Feedback on my first storyboard….

Posted: November 3, 2010 in Media

A little while ago I posted my first storyboard (the shots and the windows movie maker version) and also composed a questionnaire to ask for feedback from some audience members on how my storyboard could be developed to improve its overall quality.

Below is the video of my initial draft of a storyboard as well as a summary of the various answers I received and my own judgements on how they will help me compose another, better storyboard for my trailer…

Q: After looking at my storyboard, can you tell what the genre of the film will be?? (You can state more than one, but please give reasons to your judgements)

Their answers…

‘Maybe a thriller…because it seems very mysterious’

‘I thought drama/thriller because it looks like tragic things might happen in the film and it was quite quick also.’

‘A horror/revenge because one of the characters seems very angry about something and it looks like it could be scary.’

‘Thriller/mystery- because it didn’t give much away..’

The overall/general answer was mystery and/or thriller. Some genres that cropped up a few times in answers were drama, revenge and horror.

What does this tell me??…

When taking at first look at these answers I thought…maybe I ought to be a little more precise so that my chosen genre (and sub genre) is not lost completely and left un-established in the trailer. Or maybe I shouldn’t worry too much about this because genre can be a tricky thing to be precise and direct about (as I saw in the ‘genre is dead long live genre’ article) and audience member’s opinions on what genre a film is, is bound to vary a lot due to personal perceptions. I could consider putting perhaps some more conventions of the thriller genre and revenge theme into my new draft, for example- perhaps flashbacks to the past? (Well these are included but will be more obvious when I come to actual film the trailer as I can use special effects to display this) Or more shots of blood in some way?.

Q: How did it make you feel? (As in scared or upbeat etc)

Their answers…

‘Tense- it shows characters being hurt or chased but I don’t know who is doing it or why’

‘A little bit confused- I’m not sure of what will happen next.’

‘Scared- especially from the shots of the weapons, like the knife…’

‘It made me feel interested- don’t get a full picture of what is going on and I want to know!’

I’d say the general answer from audiences was that they felt ‘tense’ and ‘confused’ after watching my storyboard. The next popular answer was probably that my trailer ‘scared’ them.

What does this tell me??…

That my storyboard may be getting across the mood and atmosphere I want, which is good, as it not only connects with the audience directly though their emotions but it also connotes what kind of film mine will be. So if they feel ‘tense’ and ‘confused’ after viewing the trailer the natural thought is that the film will be dark and clever- linking it to a film of the thriller genre. But I want to build up the tension more in some way….because this could be overcome by making the trailer a little more fast paced or using tension building music? I don’t know, but I’ll try to achieve more tension in the next draft…

Q: If this was a real trailer, would you feel inclined to go on to watch the film afterwards? Why?

Their answers…

Thankfully most answered ‘yes’…well, I must have done something right then. But here’s some reasons why….

I’d like to see it so that I can see what the whole ‘forget’ and ‘forgive’ theme is about as the trailer shows it but doesn’t really explain it.’

‘I want to see who is after the girl, why and what will happen to her.’

‘If the film was real I would watch it as I want to see who the man and his kid are.’

‘I think the trailer shows the film could have murders so I want to watch it and see who does get murdered (and who does the murdering!)’

Basically audience members wanted the answers to questions raised in the trailer…and the only way to get these answers is to watch the film itself!

What does this tell me??…

That this trailer may have achieved getting audience’s members interested mainly through the questions I have raised and left unanswered. Which I am happy about as I think this is what I intended to do- I tried to leave as many questions out in the open and unanswered as possible so that the audience cannot possibly predict their answers and are therefore intrigued to know more (making them want to see the film). One thing I have noticed is that maybe my questions are a little vague to gain true audience interest…I’ll have to consider this and come back to it…

Q: What questions were raised in the trailer that you want answers to?

Their answers…

Well this is pretty much the same as the answers given previously….but here are a few answers they came up with:

‘I want to know who the man is (the one who’s walking along at the start)’

‘Who is the kid?’

‘Why does one of the girl’s call the man ‘weird’?’

‘Does someone get killed?’

‘Why does the man keep talking about people remembering him?’

What does this tell me??…

Well it tells me pretty much what I gained from asking the last question…that I’ve raised plenty of questions to keep the audience interested  but, as I mentioned previously, I have noticed one fatal flaw- that the questions themselves tend to be rather vague. And if the questions are vague- will this mean the audience will not care about the answer in the assumption it too, will be vague? Perhaps I need to be a little more specific and straightforward and that way I can help conjure more detailed and interesting questions to leave the audience asking.

