"It's Cartoon Sunday!" -- Storyboarding with Jeff DeGrandis


“It’s Cartoon Sunday!” said Animation Director and Producer, Jeff DeGrandis. On February 23, the Center hosted a storyboarding class; everyone picked up their Blackwing pencils, their storyboard sheets, and unleashed their inner cartoonist.The class was taught by Jeff, a long time friend of Chuck Jones. Back in the 1980s, from his little dorm room at CalArts in Valencia, Jeff gave Chuck a call. The next day, he received a call back, and to his excitement, Chuck invited him over and said, “We’re going to draw!” From then on, Chuck became Jeff’s mentor, and now, he is a current board member for the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity.

The class Jeff taught this past Sunday was an introductory storyboarding class, and we were joined by people of all ages and skills.  He began the class by explaining, “Storyboarding is one of those aspects of filmmaking that takes your film from the deep, dank, and dark recesses of your imagination and brings it to life.” More literally, storyboarding is the creation of a visual script; one that allows you to go on an adventure with the characters of the film.

Jeff prepared an original screenplay “Spaced out Mutts,” which featured two dogs and the dilemmas that came with their dreams to become astronauts. The story gave the students an easy place to start; however, Jeff left the ending unfinished so everyone could invent their own.

Each student did it different, and that was his goal – to make each student’s unique story come to life. He said the greatest thing about storyboarding is that, “you’re the cameraman, actor, set designer, and planner.”