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James C. Bourne projects

Part 03

Thumbnails: This is my favorite part of storyboarding; thumbnailing. I've talked with a lot of board artists who prefer not to thumbnail or even think that it's a waste of time. I actually think thumbnailing is the most important part where you get to brainstorm, visualize everything, and even go back and fix it before you finally draft those boards.

Here are the essential thumbnail beats. I draw very loosely and rough whenever I thumbnail, so I also have a description below in case my thumbs are hard to read:

So it starts in the boy's locker room where a high school wrestling team is cheering jubilantly, and admiring a lot of the posters they have of sports icons and other celebrities they aspire to be. We then reach a young wrestler, Jimmy, opening his locker and taking out a small photograph. He sits down and gazes at the picture of a frail old woman in pioneer garb. We then dissolve in a flashback to the frail old lady, Wee Granny, departing off a steamboat with her family, including a small granddaughter named Betsy carrying a doll, her sole possesion. We then see a handcart company walking along the great plains. Some of them walking in barefeet. We then cut to a series of shots of Wee Granny and her handcart company enduring the elements: rain, lightning, the mountains, the cold, etc. Through all of this, Wee Granny holds tightly onto Betsy, trying to shelter her from the elements as best she can. Finally, we're in the snowy mountains, with many people sick in the handcarts including Betsy. Wee Granny herself is pulling one of the handcarts struggling through the snow and up the mountain. Dissolve then to a wide shot on a mountain pass with a group crowded around a dying Wee Granny. Then down to the pioneers going down the mountain pass with Wee Granny's grave in the foreground. Then dissolve to a few years later in a homestead lodge, where Betsy is all grown up and from a table picks up a picture of Wee Granny, and we go from her looking at the picture to Jimmy in the lockerroom looking at the same picture of Wee Granny.

When I looked at Leo's Paradigm Chart (thanks so much btw Leo) It really got me thinking, "what is at stake?" As I examined my story more closely, I began to discover that much of what is at stake revolves around Wee Granny. Her desire in the story is to head west with her family and start a new life with even better opportunities than ever before. What stands in her way is the elements of the west: the landscape is treacherous, the weather is bad, and she's traveling with family, so she has to look out for their safety as well. Once they reach the mountains, we see that it literally takes Wee Granny's all to get her and her family over the mountains, and eventually costs her her life.

Once again, the theme of this story is respecting those who came before us, and continuing their legacy by applying the great lessons from their lives. I just hope I'm going in the right direction of the theme with the beats that I've just displayed.

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