While you are likely to already be familiar with what storyboards are, before you start designing your own storyboards it is worth looking at a range of potential layouts and examples.
To start with, take a look at RocketJump Film School’s explanation as to how storyboards work. While you watch, pay close attention to the idea that while all storyboards visually represent how the final product is expected to look, there is no one agreed-upon way for some aspects of a storyboard to be presented. This is particularly true of the use of arrows in storyboards to either denote character movement or camera movement.
When you are creating your own storyboards, remember that you are wanting to create something so detailed that someone else could come along, pick up your storyboard, and know how to create your film. As RocketJump Film School said above, “conveying information is key, so it’s better to over-explain than to confuse people.”
To give you a sense as to how storyboards look and work, you can surf through a range of professional examples:
- An annotated storyboard from Spongebob Squarepants. Comments have been written on the original storyboard in red.
- A range of storyboards from popular films such as Inception, Jurassic Park, and Psycho.
- More storyboards, including No Country for Old Men, Alien, and Mad Max: Fury Road
- How the storyboard from Monsters Inc compares to a scene from the film.
- A similar comparison of the storyboard and final film from Toy Story. If you are interested, you can also watch the storyboard artist pitch the army man sequence from Toy Story – the very first scene that was storyboarded from that film:
When creating your own storyboards, you have three options. One option is to create all of your storyboard layouts yourself, designing their outline and then using your own drawings or photos as your images. Most students don’t choose to do this though, as there are so many good example templates and storyboarding software online.
Another option is for you to download a storyboarding template that you can then use for your own pre-production. The biggest collection of these is at StudioBinder. If you scroll down the page to the heading ‘Just want a lo-fi, free storyboard template?’, you can enter your email and they will send you a range of storyboard templates. If you’re not a fan of any of those, then the template from Self-Reliant Film or Sonnyboo might be more to your taste.
Remember too that you don’t have to be a good drawer to construct an effective storyboard, as explained by Indy Mogul:
The final option for you is to complete your storyboards online. You’ll need to create your images either by taking photos or drawing sketches that you can then scan in to your computer. Then, you can use the software to easily layout and edit your storyboard. To learn how to do this, head to Creating Storyboards Online.
Other storyboarding pages on Opening Class: