For this exercise I chose the painting Work by Ford Maddox Brown (Manchester City Art Galleries).
The whole painting shows a large number of people all occupied in their own activities. However, taken as separate frames, I was able to invent relationships between the figures and make up a simple narrative.
Frame 1. Impoverished Lord Dean discusses a robbery with his steward. (Voice over the following frames as the participants roles are discussed).
Frame 2. Dick and his men will pose as labourers until the coast is clear. They will transport the paintings and silverware in covered wheelbarrows.
Frame 3. The children are close by ready to break in, act as go betweens and create a distraction if needed.
Frame 4. Molly will maintain the lookout and send word with one of the children if the owners return too soon.
Frame 5. Lord & Lady Vickery leave their town house. The robbery is a foot….
As a story there are obviously some holes in the plot (like aren’t there going to be some servants left at the house) but as an exercise I can see how focusing in on specific details provides a basis for a consecutive narrative. As the frames are taken from an existing painting there are details in each which might be removed if I’d chosen from scratch. I might have left out the baby as plot complication or wanted to see more or Molly’s face for example.