Storyboarding: Our Favorite Picture Book

Storyboarding - bringing brilliant minds together!

Storyboarding – bringing brilliant minds together!

Storyboarding is an integral aspect of the creative process. It’s how we communicate, hopefully well, an idea that is deep inside our brains. Developing a concept can be difficult, but once you have it you then need to share it with your team.

If you don’t you run the risk of keeping all that brilliance locked-away inside you and your final product will ultimately suffer. It most probably will not turn out to be the grand production you envisioned. It could have been though, with the aid of #Storyboarding.

Storyboarding is when we take our written ideas, from a script, a draft or even just notes, and draw it out onto paper. Almost like a comic strip. We ad visual images to better describe #Shots, #PointOfView, #Angels, #Vibes, etc. that we envision for the scene.

Although developed by #WaltDisney during the 1930s, this helpful method of communicating a script or single scene is not limited to #Cartoons. #GoneWithTheWind (1939) is the first live action film to be completely story boarded. That is certainly a lot of pictures….but that certainly explains all the vibrant images and details inspired by #MargaretMitchels novel we see in the film

A picture is worth a thousand words!

A picture is worth a thousand words!

Another benefit to storyboarding is it helps sell your idea to #Producers, #Investors or #Clients. Any additional examples you can offer someone can only benefit you. It would help excite the prospective client or investor. It will also show your devotion and passion for the project. Client love to know you love what they love too. It makes them confident in you and confidence sells!

Everyone loves a good picture book! So pull out those #Crayons and keep on doodling!

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Music, Meistro!

Amadeus makes music magic

Amadeus makes music magic


Music. #Instrumental, #Diegetic, #Non-Diegetic, #Acapella, whatever your poison, film has got it. Scripted, not blurred. With a violin on top.

There are a variety of types of music, genres, paces..there are scores of instruments as well (sorry, I had too), but today we will be looking at its place in film. #Music is a character, a living breathing character. It motivates, inspires, uplifts and connects with the audience. It ads to the story line and plot and helps to move it forward . Music is an integral part of any production. Sometimes it is meant to move us, other times groove us.

#Science writer #PhilipBall, author of “The Music Instinct”, says “Our response to certain kinds of noise is something so profound in us that we can’t switch it off. Film #Composers know that and use it to shortcut the logical part of our brain and get straight to the emotional centres.” (BBC Arts)

The strength of this piece is clear and concise in the first note.

The struggles and strengths of a nation thousands of years old, in just under 4 minutes.

“You can’t write a song out of thin air you have to feel and know what you are writing about.” – #IrvingBerlin

Sometimes,  self expression needs the aid of song to be communicated properly. That is why in musicals characters suddenly start singing about their highs, lows and in betweens. A character will break into song when words, a speech, just wont do.

With some songs, it takes more than a few notes to stir your soul. #Lyrics are the aid used for this, and often make it so the song is playable on radios and television music stations. Not to be taken as a guarantee, but lyrics could help shoot the film, the actors and the lyricist to stardom. The best example to leave you with, would be a song, now in the hearts and minds of generations of men, women and children worldwide, was almost entirely cut from the film is helped shoot to stardom.

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Etiquette – not limited to the dinner table!

Etiquette - know your stuff!

Etiquette – know your stuff!

Etiquette while #OnSet is sometimes overlooked. #Please and #ThankYou are a-given, but there is a lot more to how one should conduct themselves while onset. Whether you are part of the #Cast or #Crew or just visiting someone, there is a protocol you should follow, known as “Set Etiquette”.

When entering, check above or on the door for instructions as to where to go. Be sure to check if entering is even possible as filming may be in progress. Often there will be a device signalling this, such as a #RedLight. Only enter when appropriate. You do not want to enter while they are filming and disturb the filmmaking process.
Not a good way to start off!

The moment you walk “onset”, which means the location,  you should begin “practicing” your set etiquette. You should remain calm and quiet. No need to alert the media of your arrival. Just be sure you are #OnTime and #Prepared for your #Role or #Job that day. Often there will be a clearly labeled area where you should “sign-in”. Do so and then wait for further instruction.

