Storyboarding: A Simple Guide for an Amazing Video

 

“I’m not an artist, how do you expect me to make a storyboard?!?”

Let’s get the first point out of the way: you don’t need to be good at drawing to make a storyboard.

Stick figures will work fine, they just need to show perspective (camera position) and composition (scale).

Level Set Films. How to create a storyboard for your videos.

The storyboard is your roadmap to the entire production process, without it, you’re lost. And being lost costs money and wastes everyone’s time.

This article will show you how to create a storyboard for your video everyone can follow.

You need your script to start storyboarding, read this article about how to write a script that actually converts.

Alright dude, let’s get on with it...

Let’s talk about STRUCTURE. Sir yes sir!

Each scene should include these three building blocks:

  1. Line from script
  2. Location
  3. Drawing

A 2 minute video should be about 20-25 scenes and each scene should have one line of script. You need to keep the viewer’s attention with short clips, so each scene should be about 5 seconds or less (a change of scene can be as simple as another camera angle).

Quick tip: if you can tell the story visually without the line of script, do it. Your audience is smart, they’ll get what you’re trying to say. Show don’t tell.

The sharpest TOOLS in the shed.

All that’s needed is a box to draw and lines for text.

There are plenty of tools out there, like this 8 panel storyboard template or this article about how to use PowerPoint to create a storyboard.

But tools are just that, tools. What’s more important is the process.

The 6 step PROCESS to killing it every time.

Want to hit it out the park? Follow this:

  1. Copy and paste each line of your script to each scene of the storyboard (in order).
  2. Print storyboard.
  3. Brainstorm ideas for visuals that more or less relate to the script. Like, if the script says “our adjustable handle make it easy for transportation”, it would make sense to show someone adjusting the handle.
  4. Start sketching with a pencil (erasers are nice).
  5. Delete lines of the script as needed (remember, show don’t tell).
  6. Get feedback and rework until happy.
Quick tip (from my copywriter friend Kevin Turner):
"Think about scale. Do I want to use a wide shot in the very beginning to establish where the story is set? Do I want to use any closer shots during the dialog to draw the viewer in and make them feel they’re part of the conversation?"

Wrapping it up, with 3 main points...

  1. Storyboards are necessary! Would you start driving your car without a destination? Probably not.
  2. Use your script as a guideline but don’t be afraid to kill your babies. Try to tell the story visually.
  3. Think about perspective and scale. Wide shots give the viewer more information about the scene and close-ups add a little mystery. Use both.

So what are you waiting for? Get started on your storyboard and make the production process a whole lot easier.

What’s been your experience with storyboards? Would love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

Lance Miller

Level Set Films, San Francisco Bay Area

Lance Miller is a filmmaker and owner of Level Set Films, a video production company in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also teaches what he's learned about business on his site Freedom Everything.