jh-logo-web.jpg This is the lead character in a graphic novel that I’m co-creating with Mike Brennan, cartoonist extraordinaire! We’ll be posting pages from our 300 page graphic novel mockup regularly!
You can see all sorts of storyboard and illustration samples if you go to joshhayesart.com.
It’s funny. I’ve been in Hollywood since 1993 and I still don’t understand my attraction to it. Sure, LA is sunny, it’s the hub of film and TV (and I love movies and TV), and you can run into Steve Martin and his dog while out for a walk, but I’m still trying to understand my REAL attraction. What pulled me away from Boston, the business I started and all my friends? Well sure, I followed a woman, my now wife of almost 15 years, but I mean besides her, why was I drawn here and why do I stay?
To tell you the truth, I was drawn here by the lure of fame and fortune, and of course my wife to be, as I mentioned before (I think mentioning her two times gives her enough credit – just covering my ass, don’t want to be like Sean Penn and forget to mention my wife during my Oscar acceptance speech). Anyway, where was I? Oh, by the way, if your reading this there’s something very important you should know. I have trouble finishing a thought before I start on another. So although I will do my best to be entertaining and to share my insights on the industry I’m in, my observations on creativity (which I have been informally studying for about 20 years) and my musings about being a parent in LA, you, my intrepid reader, will have to be part detective to follow some of my ramblings.
Okay, back to fame and fortune! So, there I was in 1993, leaving New England on a grand adventure, the adventure of a lifetime! I arrived here debt free, with $12,000 I’d saved up, rented a house in the hills directly above the Mann Chinese Theatre, and proceeded to live the Hollywood dream. Although I was a little vague on how the fame and fortune thing was to happen. In fact, more than a little vague, I didn’t have a clue. Where does one go, or have to do to sign up for the fame and fortune package? So I did the only logical thing I could do, I tried to become an actor! Logical right? Actors are rich and famous, I had done some acting in high school and college, and even though I was trained as an illustrator and graphic designer (with some film making thrown in), I chose acting as my ticket to all that I could desire.
I know, but I’m not the brightest bulb in the chandelier (remind me to tell you the catching the knife story sometime), and I was still working on self respect issues (meaning if I were beloved by millions I’d be fine). So I proceeded to do the Full Monty (I don’t mean the movie, just the commitment to something). I got head shots and took improv classes (which I highly recommend for any creative person because it forces you to say “yes” to any idea thrown at you, but more on that later), and did showcases (kind of a scam where you pay money to invite ”industry people” to come watch you perform a scene, hoping to get picked up by an agent or discovered by a casting person or producer). The whole pursuing your dream thing became this non-paying full time gig that was burning through my savings at an alarming rate. I’d audition for every student film or non union industrial, or every cattle call I could find out about.
One day I auditioned for a low budget monster movie called “Manosaur.” Not having too many credits as an actor, I filled up the “special talents” section of my resume to try to beef things up. In that section you mention other skills you have, like accents you can do, or the fact that you know how to sky dive, or sing opera with marbles in your mouth. Anyway, it was there that I added storyboarding as a talent. Now, to be clear, I knew that Disney had invented the process for making his animated features. I had seen beautiful storyboards in “The Making of Star Wars” book. I had heard that Hitchcock had said that once he’d gone through the careful process of pre-production and storyboarding, a monkey could direct his movies. And I had sketched out scenes from student films I had been involved with in college. But to say I was a storyboard artist, was certainly a stretch. But it got me noticed. The producer on “Manosaur” said that if I would storyboard out some of the key scenes in the movie and help them get all of their funding, they’d give me a role in the movie.
So I quickly went out to find any books I could on storyboarding. I found one, “Film Directing Shot by Shot” by Steven D. Katz. It was SO helpful even though at the time it had only one chapter dedicated to storyboarding. I still refer to it today. It’s a great book, but I digress. So after learning all I could about storyboarding, I spent two months, working for free, generating boards for the movie. When I was done, I took them to the producer, they got their funding, and I never got a part. But I got an agent, a storyboard agent. The frames I had done for the movie got me signed with Storyboards, Inc., and a career was born. But more on that in the next installment.
I’ve been forced to enter into the 21st century of communications technology! (Just don’t expect me to open a Twitter account anytime soon).