Looking Back at Season Zero (V) – The Storyboard Part 1

Every time I dig through my stash of MacGyver-Reboot-related folders, I stumble over material about the Unaired MacGyver Reboot Pilot, filmed in Spring 2016. I’m trying to put all the necessary information together for interested readers – especially since many of you accidentally landed on my blog after looking for information about it by using search engines.

If you missed previous posts about the Unaired Pilot, here’s a quick overview:


Unaired Pilot Storyboard (via Aaron Sowd)

(Note: If there’s no link to the material I’m writing about, that means either the social media account has been set to private or been disabled or that the material has been deleted.)


What’s a Storyboard?
First, a short introduction into storyboards with the help of this nice article by Vyond. In short, a storyboard is a graphic representation of how your film material will unfold, shot by shot. It’s made up of a number of squares with illustrations or pictures representing each shot, with notes about what’s going on in the scene and what’s being said in the script during that shot. Think of it as sort of a comic book version of a script.

Unaired Pilot Storyboard (via Aaron Sowd)

Storyboarding helps directors, producers and cinematographers to visualize the scenes and find potential problems before they occur. It might have an influence on location scouting and budget planning.

According to Wikipedia, the form of the storyboarding process used today was developed at Walt Disney Productions during the early 1930s.

The Unaired Pilot Storyboard
So far, I haven’t been able to find the Unaired MacGyver Pilot Script. (If you have it, feel free to share it with me *lol*.) But the available excerpts of the storyboard, along with the Teaser Trailer, should give us some pointers about the storyline.

The storyboard for the Unaired Pilot was created by Storyboard Artist Aaron Sowd. He made storyboards for movie projects like “Point Break” (2015) or “Fantastic Four” (2015) and for TV shows like “Fear the Walking Dead” (19 episodes so far), “Zoo” (1 episode) or “Scorpion” (1 episode).

Official Still of the Unaired Pilot (Ron P. Jaffe/CBS)

The Unaired Pilot Storyboard – The Kresson Building
In the excerpt from scenes 31-33, we see MacGyver (Lucas Till) enter the Kresson building. Apparently, Aaron already knew they would be filming in the empty office building on 5551 East Katella Blvd in Cypress (California) since he used photos of the real location in his storyboard. He also added additional information to the drawings, e.g. WS (for “Wide Shot” – if you’re interested in Storyboard Shorthand, you can find a PDF document here.)

The entry hall can be seen in the Unaired Pilot Teaser Trailer and also in one of the three Official Stills with Lucas Till. According to Jeremy Schonwald, it used to be a toy company’s headquarters and is mainly used as a filming location now.

BtS photo of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via Jeremy Schonwald)

They put a “K” symbolizing the company’s logo onto the atrium floor. If you’re interested in this location (it’s a pretty impressive entry hall), you can find 171 pictures of the interior, including offices and bathrooms (and find the contact address to rent the property) here.

MacGyver entering the Kresson building (Screenshot of the Unaired Pilot Teaser Trailer)

The Unaired Pilot Storyboard – Meeting Niles
Inside Kresson, Mac checks in to meet with Niles Cardon. We don’t have much information about Niles – but looking through the available excerpts of the storyboard, he seems to turn out as a bad guy. According to archived cast lists, Niles was played by Sunil Malhotra.

Unaired Pilot Storyboard (via Aaron Sowd)

Niles shows MacGyver his workplace while Mac secretly checks out the security protocol and the position of the cameras – probably to come back for another, not-so-friendly visit. Again, Aaron uses Storyboard Shorthand for more information (CU: Close-Up, OTS: Over the shoulder),

Unaired Pilot Storyboard (via Aaron Sowd)

As you can see, Aaron often creates the same scene twice because usually, scenes of people walking and talking are filmed several times, using different camera positions and therefore different lighting. The storyboard also helps to plan about camera positions and distances in advance.

Unaired Pilot Storyboard (via Aaron Sowd)

If the camera is positioned behind an actor, this means different use of lighting and the help of a Photo Double (additionally to the Stand-In), so it’s good to add it into the storyboard.

Mac noticing the office supplies might be important for a later scene, so with the help of the storyboard, the director can already plan how she/he wants to highlight the items (e.g. first being blurry before getting into focus, zooming out or zooming in).

Unaired Pilot Storyboard (via Aaron Sowd)

In the Teaser Trailer, we can see MacGyver and Lincoln (George Eads) lift prints off Niles’ business card to open a secure area door. So it’s possible that during the first visit, Mac mentally filed away what he could need for entering that room with Lincoln on another day. It’s most likely the camera focused on the items during Mac’s first visit long enough so that the audience would have been able to recognize the items later; imagining in advance what Mac might use them for.

MacGyver preparing to take fingerprints (Screenshot of the Unaired Pilot Teaser Trailer)

While some storyboard artists work with color as well, Aaron uses black and white, but highlights items or people in grey. This scene probably revealse the door to the room MacGyver wants to enter on his own.

Unaired Pilot Storyboard (via Aaron Sowd)


(More Storyboard Info coming soon. You can also check the MacGyverOnline forum for more BtS photos, promo material and info about the Unaired Pilot.)

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