Weak note for Friday, 24th January 2014

A story of storyboarding

The more videos I help make at GDS, the more I'm learning about making videos. This is a good thing.

One thing I've learned is that while sometimes a good script does the job, it's not always the best tool for the job. Sometimes, a proper storyboard, with words and pictures sketched out side-by-side, is the best approach.

Storyboarding in stickies

You can spend a long time messing about with all sorts of different bits of software for storyboards, but nothing I've tried so far is as good - as fast, as clear, as easy - as plain old sticky notes.

So yesterday I spent a couple of hours sat at a large table with a pad of stickies and a pen, and drew up a complete storyboard. It was an extremely productive session. It felt satisfying. With all the shots laid out on the table in front of me, I could see the shape of the film. Even if it turns out to be the wrong shape, it's good to have a shape to start with.

Trying stuff out

On Monday I spoke at Matt Sheret's Night for trying stuff out, trying something out that had been hovering in my head for years.

I messed up a bit - my notes didn't show up as I expected them to, so I spoke from memory, thinking I could wing it. That mostly worked, but meant I left out a handful of useful details and (possibly) amusing gags. It also meant I improvised a bit, which was also good, because I've always been happy improvising.

Feedback from listeners was extremely useful. Someone said: "It was a bit #humblebrag," which was something that hadn't occurred to me (although it should have done). The things you don't see when you're too close to something.

Another person helpfully pointed out bits I should have explained better. I'd assumed some background knowledge on the part of the audience, so flew through some bits without really clarifying why A resulted in B, and why X caused Y and ended in Z.

I doubt I'll do that particular talk again, but the feedback was very useful for any other talks I might take on in future.

Also, the format of the event was great. Matt knew what he wanted out of it. It was a thing for the benefit of the speakers, not the listeners. But it wouldn't have worked without the listeners taking the time to be there, and be constructive with their comments.

I failed to stick around at the end and talk to any of my fellow tryers-out of stuff - I was so tired by that point, I could barely keep my eyes open.

properly old-man tired

— Giles Turnbull (@gilest) January 20, 2014

Suffice to say, though, I was mightily impressed by the other speakers' efforts. Thanks to them, and to Matt, for a stimulating and enjoyable evening.