Hi art friends. Today, we are exploring how I manage Takashima. I called on my theater experience as stage manager and designer and my skills as an executive assistant to manage all aspects of this project.
This project involves me, my dolls, camera gear and my computer. I don’t have assistants, because I dug into this work during Covid and once my dolls and camera gear are set up, there is enough room in my studio for one person to work.
Managing the story
As with the original story outline, the original storyboards were hand drawn in a sketchbook. I don’t care much for my drawing skills, which triggers my inner critic and then it’s time for a shame spiral. To counteract my inner critic, I moved story management to electronic means. It had the benefit of silencing my inner critic because I look at screens all day long, so it meanders off to do whatever it does while I’m at work.
When I started digitizing Takashima, I was using an HP notebook, Open Office and Gimp on Debian OS. I’m currently working on an iMac, using Photoshop CC.
I moved Takashima from outline form to Numbers to develop the shot list. It may not work for everyone, but entering data in a spreadsheet helps me organize material. My workbook has several tabs for lists: Character, Location, Props, Shots and a tab to calculate project time.
The Character list tracked each doll and their role, the type of scene they were in (1, 2, 3 and 4 character scene), costume, props and status of character outfit.
The Location list included the specific locations needed (Keaton’s desk, Takashima interior, etc) as well as the number of shots at different angles, time of day, needed.
The Prop list was a different way to organize props for doll-sized prop shopping. I needed tablets, cell phones, holster and gun, arm deck for the rigger, deck for the hacker and drones for my rigger.
The Shot list served as a reminder that at every shooting session, I take photos from different angles and perspectives and to give me a baseline count of shots needed for the story. I’ll go into more details on the Shooting Takashima post.
Once I had all my spreadsheet completed, the Shot Calculator helped me set my initial project completion goal. I’ve been shooting my dolls long enough to have a pretty good idea how long each setup takes. My initial estimate of time to complete shooting was 65 hours.
Once I started editing the photos, I realized a spreadsheet was not a good way to track my completed shots. I wanted to see them as the project progressed. I’ll be honest: I didn’t even research storyboard software. I’m sure something exists, but I didn’t want to add a new app to learn so I leveraged my EA skills and opened a basic black background slide deck in Keynote.
I transferred the shot list from Numbers to Keynote and organized the slides into scenes with the list of shots needed for the scene. The first slide in the deck has the title of the project and tracks the number of shots completed to date.
The benefits to using Keynote: the ability to play the slide show after each session to see progress, identify story and imagery gaps and keep me enthusiastic about the project. The bonus that I hadn’t considered until I started dropping images in: I could create teaser trailers for the story. I’ve created 2 teasers: the first with the conceptual art for Takashima and the second with the comic book tests. I also created a short tutorial on how I created one of the backgrounds.
Once I finish creating all of the Takashima images and add them to Keynote, I will organize the shots into the final layout of the story then start the process of laying out the photos in Comic Book Maker to create the finished graphic novel.
The next post will be another Omni Creative Filter System test where I took one of my dolls out and about for an autumn photo shoot.