard was gleaned from “The Reader’s Digest Life of Jesus”. I providentially discovered this book on the shelves of my hotel room at “The Majestic Valley Lodge”, in the mountains of Chugach, Alaska, where my family and I were having a re-union celebrating our mother Maxine’s 80th anniversary. This outrageous synchronicity would be enough to cause me to see divine guidance in the genesis of TGE. Except that the project was eventually cancelled because a member of the financing congregation absconded with the budget.

I’ve heard it said that the Lord works in mysterious ways. Congratulations, Lord; I’m mystified.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Gargoyles "Puck" Sequence, My On-Line Portfolio Pt #4

As with my ‘Batman’ storyboards, my ‘Gargoyles’ material is extremely difficult to cull, resulting in arbitrary choices. I have chosen (for now) this sequence. It is from episode #18, “The Mirror”, first aired in September, 1995. The production company was Disney Television. 

The episode introduces the character “Puck”. I really got into the acting on this faery trickster character, doing “Tim Curry-as-Dr.-Frank-N’-Furter-meets-Paul-Lynde”. playing up his fem, fey qualities. I was really nervous about doing so, expecting to have catch shit for doing such an “out” character (though I had been “out” on the job since 1988), but the director/producer, Frank Paur, kept ALL of it. Further, I enjoyed playing Puck’s fem mannerisms off Demona’s much more “butch” body language, a sort of gender reversal. Again, this was all kept by the director.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Batman, "Night of the Ninja", Act One; My On-Line Portfolio #3

The difficulty of compiling a portfolio is culling, especially with storyboards. I’ve  never been able to figure out how to present the least possible amount while still giving the viewer enough to understand the flow of events, and demonstrate that I know my stuff as a film-maker and have the chops as a draftsman. On a series like Batman, it’s doubly difficult because I storyboarded on 13 episodes on the first series, 6 episodes on the mid ‘00s reboot and I’m proud of all of it.

I have somewhat arbitrarily chosen a 13 page sequence from Season One’s  “Night of the Ninja”, Act One. In this episode, Bruce Wayne/Batman confronts an old classmate from his youth days in a Japanese Martial Arts dojo. My director, Kevin Altieri, and I had studied Aikido and tried to make the fighting sequences somewhat realistic, in an anime sort of way.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

King of the Hill; My On-line Portfolio #2c

As I mentioned in part a, KotH used the storyboards as layouts. This meant that we had to board all the characters and elements on separate layers. Unfortunately this renders the storyboards useless as presentation or portfolio items. To make them serve the latter function I had to spend the better part of a day combining the layers into one scene. Here are all the elements that went into making Page 1, panel 1, followed by the combined panel.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

King of the Hill; My On-line Portfolio #2b

(Continued From Part One)

My director, Antony Chun, was continually riding me, making me redraw and re-redraw the characters for greater accuracy. I was finally able to make the transition when I realized that I had to shift gears; My usual mode was macho high speed drawing where every second spent was a second too long. I found I had to approach the work on KotH as a form of mindfulness meditation, with an almost feminine, reflective, mind-set. My job-survival depended on staying resolutely in the now, not worrying about deadlines, tuning out the various freak-outs and dramas regularly unfolding in my vicinity. 

Another problem was the filmic style of the series which was stylized as an animated sit-com. There were no dynamic angles, no fish-eye lenses, no dramatic upshots or eye-level POV’s (the camera was resolutely at chest-level), no fast cutting, and the camera was locked down (no panning or trucking) as much as possible.

The storyboard I’m presenting is from the final episode of the final season. The plot is that Bobby is discovered to have an hither-to undiscovered genius: he’s an expert of judging cuts and grades of beef. Hank and Bobbly finally have something to bond over. Bobby joins the local college’s meat judging team as its youngest member. Hilarity and character growth ensue.

Monday, April 24, 2017

King of the Hill; My On-line Portfolio #2a

Part One

I was a staff storyboard artist on the final (11 through 13) seasons of ‘King of the Hill’. I was brought onto the production by Antony Chun, my director for the previous two years on ‘The Batman’ animated TV series for Warner Animation. 

Koth had been cancelled at the end of season 10, but Fox TV soon revived it. Not soon enough, however; In the intervening period, the layout department scattered to the four winds. This necessitated a change of process when the series was resumed: For the first 10 seasons, KotH was a “layout driven” show, in that the boards were quick and loose, the majority of the drawing and fine-tuning left for the layout stage. The production would now be “board driven”, eschewing the layout stage altogether. This meant the boards had to be super-tight and super “on model”, basically functioning as mini-layouts. This was lucky for me, since KotH would need a large storyboard department.

I was NOT a fan of KotH; I had tried to watch it in the early ’00’s and found it impenetrable, weird and repulsive.  As I binge-watched old episodes, I caught the rhythm and aesthetic of the series. I came to appreciate the non-idealized character design (which I had previously dismissed as “ugly”). KotH was the most realistic series I have ever worked on, once one acclimates to the stylistic tropes of making the character’s heads too large and the legs too short. 

(To Be Continued)

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