Storyboard: What Is It In Film Making?

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Storyboarding is a crucial part of the filmmaking process, allowing filmmakers to visually plan out their shots and scenes long before production begins. Storyboards serve as a blueprint for the entire production, from pre-production to post-production, and are a great way to ensure consistency in what is filmed.

In this article, we’ll explain what storyboarding is, how it works, and its benefits for filmmakers.

What is a storyboard

Definition of a storyboard

A storyboard is a graphical representation of a film sequence and the way in which the scene will be shot. It typically consists of drawings or images, arranged alongside a written script, that outline the key frames for each shot. The storyboard is then used during the pre-production phase to ensure all elements come together smoothly on set. This also reduces any potential misunderstandings between filmmakers, as well as helping them plan budget and time schedules.

Storyboards are often used in animation, television, commercial advertising and feature films. They may just include rough sketches or be fully colored images with annotations. The purpose of a storyboard is to give filmmakers a better understanding of how each scene will look onscreen and help them determine how to bring their vision to life through the use of different cameras, lighting, props and other elements.

Storyboard Components

A storyboard is an essential visual tool used in filmmaking and video production. It is essentially a series of sketches or illustrations that demonstrate how a story will unfold on the screen. A storyboard typically includes details about each scene, including the order of the scenes, the action, the dialogue, and the overall look and feel.


Let’s look at the details of each storyboard component:


Storyboard scenes are the basis of a storyboard, and each one should contain enough information to explain what will be shown in a particular moment of the film. Depending on the level of detail that is needed, some scenes may only contain two sketches, such as a sketch of a person’s face above a written description. Other scenes may include even more detail if necessary, such as character descriptions and physical descriptions (such as clothing colors or sets).

In general, each storyboard scene is meant to be an organized representation of what will happen in the shooting sequence. These scenes can be complete with pencil drawings and/or photographs to give an accurate visual representation of what will happen during each shoot. These drawings and photographs should not just depict individual frames, but should also have notes taken down about movement, action and overall purpose.

To provide additional context regarding when in the shooting sequence each scene takes place in relation to other ones, it is important to:

  • Assign specific numbers or labels to each scene in order to easily draw connections between them when it comes time for editing.
  • Take notes about movement, action and overall purpose.


Characters are at the heart of every story. It is through the characters formed on paper and given life on screen that viewers have a chance to connect with a film. That’s why most approaches to creating a storyboard suggest starting with the characters, their backgrounds, and their general motivations for embarking on the narrative journey. It’s also important to consider whether the characters serve as either a protagonist or an antagonist in your film.

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In addition to creating three-dimensional figures, you also want to think about how these stories might be told through body language or facial expressions. With popular arts like animation, this challenging task of interpreting emotion can be made easier through character design –perhaps indicative of a particular era or style. As part of designing characters for storyboarding, it can help visualize them into distinct groups like family members or close friends who influence each other’s actions over time.

As you go through this process, you may draw out certain mannerisms and personality traits that cause your storyboard audience sympathize with the main character(s), while possibly disagreeing with antagonists–strongly reinforcing both sides of your narrative along the way.


Dialogue is one of the key components of a successful storyboard. It tells the story in detail without actually showing it on screen. It describes everything that happens when a character speaks and reveals the relationship between two characters or more. Dialogue conveys mood, tone and the way a scene moves forward, whether it comes from an argument or an exchange of pleasantries. It also hints at events that have gone before or those that may come yet. A good dialogue can bring life to a film and make viewers feel as if they are in the action with the characters instead of just watching it unfold onstage.

Thus, when crafting a storyboard, it is important to include all related dialogue cues for each scene to ensure that all connections between scenes and characters are established properly.


Locations play an important role in film making and form a part of storyboard components. They help set the tone and mood for the audience, and determine where a scene will take place. When sketching the locations in the storyboard, they should appear realistic, while taking into consideration lighting, camera angles and other related considerations.

Locations can be indoor or outdoor depending on the final look desired by the director. A simple line drawing is sufficient to accurately identify what location is being used at each step during filming. It is important to also include any additional information about this specific location such as props, set decorations or any other feature that adds life to your background!

Benefits of Storyboarding

Storyboarding is an essential step in film making. It provides the filmmakers with an organized and visual way of visually mapping out their film, from start to finish. It helps the filmmakers plan out the action, dialogue, and cinematography which makes the production move much smoother and gives them an overall structure for the film.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of using this technique:

Visualization of a Story

Storyboarding is a critical part of any successful film production. It is used to visualize the story scenes and plan out the shots so that the film can be shot quickly and efficiently. This helps save time, money, and reduces post-production headaches. The use of a storyboard also allows directors to effectively communicate their vision to other members of the crew during pre-production and while they are on set. A storyboard can help create a roadmap for the entire production process and make it easier to keep everyone on task.

The benefits of creating a storyboard are numerous, but here are some of the key advantages:

  • Aids in understanding: By drawing out each scene in comic strip layout, everyone involved in the production will have a better understanding about what is going on in each scene visually.
  • Ensures clarity: The visual nature of storyboarding ensures that everyone is working from an accurate version of what the director envisions for each shot.
  • Reduces confusion: With its easy flow of artwork format, people can quickly identify which scene comes next without having to read blocks text or ask questions throughout production.
  • Saves time: By planning all elements (action, camera movement etc.) before filming begins there will be less guesswork during shooting resulting in less time wasted on set corrections or reshoots due to miscommunication or confusion over details that should have been planned ahead of time.
  • Lends credibility: Having a complete previsualization adds credibility to your project and encourages collaboration between crew members who understand their role in achieving success together.

Improved Communication

Storyboarding can help improve communication between filmmakers, actors and crew. By visualizing the script and concept with visuals, everyone involved in the film-making process can easily understand the story, scenes and every moment of action. Without this visual aid, miscommunication can occur from project to project or from scene to scene because some may not be familiar with or misunderstands certain terms used in the script and during production. Having a storyboard in place allows everyone involved to get on the same page and make sure that everyone’s understanding is compatible.

Storyboarding also helps those involved develop a clear understanding of the timeline of events for each shot, which provides important information for mapping out how much time will be occupied by which scenes. Additionally, storyboards also aid in making sure that each budget item is accounted for according to planning – such as props and locations that may need to be sourced or commissioned before filming begins. They can also work as great reference points when it comes time to edit your final product.

Reduced Production Costs

One of the primary benefits to storyboarding is cost savings. Production costs can be reduced when the storyboard is used to guide the production by predicting potential problems in pre-production. The extensive pre-planning involved in designing a storyboard uncovers potential areas that may need extra attention on set, such as props, special effects and camera setups. This reduces or even eliminates costly days re-shooting due to problems with prop choices, special effects and lighting that are realized after filming has already begun. In addition, since much of the setup for filmmaking is done before filming even begins, more use is made of each day during production – saving money on scheduling too few or too many shoot days.

In its simplest form a storyboard depicts written descriptions and illustrations of each scene with its associated dialogue, camera movements and other creative details which makes it easier to follow during shoots without wasting time trying to figure out what should be happening next. Storyboards also reduce creative disagreements between team members during production by providing a single source reference for all team members to look at that spells out exactly what is supposed to take place in each sequence.

These plans remain as an archived reference that can be referred back to if necessary throughout the development process – ensuring everyone is on board with their role and objectives throughout production.

Storyboarding Process

Storyboarding is one of the most important steps in the film-making process. It helps directors and other film crew to visualize the sequence of the project and plan out each scene. It is also used to communicate the overall story structure to the cast and crew. Generally, storyboarding is used for any kind of video or film production, regardless of size.

Let’s take a closer look at the storyboarding process:


Once a script or treatment is written, a storyboard explains the visual elements of each scene. Storyboarding is an efficient way to plan out the flow of your film and work through any changes that need to be made before filming begins.

The process typically begins by brainstorming ideas for shots and composing them in the Storyboard Creator. Brainstorming allows the storyteller to come up with creative solutions for visual problems within their film by considering not only what needs to be seen but also how characters should move through scenes, where actors should stand and how tone will be conveyed with props and set design. Once these initial concepts are developed, they can then be put into motion and manipulated as needed until they match the vision of the storyteller.

