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Conversations with Atlanta's Movers and Shakers, Michael Gable Marynell

Storyboard and Pre-Visual Artist, Michael Gable Marynell

Atlanta Film and TV caught up with Storyboard and Pre-Visual Artist Michael Gable Marynell. Michael was a storyboard artist on the Netflix hit series Raising Dion, Redemption, and Through The Glass Darkly, and was also the storyboard artist for commercials such as 22 Squared and Melt Sports Entertainment.

Micahel shares with us what he’s been up to since our last conversation. He says that,

"I am currently producing storyboards and animatics for T-Pain's upcoming album. I worked on Cosmic Sin, which stars Bruce Willis, and a music video with Jameson Rodgers featuring Luke Combs. A film I worked on three years ago, Three-years-ago, I worked on Through The Looking Glass Darkly, and a lot of what I created was used in the final product. I also worked on the horror film, Metamorphosis, by writer/director Alex Smoot. Lastly, I was on a YouTube show with a local nine-year-old called Sofia's Showbiz Show,d which is a children's show, where Sofia interviews guests who work in different careers in the film and television industry."

- Michael Gable Marynell

Michael discusses how someone should prepare for a career as a storyboard artist.

Michael Gable Marynell: "You should constantly draw and learn to draw everything! Watch your favorite film scenes, and start retro-engineering those scenes breaking them down, and figure why particular scenes work as well.

Some great books to read are Film Directing: Shot by Shot Visualizing from Concept to Screen by Michael Wiese Productions. It’s a storyteller’s bible and is great for both directors and storyboard artists. Bridgman's Complete Guide To Drawing From Life, The Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist, and FORCE Dynamic Life Drawing, are great books for anatomy."

Atlanta Film and TV: You mentioned in our initial interview, that you attended Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL., where you majored in Computer Animation. For someone who is interested in considering the same major, talk to us about what classes they have to look forward to.

Michael Gable Marynell: "First, let me say that anyone thinking of getting into that field needs to understand that it is very competitive, and you have to be sure that it’s something you want to do. Studio life is hard, and it’s fast-paced. However, you do get three months off during the year, but the rest of the time, you’re getting beaten into the ground, and a lot of people do burn out within five to ten years, so you have to love what it is you do.

As far as Ringling goes, they don’t allow you to specialize; you have to learn it all. What I mean is, I had to learn how to light, rig, animate – every single part of the pipeline for 3D animation. But, at the same time, they start you in 2D Traditional. However, if drawing is your ultimate love, then 3D Animation is probably not for you because it’s mostly puppetry and software.

A piece of advice is you have to decide if you want to go to art school. I say this because art school is expensive, and there are other programs out there like Animation Mentor. You also have to decide if you want to specialize in art or if you want to learn it all. And, make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into, which can be hard for someone coming right out of high school."

Michael shares what some of his biggest challenges are.

"As a storyboard artist, my constant struggle is figuring out style over substance and balancing the two. Balancing style over substance can depend on the client or what project you are working on. Another one of my struggles is the turnaround time because you want to make sure that what you create looks professional and stylized. It also has to read correctly and fast to be sure the story comes across."

- Michael Gable Marynell

He also shares with us what his job consists of as a storyboard artist.

Michael Gable Marynell: "In my opinion, storyboard artists are the first line of defense for productions, and we’re usually the first people to make visuals from a script or an idea that influences the final form. There’s a saying that says, ‘story is king.’ And if story is king, then the storyboard artist is the first architect to build the kingdom."

Atlanta Film and TV: Talk to us about the process of creating a storyboard.

Michael Gable Marynell: "Many storyboard artists create storyboards differently, and it also depends on the project and what the client/director wants. I start by reading the script, and then I have a conversation with the director on what it is they're looking for in the shots, so we're visually on the same page. Next, I'll scan them and use them as a visual aide for my digital storyboards, and eventually, it all gets put together in a PDF file to be given to the director for use on set or with select departments. If I'm working on an animatic for a client, then that is a whole added-on process."

Atlanta Film and TV: You have worked on multiple projects, and for someone who may not know, how long does it take for you to create a storyboard for each project? For television, are storyboards created episode-by-episode, or are all storyboards created before filming starts?

Michael Gable Marynell: "That all depends on how quickly the client needs the storyboards. The quicker the artwork is needed, the less detail and looser it'll be. If the shot is complicated with a lot of lines, action, or characters, then it’ll take longer and depends on the details. Storyboards for television are usually created episode by episode. However, some productions hire multiple storyboard artists so that production can have a plan sooner."

Atlanta Film and TV: Season 2 of Raising Dion is currently filming in Atlanta. I know you can’t speak a lot on that, but were you a storyboard artist for the upcoming season?

Michael Gable Marynell: "Unfortunately, the current above-the-line people aren’t the same as from the first season. There’s a different Executive Director, and Netflix has a different Executive Producer. I am, however, currently working on a big T-Pain project for his upcoming album. Not only is this a new experience, but I’m also having a blast working for him!"

Atlanta Film and TV: COVID has brought about a paradigm shift over the past year, and technology is being used in the entertainment industry in ways we hadn’t imagined before. Due to how content is now being created, produced, and distributed, in your opinion, how is this advantageous for creatives?

Michael Gable Marynell: "The first thing that comes to mind is Mandolorian, and the way they are filming that show is going to change filmmaking forever. The CGI environments are projected right in front of the actors, so they can have genuine moments and experiences on set, along with using practical lighting and FX in the scenes. Basically, they’re creating an altered reality for both the actors and directors right in front of their eyes, and because of this, it allowed them to film during COVID."

Atlanta Film and TV: Can you talk to us about any upcoming projects?

Michael Gable Marynell: "I’m working with a few local directors, trying to get their directing career off the ground. I’ve worked with directors like John Pruner, and we’ve been working together on the visual for his psychological, sci-fi film. I also will be working back and forth on different storyboard projects, as well as working on some of my writing stuff, along with the project I’m working on with T-Pain."

Atlanta Film and TV: What is one piece of practical advice you would give someone starting out in your field?

- Michael Gable Marynell let's just assume this is someone who knows the technical side of storyboarding down, I’d say to keep practicing, learning, watch movies and TV shows. Find things that work, and by all means, copy them, and put your own spin on it! Keep all your skill sets sharp, and your toolbox filled, and keep adding to it. If you can find an easier and faster way to do something, then learn to work using more complicated software."

Click here for our conversation.

To connect with Michael, be sure to check out his website, and by following him on Instagram @atlantastoryboardsmgm

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