Saturday, March 27, 2010
Working from Germany
One advantage of being a storyboard artist is that, unlike say, journalists, musicians or dentists, you're part of a pretty small global community. Its probably true to say that many or even most of us know each other either personally or through hearsay. Here in Düsseldorf I organise the monthly illustrators' meeting. Of 53 email adressees only about 5 are storyboarders. The solidarity is good and we are very free with tips and even recommend each other for jobs. I like that.
Besides agencies in Germany I also do quite a bit of work for the US market through Storyboardsinc. I find that after a briefing, American art directors usually give me more or less free rein, whereas European clients still do little sketches along with the script sometimes, though this seems to be dying out. This is fine by me, as I can still suggest different camera angles or visual solutions and they are often accepted. Being very direct, German art directors are probably more likely to tell you straight if they don't like something. An important difference is the money or, to be precise, the payment. American clients pay after about three months. Between one and four weeks after a job for a German agency, the money is in my account.
Although storyboards and animatics make up the major part of my workload, I also enjoy doing lots of other types of illustration. When I illustrate an adventure or crime reader for German school kids learning English for example, the job specifications are much different to those for a TV spot. At first this meant a steep learning curve for me, but learning and mastering new skills is one of life's least acknowledged pleasures.
I truly enjoy looking at the work on this site. Its typical of Leif Peng that he should come up with the idea of a blog just for storyboard artists and I'm looking forward to seeing what turns up here over the coming months!