Once a sequence has been defined, directors can use camera angles, depth cues and framing techniques to bring their scenes alive – all of which are easier to plan out through a detailed storyboard ahead of time. By regularly reviewing their storyboards before shooting each scene, filmmakers will have a better understanding of how their shots will fit together when it comes time for editing.

The better prepared directors are from the start – working out important details like camera angles and shot logistics during pre-production – the smoother post-production will run when it comes time to piece everything together in the film studio.


At the sketching stage of storyboarding, the idea for the film is broken down into a series of distinct shots. Each shot needed to tell the story is drawn and composed on a separate page in the storyboard book. Using thick marker pens, thin pencils or vivid colors, sketches are drawn out to show what will happen during this part of your film.

Storyboard artists may draw characters, props and outlines that are specific to that moment in time, while they can also depict any special effects you want incorporated into your scene. Having a visual representation of each shot in your film helps immensely when it comes time to shoot.


Once the storyboard is complete, the storyboard artist will deliver it to the client, who may then request changes. At this stage, important plot points may be changed or adjusted – character motivations and pacing are often subject to revisions. If a scene doesn’t accurately portray what’s needed for the narrative or looks too crowded or confusing, it might be edited or outright redone. The key is for everyone involved to ensure that the end product reflects what is on their minds.

When making revisions to a storyboard, consider making subtle changes instead of drastic ones. Even if a part isn’t 100% accurate what the director is looking for, minor edits can still help bring out their desired vision without having to start from scratch. It’s also important to think about taking away visuals that are unnecessary so that the audience isn’t distracted – less can truly be more!

For instance, if a director wants more emphasis on one character but doesn’t want every scene featuring them exclusively; breaking up shots with other supporting characters can help introduce new perspectives and highlight relationships you hadn’t noticed before – leading you towards more creative decisions. The same goes for editing time length; just by shortening particular scenes can add some visual impact while remaining within your narrative structure. Revising your storyboarding process has never been so important in order to present great visual storytelling.


Finalizing the storyboard involves two main steps: checking accuracy and getting feedback.

  1. Go through the storyboard from beginning to end and make sure that all drawings are accurate with regard to direction, proportions, and movements. Make sure that medium shots are portrayed correctly and close-ups accurately convey emotion or dialogue. Ensure that camera angles convey the correct perspective and make adjustments as needed.
  2. It is important to discuss the storyboard with relevant personnel who may have valuable insight or suggestions for improvement. Depending on your budget, this could include actors, production staff members, directors, or even other artists such as animators who can provide feedback about layout and movement. Encourage open dialogue; this could improve storytelling, prevent potential mistakes down the line, save time or money on set or during editing stages when changes would be more costly. Listen to suggestions but maintain artistic control over changes that are made; never sacrifice artistic integrity in order to appease a team member with a conflicting opinion.


Having a storyboard in place for each scene is an essential element to successful filmmaking. It provides the crew with an opportunity to visualize the film before production begins and ensure the final product looks professional and polished. Additionally, it increases efficiency among the team and saves money by reducing reshoots caused by miscommunication or errors in interpretation.

The process of constructing a storyboard can feel like a daunting task, but with practice, it can become second nature for filmmakers. At its most basic, creating a storyboard is about taking an idea and turning it into visuals that every person on set can interpret. By breaking down the concept into individual pictures and framing them into their rightful place, filmmakers can begin to see the bigger picture –– literally –– giving them insight into what may have been inconceivable before drawing out their visual idea.

Ultimately, the work exerted during the pre-production stages pays off; when done correctly, filmmakers have laid out all of their creative elements pieces so that everyone knows how their role fits in within this environment of collaboration.

Hi, I'm Kim, a mom and a stop-motion enthusiast with a background in media creation and web development. I've got a huge passion for drawing and animation, and now I'm diving headfirst into the stop-motion world. With my blog, I'm sharing my learnings with you guys.