Wednesday, May 29, 2013

STORYBOARDING THE GANG CARTOON


Storyboarding the Gang Cartoon


Seventy years ago you could do a cartoon with nothing but a rabbit and a hunter and everybody loved it. No more. Something about modern life requires many people on the screen at the same time. A frame with only two characters in it now seems empty...desolate...icy...loveless. At least that's what employers believe.

If you're dismayed by this then cheer up! Help is on the way! Theory Corner offers you this lesson in storyboarding what I call the gang cartoon (gang = ridiculously crowded). The panels are unrelated, there's no story being told here. I'm just putting up suggestions for organizing the kind of crowd that modern cartoons require.

The organizing principal in a gang cartoon is fairly simple. In each set-up the crowd confronts a single speaker. I call that speaker (my term) the "solo confronter."

In panel "A" we see a flying (i.e. downshot) perpendicular doublet/triplet wedgie (i.e. group} facing a reverse (back shot) solo confronter. In panel "B" we see two flanking triplet wedgies, also both facing the forward solo confronter.

In panel "C" a triplet wedgie confronts a reverse solo confronter with a few neutral "pawns" present as a sort of garnish.
Panel "D" shows two flying doublet wedgies facing a reverse solo confronter. Got the hang of it now? If so, you're ready for the grand finale in panel "E" below....

Panel "E" shows a cascading, right to left flying tsunami octet facing a forward solo confronter. Now THAT'S professional staging!


32 comments:

Marc Deckter said...

Flying Doublet Wedgies and Split Reverse Solo Confronters!

Thanks for the entertaining&educational lesson on these complex crowd shots - as funny as the terminology is, they all make perfect sense!

Danne8a said...

EDDIE!!!!
Thanks for the terrific post!
It is very kind of you to give this useful and great info away for free!
When I used to watch Tiny Toons as a kid I used to really look forward to the cartoons that graced your name with the Direction credit.
Your cartoons were much more wilder and crazier than the other rigid and stiff ones!

ncross said...

This is brilliant Eddie! Funny but true....or is it sad but true. PATHOS!

Kevin Langley said...

Great post Uncle Eddie, I have to say I love those little rough drawings.

David Germain said...

You lost me at "wedgies". Noone's underwear was pulled up.

Tangaroa said...

Triplet Wedgie is officially my word of the day.

Pete Emslie said...

Not a bad start, Eddie, but I feel you need to explore your characters further. For instance, what is the motivation of the neutral pawns? Are they in fact "evil-doers", meaning to do our solo confronter some harm? Why have they chosen to confront the solo confronter on his own turf instead of just staying home and laying in wait for him behind their couch?

Furthermore, why are there only two triplet wedgies shown in that one panel? What is the third wedgie doing that prevents him from appearing onscreen? Could he be partaking in anti-American activities that might be considered too nefarious to allow him to even walk the streets freely? Perhaps the next panel should show him safely contained within a cell full of other missing third triplet wedgies, so as to put the minds of young American viewers at rest.

On a final note, I personally would rather just see a scene chock full of solo confronters for the sheer marquee value.

Stephen Worth said...

What?! No sidekicks for the neutral pawns? Get to work, man! And they should all have some sort of pet that reflects their personalities. And make sure the pets have a personality too. And don't use a blue pencil. This ain't the goddamn Smurfs!

See ya
Steve

P.S. THE GREAT ONE

Anonymous said...

And whatever else you do, make sure that the main character's pet looks exactly like him. This really doubles the fun. I smell another executive hiring binge coming on.

RedDiabla said...

Ah, it all finally makes sense!

Now, if all these crowd shots take place in a school, you'll be guaranteed a job anywhere and everywhere.

Dan P. said...

Funny cuz it's true. Sadly, I think I fall into the category of board artists who have a great deal of experience with triplet wedgies and neutral pawns and such. Which is why I'm still employed!

Eggie said...

Oh, Uncle Eddie. You never fail to tickle my funny bone.

Shawn said...

"Ahhhh, someone who likes Wally Wood! Someone with class and culture!"

Also....
Hoooly crap, I LOVE the way you draw, Eddie! Even these quick sketches you do are like sex for my eyes!

Anonymous said...

Eddie,
You is the man!
Vincent

makinita said...

triple wedgie that sounds so ouchies !!! Great post Uncle Eddie !!

Mitch K said...

A lesson! Thanks Eddie, this is gold! =]

max ward said...

That is something I never thought of...you might be saving my ass Uncle Eddie! Thanks! Your theories are never dissapointing.

From your nephew,

Max Ward

Alicia said...

I'd hate to hear you place an order at Starbucks!

TheGirl said...

Eddie!!!! You are insane !!!! And I like that quality in a man. :)

Anonymous said...

thanks, shawn. =)

david gemmill said...

this is hilarious and informative!

you drawings are super appealing and fun! hahaha hilarious poses(peakers and all) and terminology as well!!

i think tv animation has basically removed the "animated" movement from cartoons and just turned them into "animated" comic books (and not even good ones) there is such an emphasis on preproduction, design and storyboarding, that actual cartoony animation just isn't even important anymore. After all when's the last time you heard someone say "awesome walk cycle" or "awesome double take!" about a new cartoon. hahahah

Acetate said...

What, no Hammil Camel? Perfect opportunity for a sight gag Eddie. Didn't Chuck Jones used to refer to limited animation as, "Illustrated Radio" or something like that?

jorge garrido said...

Huh?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Chuck did refer to limited animation as "Illustrated radio" in the 70's because of its general flatness and use of endless repeat pans and such. How he could still slam it after making the very flat and very dull "The White Seal" in the same decade on a far higher budget is another story.

Eric Dotseth said...

Great animation and sociological lesson Uncle Eddie. A "crowd" usually consists of many, small clusters of people. The visually most-appealling crowd shot involved the "flying, tsunami octet."

Would the recent upsurge in the use of crowd shots involve the lack of character depth in most modern cartoons. Could it involve the "we have milked this single character for all it is worth and now we need more characters in this series?"

Stephen Worth said...

Thank you for this

Roberto Severino said...

Yet another timeless old post that holds more relevance today than ever. There are creative, but functional ways to make crowd scenes and gang cartoons work. Less is often more in certain shots.

Invisibules said...

oh boy - pure genius. Thank You!

Steven Finch, Attorney at Law said...

Great post! I feel like it's been years since we saw an Uncle Eddie post with real-life, honest-to-goodness Uncle Eddie drawings. I hope it's not years till we see them again!

kurtwil said...

Very useful, Eddie, especially as I'm contemplating dipping toe back into animation production with a tale of young adult flyers.

Both you and JK are great resources for us who haven't abandoned all hope for 2 and 2.5 D. Hope there will be more like these!

Jennifer said...

What a great post for the budding animators! Well done.

A little off topic - I found something really fun on YouTube - this is a clip from To Tell The Truthwhere the panel had to guess who William Hanna was. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PlA6iSjsHY

Roberto Severino said...

Did you hear about Edith Bunker/Jean Stapleton's death? It made me a bit sad inside. I know John K is a HUGE All in the Family fan.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/01/showbiz/jean-stapleton-obit/

This show has had a big impact culturally. Even Lois Griffin from Family Guy was sort of an impression of Jean Stapleton's character.