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Glasgow, United Kingdom
An illustrator and games artist living and working in Scotland. I have various hobbies: coding, travel, art and games; and I enjoy writing about them.

1 March 2012

Short Film Pre-Production

Here's the storyboard and the script, planning sketches and storyboards we made for our short animation production. This is pretty much the entirety of pre-production on a plate for you.

Firstly, here's the process. This is how we are doing it, and in no way representative of how everyone should be doing it, but I thought it'd be nice for folk to know:

1. Script: It must have a beginning, a middle and an end. Recommended reading: Story by Rober McKee.
2. Storyboards: You plan your story and see how it works out with comic book style sequential drawings. Recommended reading: Directing the Story by Francis Glebas.
3. Location Scout: We went out and found a place to shoot in. Unfortunately it is now boarded up and the entrance is welded shut. We took some pictures though, for planning purposes. I'd recommend wearing good boots when you do this sort of thing: there are used needles everywhere!
4. Shot planning: I then drew up some diagrams of the space with indication of where the cameras and actors will be placed. I also made a simple 3D mock-up.
5. Animatic: For this I simply took the storyboard and stuck it into Adobe Premiere. In software I timed each shot and created a sound track. All sounds were downloaded from and the music is Portishead - Sour Times.
6. Filming: Haven't done it yet, but the cameras are booked for the 14th!

The next stage is the asset creation stage. More on that in later posts.

The Script

                             "The Circus"
                             Artyom Semenov
                               Adam Dart

                                                                      FINAL DRAFT

A man who is "of sound mind" is one who keeps the inner madman under lock and key.
                                  ~Paul Valéry, Mauvaises pensées et autres, 1942

                               "The Circus"

Empty. Dirty, desolate place. Barb wire fense runs around the warehouse.
CGI: Behind the warehouse the is illuminated brilliantly by the lights of the skyscrapers.
CGI: Battered SIGN on the Warehouse: "Achille Zavatta's Circus Supplies"
MAN walks from off-screen towards the warehouse. He is wearing old jeans, and a
practical cammo jacket.
                                                                          CUT TO
Cluttered with boxes, wires and old machinnery (circus cannon, roundabout etc.)
Empty. Dark. Harsh blue illumination makes intense shadows.
MAN is walking slowly through rubble, as if searching for something.
Cluttered. Wires and electronics on walls and floor like a giant spiderweb.
The MAN walks past what looks like a humanoid carcass chained to a wall.
He doesn't notice it.
As the MAN walks out of shot the ROBOT slowly comes to life.
The ROBOT is an old circus clown, made especially for making balloons.
From the darkness he extends his arm towards the MAN.
In it there is an old, burst baloon on a string.
The MAN continues walking without noticing.
The ROBOT's hand retreats slowly back into the darkness.
                                                                       FADE TO BLACK
                                 THE END.


Location Scout

Looks amazing, doesn't it? I wish we had a chance to explore more.

Shot Planning


I hope someone somewhere found this helpful.

Peace :)

PS: I literally just saw the horrible mistake in one of the storyboards. Don't judge my coffee ridden brain! See if you can spot it, it's quite a funny one.