As an #Actor or #Talent there will be times you may need clarification or instruction and there are #ProductionAssistants assigned to assist you during those time. Do not disturb the #Director! Think of it as a #FoodChain. They are at the top and you are at the bottom and to connect with them you have to go through levels/channels. The appropriate people will speak directly to the appropriate people and that chain reaction begins with YOU!

According to the word “Etiquette” is described as, “the code of ethical behavior regarding professional practice or action among the members of a profession in their dealings with each other” Here is a perfect example of how not to handle any issues that come up while on set, as a actor or crew:

The 2009 #ChristianBale #Rant  on the set of #TerminatorSalvation is well known as of now and is inexcusable. His treatment of #DirectorOfPhotography #ShaneHurlbut was one that caused a lot of #Controversy prior to the films release ( This is not even close to what etiquette is.

A #Brilliant example of set etiquette, as an actor or crew can be found in the #ProductionNotes of the timeless classic #ItsAWonderfulLife.
In 1946 #FrankCapra released his holiday masterpiece starring #JimmyStewart and #ThomasMitchell. While filming one of their scenes where Mitchell’s character #UncleBilly is intoxicated and staggers out of the shot a #CrewMember accidentally drops some of his equipment and it smashes and almost ruins the scene, but in all their glory and brilliance, Mitchell, Stewart and Capra not only keep filming, but #Improv the scene aswell. Staying #InCharacter and playing off each other as great #ImprovisationalActors do, Mitchell pretends as if Uncle Billy crashed into garbage cans in a #DrunkenStooper. Mitchell barks from #OffCamera, “I’m all right! I’m allllllll right!” and Stewart chuckles. Capra kept that in the final film, which can be scene 38 minutes in, and even awarded the “clumsy” #StageHand $10.00 for his contribution to the films sound quality ( That is how a #Professional handles those types of situations!

Be sure to keep your area clean and tidy at all times. Clean up any mess you make, whether on #Standby or #OnBreak. Also, be nice and treat everyone equally! Sounds easy, but often people forget the simplest of things! Everyone should get your praise, respect and Patience! From the #Doorman to the #Producer! The better impression you make and the more professional and easy to work with you are, the higher likely hood you will be asked back/thought of in the future or quite possibly given a larger role in the production if one becomes available!
In your case, attitude is everything! Make them want to work with you. Once you are #Hired you are not “safe”.  You need to keep showing them why they should be so thrilled they brought you onto their project!

As a crew member, it is important to be alert and pay close attention to instruction. If you notice something is wrong, incorrect, unsafe, or simply not working, it is okay to speak up and voice your concerns in a polite way. In fact, it shows #Initiative and #Skill.
The number one thing is #Communication. Be ready to say if something works or doesn’t.

For both cast and crew its a rather long day, often enough, so be prepared for several #Takes. And bring a #Book, #Ipod, or something to keep you busy during breaks. There will be a #CraftTable set up by #CraftServices, but you can always bring a #Thermos with #Coffee, #Tea or #FruitJuice as well as some disposable snacks. Its always great to do this if you have any #Allergies or DietaryConcerns. #BetterSafeThanSorry.

Now that you know what set etiquette entails you are ready to begin your job. Just keep these easy points in mind and you will be a great #Success!

See you on set.
And your’e welcome.

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Adding a brand name to your video is of the most importance. Its more than just a name, its you. Your #BrandName is everything you and your company stand for.

Brand Name you can trust!

Brand Name you can trust!

In the fashion world, a brand name means just about everything. Would the names #KateSpade, #TedBaker, or #KarlLagerfeld be on anything made cheaply? When a consumer first sees those brand names they think #Stylish, #HighClass, #Expensive, #Respected and #InDemand. You probably wouldn’t find their shirts and skirts next to some obscure designer, or #JustinBieber (Sorry, no #Beliebers at the office).

A brand name is of course not limited to material objects.
A great example is #TheDickVanDykeShow, starring #DickVanDyke, as the shows opening credits go. The lead characters name is played by Dyke, however he plays #RobPetrie. But the name Dick Van Dyke stands for something. Just like #MaryTylerMoore who played #MaryRichards on #TheMaryTylerMooreshow. When we hear those names we immediately know we are getting high quality #Television. They stand for #Funny, #Inventive, #Dynamic and #Entertaining.

