Giuseppe Cristiano - Storyboard Artist

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I am a Storyboard Artist You need a Great Storyboard Artist to visualize your ideas. A great storyboard artist is reliable, fast, versatile, creative, and always available. A great storyboard artist produces storyboards that can help sell your idea, save money, improve your storyline, fix script problems, and offer solutions for other production problems. A great storyboard artist doesn’t create scheduling problems. They work on tight deadlines and always deliver on time. A great storyboard artist charges fair rates that reflect their extensive experience, knowledge, and ability to work quickly without complications or delay - not low rates that indicate their inexperience and lack of confidence. A great storyboard artist knows quite a lot about movies and technique. They can understand and communicate with directors and adapt to their needs. I am a Great Storyboard Artist with 20 years of experience in my field.



# What is a Storyboard? A storyboard is a sequence of sketches designed to show how a movie or advertisement will progress. Simply put, a storyboard is a pre-visualization of the film. Storyboards vary in detail, depending on what function the board will serve. They can provide technical details or simple description. As an example, usually just key frames without technical details are used when presenting an idea to a client, but detailed boards would be used by directors during film production. A good storyboard artist knows the details that are important for the storyboard’s purpose, and which ones simply make the frame too busy and difficult to read. A storyboard may be sketched in black in white or in color. Every storyboard serves a main function, and the same board may also have some sub-functions. The storyboard may be used to estimate the post production costs or to coordinate the special effects and stunts. Storyboards come to the rescue to test an idea, troubleshoot any potential problems in filming, and display the progression of the work in order to keep the client at ease about the schedule. When discussions about alternate solutions to tell the story in the best way arise, the storyboard is there to help show possible solutions. The storyboard is a work horse that arrives on the job before the filming starts and stays on through production and post-production duties. It sells ideas to clients, attracts investors, and tests films prior to shooting of the film. Often, I consider the storyboard to be a budget planner and scheduler. When you think of it, much is accomplished with a set of illustrations! But it must also be considered that behind every storyboard is an artist that contributes ideas, solutions, and inspiration. The artist’s job is not as simple as just drawing some images.


Peppe is a great artist with an immense passion for storytelling. He has an extraordinary ability to be optimistic and engaged in every project. With an encyclopedic knowledge of film and a great sense of humor he is truly a storyboard wizard. Tobias Bergman, director.





# The Advertising Visualizer For advertising purposes, the storyboard artist is also a visualizer illustrator. They make the concept that needs to be shared with the target market come alive in illustrations that will be used for shooting commercials. In addition to the cinematic storyboard work, the advertising artist is often required to illustrate posters, billboards, events, and client boards. The client boards often consist of just a few images or key frames to describe an idea for a commercial film.


Creating client boards sounds simple, but is not as easy as it may seem. Each client is different, and some are not easily attracted to an artist’s ideas, no matter how great the idea may be. Actually, often the best ideas are tossed out, and perhaps because the visuals were not convincing enough. No matter, it’s not easy on the artist’s ego when their great ideas are rejected. The artist has to learn to take it all in stride and not take it too personally. Again, the artist’s job is more than just drawing some simple pictures. The storyboard artist has to develop a thick skin and learn how to deal with the people that they must impress with their sketches. To help with that, I analyse the concept as I sketch. I look at it from both the agency and client point of view, but also from the audience perspective. I ask myself if the concept works for everyone involved. I adjust and improve the composition, create the correct balance in the image, and add or remove details as needed. Drawing storyboards for an advertising agency is not the same as drawing for a production company. Storyboards for ad agencies are not as detailed. The artist that is accustomed to drawing boards for a production company may feel like the board for an agency is too simple, vague, and empty, as they will need to delete many of the details that would be needed for a production board. The artist must also understand how to choose the right frames to present. This difficulty can be confounded if the artist hasn’t worked with that particular agency before. The artist may feel like a mind-reader. It can be a tough job, but there are many rewards, too, beyond monetary compensation. It feels good when you do nail the concept and choose the right frames, and you know you’re playing a solid role in the project.


Peppe is a true artist but not only very talented in what he does. He is also a good storyteller and deliver in time and with speed. Mikael Flodell, producer.


