By: Nancy Beiman                Categories: AnimationBooksGeneral

Pitching the Pet

Although many modern films use digital storyboard presentations, pinning drawings on the wall allows you to review the entire story at once. Boards can be re-pinned or removed as necessary to improve the story or change the timing. The video below is an example of a pitch for the short “Your Pet Wants Some of Your Dinner.”

The audience’s attention must be focused on the boards, not the presenter. The pointer, if used correctly, will direct their gaze toward the precise area that the story person wants them to see. The action in each panel will be described in approximately ‘real time’, but will unavoidably be a bit longer than the final film. The pitch must keep the audience interested in the characters and their story—it cannot be a monotone. Pitching “dos and don’ts” are described in chapter 18 of Prepare to Board.

After the pitch the storyboards are scanned and timed to ‘scratch track’ music cut to the length of the final film. ‘Scratch’, or ‘temp’ track music is chosen for tempo and mood. It serves as a ‘script’ for the composer—and may even occasionally be used in the final production. Simple sound effects help convey the story. Here is the animatic after the pitch and after the storyboards are scanned and timed to music.

The storyboard pitch was one minute and 40 seconds long; the animatic for “The Pet Wants Your Dinner” now lasts only 30 seconds. The pacing is faster than it was in the original pitch because there is no longer any need to describe the action in the scene—the drawings speak for themselves. This animatic uses methods described in chapter 19 of “Prepare to Board“.

Prepare to Board! Creating Story and Characters for Animated Features and Shorts, 2nd edition is available at Amazon, BN, and wherever fine books can be found.

headshot of Nancy Beiman

Nancy Beiman is a renowned animator and artist having worked as a professional animator, storyboard artist, character designer, development artist, illustrator, and director in feature films, commercials, television specials, and new media. She was a supervising animator and development artist at Walt Disney Feature Animation and Walt Disney Television Animation, a director at Warner Bros. Animation, and a producer (with partner Dean Yeagle) at Caged Beagle Productions, Inc. Nancy has taught animation, storyboard, character design, and gesture drawing at the undergraduate and graduate level since 2000 and conducted masterclasses in storyboard and animation.

Artwork and animatic © 1998, 2012 by Nancy Beiman

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