Even just letting on who directed a film already sets the tone for how it will be perceived. When we say #AlfredHitchcock, #MartinScorsese, #RobReiner or #MelBrooks, 4 very different, but memorable and reliable pictures come to mind. We know what we are getting even before we buy our ticket stub at the #BoxOffice.

Just like you brand your product or service, its important to brand your video too. displaying your brand name ensures that immediately upon pressing “play” the viewer knows that they are getting YOUR amazing product or service and will ensure a positive response! If you are fortunate enough to have a easily and readily recognizable symbol that you can use in the place of words than you can certainly use that too. #Apple uses their bitten-apple symbol, #Starbucks uses and the #TwinTailedMermaid #Nike the check-mark. They are definitely brand name role models!

So smile, because this time its all about you.

This has been a @keywest_video posting.

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Star Spotlight: Mae Questel

Mae Questel - Gracing reel and real life!

Mae Questel – Gracing reel and real life!

Mae Questel

- from “goo-goo-gaa-gaa” to “boop-boop-a-doop”

Born Mae Kwestel September 13, 1908, in New York City, she was raised in the #Bronx by parents  #Jewish #Orthodox parents Simon Kwestel and Frieda Glauberman. Mae Kwestel’s deeply religious parents loathed the idea of the talented Mae entering into #Showbusiness.

At an early age she showed both a talent and drive for acting, singing and mimicking famous comedians of her day. Her parents, praying that she would leave her dreams behind for a more stable career in education, tried to force her to change her career by threatening to cut her off. However, Mae remained strong and determined in her convictions and even changed her name to the less ethnic spelling of “Questel” and officially entered #TheBusiness, as they say.

At the age of 17 Mae Questel won a talent contest held at the #RKO Fordham Theatre in her hometown by imitating #HelenKane. She was signed by an agent and began performing in #Vaudeville as an impressionist. Clever, funny and cute to boot, Mae Questel got her big break in 1931 when she was seen by animator #MaxFleischer, who was looking for an actress to provide the voice for his #BettyBoop character. Although initially voiced by a a number of talented actresses, including Helen Kane and #ClaraBow,
Questel’s “Boop-boop-a-doop” routine encompassed all the qualities that each of the other individual actresses possessed and she soon took over the role exclusively.

Though she is most famous for her role as the adorably sexy #Cartoon #SexKitten Betty Boop, Mae Questel is also responsible for the voices of #OliveOyl of the #Popeye cartoons and #LittleAudrey as well as #CasperTheFriedlyGhost on their respective animated shorts.
Without an animator on hand 24/7, Questel did perform in some live-action films as well. Mae Questel graced the screen as one of #FannyBrice’s mother’s card-playing friends #MrsStrakosh at the start of the film #FunnyGirl (1968), the elderly #AuntBethany in 1989′s #NationalLampoon’sChristmasVacation and #WoodyAllens nagging #JewishMother in #NewYorkStories that same year.

Unknown to many, Questel was born with a slight deformity, where one arm was shorter and smaller (visibly) than the other and was often photographed with a bent elbows and hands at her side to make it less noticeable.

Married twice, and giving birth to 2 sons, Mae Questel lived out her days in #NewYork. Diagnosed with #Alzheimer’s disease, she soon retired from the screen. She died at the age of 89 on January 4, 1998.

The silly, plump, cute and brilliant Questel had a long and delectable career that young and old were entertained by. With a short round face, short round figure, big eyes and small mouth, she set a standard of beauty and sex appeal mixed with vulnerability and innocence that most could not emulate. She remains forever, as one of the sexiest characters to grace the reel world and the real world.


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Casting, its a process….

Casting: the long haul

Casting: the long haul

Finding the perfect fit for any role is what the Casting Director does. It takes a lot of patience, concentration and open-mindedness. Sometimes we know exactly what we want, but other times the actors show us what we want is not what we actually want, just what we thought we want and we don’t even know what we want…..want me to continue?