Working with Peppe is like teaming up with a great translator who turns my ideas into beautiful compositions. Peter Mokrosinski, Cinematographer.





I’ll do thumbnails when I break down my stories. Very very rough thumbnails. Sometimes I can’t see myself what I have been thinking. No worries, Peppe is a mind reader and sorts it out in a flash with his turbo-charged ink pen! Tomas Skoging, director.



Peppe is the best storyboard artist I have ever worked with. He is very creative and extremely talented. I think he is the brain behind many commercials successes . As a director I really appreciate our collaboration and his ability to always give honest and constructive critique to my ideas. Peppe is a great storyteller. Johan Tappert, director.


Working with Peppe is full of surprises. Every storyboard hides a small naked German with maracas. And I better find him before the client does! Axel Laubscher, director.







For me, Peppe is so much more than a storyboard artist. He has a great knowledge, as well as a profound understanding of the film craft, in which every little detail counts. He truly lives for what he does. That makes him one of the all-time best, if not a smidgeon unique, within the art of creating a storyboard. Fredrik Schollin, creative director (We Are Group).


Always a great delight and exhitment to work with Peppe and I know he will upper my game and make my vision understandable for everyone else due to his swift drawings. Rafael Edholm, actor director screenwriter. 28


Working with Peppe is always something to look forward to. Not only is he the hardest working man in the business, but also the funniest and the biggest cineast. A session with Peppe usually includes good coffee and conversation about film, all things funny and absurd, and life in general. And, of course, the project at hand, which he is a great bouncing board in condensing or fine tuning the visual storytelling. By the end of the conversation, there is a draft of the board and a smile on our faces. And later on, but usually earlier than agreed, he emails the inked frames and deals with changes without letting you know how (probably) much it fucks up his schedule. But I won’t recommend him, since I want him all to myself. Henrik Sundgren, director.



If it wouldn’t be for his excessive, complicated, cocky, explosive, impatient and choleric Italian character, I’d be much happier. Unfortunately Peppe is too much of a genius, and therefore irreplaceable. I actually come back to him on every single job. I think I’m dependent on him! Björn Rühmann, director.


I´ve had the privilege to work with Peppe for the last 14 years on both commercials and feature films. Peppe is not only a great storyboard artist with many inspirational styles on his repertoire, he also has a profound understanding of the film grammar as well as an eagerness to express stories from a modern fresh point and view. Peppes IS high energy and delivers faster than any other artist I know, but at the same time, he never fails to pay attention to subtle details, which makes his work truly inspirational in the process of filmmaking. Jörgen Lööf, director. 35

For me Peppe is the undisputed king of storyboards. Oskar BĂĽrd, director.



The greatest challenge any commercial storyboard artist must face is probably also the very rst one in his or her career. Making the transition from art school to the frenetic environments of the film, television or advertising industries can easily be dispiriting, because it calls for the first time upon skills and resources above and beyond artistic talent. Certainly, Mr. Cristiano is a capable artist; but there are other books by capable artists. What he offers here is something much harder to nd: a candid and personal insight into the practical matters of succeeding as a freelance professional. His advice should be valuable to anyone embarking on a career in this fun, but often eccentric, business. Ray Kosarin, animation director (Daria, Beavis & Butt-Head).

During the last two years we have had the pleasure of working with Giuseppe “Peppe” Cristiano on several of our most important projects, one of those being the show “The Three Friends... and Jerry”. Peppe’s work has given the series both visual stringency and humour and that is why his contribution to the excellent nal result of the show is large. We consider Peppe to be one of the best storyboard artists in Europe and will do everything we can in order to continue working with him even in the future. Peter “Piodor” Gustafsson, producer.

* A couple of Forewords from my first ever published Storyboard manual. 38

# Storyboarding Movies Storyboarding movies is a long creative process, and I have several work methods for the process. I love movies, and they are my biggest passion and major interest. That said, I stay current with the latest releases and also possess a huge film library that includes all genres dating from the 50s to the present. As a storyboard artist, when I receive a script, the first thing I do is look for references that would provide me with insight. The director often provides me with samples and titles that I can watch to get in the right frame of mind for the work. Chances are, I have most of the titles in my library and have already seen the movie at least once or twice. Nonetheless, I’ll view it again, catching details that I may have missed before. In fact, I may watch the movie several times, paying attention to specific things each time. This is research for the storyboard artist. It’s fun work, but can be valuable for getting the storyboard in progress done just right. Knowledge of the industry is everything in storyboarding, and when working with directors, the artist needs to be up to par with current information, understand the vision and language of the film, and be able to speak the director’s language. Only then can the artist have confidence and contribute properly to the project. Storyboarding for movies is not just about being able to draw impressive pictures. Storyboarding movies requires the artist to visualize what is not written in the script, to create a continuity between the scenes, and to find interesting and creative solutions to troublesome spots in the script. As a storyboard artist who has years of experience working with production companies, I realize that there are several typical mistakes made by production, that I think should be avoided. When a storyboard artist can recognize these mistakes, it makes it easier for them to do their job more efficiently and without so much frustration. 40

- Working on a script should be in sequential order. Jumping around from one scene to another out of order makes it difficult to connect the scenes and gain an accurate vision of the whole story. - Starting at the beginning of the script makes it easier to move forward and visualize potential problems, as well as spot any unnecessary material that needs to be deleted. - The best case scenario is to work on location, or to at least have some good references regarding set design. Even if the cast hasn’t yet been selected, working on location and seeing set design are a great help when the artist is staging scenes. - Production schedules are usually very tight, and don’t give much time for thinking. When a producers rushes out a board, it eliminates the purpose for having a storyboard. When producers underestimate the necessity of storyboards, they are eliminating a valuable budgeting tool. Most producers focus on only on the cost to produce a storyboard instead of considering the production time the board can save. The better the board, the bigger the savings, so the storyboard artist needs adequate time to produce each board.


# The Process It helps tremendously if the beginner storyboard artist knows what to expect about the process and work flow. If they know what to expect, they can prepare for the next step and not get caught off-guard. Additionally, the artist can maintain more control over their work schedule if they know what to expect with each job. Though there will be variations, here is the basic process for the movie storyboard artist: - First, the artist meets several times with the director. The meetings will each be several hours long, as the artist will sketch boards as the director progresses with the script. On a good day, the artist will sketch five to ten pages of the script. Sometimes, the work will go slower and less progress will be made, but the artist should strive to work quickly, while doing good work, each day of the meetings. - Next, the artist will need to clean up the sketches. This is a time consuming process in which the artist should count on completing from 20 to 50 frames per day. - The artist will also need to work on revisions and adjustments that are needed due to changes in the script, etc. When an artist is lucky, revisions and adjustments will be few, but in most cases, a considerable amount of time may be needed for revisions and changes. - In total, a 90-minute movie can result in over a thousand frames. A realistic timeline for such a job would be no less than a month, including meetings, of course. Producers often don’t consider that producing a good storyboard takes time, and the rushed job may yield poor results. The storyboard artist works primarily alone and their work is not automatically done by using software or other tools. Each frame requires multiple phases that start at the initial meetings. When schedules are tight, artists bear the burden and are required to work late hours on last minute changes. Communication may be stressed and artists may be asked to do the humanly impossible to keep up with the schedule. Just doing a little math would help eliminate this problem. For an example, if one frame might take from 10 to 20 minutes to be drawn, polished and inked, a board of 20 frames will take up to 200 to 400 minutes, or from three to six hours to produce, not including meetings and possible revisions. Some artists are faster than others, so a slower artist would need even more time. And if a board is done in colors, more approval steps are necessary, which can further slow the process of the job.


# Why Hire a Professional Storyboard Artist? You want your project to flow as seamlessly as possible, without complications, mistakes, and delays caused by an amateur. The last thing you want is to have to bear the cost and time for the beginner’s learning curve. A professional artist brings years of experience to your project. They know the industry inside-out, and have developed a method for quickly producing sketches during meetings. The experienced artist knows their capabilities and can accurately estimate when they can deliver the work, allowing for project flow on schedule, without missed deadlines. Even though a professional storyboard artist may seem costly, they can guarantee excellent results, which saves time and money in the long run. An effective storyboard is essential to the director and production of a professional project, as it serves as a reference tool for the entire team. A good board provides all the necessary information to accomplish the work, figure the number of shots needed, create effects, control camera movements, work out logistics, and estimate cost and time. Such an important tool should only be handled by a professional who knows what they are doing. The value of the professional’s board far outweighs the cost of having the storyboard created. Considering all that is gained in saving money and causing the project to flow in a timely manner without problems, it makes good business sense to rely on a professional storyboard artist. It guarantees success of the shoot.



