What is a Storyboard?

What is Storyboarding?  According to Wikipedia:

Storyboards are graphic organizers in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence.

The storyboarding process, in the form it is known today, was developed at the Walt Disney Studio during the early 1930s, after several years of similar processes being in use at Walt Disney and other animation studios.


As a director, you will need to understand how to visualize the sequences that make up your video, movie, or project. 


How to Draw Storyboards.mp4 (watch the video)

Sample blank story board document

Example of a simple storyboard

Note: If you can not draw, stick figures are fine.


Storyboards will show a Sequence of shots, including

Master shots, and

Storyboarding Tips

Here's a few quick methods for producing fast and dirty storyboards.

1. Keep the area you have to draw small. It allows you to draw much faster. The pictures become more like doodles than works of art. Remember the point is to get an idea of how things will look on screen. Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise) is famous for his Ridleygrams - rough, almost indecipherable sketches that outline what he has in mind.

2. Copy up a set of storyboard sheets so you don't have to spend all night drawing screen boxes. Download a storyboard sheet.
-Storyboard template 1
-Storyboard template 2

3. Sketch in pencil so you can make changes easily, then ink in for photocopying. Feel free to use any medium you are happy with - professional storyboard artists use everything from magic markers to charcoal.

4. Scribble down short notes about what's happening in shot (e.g.. BOB enters) what characters are saying ("Is this it? Is this how...") or sound effects (Roll of THUNDER).

5. An overhead plan view of the location of the camera, actors and light can be helpful if you know the location you are going to be working on.

6. Number your shots so that they can be quickly referred to on the shot list and during editing.



Now it is time to create your own Storyboard!

Choose one of the following:

  • A typical morning in your life
  • A scene from the last movie or TV show you watched

As you are coming up with your storyboard, consider the following:

- What is the sequence of shots needed?

- What are the Close-up Shots needed?

- What are the Master Shots needed?

Sequence - Related events, movements, or things follow each other in order
Cutaway - Shot of something extra in the scene, such as a close-up of a person stirring a drink.
Master Shot - Shot that establishes where the character is and what is going on around them