When casting an actor for a role its best to start of with what we in the industry call a “Casting Call”. A #CastingCall is a call for actors with a list of qualifications they should meet before submitting themselves to the #Audition process. It could be physical qualities, such as gender, height, hair/eye color or based on a skill, such as language, dialect or dance experience. If the casting director is open to several types, they may only give gender and a broad age range. Then its up to the actor to decide if they meet your needs for that specific role. They contact you and viola, the audition slots begin to fill.
Casting calls are not limited to humans. #Toto had to audition just like the rest of us.

The #CastingDirector will lead this process, often aided by a team of #CastingAssociates. In this case, they are G-d. They hold the key to stardom and/or a paycheck in their hands. Either way, its up to them. This could take a few hours, or even a few days. It will take as long as it takes for you to find “your Scarlett”, or until you have no choice but to commence with #Filming.

“No one invited you to this business. You invited yourself.”
―#EddieFoy, American actor, comedian and vaudevillian.

If you are an actor going through this process, just remember, its YOU as the character that you are selling, so just go in their with your head held high, your feet firmly on the ground and show them the best part of you. If you are the Casting Director…one word…….#Coffee.

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Animation, it aint kid stuff!

Animation is imagination.

Animation is imagination.

Colorful, joyful, vibrant, lively (sort of), all words that come to mind when describing #Animation. Some businesses, both large and small, use this creative element for  short films or commercials/promo videos. Should YOU?

What do you think? Fun? Informative? Memorable? We do!

Animation has been around long before #BugsBunny, #MickeyMouse and #TonyTheTiger hit the scene and was not just for kids either. Let us begin with a major milestone in Animation history, the first (2 that prior date it are considered lost) #Animated feature film, from Germany, “The Adventures of Prince Achmed” (1926) Based on stories from “The Arabian Nights”, the entire film is animated using the silhouette technique, which employs movable cardboard and metal cutouts posed in front of illuminated sheets of glass.  ( Of course we have evolved quite a bit from that and now use computers which saves a lot of time, energy and sanity!

Animation is what we remember our Saturday mornings were filled with. #Cartoons over a bowl of #CerealAndMilk

Cartoons are so beloved by children that it is natural to gravitate towards them even in adulthood as it brings back the warm and fuzzy feelings we once had when we were small. This would explain the popularity of such shows as #SouthPark, #TheSimpsons, #FamilyGuy and #AmericanDad. Animated videos can be enjoyed and absorbed by anyone, regardless of age or even language, as long as the content is clear and relevant.
It offers viewers are break from the norm, a stimulating visual and a memorable one.
Often enough, we can not remember what we ate for breakfast last week, or if we paid our gas bill, but we remember our favorite episode of #TheFlintstones.

Animation is a great addition to any corporate video or commercial. Not sure if it is right for you? ASK US! Its kind of our business!
Now, in the words of #PorkyThePig,



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Star Spotlight: Andy Griffith

Best known as the friendly neighborhood #Sheriff of #Mayberry, wise father to #Opie and constant foil to the schemes of #ErnestTBass, Andy Griffith had a long, sustaining and versatile career, unmatched to many!

“I’m not just an entertainer. I’m an influence, a wielder of opinion, a force… a force” – Andy Griffith as #LonesomeRhodes (A Face In The Crowd, 1957)

Andy Griffith speaking, how may I entertain you today?

Andy Griffith speaking, how may I entertain you today?

Andrew Samuel Griffith was born on 1 June 1926 in #MountAiry, #NorthCarolina.
As an infant he lived with relatives, for his parents were unable to financially support young Andrew. Eventually his father found work as a Carpenter and #AndyGriffith and his parents were reunited.
Although initially a shy #MountAiryHighSchool student, Andy Griffith began to come out of his shell when he learnt to make his peers laugh. Andy Griffith considered ministry work as well as teaching, but fell inlove with the stage and music and began acting in school shows.

Griffith made his movie debut in director #EliaKazan’s A Face in the Crowd (1957) as drifting guitar player and womanizer “Lonesome Rhodes”, which sky-rocketed him to fame. Stardom continued and came the role of bumptious Air Force rookie, #WillStockdale, in the TV and Broadway productions of No Time For Sergeants, which he later replayed in the film version.

