Story board: The Art of Translating Ideas into Stories

“A picture is worth a thousand words” 

There’s a reason why we are highly visual beings and crave perceptible cues. Everything runs on visuals and graphics from films, tv shows, short videos, music videos, tutorials, and even our dreams. Think about it. Today, we document almost everything and store it in the form of a visual diary, aka our phone’s gallery. 

We all feel the need to capture the moment and keep a visual reference for that memory. Similarly, a story board helps you pre-visualize your creation. From Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, to Christopher Nolan, these directors swear by the concept of storyboarding and partake in the storyboarding process themselves.

But before we dive deeper into the enchanting process of storyboarding, let’s understand what a storyboard truly is. 

The Enchanting Realm of Storyboarding

A story board visually represents all the crazy abstract ideas about your next creation running wild in your head. Think of it as a blueprint for your video. 

Apart from having a script at hand, a storyboard allows you to dig deeper into the nuances of storytelling and really ensure that you deliver on your vision and creativity. 

But how does a story board benefit anyone? Well, so far, it’s clear that a storyboard helps visualize your ideas. Beyond that, it gives a clear structure and sheds further clarity on the end result. After all, the end result itself is a visual medium.

Thus, creating a story board will help you transform your thoughts and ideas into graphic material that you can keep referencing during the whole creation process. Phew, now that was a long sentence. 

If you’re still not convinced, let’s start with an example that might tip you over to the other side. Remember those good old school and university days? We were taught to draw diagrams and pictures to support our writing. Why do you think that is? A picture helps put things into perspective and makes it easier to memorize something. 

Visualizing a story will not only allow you to understand your screenplay better but also make changes within your story board in case something doesn’t align perfectly with the bigger picture. 

A Canvas for Storytelling

Image Credits – Storyboard from Lion King, kyokuk

As you can see from the graphic above, here’s a storyboard example from the iconic 1994 film, The Lion King. The image has managed to capture the emotions, environment, placement, and interactions within a single frame. Most times, a storyboard need not be as detailed and well-sketched as this example. 

You don’t need to be a storyboard artist or know how to sketch to create a storyboard. The idea is to be able to translate your thoughts visually and give yourself a reference to the scene. 

Image Credits – Storyboard vs Movie Scene, Knives Out, Bored Panda

For those of you who can’t draw even if your life depended on it, don’t worry; you have options too! Even stick figures and rough outlines are great, to begin with. Or you could even resort to digital story board templates and softwares that will make the process easier.

Let’s Take a Look at This Four-Step Guide to Artful Storytelling

For all the aspiring creators out there with big ideas and a passion for finessing the art of storytelling, we have prepared a four-step guide that might come in handy for the days you feel inspired to fuel your creativity.

Step 1: Planning is Critical

When thinking of a video idea, our brain tends to run haywire, and we end up jotting down random notes onto our phones for reference. But beyond that, it’s essential to have a proper plan and structure in place. 

In order to do that, try thinking of the objective, tone, genre, takeaway, characters, and the placement for your video. Having a structure will only help solidify that killer idea, and honestly, it doesn’t hurt to be a little prepared. 

Once you have your planning in place, it’s time for your inner Picasso to shine through and get to drawing! And as we mentioned before, being an artist is really not a criterion here, so don’t be afraid to revive those preschool drawing classes from your memory.

Step 2: Visualize your Creation Through a Story Board

Once you finalize the planning part and figure out elements such as the setting, characters, style, theme of your video, and sequence, the next step is to grab that pen and paper and get to sketching.

Here are a couple dos and don’ts to ensure that you are storyboarding the right way:

  • Make sure not to neglect the foreground, background, and midground. Just like in the actual shot, draw out the elements that may take up the background of the shot (ex- a bus stop or tree). This will help you deliver the shot with ease.
  • Avoid crowding objects and characters in the sketch. Make sure to account for empty spaces present within the actual scene.
  • Try incorporating gridlines wherever possible. This will give you a sense of the spacing of characters and objects in the frame.

Moreover, don’t forget to have some fun. After all, storyboarding is essentially arts and crafts. 

Step 3: Let your Story board and Script Mingle 

Here’s when you’ll truly start to pre-visualize your video. Adding your script notes to each scene is a great way to ensure that your story board aligns perfectly with the actual script. 

Image Credits: Story Board, Pollyzoom

You can do so by adding a comments space or a blank space under each story board scene to accommodate the notes. You can even give yourself some director/cinematographer notes to help you navigate better through scenes. 

Step 4: Revise, Revise & Revise some more.

We don’t want to seem like your professor before every exam, but revision and collaboration are key here. Don’t forget to go back to your story board and review everything to make sure that it aligns with your vision.

If you’re working in a team, make sure to communicate your ideas and go over the story board with them as well. It’s a great way to be on the same page, quite literally.

Step 5: From Paper to Video – Materializing your Story board

So now that you’ve created a story board keeping your vision in mind, it’s time to get to the actual creation process and broadcast your genius for the rest of the world to experience. 

You don’t require expensive production equipment or a whole camera crew to materialize your creation. You can just whip out your smartphone and get to creating. 

Smartphone video making has become easier than ever before. With Rizzle series, you can create your own short episodic series and play around with your ideas and creativity. Rizzle series is the perfect avenue for storytelling and broadcasting your skills for the rest of the world to witness. 

With the numerous features and tools available on the app, you can browse through the ones that may come in handy for your particular series and create a comprehensive story board including all these elements. After all, your series could be the next big thing. So keeping that spirit in mind, try your hand at storyboarding to ensure that your creation is on-point. 

So, now that you have a fair idea of the art of storyboarding, it’s time to put these steps into action and visualize your next big creation. Go download the Rizzle app and explore the endless possibilities of short video.

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