Practice - Storyboarding

An essential part of the process that I feel gets overlooked even in my own works is storyboarding. Storyboards of course in the context of theatre have been used quite extensively over the years and its' application has wonderful results. In terms of projection design it is a crucial step in the design process in communicating with the director and design team the intent of the projections. Of course these do not represent the product as a whole, nor it should, but it can get people one step closer in understanding the eventual integration of projections in the live performance. 

Storyboarding can be done in several different ways. I tend to vary between a couple. One is what I call Scene Plates. These are the most basic way of describing the look of the scene. This of course is only as still image of a moment of the show but the gesture is somewhat conveyed. I try to take as many images of the set as possible because one thing that is hard to determine are light looks. So I try to keep things open as well have a conversation with the lighting designer with possible scenarios concerning lighting and projections working together.

 Animation Plate for the final scene in 'The Flying Dutchman' complete with Title Block as a part of the 2017 Director Designers Showcase of Opera America

Animation Plate for the final scene in 'The Flying Dutchman' complete with Title Block as a part of the 2017 Director Designers Showcase of Opera America

 Projecting on to model for Cymbeline 2016 at the Yale Repertory Theatre

Projecting on to model for Cymbeline 2016 at the Yale Repertory Theatre

 Scene Plate for 'The Flying Dutchman' as a part of the 2017 Director Designers Showcase of Opera America

Scene Plate for 'The Flying Dutchman' as a part of the 2017 Director Designers Showcase of Opera America

Next are Animation Plates. With these I take a specific moment, whether a transition or actor driven and beat by beat create an image sequence that describes action. I use this a jumping off point to talk with directors on what the possibilities for how the projections could work. What's great about this is that you can make some initial choices without worry about whether or not they are the final thoughts. It allows the director to think about things for a bit longer time. And often they come back with something much more specific. Moreover, after you try something in the storyboard, if the director doesn't like it at least they will see where you are going, and it might show back up in the future as they work through rehearsals.

Finally crafting some sort of video using a combination of the model and projection mapping/masking, either on a video program or live, can be a very telling example of how projections works on the show. It is extremely contingent of the strength of the model and whether the projections can be accurately be represented in the model. I do believe it is important to point out that despite the quality that this method gives, the final and most important component can never be accurately represented and that is actors. To create these thing devoid of the very thing that attracts people to the theatre is to negate the entire experience. This is why I view this less as a product and more as a conversation so that as things continue they become less about how and what and more about why.