The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Professionalism

Here is Adrien’s final catch-up post for the “Getting the J-O-B” series, adding to my article on Professionalism. You can find our posts on Training here and here. And the posts on Portfolios here and here. (And the pictures have nothing to do with professionalism really…it’s just Adrien’s cool stuff.) – KJL


Storyboarding for film is 80% communication and 20% drawing.

Storyboarding for animation is a lonely, isolating, mentally devastating job, where you can easily lose the charming, amiable personality you once had ‘cuz you haven’t eaten or slept properly in days (especially the last ones at the end of a show).
Editor’s note
: this is currently my life. 🙂 – KJL

In film, you can’t do that. In most cases, you’re working from a studio with 1-5 other storyboard artists. You have to get along for the long 12 hour days that you’ll be there. Most importantly you have be charming and personable when you have impromptu meetings with the director.

Let him direct you. In other words, you are a monkey with a pencil and if he/she could do it herself, they would. Do what you’re told. If they direct you to “cross the line” in the action, point it out politely. There are times when it is OK to do it and it might be a style thing they’re doing. Then again…it might not.


There are times when a director has given you no direction and the scene is yours. This happens more often than you think (I never met Tim Story or Bret Ratner). In these cases, you’re going to pitch somebody your scene. Maybe the VFX director or maybe the 2nd unit director. Regardless, there’s going to be someone you pitch it to. When you do this, you have to be “ON”.

Don’t walk anyone through the sequence like you’re bored (pardon the pun). Be excited about it. These are your ideas and they may end up in the film. And always be open to other peoples ideas (I’m not talking about the person in Craft Services, either!). When people notice that a director isn’t directing the storyboard artists, everyone from producers to editors will try to.

They want their ideas in the film too, and the best way to do that is through the storyboard guy (or gal). This type of thing happens and it’s a very tricky line to walk. Be careful: political land mines ahead. Most of all, just be professional and use common sense.

Lastly, never, ever talk to actors. Whether they are on set or not, unless you have been given permission (through an introduction or they spoke to you). Strangely, the only exception to this is in the kitchen. 😉

My next post in this series will be about Contacts in the Industry, followed by a post from Adrien on the same subject. Subscribe to the RSS feed or by email to catch them! – KJL

Here are the other posts in this series:
Getting the J-O-B Part 1: Five Key Things You Need to Storyboard Professionally
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Training
Getting the J-O-B Part 2: Building a Storyboard Portfolio
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Portfolios
Getting the J-O-B Part 3: Professionalism in Animation…or Anywhere
Getting the J-O-B Part 4: Contacts in the Industry
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Contacts in the Industry
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Contacts in the Industry-Part 2: Unions and Film Commissions
Getting the J-O-B Part 5: The Right Attitude
The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on the Right Attitude

2 thoughts on “The Live-Action Go-to-Guy’s P.O.V. on Professionalism

  1. Debi

    How does the working environment differ from what you just described (which I’m assuming is on-location work) to when you are working remotely?

    Obviously, all the professionalism still applies, but how does the rest differ?

  2. KJL Post author

    I guess Adrie answered you in an email Debi. 🙂

    To sum up for those reading, it’s more rare to work remotely for live-action films because of all the ‘leak’ concerns of those big budget directors. Which is very understandable. Adrie has actually had to go to the filming location for a few months to work on various projects.

    But it’s more common to work remotely for animation. I’ve done it many times. There’s less hands-on collaboration needed so they ship or FTP the materials and you get to work at home. Maybe a few calls with the director but you’re pretty much on your own to get the storyboard done.


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