When I’ve joined s’UP team (for a totally different position) I didn’t had even a single clue that before making a professional video, there are some necessary steps that need to be done.
One day I was asked to give my feedback regarding a storyboard and by thinking at it, I just discovered how good I am at giving suggestions and explanations. I’ve became more and more attracted about the thinking process behind creating a storyboard. Because I have a background of many years in literature, the fact that I’ve read so many books has developed my imagination, creative thinking and the explanation skills.
Even if you don’t have any talent at drawing or illustrating, you can create storyboards too – more specifically the story-line from the storyboard. In a video production company the team is formed of script writers, illustrators and animators – but they all need one more guy – they need a fresh mind with different ideas. That’s me and this is how I roll with a storyboard
UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPT
At s’UP Production we have a rule that no one, except for the script writer, is allowed to research what’s the business/product we’re going to create a video is about, before we see the script first. If the script is really well written, then we should find out everything about the product/business by simply reading it. If not, we send it back with the questions we have. So first step is reading and understanding the script.
If needed, read it more than 10 times in order to understand very well what it is talking about. At the same time I am writing on separate sheets of paper different key words that I considered to be helpful in creating the entire story. It is very important to understand very well each word and each expression from that script that it was given to you.
BREAK UP THE SCRIPT
Then I divide the script in many parts (we call them ‚slides’). Each sentence of the script can be turned out into a slide. By the time I do this I already start to think about how the animation will look for each sentence. Before writing anything down I start to counter how many seconds each of the slides takes, to be sure we have enough time for the animation. A script can have 15-20 slides; this means that I need to create the ‘stories’ for each slide.
CREATE THE STORY
After the script is break into slides and I’ve countered the seconds for each one, I start the creative thinking process. I am trying to come up with as many ideas as possible for each slide. You should never stop thinking only of one idea for each slide. The chances are that the first idea you have, to be the most common idea that everyone is thinking at. So you have to dig deep, because in this way you have more opportunities to create a better storyboard.
To make the story flows well we have to think each slide in relation with the other. We have to make a sort of continuation of the story. It’s also important to count the transition seconds, but you don’t have to be too precise, this would be clarified later on. Keep in mind to think simple, add some fun situations, create simple scenes with simple animations and don’t create tons of characters, if is not necessary, because you only make the life of the animators harder and extend the turnaround deadline.
BRAINSTORM WITH YOUR TEAM
After you’ve created the story-line of the video, with as many examples as possible, is time to present your ideas to the team. I am trying to be as clear as possible with my explanations.
A key rule that we have is to let anyone present their ideas, without interruptions or negative feedback. We follow this rule because is important to not inhibit or intimidate the speaker, all the feedback is given only after the presentation is over.
The illustrators and the animators will always know what’s working and what is not. Half of the ideas will be thrown away, and we keep only the really good ones. They may come up with their own ideas and we combine everything into the perfect storyboard. After we have a clear understanding of the product and of the storyboard, the illustrator will draw a quick (but detailed) sketch including all our ideas and send it to the client for his initial feedback.
As a conclusion of the article, you can also write storyboards even if you don’t have drawing skills. You only have to be able to tell a good story and be positive. Have fun doing this!