In February 1960, after spending the next years on #Broadway, he first appeared as
#AndyTaylor, the laid-back sheriff of Mayberry, North Carolina, on an episode of The Danny Thomas Show. This one-shot was the pilot film for the Emmy-winning The Andy Griffith Show‘, in which Griffith starred from 1960 through 1968 and still remembered for today.

Smartly, Andy Griffith owned half of the series, ruling the set with an iron hand.
Follwoing the series final and an unsuccessful return to film and television, Andy Griffith focused on guest-star appearances, often surprising his fans by accepting cold-blooded villainous roles, closer to his first major role, in #AFaceInTheCrowd.

In 1985, he made a triumphal return to series television in Matlock, playing  the title character #Matlock, a folksy but very crafty #Southern defence attorney.

Unfortunately, during this period, he developed what was a life-threatening disease #Gillian-BarreSyndrome which did cause him to slow down career-wise, although he did continue to guest-star on several series as well as film several 2-hr Matlock specials.

Andy Griffith died on 3 July 2012 at his home in North Carolina. Griffith was married 3 times and left behind a widow and a son and daughter from his first marriage. He was laid to rest on his property within five hours of his death, as were his final wishes.

Even when ill, nothing could keep Andy Griffith from his fans.
Even gone, nothing could keep us from enjoying his work!

Outside Sources

The Biography Channel – Andy Griffith

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You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!

Would you rather be informed or entertained? Can you really be informed?… does truth in film even exist? Quality vs. Content. Fact vs. Fiction. Let’s play a game of would you rather…

Truth: Whats that?

Truth: Whats that?

Time for a quick history lesson:
Film, especially early on, was known as a poor-mans entertainment. The legitimate theater was for high-class society. You had to dress up to attend, pay a special high price for a seat and it was live! Films were short in length, often odd and funny in content and only a nickle, hence the term “Nickelodeon”. You would pay 5 cents and while staring into a small box watch a funny clip and walk away amused. Pure and simple entertainment. A quick fix, if you will.
Take us to the present, to the hay-day of the #biopic. So many lives, careers and circumstances examined. So many “based on a true story” films told!
We must remember though that they use the words “based on” very loosely…

#YankeeDoodleDandy (1942) is a perfect example of truth gone array. Like many films prior and following, its disrupts the natural order of the main subjects life, #GeorgeM.Cohan. Cohan, a legendary Broadway song and dance man, play write, producer and devoted patriot, was perfectly portrayed by legendary song and dance man #JamesCagney.  Care was taken to choreograph and execute the original script of Cohan by Cagney throughout the film. Authenticity of costumes, set design and even the style of Cohan’s stage performance was vital, to pay tribute and respect to this genius and his theatrical masterpieces… however, ordering of pivotal life events and circumstances were altered all for the greater good… entertainment value.

It’s always cuter to have a little sister. Cohan’s little sister Josie (played by Cagney’s real-life sister) was actually 4 years his senior. His father Jeremiah, who helped make him the man he was is the last remaining immediate family member in the film and dramatically dies, leaving George without anything or anyone from his past, yet in reality, his father died before his mother Helen.

On-screen George falls in love with a young dancer from Buffalo, Mary (she went by her middle name, her first being Agnes), who he later marries and remains with till his death. She was the one woman in his life… but not always… George was actually romantically involved with a young performer whom he later married, divorced and had a child with. I should also mention that the film makes no mention of any of George’s offspring, which number 4, 3 of which came from his second wife Mary.
One famous tune, “Mary’s a Grand Old Name”, was written for his dear wife Mary, right before they were married… adorable! A song and a marriage proposal. What else can one ask for? THE TRUTH? That hit song was actually written for his second child with Mary, named Mary, whom he adored!

Now, let us jump ahead a few decades (at the very least this blog will remain true to the timeline of film history!!!) to 2006. #SofiaCoppola releases her latest cinematic disaster #MarieAntoinette. I say this because critics dissected it and didn’t bother to paste it back together.
It was boo’ed at #Cannes.
It didn’t really deal with anything.
The main characters exchanged looks, not words.

