Untold Tales of Hollywood #40

Like I indicated in the last entry, I was pretty green when it came to film making. I made one huge mistake on First Blood early on: In one of my storyboards, I crossed the axis.

“Crossing the axis” is when you have a character moving in one direction and then use the camera to cross in front or behind that character so that you are shooting him from his opposite side. In a movie, it looks like your character has reversed direction.

Here’s a simple example: Your character is moving from left to right in pursuit of someone. The camera is shooting his right profile. If you move the camera to the other side of him (and “cross the axis”), it will look as though your character just changed direction and is running back to where he just came from. You will totally confuse your audience if you do this. Your character must always move in the same screen direction (unless he actually turns around and begins running back to where he came from).

There is no such thing as crossing the axis in comics, which is why I made that mistake. Once I learned that little nugget, I never crossed the axis ever again.

Here’s another couple of sets of boards:

I loved working on First Blood. The Canadian crews were great; they weren’t as possessive of their job functions like many of the American crews I worked with. If a camera light needed to be moved and I was standing next to it, I could move it. I wasn’t in violation of some union rule; it was acknowledged that I was helping us all to film a little faster instead of us all waiting for the only guy who could officially move that light to show up and do it.

Unfortunately, I had other stuff going on in my life (I think I was also working on my first big one man museum exhibition), so I was forced to leave First Blood.

I did not come off as the most responsible guy in the Film Biz, doing stuff like that, and felt bad that I had burned Buzz in a way. Nevertheless, Buzz ended up hiring me on at least one more film — a film in which, to my discredit, I believe I did the exact same thing.

Here’s one more set of my First Blood boards:

One Response to “Untold Tales of Hollywood #40”

  1. Very cool…

    Maybe you need to do a book on just your storyboards….or maybe a huge “sketchbook format” version.

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