You mentioned wanting all storyboard artists to go to at least one board breakdown. Do you have any other tips/guidelines or things you'd want your staff to do if you ended up being a showrunner?
I’m not sure. It’s all super hypothetical and I’d probably end up realizing what was needed as we needed it.
However, if I were to guess, I think I would have each storyboard artist come to their own breakdown at some point, at least once. They could probably do it on their 2nd or 3rd board, after they’ve started getting their sea legs, so they can build it into their process at the same time that they’re getting stronger with the style of the show.
Something else I would be trying to do is get rid of flat staging where I could. In animation, and in TV animation especially, it’s very common for staging to be similar to a sitcom. Characters stand in ¾ angles and the camera is either a wide, a medium, or a close on them. This style of staging is great for many things because it’s clear, it’s easily understandable for different kinds/shapes/styles of characters, it’s very easy to teach, it cuts down on how many backgrounds you need, and it makes shot choice styles line up across 10 different storyboarders. I don’t think that look fits Infinity Train though.
I would probably give my storyboard artists some homework, much like how I was given homework when I first started on Regular Show. I was told to read “The Five C’s of Cinematography”, “The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation”, and Preston Blair’s classic “Cartoon Animation”. Since Infinity Train would have comedy, adventure, sci-fi, and horror elements, I guess I would have people take a look at Alfred Hitchcock storyboards and shot choices. I specifically like the shot choices in The Birds. http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/features/storyboarding-terror-hitchcocks-birds-turns-50
I think if the shot isn’t increasing drama somehow and doesn’t feel like a movie, then it’s comedy, which we should only use flat staging on comedy sections. There are a lot of unreasonably specific shot choices I like to make and I would try to get as involved in that as I could with the team. If you’re that specific about something, it’s kinda unfair to make someone else keep trying to make it over and over again, you gotta get in there yourself and explore it with them. That was something I appreciated about Regular Show. JG would let us give it a shot, then he’d let us try again, then if we didn’t get it on the third time he would just do it with us.
I think I would also just point artists and writers to people and works that I think about that will affect the tone and look of the show. I think letting people know where you’re coming from on a show really helps them get an understanding of the show because it points to things they’re already familiar with. So for example, on Regular Show we were pointed toward Mighty Boosh and the Simpsons. For Infinity Train I think its influences include: Killian Eng, Lucian Stanculescu, Myst, Agatha Christie, Voyager, Doctor Who, The Prisoner, Chronicles of Narnia, Wrinkle in Time series, It Follows, The Guest, Empire Strikes Back, and who knows how many more that I can’t immediately think of.
Anyway, that was a pretty long answer after saying “I don’t know” so I guess maybe I do know.