BUT THE COSTUMES AND PROPS WERE SPECTACULAR. Which almost made up for the fact that the film wasn’t.

Another exception would be the films re-enactment of #MarieAntoinette’s infamous parties, exactly what a teenager with a kingdom, fame, and daddy’s credit card would throw! Though, in this case her hubbys.

This film is counted as one of Coppola’s worst by many critics and viewers alike, however‘s writer Amanda Dobbin’s wholeheartedly defends it as a most accurate portrayal of a rich, spoiled, teenager with mommy issues and identity confusion.
Anyone who experienced teenager-hood can agree to this. Those long stares of the films star #KirstenDunst into the abyss does remind one of their youth, the days of laying on your bed, staring up at the ceiling and listening to angry girl music and thinking, what is the point of it all?,  late into the night….and she too agrees, the costumes are fabulous!!

Maybe we should shift our focus question from does truth exist in film too, why do we go to the movies?

When discussing the recent made-for-tv-miniseries #Bonnie&Clyde (not to mention the 1967 Arthur Penn film version) @AndySwift, writer for insists that everyday people, the greater film-going population, attends movie screenings to be entertained!! Its an escape from the harsh realities that we are surrounded with and a chance to experience someone else’s life, good or bad. Either way, we leave the truth behind. We are in a fantasy world. If we wanted to be informed or educated down to the specifics we could read a book!

Those of us in the #filmproduction industry often go to get inspired. Sure, sometimes its a story about an inspirational figure in history, an intriguing social issue or just a fun time period, but we may more attention to the film making process and accuracy than your average film-goer. Regardless of the reason, you should remember, you can’t believe everything you see, so take it all with a grain of salt. Too much salt is bad for the heart.

Outside sources:

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The Big Screen – A Colouring Book

When planning out your company’s commercial video, have you ever wondered if you should use Color, Black & White or the sophisticated Sepia tone?

Producing a good, appealing, memorable and effective video takes special consideration. Consideration of sound, lighting, costumes and music are some of the aspects you should keep in mind when making your video. The question of how or when to use color, black & white and sepia tone are just as vital!


Color your video and you will color your world!


Writer of all things film, @RobertMills comments how #color is, “being used as a storytelling device in films, ranging from tints and filters, specific objects, transitions and symbolism, costumes and everything in between.” (Mills, Robert. “Colour and Storytelling In Films.” July 28, 2013. Web. September, 2014.) The amazing thing about color is that it can help set any mood. The happier the scene, the brighter the colors could and should be.
For example, when producing a video for a product or company, it is important that everything that surrounds the product or focus be complimentary. Just like you take time and care to put together your outfit when you get dressed in the morning, you do not want colors and textures clashing on screen.

Equally as important is the shades used. Brighter shades like yellow, orange and red bring on feelings of happiness and excitement in a viewer, while earthy neutral tones like greens, browns and beiges will induce feelings of calm and relaxation.

Its important to always keep in mind what feeling you want the viewer to have while viewing your video! Its very important to keep in mind what is pleasing to the eye.


#RogerDeakins, the Director of Photography on several #CoenBrothers films has an interesting opinion on the matter:

“Black-and-white focuses you on the content and the story, and it really concentrates your attention on what’s in the frame. All too often, color can be a distraction — it’s easier to make color look good, but harder to make color service the story. Black-and-white imagery is much more about the balance between the light and shade in the frame, and I think it can help convey story points a lot better with fewer distractions.” (Mills, Robert. “Colour and Storytelling In Films.” July 28, 2013. Web. September, 2014.)

This is one reason why #Black&White is often used, instead of color, for flashbacks, memories, or re-enactments. Companies  should keep in mind that the content needs to  shine, not just the shade of blue, purple or green! Black & white causes viewers to pay extra attention to the content as the visual offers no bright and shiny distractions. When relaying important information, such as warnings and things to be cautious of, you may notice videos often switch from full color to black & white.


#Sepia gives a black & white photographic print a warmer tone and enhances its archival qualities. Sepia is a great alternative when you want your video to appear more sophisticated, or nostalgic. Its a step-up from the normal black & white and a great break from the norm.

Outside Sources:

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