The Art of the ‘Hook-Up’

You want to know how to hook-up?

Well, first you’re going to need a lot of liquor and…

Oops…wrong hook-up.

I mean hooking up your storyboard panels and scenes. Not you.

Sorry to disappoint. 😉

Warning: long ass post ahead with lots of images.

This is the second point I made in the post ‘What’s Wrong with Your Storyboards.’ That point being bad continuity and missing hook-up poses.

I once took a course in Script Supervising. The Script Supervisor works in live-action film and television and is responsible for all the continuity on a show or movie. It’s quite a detailed-oriented job and I was pretty good at it…being the organized, anal person that I am. I just never did much with it when the course ended.

But I did come away with a highly tuned awareness of continuity errors in movies that I didn’t have before. The instructor told us of all sorts of mistakes in ‘Pretty Woman’, ‘Terminator 2’ and others.

When I got home and popped ‘Pretty Woman’ into my VCR (yes, I still have some VHS tapes…sue me) I started to see what she was talking about.

Julia left this side of the frame and walked back in on the wrong side. His tie is on, his tie is off, it’s back on again. The croissant suddenly turned into a pancake (OK, I admit I had always noticed that one!).

There really are lots of them in that movie.

Why had I barely noticed before?

Read more

How to Not ‘Cross The Line’

In my post ‘What’s Wrong With Your Storyboards‘, the first storyboarding mistake I mentioned was screen direction and crossing the line.

How do you not ‘cross the line’? I’ll tell you how.

Forget about ‘the line’. Sorta.

But you better know what the heck the line *is* before I start telling you to ditch it.

The line of action, 180 degree line or the axis line (whatever you like to call it) is an imaginary line drawn down the center of the action of a scene. In many live-action film making books it looks something like this.

Illustration from ‘Film Directing Shot by Shot’ – Steven D. Katz/FrankBolle.

What’s a circle? 360 degrees. Draw a line through the center of it and you get 180 degrees (isn’t math fun?).

Illustration from ‘Film Directing Shot by Shot’ – Steven D. Katz/FrankBolle.

The principle is that once you choose where that line will be, you can put your camera along any part of that 180 half circle and the scene will work direction-wise. Like this.

Read more

Want Some Free Story Consulting?

UPDATE: This offer is now off the table. Many thanks to those who took me up on it.

I threw up that little banner on the side a few days ago and it led to a page with some info on it. I don’t think too many people checked it out because, well…it kinda looked like a nasty *ad* or something.

I was going to change it and then I got some major computer hullaballoo over the weekend (don’t even ask…but my external hard drive just paid for itself). So I’m changing it now and making it a real post.

But first, a technical notice: It has come to my attention (during my computer hullaballoo) that my blog is looking pretty wonky in Internet Explorer 6 (and maybe earlier). The right sidebar has decided to disappear to the very bottom of the blog and is being quite naughty.

All is well and good in Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 (at least for me). So if my blog looks screwy to you, what are you waiting for? Get Firefox already! It’s better, it’s free and has some really cool add-ons. And if you don’t want that, then update to Internet Explorer 7. Or stick with the wonky version. I’d go to the trouble of fixing it, but frankly I’m afraid of making it worse.

Plus I want to change the look of the blog soon, so I think it can wait.

Hope that’s cool. 🙂

On with my neat little offer!

Well at least I think it’s a neat offer.

For just the month of August, I am offering *free* visual story consulting to a certain number of people. (I just haven’t figured out quite how many that will be). I first want to see what kind of response I get.

If any.

Why? Why would I do that?

Read more

What’s Wrong With Your Storyboards.

That’s not a question.

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with your storyboards.

Not as much as you think.

So to help out, I’m going to tell you what the wrong stuff is. The mistakes you might be making that I would make you fix, without argument. Because they’re wrong.

Here we go:


I could write a whole post on this. And I probably will (I sense a series coming on).

You have to know what the 180 (or action) axis is and why it’s wrong to cross it.

A proper definition is: “An imaginary line drawn through the center of an action. A sequence of scenes can only be shot on one side of the line; otherwise the audience’s point of view will be disorientated.” (Thank you Shamus Culhane).

I’ve seen live-action movies sometimes get away with crossing the line and switching screen direction. I still think it’s wrong, but sometimes it works (or slips by us). They usually use some ‘artistic’ excuse for doing it. Which means they probably screwed up the shot and used it anyway hoping no one will notice. I think live-action is more forgiving for this.

But in animation, it’s wrong, wrong, wrong. It looks wrong, it feels wrong, it is wrong. You must learn this principal so you can avoid doing it. Next post.


Ever see a film where the guy is holding a full drinking glass, then in the next scene the glass is almost empty? That is bad continuity.

Read more