I created these beat boards for a short film project that focused on highlighting the pressures and cruelty of college fraternity hazing rituals.
Two young men start as friends, though their friendship becomes strained as one is clearly accepted into the “pack” while the other is taunted. During an intense moment, the accepted pledge is given an ultimatum and makes a choice that will change both of their lives forever.
This scene occurs later in the film, and depicts a critical moment where the pledge must make a choice. Surrounding him are his future fraternity brothers, chanting and egging him on. The bright and ominous fluorescent lights of a cold school gym at night beam down on him. All eyes are on him and he is thrust into the spotlight as he agonizes over his choice.
The director originally intended this to be an above shot to make him look small, but I suggested this framing from below in order to accentuate the intensity of the moment, and highlight the emotions the actor would be going through. It’s a moment of both helplessness but also great power as the entire plot depends on the choice he makes in this moment.
This board represents a scene that comes earlier on in the film. The frat pledges are all standing in a line, while being forced to drink alcohol. The boy on the far right has drank so much that he’s thrown up, and the frat boys tell him to scoop up the vomit and drink it again. Our hero at center is concerned for his friend, and wonders whether he should step in to defend him or not.
This frame indicates a breaking point in the film, where our pledge who has been teased and taunted throughout the story finally stands up for himself… or at least he tries to.
Smugly, the frat bro looks down on him. He knows that there is a bigger plan in place for those who step out of line…
Overall I enjoyed working on this project. The tension between the characters and the buildup of the plot were both very interesting to explore visually. These beat illustrations are a bit exaggerated from what you might see in the final film, but I think they succeeded in representing the mood and emotional content of these moments. This film recently reached its production fund-raising goal and will hopefully begin production soon.
Sometimes before I get started working on a job, I will do little doodles or illustrations on my own just to experiment with the ambiance. Here is a preliminary sketch I made before getting to work on the main concept art. You can see how the character design slightly changed, and the illustration style shifted a bit.
Need storyboards, beat boards, key frames, or concept art? Contact Lee at email@example.com for a quote.