1. The Dark Knight: Batman and the Joker are both my favorite superhero and villain, respectively, so when Nolan approached the latter in a more grounded way, I was all for a sociopathic portrayal of the comic book legend. However, I didn’t expect Ledger to surpass my expectations by capturing the clown prince of clown in a way that not only focuses on the duality of Batman, but also the complete and utter insanity of the character. Nolan made a Batman film that changed the way we look at comic book movies forever. The biggest casualty of his movie is its disappointing follow-up, The Dark Knight Rises.
2. The Prestige: I don’t believe in magic, and I’m sure Nolan doesn’t either, but it’s a magical experience when one watches this film. It captures magic in the only practical way—through the beauty of science. With the inclusion of Bowie as Tesla, this movie, like all of Nolan’s films, are magnificently casted. The film has all the bells and whistles of a Nolan film with a twist ending and multiple timelines happening simultaneously.
3. Memento: Memory is something I find absolutely fascinating. When we’re born, we’re a blank slate that is later filled with the people and places around us. As we get older, our memory worsens—some unfortunately suffer from the Alzheimer’s Disease. But we recognize our memories are an essential part of who we are. Nolan loves psychology, and this being his second outing, it’s easily one of his best. Working backwards is the films greatest strength.
4. Interstellar: I never thought I’d say this about a Christopher Nolan film but this film is grossly underrated. In a year filled with the typical sequels, prequels, and mindless cgi blockbusters, Interstellar defies the commonplace mostly filled with the mindlessness of current science fiction films. Not as brilliant as 2001, this film, like Sunshine, suffers from a floppy third act that leaves many scratching their heads.
5. Inception: Another fascinating topic, dreams. Few movies venture into this territory and Nolan dives head first. Not as complex as what many compared to The Matrix, Inception has another brilliant cast with several thematics that involve entering the deeps levels of our subconscious.
Storyboards are generally too tightly framed. Pull back 10 or 20%.
There is also a tendency for new storyboard artists to want to CUT to every new piece of information.
Learn how to economize your filmmaking by combining shots, layering information in the frame and using camera moves (but always with a purpose).
Don’t just watch films…STUDY them. Watch OLDER films (and these days by that I mean anything before 1980 - I’m always shocked when I meet young artists who have not seen JAWS or LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, THE GODFATHER, CITIZEN KANE, or TOUCH OF EVIL to name a few). Get the AFI 100 list and watch everything on it to start. Branch out from there.
On the personal front, don’t be too aggressive or defensive and check your ego at the door (this doesn’t come up too much, but I have seen it). Be positive, open and engaging.