Thursday, March 5, 2015

Monkeys no more!

Well, another one bites the dust, DreamWorks decided to discontinue work on their Bollywood animated film A.K.A.( Bollywood Super Star Monkey, or Monkeys of Mumbai), which ever working title you choose. One of the things that really sucks about this is, besides the amount of work that is never to be seen, is that once again I will receive no screen credits and have lost another two years. "BRAVE" was the last thing I worked on that actually made it to the theaters.

Believe it or not, I was on lone to another film when they decided to kill Monkeys and the film that I was on was shut down shortly afterwards as well.  All I can say is WTF!  That is three films in a row. Fortunately, I don't do this (Story Boarding) just for screen credits. I've stated in the past that I love what I do.  I am blessed to have this career and I cannot express how wonderful it is to be able to come to work everyday, be challenged, and fulfilled as an artist.  I would be remiss if I failed to mention that I have the best office mate who makes work fun all day everyday (Thanks to the Famous Mike Surry). 

One of the benefits to the film shutting down is that I can share some of the work I've done over the past two years. At least someone will see some of it. Please remeber that this art work is the property of the DreamWorks company and cannot be copied or used in anyway.

This was the first thing I was asked to do when I came into the Studio. It was to lyrics of a song. I also think it was bit of a test to see what I could do.

Every film and every assignment I am on has it's own challenges. This scene was no exception. I learned so much with this one, it is deceptively simple but very effective if you ask me.

 Yes, we did some color boards and yes, these were actual boards for a screening.

India is a place of much texture and color, so at times I would add color to help the feeling of the moment.

 Thumbnailing sequences is the best way to avoid extra work when boarding. They become your map and compass, so as not to get lost when proceeding to final boards. On this film it was crucial.


 This is the tail end of several zip pans to musical beats and lyrics. On the ending beat of the song we do this big zip zoom out to reveal our main characters. This too is deceptively simple but it took a full day to plan all these camera moves out. I was asked by another board artist, why do I work these up so much? Well, the story beats were about the info on screen and the move itself to the song. I wanted the maximum effect that I could get for this moment on screen.

 Like any good Bollywood Musical you need monkeys dancing on bus, right!

 This film ended very big, to include explosions, flaming heads, giant demons and thousands of monkeys.  These following shots were done very early on the film. We had no Demon character designs at this point so the creatures are just giant mutated animals.

This is an example of a story thumbnail sketch that was used for the screening. I did go back in and tighten it up and added some extra stuff but with sound effects add and editorials magic pan it worked really well.

Raj our hero doing his thing.

 The blue glow that Raj acquires was suppose to indicate that he has tapped into Rama and now he can shoot the golden arrow into Ravan's naval. He is at his full potential as Hanuman. I know! It just got down right confusing!

 This was a fun scene for me to board, Raj was pretending to be the great Hanuman.

 Deepu Raj's little brother.

 Pinki was the female lead of our story. There was debate for a while whether or not to have a love interest sprout between Raj and her.

 These shots remind me of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" the way the monkeys gather and wait to attack.


  1. Craig, these are wonderful, you are a great artist. Thank you for taking the time to share these with us. I'm so sorry the movie isn't being made. Why did they discontinue work on it?

  2. Wow, Craig. You don't update this blog much (as if I were any better), but when you do you deliver enough inspiration to last for months.

  3. Thanks Tom,
    Miss you man, hope all is well.