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A Film Issue

Stiff As A Storyboard

Jerry Parker is a 26-year-old artist who makes a living as an illustrator. Lately, he's been shut away in his studio with some crazy deadline. The job: storyboarding a fuck picture.
September 1, 2009, 12:00am

BY ROYCE AKERS

Jerry Parker is a 26 year old artist who makes a living as an illustrator. You’ll usually find him in his Melbourne studio drawing storyboards for films and commercials or making beautiful drawings for books and magazines. We use him at

Vice

quite a bit because he’s fast, easy going, and really fucking good at it. Then, a few months ago, Jerry disappeared completely. Nobody saw or heard from him for ages, which was a shame because he’s fun to have around. Anyway, it turns out that all that time, he was shut away in his studio with some crazy deadline. The job: storyboarding a fuck picture.

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Vice: Ok, tell us about this porno then.

Jerry:

Well, we in the industry say ‘adult film’.

Oh sorry.

Whatever. This picture is called

Malice in Lalaland

and it’s got Sasha Grey in it. Ron Jeremy is in it too. Basically, it’s a sexy version of

Through The Looking Glass

. It starts with Mal in a mental asylum where she gets molested by the doctors. Then, after getting electro shock therapy, this midget in a bunny costume breaks her out. The rest of it is pretty much a chase flick. Exploding cars, guns, drugs… all the good stuff.

That sounds pretty plot heavy.

Yeah, the company that made this were nominated for four AVNs for their last movie

Hell Is Where The Party Is

. Basically, the director’s motto is to make adult movies that you won’t want to fast forward through.

And hypothetically, if I wanted to fast forward?

There’s a sex scene every 20 minutes.

So how many drawings did you have to do?

Around 700. It took five weeks of working between 10 and 15 hours a day. Pretty intense. I wasn’t going out or anything. My wife actually thought I was getting obsessed with the protagonist.

Sasha Grey

Yeah, she even spoke to her brother about it.

Were you obsessed?

I suppose so. I think I drew like, 400 pictures of her. And the process of storyboarding means you take your hero through the narrative frame by frame. She almost becomes like your own cartoon character. Plus, she’s a cool girl you know?

So really you were just getting protective of her.

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No, I was obsessed. I think I’m over it now though.

What was the process?

Well, after they contacted me and agreed on the quote, they gave me the script and a shot list. I read it a couple of times and made some really loose drawings. Like about five or ten second sketches. Then I had a Skype chat with the director and the cinematographer.

Good guys?

Yeah, really good. The director was just this really normal guy. I met his wife and everything. The cinematographer was nice too but he looked heaps more like a porno guy. He reminded me of Philip Seymour Hoffman in Boogie Nights. The director looked like the guy from Aqua. He had the accent and everything.

Anyway, after we’d talked it all over, I just started working through it chronologically. It’s harder than you think because you’re not just drawing the script, you have to compose scenes in a way that shows the drama and humour of the story. It’s like directing the actual movie, but in your head.

It’s actually quite fun. Once you get a feel for the characters, they develop little mannerisms. Like the supporting character always has a cigarette holder in his mouth, so in the boards, I’d angle it up or down according to his mood. There’s heaps of stuff like that because the gestures have to be really overstated. Just like in a comic.

Just with heaps more genitals.

Right.

How did you get this job anyway?

The director made a shortlist of people he wanted to use and I’d been advertising a lot at the time so he saw my stuff. In the end it was between me and the guy who did the Lion King.

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The adult version?

No the actual one. Apparently they had some reservations about asking a guy who did kids’ movies.

Could be weird. What do people say when you tell them you worked on this?

A lot of people think it’s funny and interesting. Other times it’s sort of a conversation killer. You mention it and they change the subject. Sometimes they just smile and walk off. Maybe I should stop telling people about it.

Maybe. If you had to choose between this project and another job with equal money, which would you choose?

Um, probably this one. The fact that I got along with the director and cinematographer so well made it a good opportunity to tell a story.