In this assignment, you will create a set of images to serve as a storyboard for the title sequence of a ficticious television series based on an existing story not on television.
The sequence should comprise between 12 and 30 images.
You will compose the images or "shots" in Photoshop, and sequence and time them in Photo Story 3. You can add background music to the sequence if you like, but you will need to edit the music to fit the short timeframe of a title sequence.
The story you use for the ficticious show should be taken from a published book, short story, or other non-visual narrative. The composition of your title sequence should be informed by a critical understanding of the characters, plot-generating conflicts, settings, themes, and tone of the original. Note that--unlike movies, novels, and stories--the essential conflicts in a television series are usually never resolved until the series ends.
Story and Montage
This one- to two-minute title sequence may be "narrative" in two senses:
1. it may diachronically tell a story that takes a character, characters, or perhaps the viewpoint/camera itself from one place, time, or situation to another ("this, then this, then this..." or something that happens to a character)
2. it may use editing or montage synchronically to make something happen to the viewer by arousing tension, anticipation, curiosity, or a sense of discovery, and then either satisfing or overturning it ("this, plus this, plus this" or something that happens to the viewer). This combination of story and presentation is also called "narrative."
We will discuss a number of sample title sequences in class and read Scott McCloud's book Understanding Comics to learn techniques of narrative and montage in visual texts.
In your sequence, avoid the impulse to tell a simple backstory. Instead, your title sequence should introduce your series/movie's essential tensions, themes, and tone using a combination of narrative and montage.
Technical Visual Criteria
As a storyboard rather than a finished product, you will not be expected to produce shots that realize exact realism in rendering human figures and other visual details. Your characters can even be represented by silhouettes. Instead, this assignment will emphasize the composition of shots, backgrounds, and the techniques of sequencing visual images for continuity and other narrative effects.
Another criteria is that your shots be composed to accomdate and highlight textual titles and credits, as well as to work with the kinds of panning and zooming you do without revealing the image edges.
In addition to fulfilling the requirements of excellent commentaries, your Narrative Title Sequence commentary should:
- Describe the original source of the story and characters in a way that makes clear the effectiveness and appropriateness of your title sequence
- Explain the ways that you adapted the original story's plot, characters, situations, and themes to make it work as the concept for an ongoing television series
- Compare shots or edits in your sequence to specific techniques and effects in at least three sample sequences discussed in class
- Analyze shots or edits in your sequence using at least two specific examples from the McCloud book, being sure to employ McCloud's terminology in bold.
- Analyze at least two shots in your title sequence using examples and terms from the pages Camera Work 1 and Camera Work 2. Put the critical terms in bold.
Two Commentary Formats
The commentary should be turned in on paper as specified on the schedule, as well as being posted as a plain HTML file in the same web folder. I will provide you instructions on creating this HTML file.
Show concept, analysis and use of essential conflicts and tension
Choice and use of Visual Style
Verbal/Visual integration (title, credits)
Use of Narrative (diachronic story and/or synchronic montage)
Use of mise-en-scene, locale, setting, and backgrounds
Snow White (student project example)
Mad Men Title Sequence (narrative and montage)
The Beverly Hillbillies Title Sequence (backstory)
Gilligan's Island Title Sequence (backstory)
Sopranos Titile Sequence (narrative, mise-en-scene)
Art of the Title Sequence
The TV Writer's Vault/Scripted Projects
About log lines from The Inside Pitch.
Twin Peaks Title Sequence
Compare title sequences for To Kill a Mockingbird and Almost Famous
See also the distiction between diachronic and synchronic structures
Examples of storyboarding: Taxi Driver, Sara Conner Chronicles
the mise-en-scene (pronounced "meez-on-sen")
Camera Work 1
Camera Work 2
Film Analysis: Visual Style