Visual Storytelling, it’s what we do, and we do so many things, but in the end all those things are Visual Storytelling. This particular post is about visual storytelling in film and how the director orchestrates that communication. The larger reality is that whether the work is on film, episodic television, in theatre, or part of a branding activation or experience communication from business to consumer, design is heavily involved.
Aside from the obvious Production Design elements that facilitate the blocking of the cameras and actors, there are some nice shots here of some storyboards.
Storyboard Artists have many masters and play an important role in creating and planning any production. The Coen Brothers, entered early on in this clip, rely extensively on storyboards.When they began filmmaking, they had no money and no resources, except each other and time. In order to stretch their dollars, they planned every scene, every detail before shooting. Too often artists make many changes in the studio, on location, or in the theatre. Planning minimizes last minute changes or inspiration, while allowing the best use of the budget.
F-Stoppers puts it all this way:
The ability to show meaning and advance a plot goes far beyond the literal words of a script. Directors manipulate a myriad of variables to direct our vision and attention in the manner they intend. This great video from CineFix highlights many of these techniques and how they impact us as viewers. Particularly striking is the analysis of a scene from No Country for Old Men. The film is notable for its sparse, desolate atmosphere and execution, and yet, it remains highly impactful. Here, the Coen Brothers manipulate the subtext of a scene by careful framing and subtle gestures; they lead us to the inevitable, even if we don’t know exactly how we got there. They move the plot to a significant point without the activity on the screen moving much at all.
While they are focused on film; still or motion, the principles must be applied in every story telling medium.