Terminator Salvation Storyboards

by Ted Slampyak on May 21, 2009

in Storyboards

Chase sequence storyboard -- click on image for larger view

Chase sequence storyboard -- click on image for larger view

With the premiere of Terminator Salvation this weekend (and the cast & crew screening I went to last night) I can finally begin to go public with some of the work I did on the film.

This is part of a chase sequence I drew for the film. I assume it’s okay to publicize, since it’s shown rather prominently in The Art of Terminator Salvation (available at Amazon — just click on title). It’s on pages 110 and 111 — but they went top-to-bottom first, not left-to-right, so be warned.

This sequence, though it’s supposed to take place near Griffith Park Observatory, was filmed in the foothills of the Sandia mountains, just a mile or so from Jennifer’s parents’ place. The whole film was made around here, using many local landmarks like the Taos gorge bridge, the Very Large Array and the Albuquerque Rail Yard, making it at times look like the highest-budget home movie in history.

Much of this storyboard sequence is different in the final film. For instance, it’s a day scene now, not night. Storyboards are just as important to directors and cinematographers in deciding what to change as in deciding what to keep, and as a springboard for new ideas.

I was always asked to add my own ideas into sequences if I thought they’d add to them. The scanning sequence, above, with the wire-frame look to it, was my idea, and in the final film they do something somewhat similar. There are other moments in the final film that were completely my contribution — extremely small things, but they’re there, including a really scary moment revealing a threat to the hero. To be able to work with creative people like director McG, DP Shane Hurlbut and head storyboard artist Adolfo Martínez Pérez, who invited new ideas and discussion of story elements, was very rewarding, and a real treat.

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chilejack May 22, 2009 at 9:24 am

Very cool , Ted. I’m looking forward to the movie!

Dave Gold May 28, 2009 at 9:17 am

PLEASE tell me you’re getting some kind of kickback from your stuff being “in print”!

And are you able to not only show your stuff now, but sell it (should the interest arise)?

Haven’t seen the film yet (heck, I only just got to see STAR TREK with Jeanne on Tuesday), but we’ll have to check it out!

Ted Slampyak May 28, 2009 at 9:32 am

Nope. The movie people paid me handsomely — very handsomely — for my work, which was a total work-for-hire situation. They own everything I did, and can do with it whatever they please. It’s only a matter of professional courtesy on their part to allow me to show the boards here, since I’m only doing it for promotional purposes.

I suppose if I still had some of the original artwork I might be able to sell that, with the understanding that it doesn’t come with any copyrights, but I don’t have any of it, that I can recall.

trishymouse July 30, 2009 at 6:33 am

All I can say is, having seen the film, it was amazing and to have a chance to thank someone directly connected with it is SO cool! :)

trishymouse July 30, 2009 at 6:35 am

P.S.: I found the mood of the film similar in many respects to the mood of the television series TERMINATOR: SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES in that it was very dark, almost pessimistic (and how could it not be considering the storyline and what the characters had to deal with not only on the grand scale, but even moreso on the personal level…) I was deeply moved at the end of the TV series, thinking they had captured something very special in it…and I felt the same with this latest film in the series. GREAT JOB to all, including you…

Ted Slampyak July 30, 2009 at 8:07 am

That’s really great to hear, Trish. Thanks!

Thanks to the director, McG, I really felt like I contributed to this film far more than I have most films I’ve worked on, and the movie does feel in some small part mine. So I’ll just say, “you’re welcome!”

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