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Binger Institute: The Master Class Season
 by Boris Conen

     "David Russell has more than 75 productions to his name, and has worked with famous directors such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Martin Campbell and Peter Weir. 

     He began the day with a concise history of the storyboarding process, and the basic requirements for a good storyboard: ratios, camera movements, light and atmosphere, frame sizes, the use of directional arrows and much more. And it got better. He thoroughly discussed composition, action layers, image composition in relation to the story, and composition of classical masters of painting in comparison with cinematic framing. The day was an inundation of significant information. 

     To finish, we were given an assignment.  We had to work out a storyboard for a scene from a script of a well-known movie.  The resulting storyboards were discussed in detail.  Russell was concerned with the idea behind the drawings rather than individual drawing skills.  What made this session especially valuable was that he supported all his commentary faultlessly and could clearly explain why something worked or did not work. 

     With our heads now almost bursting with knowledge, Russell went on to discuss creating and identifying good image compositions, encouraging us to look for strong images and not make do with the ‘very first idea’.  We were all very satisfied with the Master Class.  I am convinced that a storyboard can be very valuable during the planning stages of a film.  Using storyboards to explore options in image composition and sequence structure is more effective and cheaper than investigathing them during shooting.  I am now resolved to use a pencil before I shoot my next film."

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