Q: Can you predict what will happen in the film itself from watching the trailer? Explain.

Their answers…

If I were to be vague, the answer I got was ‘no’. But some did have a good attempt at guessing…

‘I’m not sure- perhaps the girl gets killed by the crazy man ?’

‘The little kid will be involved in some way- maybe the woman will save him from the angry man.’

‘The man is going to kill some of the characters and we have to try and work out why.’

‘The man is going to do something horrible- probably murder.’

What does this tell me??…

I’m quite happy with their assumptions as most of them are right in their own way. But their assumptions are only vague and cannot be known for sure because in my trailer I have tried not to give too much away. So therefore they do not have enough information and facts to base their assumptions about how the film will pan out on. So when I create another storyboard I want to keep in mind that I do not want to give too much information away in my trailer so that the audience can just guess the final outcome and pretty much the entire film without even having to watch it (which I’ve noticed some trailers do!)

Q: Do you think it is too confusing? If yes, how could this be overcome?

Their answers…

Unfortunately ‘yes’ was the most popular answer…

‘Sorry but it’s not very structured…it just seems a bit jumpy and that makes it confusing.’

‘The story of the film isn’t really explained properly.’

‘I didn’t see any character names so I got confused about who was who..’

‘It just seemed a bit confusing. But maybe it would be easier to get through if it was a actual film and not drawings…’

What does this tell me??…

That maybe I am trying to confuse my audience a little too much. After all, I want them to be confused about my film and what will happen within it, yes, but I don’t want to hurt their brain in the process of them watching my trailer. So I may have to step back and look at the basics of my plot/possible shots and dialogue before I start trying to confuse people because this  can equally put them off of my trailer as making it too straightforward and simple. (because honestly I agree with the feedback here- I drew the storyboard and it even confuses me at times!)

Q: Overall, did you like my trailer? What did you like/ not like about it? Please give explanations.

Their answers…

Well they found stuff they liked about it and well, stuff they didn’t….but you can’t please everyone…

 ‘Yes, it seems different and I have no idea of what’s going on- which leaves me more to see in the actual film.’

‘I liked it’s very mysterious and dark tone- it creeped me out.’

‘I loved the fact it doesn’t give much away- makes it very un-predictable.’

‘Looks unique and strange.’

‘Maybe you could change the music? It was good but didn’t really fit in that well.’

‘I didn’t like it that much- too slow paced.’

‘A lot of the drawings looked very similar…’

What does this tell me??…

Apart from the fact that audience members are bound to have diverse opinions when it comes to pretty much anything in my trailer, I think this teaches a very important lesson: What works from this initial draft (and what I can therefore use in the next storyboard) and what doesn’t work (the bits I can develop or get rid of completely). So, it appears audiences mainly liked the mood I created best of all, which was mainly mystery( which is mostly perceived to be a big convention of the in the thriller genre) and also dark and tense. This is good, as I want to create and appropriate atmosphere so that my audience gets agood idea of the genre of my film and what they can expect if they go to watch it. But I still need to consider the things I need further work on: like choosing the best music (which is annoying as this will be best done when I have completed filming and go to edit it) and making a wider range of shots (which some audience members picked up on (i.e- not just using extreme close ups like I did in AS!)

Q: Do you have any suggestions to make the trailer better?

Their answers…

‘Add some different music to it- it’ll make the trailer seem more scary/dark.’

‘Put more gripping dialogue in- dialogue that will catch audience’s attention.’

‘The titles were good but I have some advice on how to make them better: what about splitting them up?’

‘Put some more shots in- maybe a montage would do well in your trailer?’

‘I think one thing you could do is to introduce characters properly as you haven’t done this very well…’

What does this tell me??…

All very good suggestions here (the ones above I posted as I viewed them as the most helpful) and I think getting audience feedback has made me begin to think of a lot more developments I could put into my new storyboard. For example, I could try establishing and introducing a character to the audience properly- and this way they’ll be able to connect with them before they even go to watch the film (which will be useful for MAKING them want to see the film aswell). Also I can think about the variety of different shots I could use before I draw them out (so instead of drawing the first shot that comes into my mind, think about ‘could this be from another angle/perspective’ etc) so that I do not find that I am constantly using the same types of shot. Lastly I thought that adding more dialogue could prove to be a valuable idea: or instead of just adding more dialogue, developing that I already have in my initial draft and making it more hard-hitting to the audience or whatever…

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