Storyboard Analysis – Monster’s Inc: walking to work scene

One of the things I tend to struggle with in the course of my pre-production is the storyboards and layouts for my pieces. While some people have a natural flare for interesting camera angles and compositions, I find that I have a harder time working out what would work best for my scenes. In the hopes of remedying that fact, I’ve decided to try and start doing some storyboard analyses.

The exercise is simple in concept, though can take a good deal of time to render in actuality. I find scenes from various films, be they animation or live action, that are similar to the scenes which I am trying to work through, and by watching them through frame by frame, I can reverse engineer a basic storyboard that will allow me to see how all the part fits together.

My first attempt at this exercise was an early scene from Pixar’s Monster’s Inc., where Mike and Sully are walking to work – a scene which provides us with a greater sense of their individual personalities, as well as establishing some aspects of the state of their world such as the scream shortage. What I found in going through this scene was that Pixar storyboard artists take great pains to layer movement in their shots to direct your eye where they want it to go. There are many aspects of this sequence of shots where a character you may not even remember a minute later can guide your eye or give the short the sense of closure it might need to allow you to move on to the next shot.

My images and analysis are below:
Monster’s Inc.
Pixar Animation Studios’s
2001

Directed by: Pete Doctor
Executive Producers: John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton
Story Supervisor: Bob Peterson
Layout Supervisor: Ewan Johnson

I tried to see if I could find more information online as to who was the primary storyboard artist for this scene, but wasn’t able to find anything specfic. This isn’t wholey surprising, because with the number of revisions these stories have to go through before they are deemed ready to be animated, the scene was most likely more of a collaborative effort, rather than the work on one individual.

Monster's Inc storybaord analysis page 1

Monster's Inc storybaord analysis walking to work page 2

Monster's Inc storyboard analysis walking to work page 3

Monster's Inc storyboard analysis walking to work page 4

Monster's Inc storyboard analysis walking to work page 5

Monster's Inc storyboard analysis walking to work page 6

Monster's Inc storyboard analysis walking to work page 7

Monster's Inc storyboard analysis walking to work page 8

Monster's Inc storyboard analysis walking to work page 9

Monster's Inc storyboard analysis walking to work page 10

Author’s Note: For the time being these images are placeholders until I can manage to get some better scans in place. Once I get the better images uploaded, I’ll also include my more complete thoughts on the analysis on the scene.

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