Category Archives: Preparation


Written preparation

The consistent theme that is contained throughout the progress of developing the story was of ‘change for the better brought about by the character’s actions’.

Synopsis 1
: Very gloomy man is transformed into an aria-singing gondolier with active help of spaghetti and red wine.

Synopsis 2
cannot stand the world of niceness. His life experiences have taught him never to trust people who are nice; the smiley face hides the cold ambitious heart of an assassin.
He is surrounded by saccharine niceness in a candy-coloured world that is full of people determined and insistent on telling the world they are happy; they rain their unctuousness—the sugar-coating covering their nasty nature—down on him. He finds a way to dissolve that world and creates around him a world that satisfies his every dream, a world in which he reigns supreme.

Synopsis 3
Reign Man
lives in a noisy traffic-filled world of those who phone-chat loudly on public transport and in cafes and who communicate by emojis. He brings about change to arrive in a world where he has some control, where he reigns, even if only for a little while.
There are 3 acts: the first contains the exposition, we see what is troubling Reign Man; the second is his response to those annoyances and contains the action and audio climax; the third is the resolution when the conflict is resolved and peace reigns.

Moving into the inner world.
he initial approach was to present the character facing external challenges with the suggestion that the result could be interpreted on a deeper level. Using much of the same material, I have now shifted the project’s focus to that deeper level. This is a subject of interest to me and also allows for a more interesting setting for what is the final synopsis.

Synopsis 4
Reign Man
lives with a noisy traffic-filled mind, bothered by intrusive thoughts, binary thinking and internal noise such as tinnitus. He travels inside his mind to deal with these challenges to give himself some peace for a while.

Story genre
The synopsis sits in the genre of stories of a magic wand that can change things or a genie in a bottle that gives three wishes. The umbrella (which, in reality, grants us a wish by protecting us from inclement weather) can be seen as Reign man’s wand granting his wishes.

I called my character Reign Man with reference to his ability to control and reign, at least for a while, over his inner world. It could also be seen as a play on Rain Man*, the film title, and with reference to his original mood reflected by the rain we see in the first scene.
I have just now (18 Nov.) come across two public figures called Reign Man: a Seattle Supersonics basketballer and a ‘kickass rapper’ **.
So much for thinking how original I was on my play-with-words title!



The call to come up with at least ten ideas for the project was a good one. It meant the mind was exercised to consider many possibilities before settling on the final list and helped ensure that I was not half way into the semester before discovering I had a better idea.
In looking back at my ten choices, I see that I was seeking a narrative arc that meant a change occurred in the events or the character in the allocated thirty seconds.

The time allocated to developing the final storyline meant that that storyline could be further refined and developed as seen in the above story progression of Reign Man. The character initially responded to outside influences and annoyances before moving to a deeper level of response. This change was an acknowledgement that much that annoys us is not what is outside us but how we respond to what is outside us.
It reminds me of this story:
‘Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said: “The flag is moving.”
The other said: “The wind is moving.”
The sixth patriarch happened to be passing by. He told them: “Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving.”’
(Accessed at

I am pleased that I did not stick with my initial final selection but allowed the story to continue growing as it moved closer to a subject of great interest to me: the mind and its workings.

Visual preparation

Storyboard for Gondolier SBoard1-Gondolier

Storyboard for Reign Man – a rough draft
Please click on first thumbnail to view gallery

Storyboard for Reign Man facing external challenges.
Please click on first thumbnail to view gallery.

Draft Animatic
used to check timing of above storyboard.

Final Animatic
The narrative was now altered to Reign Man facing internal challenges.


Visualising the story in storyboard form was an enormous help in refining that story and in ensuring mistakes and regrets that could arise further down the production line are avoided at this early stage in development.

Putting together the frames of the storyboard meant that the mind was focused on the story and, in that concentration of effort, further ideas and considerations arose and the narrative developed in terms of its arc, a shift of the character’s central environment (internal rather than external), and style of presentation.

The concentrated work in this section of the process also meant that, when the mind was at rest and not at all focused on the unit tasks (on my daily walk, on first awakening, watching a movie etc.), ideas that could contribute to the project would arise unbidden (I would use an iPhone app to record a short reminder of each idea for later consideration when back at the desk).

The rough-draft storyboard was enough to ensure that I only needed to ask Gavan, the actor playing the role, to take part in one green screen photo shoot; I knew what I wanted to achieve in the session. Since I have asked various friends a number of times to help out on unit assignments of this nature, I like to ensure an efficient workflow when filming or photographing them; it makes the sessions an enjoyment rather than a burden.
Using a rough animatic to test the timing of the narrative was vital to the success of the project. It was a comprehensive story to squeeze into thirty seconds and, if my timing was out, I would have had to abandon sections of the story which would have meant an inconclusive narrative arc and, therefore, throwing out the entire story and starting over.

The timing animatic also allowed me to work out a rough allocation of time for each sequence of the story based on how much information the audience would need before the story moves on.
Creating the final animatic was also vital in further ironing out possible future problems as well as refining the story, the timing, and the visual style. This process also made me realise my original selection of the underlying music was not working and I was able to find a new piece before completing this animatic.

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