My AT&T Shape Create-a-thon Adventure Part One: Contest Submission

Where to begin?

Here I am, halfway through 2018, and I’m just now getting around to writing my second blog post this year. What else can I possibly say other than the fact that the last six months of my life have been absolutely the busiest I’ve endured in quite a long time –  possibly ever. Aside from dealing with personal issues, not to mention the sudden passing of my grandmother, I also completed (after at least four years of work) my next illustrated book Mother Noose Nursery Crimes (which I still have to write a blog about), spent almost two weeks in Hawaii on business in March, and went to the French Riviera for a week in May to attend a screening of my short film Frankenfriend at the Nice International Film Festival (where it won Best Editing of a Short Film . . . I have yet to blog about that, too).

Wait! There’s more!

Then on top of all of this, including my day job, my friend Steve e-mailed me a link to a contest in mid-April that has since had the most profound effect on my life and I never even saw it coming. It was a link to an AT&T sponsored contest giving aspiring filmmakers a chance to submit a short script and companion storyboards for an opportunity to film a scene at Warner Brothers Studios the first weekend in June. There I was, sitting inside of my partially renovated (and sad) little house, thinking there was no way I would ever get a shot at doing something that cool. But, after digging back through some short film scripts I wrote in college a few days later, I blew the dust off of one that seemed like a good candidate and spent a weekend doing several re-writes. Once I locked in a draft I was happy with, I proceeded to research storyboards by ordering this book on Amazon and watching some super helpful videos about them on YouTube. I also used a copy I had on hand of Gustavo Mercado’s excellent book on cinematography as a guide to put together a shot list for each of my storyboard panels.

Now for the fun part . . . the “what in the hell was I thinking because there’s no way I’m ever going to get this done in this short amount of time and live” part. No, I’m not exaggerating.

It was the evening of Wednesday, April 25th (after I’d gotten home from work) that I decided to finally start drawing the storyboards for my five-and-a-half page script. Not too bad, right? Not exactly, especially when my research led me to discover that a single script page averages anywhere from 15 – 20 storyboard panels. Did I also mention that the contest deadline was 10 p.m. PDT on April 27th?  Now do you see the seemingly insurmountable, Mount Everest of a problem I was facing at that point? Was I mad to even consider taking on such a challenge?

Although I can’t speak to my exact state of mind that evening, I will tell you that something inside of me took hold and I plunged blindly ahead with the storyboards . . . determined to keep going at all costs. So, knowing when I went to work on Thursday I would fail in my task unless I took Friday off, I did just that and uploaded all of them (along with the updated script) through the AT&T Create-a-thon submission site by 10:42 p.m. Friday night. Over a 48-hour period I somehow managed to sketch 90 panels worth of storyboards, scan them into my MacBook, add in all of the text (camera shots, dialogue, etc.) using Keynote, and then export all of the images into a PDF. I stopped only when necessary and slept a total of four-and-a-half hours between Thursday morning and when I submitted on Friday – I think the most wonderful wake-up call from my girlfriend early Friday morning gave me all of the motivation I needed to power through.

Thanks for reading, everyone! I hope to have part two posted in the next week or so . . .

Here are the storyboards as submitted:


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