Saturday, September 30, 2017

"Heart of Steel", Part One, Act Two (Part Eight)

This is a posting of pages 87 through 94. This section of Act Two is boarded by me.

The story transitions to the home of Commissioner Gordon. Gordon looks up from his evening paper to absently gaze at his daughter, Barbara, lying on prone on the living room carpet in front of him, lit by the comforting glow of a fire in the hearth.  This scene of domestic tranquility is interrupted by the doorbell; Gordon leaves to answer and is summarily subdued by Randa and the Gordon duplicant.


(B124) If I were board-supervising this today, I’d make me add a BG to this scene. It would be a view of the driveway towards the street down below, enough to show that this is a p.o.v. shot at the duplicant’s eye level. I don’t remember what they did in the version-as-animated.

(B125) Gordon and his duplicant are framed for a beat in an almost symmetric composition before the mysterious woman dressed in trench coat and face-hiding fedora (Randa) rushes into frame, attacking Mr. G. 

(B126) Close-up on Randa’s weapon, a stun-gun, as it zaps Gordon. (I think that’s my design, made up on the spot for the purposes of the storyboard. The board crew frequently got the script assignment simultaneously with the design crew and had to design for ourself in the board. These rough ideas were later spiffed up by the prop and b.g. designer crew).
B127) Gordon, unconscious, knocks off Randa’s hat as he falls out of frame, revealing that it is, indeed, her.

(B128) Gordon, unconscious, knocks off Randa’s hat as he falls out of frame, revealing that it is, indeed, her. We cut to a downshot of Gordon, lying motionless in his front doorway. Randa and the Duplicant step into camera from either side of frame. This was the quickest, easiest way I could devise to stage a rather complicated set of actions. I recall struggling with trying to play out, in long shot, depicting the various poses Gordon would undertake as his body crumples to the cement pathway. The strategy I chose requires very little actual animation.

In fact, this entire sequence requires very little actual animation. For instance, in scene B120, Gordon rises from the couch, steps out of frame and immediately walks back through frame in the B.G., his lower body hidden by the couch.

"Heart of Steel", Part One, Act Two (Part Seven)

This is a posting of pages 79 through 86. This section of Act Two was storyboarded by Michael Goguen.

Randa has quality alone-time with Hardac. Notice, in scene B112, that Hardac refers to the “next duplicant” being “ready”, implying that there’s at least one previous duplicant out there, running around, getting into trouble. Creepy! The identity of this duplicant will be revealed in the Part Seven posting.

In scenes B114-B116 Randa removes her hoody, revealing her platinum blonde, Marylin-Monroe-style coif, and clueing us (in case there was any doubt) that she’s the mysterious robot-briefcase-deliverer from Act One. 

Note: we board-artists on The Batman Animated TV Series were heavily influenced by classic Hollywood “invisible” montage as practiced by George Cukor, Howard Hawks and John Ford, i.e., start an action on one cut and complete it on the next (or, in this case, an intervening close up of another character inserted in the middle of the action). Of course, we were also influenced by the flashier filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock and Fritz Lang, and anime, especially Hayio Miyazaki.

Friday, September 29, 2017

"Heart of Steel", Part One, Act Two (Part Six)

This is a posting of pages 66-78. This section of Act Two was boarded by Michael Goguen

Tensions mount, weirdness increases. It probably comes as no shock to learn that Hardac is this story’s version of Hal, the sentient computer from “2001: A Space Odyssey”. In this case, the first overt “tell” is scenes B93-B96 where Rossum halts in mid-sentence to shoot a look at Hardac, almost as if asking permission to speak. I like the way the script didn’t unload everything at once, letting hints, clues and foreshadowing to unfold gradually. Again, hats off to the episode’s writer, Brynn Stevens.

IMBD says, “Brynne Chandler is a writer best known for her work as a writer and/or story editor on action/adventure-oriented animated television series such as Gargoyles (1994), Batman: The Animated Series (1992), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983). She was nominated for an Emmy award for her work on "Batman", and was at one point the highest-paid female animation writer working in Hollywood.

Well. Who knew? (Not me, until just now.)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

"Heart of Steel", Part One, Act Two (Part Five)

This is a posting of pages 51 through 65. This section is storyboarded by Mike Goguen

In Act Two, we are introduced to Cybertron  Industries and its head scientist and CEO (I assume) Dr. Karl Rossum. In posting  #4, Mr. R. is ably portrayed in expression and body language, as being a lovable eccentric, an overgrown child surrounded by cute toys. 

The mood shifts as Bruce follows Rossum down to the basement (I especially like scene B73: we start on a black frame, the door opens, rim-lighting a mysterious machine in the F.G., the lights click on and we see we're in a large room with a giant computer) and isintroduced to the scientist’s pride and joy, “Hardac”. This stands for ”Holographic Analytical Reciprocating Digital Computer”, Randa Duane explains as she steps from Hardac’s bowels as though being birthed. We might not yet recognize her as being the mysterious, obliquely viewed woman in Act One, but we soon will (recognize her, that is). 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

"Heart of Steel", Part One, Act Two (Part Four)

This is a posting of pages  35 through 50.
This section of the storyboard to “Heart of Steel”, Act Two, is drawn by Mike Goguen, who was one of the other staff board artists on Kevin Altieri’s unit. I’m told (by Kevin) that Mike was a character designer at D.I.C. in the 80’s (I have no memory of him when i worked there from 1984 to 1990), when he moved to Disney Feature, working on “Beauty and The Beast”. I recall Mike describing the working conditions there, having to board the “want” song that was a recurring feature of all Disney Animated Musicals during this period of resurgence. In any case, he was working on Batman by mid ’91 as I recall. He later went on to direct at Sony Animation, where I worked under him as free-land storyboard artist on the “Men in  Black” animated series for 2 seasons. I hear that he’s producing at the El Segundo, California, USA offices of Mattel these days.

Scene B43 was drawn by the episode’s director, Kevin Altieri. 

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