Books, Birthdays and Contests, Oh My!

      45 Comments on Books, Birthdays and Contests, Oh My!

Okay, it’s only one book. ‘From Word To Image’ by Marcie Begleiter.

Only one birthday. Mine. Today. I’m old.

And only one contest. But it’s my first, so that’s cool.

But first a quick note to say I’m still alive.

Again. And it looks like I can only manage one post a month or so until I finish this contract that may or may not kill me.

You know you’re working too hard when you have to write “Don’t die” in your day planner. (You think I’m kidding…I actually did that. Twice.)

But enough about ‘Kid vs Kat vs Karen’. We have a guest author today! From a real author!

I’ve recommended this book before and I am doing it again. Because the new edition just came out last month. And word has it, my blog is mentioned in the resources. How cool is that? Plus it is one great book on the subject of storyboarding for live-action film.

If that’s what you want to do, get this book.

So in celebration of this second edition of  ‘From Word To Image‘ by the awesome Marcie Begleiter, I bring you a guest post by her. About a little twist to storyboarding  and pitching a film.

Then there will be some details on the little contest we’re having. I’ll give you a hint…FREE BOOK. Signed by the author. (Okay, that was more than a hint.)

Take it away, Marcie!

Visual Pitching: Storyboards on Steroids

By Marcie Begleiter
Author of From Word to Image: Storyboarding and the Filmmaking Process

Since the mid 1980’s my film activities have covered storyboarding, set decoration, art direction, prop design, graphics and even gassing up cars…basically, when a producer or director called, my attitude was ‘You need it, I’ll do it’ (within reason, of course ;-))

The pre-viz work in particular was developed once the financing has been secured, the heads of the production team chosen and then we raced against a production schedule to complete the prep work before the cameras rolled.

But lately a particular request has arrived on my desktop that’s a bit different in character.

Visual Pitching’s time has come.

With production financing a challenge in the best of times, many a director and producer are looking to walk into meetings with more than a practiced verbal pitch. Bringing in visual research that focuses on characters and settings, presenting key frames and flipping though storyboards or even showing animatics in pitch meetings have often been a key to selling Action and SciFi films.

But these materials can also bring inspiration and an expanded avenue of communication to pitches for all manner of projects including character driven stories, romantic comedies or indie dramas.

Key frame for visual pitch ”Super Chicas”
A feature film by Juliette Carillo, writer/director

What comprises a visual pitch?

At the simplest level, it helps to  convey the look and feel of the story and how it will be told in images. There can be references to lighting, to other classic films, to character appearance and even how the film will be shot. Key frames, what I sometimes think of as ‘storyboards on steroids’, are sometimes used to give a snapshot of particular moments of high action or emotion.

These boards are often rendered in color with plenty of detail – quite a bit more developed than the typical editorial board, but not as tricked out as a full-blown production illustration.

Pitching board for Ay! Chilito, Written and Directed by Judy Chaikin

Balance is crucial.

Some directors wish to avoid creating a presentation which conveys a sense that all the critical decisions have been made. Some producers want the opportunity to give creative input (did I say “some”?) and being presented with an over-blown visual presentation can backfire.

Including a short scene with traditional storyboards is also an option. Especially with writers who want to direct their own material, an editorial storyboard functions as a ‘dry run’ for showing mastery of visual storytelling as well as, more specifically, editing, shot selection and pacing (if you present it as an animatic).

Pitching board for Ay! Chilito, Written and Directed by Judy Chaikin

Spreading the word about visual pitches can be a service that designers and artists provide to ‘above the line’ filmmakers who might not be as familiar with the practice.

It can also provide additional opportunities for you to work on films before the films are fully financed. And if your key frames and storyboards help to ‘seal the deal’ it’s a good bet that the filmmakers will be back for more once the production clock has begun to tick!

About Marcie:
Marcie Begleiter is a designer and writer working in the film and motion media industries. She is the owner/founder of Filmboards, a company which creates visual pre-production material for pitches as well as production and has worked as art director, illustrator and set decorator on dozens of projects for production companies such as HBO, ABC, Tristar, and New Line Cinema. In academia she was Founding Director of the interdisciplinary program at Otis College of Art and Design and is on the Graduate faculty of the Department of Broadcast Cinema at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She also has served on the faculties of AFI and the International Filmschule in Cologne. The second edition of her bestselling book, From Word to Image; Storyboarding and the Filmmaking Process, has just been released.

To Contact Marcie and see upcoming events visit

You can also  order a signed copy of her book, From Word to Image: Storyboarding and the Filmmaking Process by emailing

You can also buy the book from Amazon and many fine book stores.

Thanks Marcie!

Now about that little contest…

[UPDATE: The contest is officially CLOSED. I’ll be posting the winner soon. Thanks to all who entered!]

Marcie has graciously decided to GIVE AWAY a signed copy of her book to one of my fantastic readers!


