Storyboard planning in three easy steps

Storyboarding is fundamental when aiming to make your creative vision a reality. Storyboarding involves visualising shots in your head and the drawing pictures of them to show to other people what you would like to achieve. It is useful because let’s people see your vision clearly.

Here are a few steps on how to plan and create your storyboard.

Step 1: The Screenplay

Before you can think about planning your storyboard, you need a script, or in precise terms a “Screenplay”. The screenplay isn’t just dialogue, it also thoroughly describes actions taking place, the setting, environment and other key factors. A screenplay should be objective, as it is explaining what is happening in your video.

Once you have written a screenplay, you need to score it. Break down each section of the screenplay and treat them like shots. Draw each part you have split-up into a picture showing what visualise the shot should look like.

This is an easy task considering screenplays are purely descriptive.

Step 2: Draw

Once you have scored your screenplay and selected shots, it’s time for you to draw them up.

We know what you are thinking:

“What if I can’t draw?

“Are stick figures ok to use?”

Your drawings don’t have to be good; they just need to communicate what you want. A small piece of advice is to stay away from using stick figures in your story boards. It is hard to create a three-dimensional environment with stick figures. It is also essential to stay away from them because they misrepresent how the frame is filled up.

Regular human beings aren’t stick thin and will take up much more space in the frame. It’s vital that your storyboards retain some sense of realism. Otherwise, it will confuse the others that view it. Remember the whole point of a storyboard is to communicate your vision to other people clearly.

Step 3: Piece Together

Placing your storyboard in order is crucial. The shots don’t need to be kept in the same order they were written in. Sometimes, changing the order of the shots can drastically improve your message or present your idea in a more precise way. However, in saying this, make sure that your storyboards stay in chronological order.

If your storyboard is all over the place, it won’t make sense to the person viewing it, which can muddle your idea or tell a different story to what you intended.

When piecing together your storyboard, label each board clearly. You should draw arrows to symbolise movement or a line of action. You should also mark what type of shot it is for future reference. For example, it could be a Middle Close Up (MCU) or Close Up (CU) or wide-shot (WS). Only you know what type of shot it is, so clearly label it for others to understand.