|Stan Fleming in His San Francisco Studio, Feb-28, 1985|
Hear some inspirational stories about storyboard artist Stan Fleming.
Some film artists are iconic and some are inspirational. Stan Fleming, who worked on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was both.
IMDb only lists Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) in his credits. But, not surprisingly it's woefully incomplete. His credits include Hunt for Red October, Ghostbusters II and more.
Here now are three stories about the man, and how he's touched so many lives.
84-year-old Don Pontloch contacted me and told me some heart warming sorties about his good friend Stan. I don't have space to share them all, but here are the highlights.
"Stan was also my inspiration and close friend." Don said, "We met in the army at Fort Belvoir during the Korean War. He introduced me to my future wife and was 'best man' at my wedding in Ct. later on. Our bond was that I had finished 2 yrs. at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts before being drafted and he had studied at the Chicago Art Institute. After discharge he had talked me into studying at the Art Institute on the 'G.I. Bill'. I worked for him part-time in an art studio in the 'Loop' for a while during my 4 school years there. He married one of room-mates of my future wife. Her name was Rachel, (later died), and had a son Bill who became a lawyer.
"He later moved to San Francisco where I found him many years later and had married Mary and they had three daughters. He used to send me samples of some of his storyboard sketches for movies. I was very saddened at his death.
"His suggestion when we first arrived at Fort Belvoir was to send for my art samples as a chance that I could be held back from being shipped to Korea as they may need artists it being a new camp (Formerly Camp Humphries). It worked and so Stan ended up as artist for the Military District of Washington on the opposite side of the camp from me. I ended up with my own art room next the Colonel's office doing training aids, flip charts, booklets,etc."
Finally, Don had this to say about Fleming. "He was always fun to be around...a clown and a tease but gracious and offered his home for the night and drove us everywhere to show us all the attractions the city had to offer."
|Stan Fleming in His Home Studio, Novoto, CA, 1989|
|Stan Fleming's Obituary 03/11/09|
In the book Professional Storyboarding: Rules of Thumb By Sergio Paez, Anson Jew, Benton Jew talks about the impact Fleming had on his art career.
Let's talk about how you broke in. You know, going to school, starting up. How did you got from being a student to where you are right now?
Well, as a high school and junior college student, I had already done a little bit of fredancing here and there for small things. I did some comic books while I was in college—going to art school. I would always show my artwork to different artists and get their advice and while I was studying at the Academy of Art University, I showed my work to Stan Fleming, who was a storyboard artist on films like the second Indiana Jones movie and some other films. And he shared my interest in comic strips and comic books and I showed him some comic book work that I did while he was giving a lecture at The Academy of Art. So he remembered me and recommended me for a job that he couldn't do or didn't have time to do while at ILM and so I was at my last semester at The Academy of Art. They hired me to work on a job. It was a simulator ride called Body Wars as a freelancer. So that's how I got my start working at ILM and then they decided to build a bigger art department, so I was a part of that an department for 13 years.
Now, when you showed them your portfolio, what did you show them?
The thing he remembered was kind of a comic book style thing I did for the Oakland A's. I had done two five-page comic book inserts inside an Oakland A's Magazine and I showed him some of the original artwork and be liked my style. I just grabbed him after he gave his talk and a lot of people were showing their portfolios to him and he remembered my snuff because it was kind of an old style comic strip style. He was a big fan of Stan Drake and I was a big fan of Stan Drake so he apparently remembered me. After that, we became friends later, and that's how I got the job.
Now, you're talking about Stan Fleming. But when you went to ILM what did you show? Did they ask to look at your work or was it purely Stan's recommendation?
Well, it was my last semester in art school, so I had basically shown them what I had done in art school and a few of my freelance jobs. Some of the comic book style samples that I did and some of my school work. Not a whole lot. We did really go through my portfolio that heavily. They could sense that I could draw and do the job.
His daughter, artist Bryana Fleming, talked about how her father impacted her work.
"I suppose my path to becoming an artist began at age nine. It was then that my Dad described the human figure in a series of simple shapes. The head; two eggs, the ribcage; an upside down beehive, the hips; a cereal bowl. He told me the whole body is the length of nine heads. From this point on and even before, I received serious encouragement from both of my parents. Macaroni art and all. They saw something streaming from my left hand onto paper, and recognized it as a gift that I had been blessed with at birth.
"My Dad, Stan Fleming, was a renowned storyboard artist for such films as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Hunt for the Red October, and my Mom, Mary, is a brilliant portrait and fantasy painter. I suppose that I fell somewhere in between. I only began seriously painting in High School, and was encouraged by all of my teachers. I spent four years at the California College of the Arts and in 2004 walked with a BFA in Illustration."
You can see more of her work at Bryanafleming.com
Here are some storyboards from Indiana Jones II, that I can only assume are his.
Images via richartprints.com and ebay.com
Here's a video of storyboards from Ghostbusters II.
What do you think of the designs? Have you ever seen his work? If he's inspired you, please share your story in the comments.