How do you enter? Just leave a comment on this post. You can leave more than one, but your name is only counted ONCE.

How do you win? I will literally print out all the comments, cut them up and pull one out of a hat. Probably on video to show it’s legit.

When is the deadline? Let’s say one month from today. March 13, 2010.

How do you get the book? Marcie will contact you by email and then mail it to you. So make sure the email address you use in the comments is one you use and check!

What do you have to say in your comment? It really doesn’t matter. But “Happy Birthday Karen” is a good choice [UPDATE: OK, that’s kinda old now…as am I.  “I wanna book!” is good] and “Marcie Rocks the Casbah” isn’t bad either. Or even a knock-knock joke. Whatever. You won’t be judged on the comment itself (but gee whiz, have fun.)

Easiest contest ever, right? And let’s face it, I don’t exactly get hundreds of comments around here so your chances are pretty darn good. So comment! Enter! Get a signed book that’s awesome!

And if you don’t win, buy it anyway.

That is all.

You may now go about your Valentine’s Day bitterness and Olympic Games watching. (Not that I care all that much about the Olympics but…Woo Hoo Vancouver!) 🙂

Sign-up for the Storyboard Club Mailing List and get a Free Storyboard Template Pack!

Read the Storyboard Blog by RSS Feed or by email to make sure I didn’t die.

(And uh, just ignore that “related post” below. This is a different kind of contest. Oh, the irony…)

45 thoughts on “Books, Birthdays and Contests, Oh My!

  1. Heather

    Happy Birthday, Karen.

    Thanks so much for this post, too. I first read Marcie’s book for a class at art school. Her writing and skill are fantastic. I was expecting one of those dry textbooks that you struggle to absorb and was pleasantly surprised. Her experiences and comments are valuable to anyone who wants to break into the field of storyboarding.

  2. Tom McIntire

    Happy birthday Karen!

    Really interesting stuff! I just finished a professional development program for filmmakers through artist trust and shared this with my classmates. We covered different aspects of making the pitch and this is something new to me. I appreciate the Marcie’s well-thought-out post and the idea that you need to balance the wow factor against the specific business situation and audience.

  3. Marcia Hornbeck

    Karen, I’m new to your blog. I am making my way through the posts from the back, and enjoy your writing personality. Happy Birthday!

    Thanks, Karen and Marcie, for the post. I am fascinated by how action is communicated by simple (yeah, right!) sweeps of line. Though my particular expertise (signs & graphics) is a distant cousin twice removed to storyboarding, I love to see how other professionals work and manage their art, careers and lives.

  4. valsa rajesh

    karen ur realy a realistic friend in virtual web world ya.u have down to the earth humble approach.we are lucky to be a part of your blog dear…

  5. Ben

    Horray for competitions! Hooray for KarenJ! Hooray for Marcie!
    Am I right in thinking that this more elaborate pre-vis is more of a norm in animated productions?

  6. Gabriel

    Happy Two-days-after-your-Birthday!

    I went to a seminar with Marcie in Paris about seven years ago. It was very clear and useful. Since then I finished my masters in mathematics and made my dream come true by becoming a storyboard artist.
    It would be nice to win that book…

  7. Mike B

    Happy Happy belated B-Day Karen!

    Enjoyed reading Marcie’s excerpt, and the visual presentations work well in many other fields of biz as well. Your blog is smokin’ & makes for interesting & witty reading (yes, your fan-base is growing). I enjoy the new video clips too (even with the black shirts & funny faces) 🙂 Keep up the great work.

  8. Dave P.

    Hi Karen,

    I’m new to the site(been following for a little while now)and have to say how great it is!
    I look forward to following this blog and also look forward to reading this book (I’ve always wanted to try boarding for live action)

    I was one of your fellow Kid vs. Kat board artists from ONT. Good luck on the rest of the shows and happy birthday!

    Dave P.

  9. Karen J Lloyd Post author


    Look at the wonderful comments from all the wonderful people!

    Saying “Hi and welcome” to any new folks and a big old “Thanks” to the familiar names around here.

    Took off for the weekend and soaked my over-worked butt in the hot springs of B.C. Feeling good! The ‘dying’ has been kept at bay for now. Yay!

    Thanks for the well wishes and keep the entries coming! 🙂

  10. JP

    Happy Birthday! Don’t kill yourself on the deadlines. It’s just cartoons after all… I highly recommend bringing 20 or so beat boards when you are pitching a film idea- Above all it gives the person you are meeting a chance to rest their eyes on the images and let their mind absorb the story as you tell it. Having to lock eyes for a whole pitch can be a bit tedious 🙂

  11. Nicole Blume

    Hope you had a great birthday Karen! Your birthday is the day after mine! February is a good birthday month it’s just far enough away from Christmas, LOL.

  12. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ Ben – Not quite in the way that Marcie is talking, but I’m sure to a certain extent it is. (Not that I’ve pitched anything.) I know of someone who got an animated series with one drawing and a tagline! But he was known and established already. 🙂

    @ JP – Very good advice on the pitching! Thanks for the addition. (And try telling that “It’s just cartoons” thing to producer-types. Ha!) 🙂

    @ Nicole – It’s the age of Aquarius, baby. 😉


  13. Gilbert YoungRoland

    Happy Birthday Karen! This is my first post, so I’m gonna make it count! Hope your special day was as good as your blog.

  14. GK

    Alright! You’re alive! Awesomeness! Thanks for being such an awesome resource for information and whatnot. It’s much appreciated.

  15. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ anupam, Skull & GK – Thanks so much you guys. You’re too sweet. 🙂

    @ Gilbert – Yay, first postie! Love it and I hope you do it again. 🙂

    @ Aidan – Was wondering if you’d show up. Yes, sucking up always works. As does chocolate. But the contest will be fair anyway. 😉

    Still alive!


  16. Paul Coupaud

    Happy belated birthday, Karen. I’d have said it sooner, but I wasn’t here yet, so I’ll at least say it again, but louder — HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KAREN! I’m new to your site and loving it so far. Glad you’re still alive! Thanks for the great products/services you provide! You rock!

  17. Lamont Wayne

    Happy belated birthday Karen!

    We Aquarius artists are amazing! My birthday was yesterday!

    I’m discovering your blog right on time. I’m suffering from storyboarder’s block and I plan on taking a step back and learning from your blog some before I dig back in and revise… and hopefully from a new book? eh? eh?

    I wanna book! 🙂

  18. David Wilson

    Aloha Karen, thanks for putting together this great resource, I’ve not had much of a chance visit, but I’ve enjoyed a number of your posting. I’ll be linking to your your site from my blog for a storyboarding post.

    Anyway, hope you had a fantastic b-day.

  19. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ Nathan – No, sweetie. Storyboarding kills. It’s deadly. 😉

    @ Paul – Thanks so much and you are very welcome!

    @ Lamont – Yay Aquarius! We are a creative bunch, aren’t we? Happy B-Day to you too!

    @ David – Hey, thanks! Are you just wooing me with that “Aloha” because of my undying love of Hawaii…or do you actually live there? *swoon*

    Who has the best readers anywhere? Me. I do. 🙂


  20. Brian

    Hi Karen,
    As I sit pondering what to do with my extremely dust covered art degree I’ve found your blog. I’m looking forward to learning some visual story telling !

    Thanks !

  21. Lillian

    I cntoniue to cmoe bcak aigan and agian to cehck yuor stie and I am nveer dsaipipotned. Epsceilaly lvoin’ the itnreievws.

    Hopefully you can read that and I made reading this comment a little fun!

    (er, a translation in case my experiment failed:)
    I continue to come back again and again to check your site and I am never disappointed. Especially lovin’ the interviews.

  22. Aidan Casserly

    (by Anonymous)

    Karen, Karen,
    Fearless, darin’
    This contest is quite a hook

    Her hair is so red,
    I pray she’s not dead
    For how else could I win that book?

    Karen, Karen
    Drawin’, swearin’
    Works harder than any illustrator

    She works herself dead
    For a studio head
    I hope at least they paid her!

  23. Marcie Begleiter

    Hiya Everyone,

    Figured I’d just jump in here…Hey Karen, thanks again for guest blog spot!

    Heather – so glad you like the book ;-)) I aimed to make it readable as well as informative, but it’s always great to hear that a reader found it useful and accessible as well.

    Tom, Marcia, Ben, Mike and all, thanks for the comments!

    Gabriel – great to hear from one of my Paris alums! Was just back there and should be offering another seminar in that great city this year…

    To everyone else – thanks for supporting this wonderful blog/source of visual storytelling info.

    And for anyone in LA – I’ll be on a panel at the Writer’s Store in Westwood this Thursday evening – we’ll be talking about the Oscar nominated films. More info at
    Hope to see you there…

  24. Chris Kawagiwa

    “Marcie rocks a good book…which I want!”

    Great to see more print resources for storyboards out there!
    A pertinent post for me since I’ve been playing a bit more with making animatics in Flash. I like ‘storyboards on steroids’ ;]

    I think it would be neat to see a video picking out the winner in a novel way…like, mix up the entries in a zoetrope or something~

  25. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ Lillian – Thank goodness you clarified. My finger was over the spam button at first glance! 🙂

    @ Aidan – “Anonymous”, huh? 😉

    @ Marcie – Yay! Thanks for posting. Hope your event goes well!

    @ Lisa – Still alive. 😉

    @ Chris – I’ll see what I can do about picking the winner in a novel way. Hmm…


  26. Pingback: We Have A Winnah! | Karen J Lloyd's Storyboard Blog

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