What is a Storyboard and Why Should you Use One?
Something you’ll realize quickly when you’re first starting to plan out your film’s storyline is how many moving parts go into your story. With so many ideas running around in your head, it can be difficult to see how all of these pieces will come together to form one cohesive and attention-grabbing story.
As such, it is beneficial to use a storyboard when you’re laying out your story so you can see all of your ideas together in one place.
If you’re interested in storyboarding but worried about how that process will fit into your budgetary restrictions, check out all of our funding opportunities for your chance to win up to $10,000 in funding and other prizes for your film!
If you think storyboarding might be the perfect next step for your film but you’re still not quite sure what it is, let’s break it down.
What is a Storyboard?
A storyboard is a visual way of breaking down your story. Your storyboard will be broken down into boxes and will condense your story down linearly so you will be able to visually see how your story will progress and how time will pass in your film.
In each box, you will hand draw what you want to happen in each shot, and while you do not have to stick concretely to your storyboard when you’re filming, this will provide you with a solid rough draft for your film.
Each box will also include a description of the shot. Like, if there is dialogue, it will be there, and if there is action, it will be listed. The camera angles and/or camera movements will be listed as well, which will underscore to crew how a preceding shot connects to its succeeding shot.
StudioBinder describes a storyboard well: a storyboard ‘sketches out how a video will unfold, shot by shot’.
Why Use a Storyboard?
Storyboards have many benefits. As we’ve already discussed, storyboards help you to see all of your ideas in one place.
Additionally, since your storyboard is broken down into individual boxes, it is easy to isolate each box to hone in on exactly what you want to see in each shot and what you want your audience to take from each shot.
Furthermore, if you utilize a storyboard before you begin filming, you will be able to more easily plan out things like your camera angles, what sets or locations you need, what actors you will need and when, and the types of effects you will need.
Additionally, storyboarding will help you to make sure that your story and its progression make sense.
The bottom line is, storyboarding will help you be better prepared for when production actually begins.
We’ve said this, but it’s worth saying again: mistakes happen on set and changes need to be made during production. That is not to say that storyboarding will help to prevent these mistakes or changes from needing to be made, but if you have a solid plan going into production, you will be better prepared and potentially be able to solve problems before they even become problems.
Different Types of Storyboards
We understand that storyboarding can be both costly and time consuming and you might question its worth if you’re only making a short film or a commercial. As such, there are different types of storyboards you can construct.
This is the type we’ve already gone over; the collection which depicts, shot by shot, what your film is going to look like.
Rather than illustrations, a shot list will be a document that describes, shot by shot, what is going to be filmed.
It will describe to you what actions are going to take place, what actors will be in the shot, and where the shot will take place.
A shot list is particularly helpful when planning out your budget since your production team will be able to see exactly what is necessary to acquire for your film and they will be able to see all of this information in just one place.
Moodboards are collections that create an aesthetic for your film. This could include quotes you think encompass your film, color palettes, and/or illustrations.
If you would like to learn more about moodboards, check out one of our previous blog posts about moodboards.
A sceneboard is a platform which dedicates one box/illustration to each scene in the film.
A story arc is a written outline of your film which details the main plot points in your film, and after reading it, your crew members will be aware of the overall theme of your piece.
What Type of Storyboard is Best?
There’s technically no correct answer for what method of storyboarding is best; you could do all of those methods or pick just one. Your decision can, and should, vary from project to project.
For example, if you’re creating a television series, you should probably begin by making a shot list, then begin sketching out your ideas.
If you’re working on a high-budget, feature film, you should probably craft the most detailed storyboard as possible and consider other methods as well, like a story arc and shot list.
Similarly, it would be beneficial to create at least a shot list if you’re creating a commercial and would most likely be beneficial to create an entire storyboard as well.
Even though storyboarding is a tedious task and can seem quite daunting for someone who is nervous about their artistic abilities, it really does play a crucial role for your entire cast and crew.
After seeing your storyboard, your entire crew will be knowledgeable about what their role is to play during filming, whether that’s camera angles, lighting, or even special effects.
If you want to do more reading on storyboarding, check out one of our previous blog posts entitled Do I Need to Storyboard My Film?
If you think this is something that you want to do for your film but you know you’ll need funding for it, check out all of our contests for your chance to win up to $10,000 to put towards your upcoming film.