Guest Speaker: James Baker

James Baker’s LinkedIn:

Resume on website:

Storyboarding is one of those skills that I would love to master as it’s the foundations of a great animation. I’m very interested in using cinematography to tell stories. Looking at the work of the people who have talked to us so far, it seems that most have led a specialised career as opposed to working within multiple roles on a project. James Baker seems to have focused on aspects relating to story design such as storyboarding, comics (closely related) and later on, screenwriting. Do people who have a narrower focus like this contribute better to projects? Will I be taking on too much if I focus on concept art/painting/drawing, matte painting, compositing, lighting, texturing, storyboarding, animating, modelling and motion graphics? That seems like quite the list. Then there is rigging and simulation also which would both be useful. I think that even writing would be something that I would enjoy doing.

Notes from James Baker’s talk with us:

  • The smaller studios are good for growing experience.
  • Make your personal project the job that you want. Make a list of what you love to draw/make.
  • Carry the script around in your head.
  • What is the key moment in a particular scene? Figure out the beats. What is the point you’re trying to convey? What camera angles will convey this? The defining shot is like the keyframe. Then define the connective tissue.
  • Start a story with a question/theme. What if a gun didn’t want to be a gun?
  • Read screenplays, learn how to write, convey stories with both words and pictures.

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