Quest #004 – Thumbnails for Opening

QuestAfter scouting a location in Memphis, TN, I realized that the opening sequence for Quest would be extremely challenging. To keep production costs down, I decided to have the entire opening sequence storyboarded. The first person that came to mind was Mark Giambrone, who’s been in the advertising business for over twenty years. He’s created more than 135 television spots and I felt that if anyone could create storyboarding miracles, it’s Mark.

QuestHis Super Soaker
 squirt gun campaign made the product America’s #1 toy
, the year it was introduced. Mark also launched Borden’s
 Big Cheese and rolled out Jeni Lee Cosmetics. He has won Clios,
 Addys, Mobius, Obies, and several New York Advertising 
Awards for his art direction and design. Mark’s creative
 work has been recognized in such prestigious
advertising and design annuals as The One Show, Art Directors
 Club of New York, and British Design and Art Direction.

QuestWith top talent on board, Mark and I started discussing my shot list and the demands put on us by the story and its locations. Since the sequence required hundreds of boards, we decided to start with thumbnail sketches. While they are down and dirty, it quickly allows us to communicate composition, camera position, movement, action, stunt requirements, blocking, and good old fashion storytelling.

QuestThe film opens with a pastor bumping into a young teen that has had little time with his parents since their divorce. Their encounter is brief, but encouraging. Unfortunately, the teen jumps into his drunken brother’s mustang to ride shotgun in the street race. Toward the end of the fast and furious race, his brother loses control when sideswiped by the other car and flips his mustang into a field.

QuestThe second car also loses control and crashes into a power line pole, which falls and ignites the dry grass. The flames rage and move toward the young teen who is trapped inside of the upside down car. As the flames approach, he calls out to the pastor’s God for help and quickly finds himself in a storm. The deluge of rain puts out the fire, but makes flight difficult for the medevac helicopter speeding to his rescue. The boy loses consciousness as the chopper lands.

QuestThe images I’ve added to this article are the actual thumbnails. They meet my specifications and the Panavision cinemascope 2.40:1 frame ratio. By using these rough thumbnail sketches, I was able to have Mark make quick changes with far less effort. The only drawback at this stage is not being able to see the high quality, fully inked boards that he normally draws.

QuestHowever, the quick turnaround time has allowed us to start cutting together the animatics, which will give us an opportunity to spot additional shots that need to be sketched before we get to the inking stage. It also helps us determine in advance, any additional drawing elements that are needed for the previz work.

QuestA couple hundred thumbnails were created out of three short online meetings. I was amazed that 95% of the time we saw eye to eye on the shots. Most of the rework was due to changes in camera position, location requirements, and creative brainstorming that helped us find better ways to tell the story.

QuestOnce we get to the final inked drawings, I’ll make sure some of them appear on my blog so you can see the huge difference in definition, style, and tonal qualities. I’m also talking with Mark about publishing a small behind the scenes booklet that includes the various stages that we use in our storyboarding process.

Copyright © 2014 by CJ Powers
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2 thoughts on “Quest #004 – Thumbnails for Opening

  1. I had not seen donnie since 6th grace and I believe it was Gods plan that we see each other again because he gave me a copy of Quest to read. at the end I had a strong vision of seeing this as a movie so my quest for the past 3 or so years has been to make sure this book become a movie. you can’t imagine the thrill this is for me, only Donnie knows. I had no doubt it would happen. my prayers to everyone who is making this happen.

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