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CGPS Parent and Storyboard Artist Joseph Santiago Talks Filmmaking With 5th Grade Students
Marquis Austin

Last Monday, illustrator Joseph Santiago of Saint James Studios and his business partner Yamilca visited their son's fifth grade Core class with Stefanie Trepper to give a lesson on a crucial aspect of the filmmaking process: storyboarding. A storyboard is “a sequence of drawings representing the shots planned for a movie, television show or commercial,” explained Mr. Santiago, who has worked on commercials for clients such as Google, Apple, Major League Baseball and HBO. On each project, Mr. Santiago collaborates with a director to turn a script into a visual story. “When you’re doing a storyboard, you’re in control of how other people are going to perceive the project,” he told the class. After Mr. Santiago meets with a director to discuss their vision for a project, he works on the storyboards, which eventually serve as a blueprint for the film crew and cast to work from during production.

During a fun segment of his presentation, Mr. Santiago showed the fifth-graders a few different commercials from his portfolio. He asked them to determine what was real and either CGI, a constructed set or some other type cinematic of trickery. Many students were surprised to see commercials that appear real at first glance are mostly fake. For instance, while the plane in this Tina Fey-led American Express commercial Mr. Santiago worked on seems to be 100% authentic, a behind the scenes look proved otherwise. “This is a half a plane that some guy in New Jersey rents out to film productions,” revealed Mr. Santiago to the surprised students.
 
As a bit of parting advice to the students, who will soon be working on films exploring the literary elements of the novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Mr. Santiago told them to make movies that reflect them and their individuality. “I want each of you to make your movie,” he said. By the end of the presentation, Ms. Trepper’s class had a newfound understanding of the power of storyboarding and visual storytelling. 

  • Middle School

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