Having worked with Peppe for almost a decade, I cannot imagine the creative process without him. He has a unique ability to visualise and put to life, images that perfectly represent my vision, and he does it with both elegance and a sense of humour. No matter what I throw at him in terms of complex camera movements or character expressions, Peppe always manages to give me an image representation. He has an extensive knowledge of the film making process and he will always offer up new and inventive ways of how to create the most interesting shot. Peppe’s way of capturing characters, locations and camera movements, brings life to the films before they are shot. It is like the images join together and move on the page! Hanna Elin, director.



# I Have Hired a Storyboard Artist, What Do I Do Now? Sometimes, it happens that the artist is ready to get to work, but there is not yet any material for them to work with. When this happens, you can brief the artist so they can start forming ideas for their sketches. Often, the artist will start working on the project after office hours, and will use the information from the briefing to answer questions and know how to proceed when they can’t call the office for answers after hours. Once the artist submits the preliminary sketches, it’s time for you to make comments and apply revisions. When requesting revisions, be as clear as you can about the changes you want to see in the sketches. This helps the artist know precisely what to do, and avoids confusion and delays. The artist will do clean-ups, but there is still room for more changes, of course. However, composition and general comments should be made at the first stage to avoid going back to square one later in the process. In general, depending on style and technique, clean-up can be time consuming (especially if colors are involved), and can delay the process. Some artists can clean up their sketches very well and give a good indication of what the final image will be.



My office walls are covered with Giuseppe’s artwork; ten beautiful pictures of frozen moments taken from the world of film. Each one is a single frame from different masterpieces representing an emotion, a movement or a mood. They all tell a story and take your mind on a journey. And that’s what it’s all about. Peppe helps us to visualize our thoughts in picture form, making them ready to travelled. Not only as part of a treatment or a storyboard, but hopefully as a frozen moment of a future masterpiece. Thank you Peppe! Johan Rudolphie, CEO Palladium Film. 54


# The Constantly Evolving Artist Through the years, a professional artist learns, evolves, and adapts. They find new ways to perform their job and improve styles, techniques and skills. They stay informed, know the trends, and keep their eyes and ears open in the professional world around them. They continue to network and form relationships with associates. This is necessary for the freelancer. They must always be willing and able to follow the evolution of the various media. The storyboard artist learns how to read their clients, develop an understanding of their work style, and figure out how to make every project go smoother than the previous one. There is tremendous value in this growth process. There is also value in the artist remaining alert to new technology and devices that can help them combine techniques and make their work easier, such as new computers, tablets, and phones. Indeed, it’s a natural evolution for the artist to always remain hungry for new solutions for pushing the envelope for better work and faster production. A creative artist is always actively working on something new to improve and expand their skills, and utilizing new tools as though they are a child with a brand new toy. Today’s artist has many advantages in their ability to work remotely via Skype, working digitally, and sharing files. They can multi-task like never before. Even email communication is always available by phone, no matter where the artist travels or lives. Yes, the storyboard artist is a moving, growing, professional, always moving forward for their personal benefit and the benefit of their clients.


Photo by Johan Bergmark

# About Me I have worked as a professional storyboard artist in studios and as a freelancer for over two decades. My career started with writing and drawing comics, and from there I graduated into advertising. I have storyboarded animation, music videos, commercials, and films. I have written and published several books about storyboard, and I occasionally present lectures and seminars at colleges, universities, and film-making schools.

Giuseppe Cristiano +46 70 5928618

Š 2014

# Some of my Books


Terrific! The under-appreciated dark art of storyboarding is illuminated here. Everything about the art and business of a storyboard artist is brilliantly framed. John Badham, director (Saturday Night Fever, Wargames) on my book The Storyboard Artist.