How to Storyboard



1. Why storyboard?

Most people just want to get on with the filming. They sometimes have good idea of what they want; they know what's going to happen and where it will happen. So why not just get on with it?

Because the one thing they haven't done (usually) is think of their film AS A FILM. What makes your work good or bad is not usually (or only) the acting, the locations or the story; it's the camera angles, positions and movements, the editing, the sound and so on, and usually, this is what people HAVEN'T thought about. So, for most people, planning of some sort - storyboarding, usually - is a very good idea.

2. What's the storyboard for?

It's so that everyone knows what they are doing - the cinematographer, the sound engineer, the actors, the director. If everyone knows what they should be doing, filming goes easily. If they don't, it can be a disaster.

3. What does a storyboard consist of?

There are different ways of doing it, but there are certain things you need. Firstly, you need an idea of what camera shots you want. Note, this should be as close as possible to the ACTUAL shot you want.

Coca Cola storyboard

See? The storyboard artist is thinking of SHOTS - birds-eye establisher, then mid-shot to introduce character, then close-up to suggest emotion, then mid-shot to show action and so on. They've also made sure to include the product (Coca Cola) in as many frames as possible.

So, this storyboard would be really helpful to the cinematographer - it tells us exactly what shots are needed. What it DOESN'T tell us though, is whether any camera MOVEMENTS are required.

This is more useful - it uses arrows and text (most people just write a description of the required movement underneath - zoom, or pan, or track or whatever) to tell the cinematographer how to move the camera as well as what actual shot is needed. It also tells the actor what movements are needed (a turn of the head in this case.)

So far, so good. One last thing, though - sound. The storyboard should also give an indication of what sound would be appropriate for each part of the film. (You don't need to write out every line of dialogue!)

oz storyboard
So, in frame 3 here the storyboard designer points out that a 'loud roar' needs to coincide with this particular frame.


So, basically, your storyboard needs to convey three types of information:

ACTION (movement)

VISION (camera shot)

SOUND (um... sound)

4. How do I make the storyboard?

First, find a template. There are plenty to download if you want to start from scratch. Certain programs can help, too. Celtx leads you through the entire process of planning, scripting, shooting - if you're serious about film, it's an excellent resource. A great alternative for designing a storyboard, however, is Comic Life, which you should already have.

Presentation is VERY important. Your pre-production (GCSE students) basically depends on the quality of your storyboard, so it needs to look very, very good. Some of you are excellent artists - make use of your skills. Even if you can't draw particularly well, you can make your storyboard clear and professional (stick men are fine!) It would make sense, however, to use digital photographs rather than drawings in most cases.

Here is a really useful guide to storyboarding, detailing its dos and don'ts (provided by the ever-helpful Mary Hui!).

SCRIPT- An Exemplary script for the webisode from 2012:



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