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This week, I began collaborating with filmmaker and storyboard artist Monte Patterson to design the look of “Inside-Out, Outside-In.” Monte just moved to Hollywood from Indiana, emboldened by his successful short film “Caught” and his intriguing film blog “The Final Image,” which already boasts well over 100,000 followers (more on this in another post soon). So I knew I was in good hands as Monte stopped by my office. We flipped open the script and started talking shots.

As an “Actor’s Director,” I know I’m not going to go on the set and think up shots on the fly. Visualizing shots requires me to master a new language beyond the realm of acting and creating narratives, so storyboards become an even more essential way of testing out ideas and working things out in advance. It’s also insurance that I’ll be able to communicate what I want to the cinematographer and other departments. With enough preparation and hard work, your biggest challenge can become your biggest asset (or so I believe. More on owning your own skill set as a director in the next post…). With my skill set, background, taste and ambition, I can’t imagine doing a feature film without storyboards for each and every shot.

I knew I wanted to contain the action in as few shots as possible, both because I don’t see the film as a frenetic, fast-paced film with lots of arbitrary close-ups and to keep camera set-ups to a minimum. Also, it’s important to me that we have fun with the play-within-a-movie motif and to use a little savvy as we employ the illumination provided by the theatre lights.

Here are the results of our work together. Monte beautifully rendered two shots from a scene described in a post here. From darkness, stage lights suddenly turn on to illuminate a lone figure standing on stage in a wide shot. We cut in from the wide to see erstwhile performer Nathaniel Quinn enjoying a moment of theatre play, recapturing glory days, only to be “caught” by his producing partner Dorothy as she enters backstage in anticipation of their day auditioning actors.

What we’ve got so far:

Storyboard by Monte Patterson.

Storyboard by Monte Patterson.

After the punch in from the wide, Nathaniel lifts his fist in mock triumph on the stage and says, “Enter Stage Right. A young man, filled with hope, crosses to the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen.” Nathaniel realizes that his face has softened with tears, feeling the opposite of the sentiment he expressed. From behind him, we hear a woman enter….

Storyboard by Monte Patterson

Storyboard by Monte Patterson

Nathaniel quickly puts his fist down and turns. The camera dollies and pans to reveal Dorothy entering from the darkness of backstage. She says, “Sorry, I’m late.” Nathaniel replies, “You’re not late.”

OK, so I don’t want to give away the whole scene, but that’s enough to give you a taste. Huge thank you to Monte for his beautiful drawings and I look forward to sharing more with you. In the meantime, hope you will check out some more posts about our movie and enjoy Monte’s blog at “The Final Image.”

What do you think of the first storyboards? Ideas? Questions?

– Hunter

Hunter Lee Hughes is a filmmaker and actor living and working in Los Angeles and the founder of Fatelink. His current feature film Guys Reading Poems is touring film festivals and this blog is dedicated to the process of making his second feature film, “Inside-Out, Outside-In.” If you enjoy the blog, please support our team by following us on Facebook, Twitter (@Fatelink) or Instagram (@Fatelink).