UPDATE: Here’s more.
"We board artists are basically stuck (after being forced to integrate) inside a union which has nothing to do with who we are. That’s the gist. Our concerns are not theirs. And secondly, we are not who people think we are. We’re like a white elephant in the room whom nobody wants to address. ‘Hellllloooooo?… is there anybody out there?’ [Pan right to the powers that be as they nervously look the other way.]
"Whatever board artists are. they are not a part of the world of art direction in Local 800 and maybe more importantly they are more in the world of pure direction and story writing using visuals. Think about it: there are only a few department heads on a production who are welcome to address the director directly, and board artists are one of those department heads. Each board artist is a department of one and is never under the art director. For my part, this misunderstanding leads to a slew of further misunderstandings.
"Even inside the ranks, illustrators who do boards and concept illustration avoid this topic apparently because they don’t want to pay two separate union dues but this leaves a very important department completely misunderstood. Concept Illustrators rightly are a part of the art department. Board artists are absolutely not a part of the art department. So why are we forced into their hands at Local 800?
"We’re just supposed to ‘play nice with the kids’ without any clearly understood mandate and this perhaps wants a resolution. Dealing with animatic folks comes to mind here. The producers are in effect making board artists directors or managers without admitting it and that should be a concern for all involved. What is really going on?.
"In some ways, with the technology changes too, we are in a kind of wild west now with board artists where traditional and current demands have expanded and this needs to be addressed. We normally just get along and don’t cause waves but perhaps a real dialogue needs to take place now? The problems in the Local are only part of the issue but an important one and defining more correctly what board artists really are contributing is a long overdue conversation.
"Lots of Illustrators are scared to speak out for fear of being labeled, or blacklisted, as a trouble maker. We are mostly a humble worker and this economy has thrown many for a loop. But I still think it’s worth a conversation. A real conversation. Behind every great director is a great board artist. We are important and deserve to be understood. We are a valuable and money-saving service which costs very little and we should be well known for what we actually do. And the last straw was this forced merger with 800 which has been just miserable so we are making some noise.
"We are now being abused by the art directors union so it’s time to talk and define what is truly happening. At a minimum I think that all ‘story artists’ across the board should have their own representation and at the most we might even deserve a bigger piece of the pie. We have no voice on our side yet we grease the wheels of all communication in town."
PREVIOUS: I heard the other day from one of the storyboard artists working in Hollywood and beyond for 23 years who thinks they haven’t been given the credit they deserve. "Have you ever thought about us? Have you ever asked yourself what does a story artist really do? Have you ever thought about what department they are a part of?"
The complaint is that storyboard artists are often thrown into the Art Department budget – presumably because the decent Art Directors used to do boards and share some of the same tools of the trade. But they can be under any department’s budget because in truth they are a department of one. They report directly to the director and write story and much else and have nothing to do with the Art Department or any other department. They work alone and manage themselves. Very efficient.
"We help direct the movie before it gets made. We are generals in the logistic pre-production war room helping to get it all ready then asked to leave as if we’re a 3-day-old house guest as a thanks. We work hard and deserve credit, which isn’t even guaranteed on the credit roll, did you know that? We could use some good gritty press to push our case. I think we’re the hidden guilty secret of every director who uses us."
The Art Directors Guild absorbed the storyboard artists’ union Local #790 and continue to treat these Illustrators and Board Artists "with disregard and imperiousness is a start. It’s a very humiliating thing. Go to an Illustrator union meeting if you can and watch Scott Roth avoid any question put to him utilizing legalistic flim-flam for a good belly laugh.
"I’m not a bitter man, and I still love my job most of the time, and film making is a good thing to support. But sometimes I’d prefer a little more truth about what we really do. I think we deserve to be understood better. We are usually content to sit in our uncomplicated world and do our job well but sometimes it seems like we are taken for granted. I don’t think that it’s a stretch to say that we might even be due a percentage. But of course I think that.
"We aren’t as glamorous as the famous players because we don’t really want fame but we’re important to this Town we call Tinsel. So how about some credit? How about sticking up for the unsung heroes?"
Here are several storyboards, courtesy of Flavorwire and the DGA Quarterly:
Director: Christopher Nolan
Storyboard Artist: Gabriel Hardman
No Country for Old Men (2007)
Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
Storyboard Artist: J. Todd Anderson
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Director: Frances Ford Coppola
Storyboard Artist: Dean Tavoularis
Director: James Cameron
Storyboard Artists: Roger Dear, Maciek Piotrowski, Denis Rich
Director: Steven Spielberg
Storyboard Artist: Joe Alves
Star Wars (1977)
Director: George Lucas
Storyboard Artist: Joe Johnston
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Storyboard Artist: Saul Bass