Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Storyboard exercise 1: The Bourne Identity

Hi there.

I thought I'd start off this storyboarding blog with an exercise. An editor once told me that the best film practise you can get is from actually studying films. So, I thought I’d start off with my favourite – The Bourne Identity.

Here are rough thumbnail shots of the opening sequence. I’ve tried to keep the thumbnails as loose as possible and include the bare minimum of detail. What I’m interested in is what the camera reveals and how the characters develop.

The story starts with an accidental meeting of a man floating in the sea (on the left side of the screen) and a fishing boat (on the right side.) As they cut back and forth from the interior of the boat to the exterior with the man, the camera moves closer on both sides. Finally, it ends up on a close up shot of one of the fishing crew realising what he has found. This is the moment when the two sides meet.

From here on we’re with the fishing crew, mainly the doctor. We’re discovering about this mysterious man as they are. It’s as if we’re another fisherman among the action. The camera mimics this by rocking back and forth with the doctor’s actions and the movement of the boat. It’s not until the doctor finds out that the bed is empty and the man has woken, that the camera now shows the perspective from the man’s point of view.

I love this scene because it builds up and ends on intense emotion. It also raises the important questions for the story, “Who is this man?”, “What is this thing in his back?”, “Why has he been shot?”, “Where has he come from?”

It is a stark contrast from the following scene at Langley, which is very sterile and business-like. The camera there is held back from the characters and is quite steady, emphasising the distance and hostility.

You can read the script here. It’s interesting to see what they’ve changed to bring it more to the point.


Please note:

The shots travel downwards, not across. Also, I accidentally spelt ‘identity’ incorrectly on the top of the page. I suffer from dyslectica. Sory.

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