Storyboards for Oracle “Java Life” Rap Video



In August 2011, I get a call from the production team at motion graphics studio L Inc in San Francisco.  They had been hired to create a rap video about Java for Oracle’s JavaOne Show in September.  It was an ambitious and fun idea. I was given a script and some character sheets with proposed looks for every character in the video. After some initial emails and a conference call to set the expectation for deliverables, I walked through the script with director Adam Patch over the phone.

Script Sample for Java Life Rap Video

Script Sample for Java Life Rap Video

The process is rather simple. First, in real time, while reviewing the script with the director over the phone, I created quick thumbnail sketches in ballpoint using my 16:9 thumbnail sheets. I then use these notes to create more details pencil thumbs. These were then scanned and sent for approval. In another phone meeting we review the sketches and make final adjustments.

Java Life Oracle Rap Video Storyboard Thumbs

On the left are quick ballpoint sketches I created in real time while walking through the script with the director over the phone. On the right column is the penciled thumbnail sketches that I sent to the director to get approval for final, full sized pencil frames.

I then moved on to finished pencils using my 16:9 two up template which are then scanned at delivered as 300 dpi JPGs. The storyboard was used to get a sign-off on the video concept from Oracle and then used as a shooting board for the video. Below is how it all came out. It was a great pleasure to see how close my boards match the final shoot and how accurate my envisioning of the main character turned out to be.

Java Life Storyboard Frame Cleaning Glasses

I love this drawing. The hands came out perfect. I used my partner as a model as it was so hard to picture in my head what cleaning glasses looks like from this angle.

Java Life Storyboard Frame Chair

Just kickin’ it in the Aeron chair.

Java Life Storyboard Frame Lead Character Posing Server

In your face in the server room.

Java Life Storyboard Frame Cubicle Party

Pretty close. Pretty darn close.

Java Life Storyboard Frame Breakdancing

Drawing a decent break dancing pose it a bit of a challenge as breaking is really about movement and our perceptions of what it looks like is really a composite of our memories.

Java Life Storyboard Frame Whispering in Ear

Subtle body movements are much harder than action shots. A man whispering in a woman’s ear could easily look like throwing up or a karate chop if you’re not careful.

Java Life Storyboard Frame Posing in Cubicle

Throwing some attitude in the cubicle.

Java Life Storyboard Frame Group Posing

Yo, whatsup?

Java Life Storyboard Frame Tatto Fists

Bingo! Although the the tattoo slogan did change from script to final shot.

Want to hire a storyboard artist? Then call me (Clay Butler) at 831-566-3046 or try Email

File Under: Black and White Storyboards for  Music Video, The making of the Oracle “Java Life” Rap Video, Breaking Down a Script for Storyboarding

Check out the behind the scenes “making of” video and see my boards at 1:16 into the  video.

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