Who I am
Hi, I’m Jean-Yves Chasle.
I started studying moviemaking on my own in the 80’s. Back then, I was contemplating a career in the film industry and started storyboarding any movies I could record on VCR. No internet at the time, no available books on the subject for a teenager living in the French countryside. So I started to teach myself moviemaking by pausing videos long enough to draw what was on the screen. Unexpectedly, storyboarding made me realize that I was more interested in telling stories visually than actually making movies as a job. But a career as a storyboard artist was unknown of in France at the time, the movie industry didn’t seem to need that.
So with the advent of the first home computers, I decided to program video games instead. The first one I made was published, which steered me towards scientific studies. I ended up being a mathematics teacher, and boy did I love that job! I spent years teaching science, and started developing along free educative computer programs. Year after year, I found myself working more as a software engineer for the National Education administration than actually teaching. And one day, I realized I was bored with my job. I decided to put my career aside and go back to my first love: storyboarding.
After a year of refreshing my personal work in the field, I started thinking of opening a blog as a means to put together my self-taught ‘knowledge’ like a diary. Not only for my own use but for anyone who would be interested in reading it and — why not — sharing his/her own opinions with me. Or even just correcting my wonky English!…
And here you are! Welcome to my blog!
How to use this blog
Anything you will read in this blog comes from my own observations, not from film schools or books. Now that extensive literature is available in the field, you will inevitably end up reading here about techniques that have been published, and indeed I will quote books, web sites and DVD bonuses occasionally. But I have never come across many of these observations anywhere else though. When I find something that has some emotional echo in me, I just pore over the footage until I Eureka! And as a matter of fact, I do watch a lot of movies. So this is all it boils down to, a collection of visual storytelling tricks, taken from many films, that made me tick to the point of calling them techniques.
Every single technique I explore here is a landmark to me. But beware of the trap. You should never learn them for what they are but for what they can bring to you. A technique is just a dead effect unless you can use it creatively. Try to develop the habit of envisioning different cases in which that effect could add to your story. Imagine where and when a movie that you like could put it at good use, especially if it didn’t. Imagine a scene using that effect properly, different from the example you have read. This is how I have improved my visual storytelling abilities. Eventually, your style will take shape, enriched by neat and proven techniques that you can pop, drop or derive appropriately.
Keep children safe (KCS)
In my opinion, no children should have to come across shocking contents in order to learn about storytelling, even though many great techniques do come from violent movies and are especially efficient in that context. I consider it my responsibility to avoid by any means showing offending contents just because it efficiently demonstrates an effect. In that case, I will do my best to choose alternative screenshots demonstrating the same effect.
But sometimes, it is just not possible to find a substitute, because the effect is inherently related to violence. Or merely because I don’t have any other resources to showcase the effect. In this case, I will just draw the incriminated shots like a storyboard and display the drawings instead. Finally, if you think that one screenshot or film snippet already published in this blog could represent an infringement to the ‘KCS rule’, please send me an email.
You may have noticed that links to Blu-rays and DVDs have now been added to the Recommended Watching sections. As an affiliated member of www.amazon.com, these links will hopefully help me get a small percentage of the sales if you decide to click on a title and buy it from Amazon. At least, this should help you spot the right ‘version’ of a movie — as remakes sometimes conflict with original releases — or get hold of a specific episode from a TV series.
If for some reason you want to contact me by email, well here it is: