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It was 2005 and I had just finished my first draft of my first feature length screenplay, Finding Harmony. I had also just set up shop with my very own studio on Illinois Avenue in Northwest DC. I had several people read the script and they all really liked it, so that felt good. I had watched quite a few indie films, like Raising Victor Vargas, Pieces of April and The Celebration. I just knew I could do this film myself.

Scene inside the Shadow Lounge.

One of the first things I started doing, was creating storyboards for the film. If I could visualize it, and show others what I saw in my head (in addition to the script), perhaps I’d garner support – preferably in the financial realm. I’ve done storyboards before, for a few short pieces, but this would be different. This would be a feature film and it had to be visualized meticulously. And in my mind, properly meant doing way too much before setting up a camera.

These were less storyboards and more artist’s concept renderings of a sci-fi movie.

While working on the storyboard process, I also began building a team of producers, filmmakers and actors in Pittsburgh. I hadn’t raised any money for the project by this point, and the pressure was mounting to find the resources to do the project I had convinced many others we could do this project on the cheap, not accepting that zero still doesn’t cover cheap.

I was definitely doing too much at this point.

These lead-character visuals were based upon a close friend of mine whose persona inspired me to write the story, in part. A bright, creative and quirky person that would be enjoyable to watch on screen. I added a story that I just made up with a few ideas scratched on notepad in Rock Creek Park, in 2003. the visuals were easy, because that’s how i think of ideas and stories. I already have the details in my mind. Translating them to paper is a bit of work.

Using colored pencil started to get taxing.

At some point I knew this particular process was way too time consuming and had no idea whether we had enough resources to translate any of these big ideas to an actual independent productions. I abandoned this approach after doing about twenty of these 13″ x 17″ pages, and printed out a standard set of storyboards and quickly sketched in the storyboards, sans all the color and shading.

I couldn’t wait to film this part of the scene.

I’m still tickled I went this far in the process of creating this film-art. However, it allowed me to convincingly pitch the project to other creatives. They saw how serious I was about doing this film and perhaps I needed this exercise as well.

Some traditional stuff.
The movement.
A closer shot of page.
Another study of page.

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