Explainer Tip: Creating Simple Storyboards

A storyboard is a visual tool that allows a production team or director to develop their vision more fully before filming or animation begins. Today, the storyboard can be used for a variety of purposes: from documentaries to cartoons to class presentations or indie filmmaking…there are many ways to use a finished storyboard to communicate your vision to others. Getting your storyboard organized and cohesive enough to resonate with your production team or audience is the key to making the most out of all your hard work…but how do you start? If you want help to conceptualize your film, find a storyboard artist for hire to organize your story.

Keeping it simple is important; first, you must develop your vision for the project, frame by frame. In the past, sketches and outsourced art added expense and bother to crafting storyboards. Today’s pro directors often nip this problem in the bud by opting for designer software that helps them create storyboards independently, without outsourced drawings. Since digital storyboarding software such as Storyboard Artist has pre-loaded drawings, characters, background, and special effects, it makes it possible for directors to get a good result in mere minutes. It also takes the drama of dealing with “live” artists out of the equation.

However you decide to craft your storyboard, you should start simply – use pictures and text to map out your camera shots or ideas, and make sure your script flows well before getting your ideas on camera. By mapping out angles, “marking” actors or characters positions in each scene, and adding dialogue, music and other essentials (old-school storyboard require a lot more effort than today’s digital storyboards), you can begin to develop a timeline that helps you organize your production.

If you’re crafting a storyboard for a classroom or group presentation, you can concentrate on making sure every important talking point or fact is organized and easy to understand. By creating a simple storyboard for your target audience, you can help them to process more information. Using visual cues to make a story easier to understand is a time-honored tradition – for years, ad agencies have relied on storyboards to show their ideas to clients before closing a new account. Today, many ad agencies opt for digital software – it tends to pay for itself in terms of user-friendliness and speed. As well, a digital production seems far more modern and pulled-together.

Once you’ve mapped out your basic shots and dialogue, you can begin to refine your ideas before filming or showing your storyboard to others. Think about ways to make your vision fresh and unique. Consider pacing, tone, music, camera work (hand-held or tripod? etc.) and what sort of actors or actresses you’ll be looking for. There are many details to be considered, and it’s easy to sort things out with a simple storyboard as a visual guideline.

The reason people decide to use storyboards before a production or group presentation is pretty basic – it’s just easier to deal with the subject matter when it’s organized and laid out for public consumption. Rather than storing lots of information in your head and trying to explain to others (who may not see your vision as easily as you do), you are better served by showing others what you want and what you plan to create. Without a simple storyboard that combines text, images, and angles, your vision can be difficult to “translate” to an audience, investors, or a film crew.

When you’re putting together a storyboard, be sure to concentrate on framing, blocking and where the focus of each scene will lie. If you’re storyboarding for film or cartoons, always consider the motion of your characters. Their movements should be indicated throughout your frame-by-frame breakdown of the plotline.

In order to grasp the concept of storyboarding, consider your own vision as though it were a strip from your favorite comic book. By imagining your story or presentation in this linear format, you can better visualize the action before you begin to storyboard. Representing three-dimensional action in a 2-D environment can be a little daunting – consider digital storyboarding software for a better result. When today’s high technology joins with your vision for the script, you can expect a polished result that pops.

Getting started with a simple storyboard can encompass many preparations – from sketching rough scenes in a notebook, to gathering your team and brainstorming…or scouting locations and imagining the action you’re going to capture on film…there are lots of ways to get creative before the process begins. Allow yourself to have fun with it! Don’t get too stressed out about making your storyboard perfect – especially if it’s your first one! If it’s really important to put together a perfect depiction of your presentation or production – you should probably consider going digital. Surf the Net to look for free demos of programs like Storyboard Quick to see how much work this type of software can take away!

As you become more adept at creating storyboards, you may want to add other elements to make your presentation impressive. Special effects and music…creative camera angles and cropping…all can be played with when you choose digital software. If you’re working with old-fashioned Bristol board and post-it-notes, try to ensure your artwork and layout are the very best they can be.

With storyboarding, even in its simplest form, “God is in the details”. You should consider your storyboard an opportunity to mull over every aspect of the production you are planning. Organizing shots etc. will help to focus your mind on what you have to do. For a production with a budget and schedule, a storyboard is not really optional. Pro directors make sure their storyboards are detailed, effective, and very easy to understand. Then, they use their artistry and their ability to think big when they transfer their storyboards to actual film.

Plotting things out with a simple storyboard can save time and money – even digital storyboard software that might seem pricey tends to pay for itself due to its efficiency and the polished end result it gives. Consider moving into the future with high-tech storyboarding software that takes the pressure off!

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