ADG Perspective

September-October 2023

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4 4 P E R S P E C T I V E | S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 2 3 I was approached by the UPM of The Big Door Prize to help visualize VFX sequences for this new series from Apple TV+. In addition to the VFX shots, they also need to visualize some of the more complicated sequences that would benefit from being thought out in advance. The shoot was taking place in a small town in Georgia and I was working from home in LA with a Cintiq monitor, Photoshop and Zoom/Google Meet. For episode one, the sequence where Dusty goes into the Morpho and gets his "potential card," the director, Anu Valia, wanted to have the shots visualized to have the filming go as smoothly as possible. The producers also needed storyboards to have some VFX shots sent out for bidding. Anu and Adam Silver, the director of photography, came to me with a shot list and the script and we had an initial Zoom meeting where I drew thumbnails live as they described the shots. I like working this way as even if the director gives me a detailed shot list, there are some things that are left out like composition, depth of field, camera angle, so it's best to go over the shot list, and make notes of each shot. This way when I go back and finalize the boards, I have a better understanding of what exactly the director is looking for. "Frank's boards were integral in developing the visual style and tone of The Big Door Prize. Frank, Adam our DP, and I spoke in deep detail about the opening sequence," explains director Anu Valia, "which was recreated almost exactly shot-by-shot from these boards. We were trying to introduce the audience to the world and central mystery of the show from the first scene, and Frank's artistry and creative insight were key elements to constructing this scene." We went back-and-forth a few times with the order of the shots and the compositions in the opening and closing scenes of episode one, where we introduced Dusty and the Morpho machine. I added the blue lighting color as it was integral to the mood and feel of the scene. "We had several complex sequences on The Big Door Prize that we knew would benefit from storyboards. I'm a huge fan of this type of previs," explains DP Adam Silver, "as I was prepping with episode directors Anu Valia and Declan Lowney, we brought in artist Frank Forte to do our boards and it was crucial to the process. Storyboards are obviously a communication tool for teammates to see what we're shooting, but going through the process in real time is also an opportunity for creative brainstorming. Working live on Zoom, Frank can share his screen and sketch in real time so we can see our ideas come to life as we work, and it's another chance to hone the visual approach during prep." S t o r y b o a r d i n g T H E B I G D O O R P R I Z E B Y F R A N K F O R T E , S T O R Y B O A R D A R T I S T A. CLOSE-UP OF DUSTY. OPPOSITE: STORYBOARDS AND FINAL FRAMES FROM THE OPENING EPISODE WHERE DUSTY AND MR. JOHNSON ENTER MR. JOHNSON'S STORE AND CONFRONT THE MORPHO MACHINE. A

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