Monday, December 26, 2011

From Word To Image

Storyboarding and the Filmmaking Process
By Marcie Begleiter

Book Review
By Ann Baldwin

Marcie Begleiter is a writer and educator who specializes in previsualization. She has worked extensively in the film, television, and interactive industries. She is owner of Filmboards, whose client list includes Paramount, Tristar, New Line, HBO, and ABC. In her book, From Word To Image: Storyboarding and the Filmmaking Process 2nd Ed. (Michael Wiese Productions 2010), she will expand your visual awareness and communication skills about all aspects of the visual storytelling process.

Before a film goes into production there are numerous decisions that must be made, often by hundreds of co-workers; storyboarding is an effective method of communicating between all the departments during pre-production, so when the cameras begin rolling, everyone is on the same page.

She takes you from the text script (screenplay) through all the stages and elements involved in creating a visual script (storyboard). She demonstrates not only how to create the basic stick figures, but detailed, 3-D illustrations as well, while covering topics such as composition, color, and perspective. There are plenty of helpful exercises where you’ll learn things such as how to create and use Moodboards to inspire your creativity.

She supplies you with a wealth of resources such as websites, software, films, DVD’s, and texts. She uses hundreds of illustrations and single frames from films such as The Cotton Club, Vertigo, The Last Emperor, The Godfather, and The Wizard of Oz as examples.

Storyboarding is a valuable tool for screenwriters that allows you to see your stories in a new light and helps you to write more visually. I highly recommend From Word To Image for all filmmakers involved in the collaborative development of a film during pre-production such as screenwriters, storyboard artists, production designers, directors, and cinematographers.

To learn more about Marcie Begleiter you can visit her website at and purchase a copy of From Word To Image at Michael Wiese Productions, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Story Solution

23 Steps All Great Heroes Must Take 
By Eric Edson

Book Review
By Ann Baldwin

Eric Edson has written seventeen feature screenplays on assignment for companies such as Sony, Warner Brothers, Disney, 20th Century-Fox, ABC Motion Pictures, Lifetime, Showtime, NBC, and TNT. He’s also written episodic television. He is Professor of Screenwriting and Director of the Graduate Program in Screenwriting at California State University, Northridge. In his new book, The Story Solution: 23 Steps All Great Heroes Must Take (Michael Wiese Productions 2011), he illuminates new passageways in the story creation process through his unique perspective and opens more doors of opportunity for writers to explore.

He shares his secret recipe for creating character sympathy; nine key ingredients that are sure to foster audience identification with your hero or heroine and build an instant, emotional bond between them. As Eric states, “we go to the movies to feel deeply”, but before the audience can do that, they must first “care deeply” about the protagonist.

He has a simple and effective technique for helping you to create character conflict between the protagonist and antagonist. Eric also guides you through the major-supporting character categories, so you know exactly what each speaking character’s function is and whether their purpose is to help or obstruct your heroine or hero.

Weaved within Eric’s 23 Hero Goal Sequences, which create the Action Storyline, is a three-step, Emotional Storyline; this makes the process of showing your Character Growth Arc much easier. In doing so, your audience can experience a sense of completion as the Heroine/Hero finally lays down their shield of emotional self-protection and achieves emotional freedom, allowing them to connect with others again on a personal level; a life process we all go through, when healing old wounds.

In feature films as in life, people need not only a long-term goal, but short-term goals as well to keep them moving forward. The Story Solution provides screenwriters with the necessary steps their protagonists can take to make their journey active, emotionally fulfilling, and complete. I recommend The Story Solution for all screenwriters looking for a fresh, new approach to writing a great story.

You can reach Eric Edson at and purchase a copy of The Story Solution at Michael Wiese Productions, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.