How Does a Storyboard Work?

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  • Directors in Hollywood have used storyboards for years in order to plan out how they want to shoot a film. In recent years, the storyboard concept has been adopted by not only film makers, but also screenwriters, novelists and business planners. Storyboards range from simple text index cards to highly sophisticated computer software.

The Basic Storyboard

  • A basic storyboard can be made by the use of a corkboard, push pins and index cards. Each index card represents a scene in the novel or screenplay. A general description of the story line is written on each card. The board is divided into three, or sometimes four, sections. By pinning the cards up in order relative to Act One, Two and Three, the entire story can be laid out before writing the first word of the actual story. Four row storyboards split Act Two into separate parts, using the midpoint of the story as a breaking point.

Pictorial Storybord

  • Many writers use hand drawn illustrations or pictures clipped from magazines to visually illustrate their stories on the board. Again, each act is given a separate row on the board and the author places the illustrations in the proper order to see the story unfold. Graphic novelists and comic book writers use a pictorial storyboard to lay out their story and find plot holes or other failings of the story.

Software Storyboards

  • Many software programs for writers now include the ability to storyboard the author's story. Some of the lesser priced programs use basic index card layouts while the more expensive programs allow the use of visuals that can be manipulated according to the users needs.

Dedicated Storyboards

  • As technology advances, so do the options for electronic storyboards especially for film makers. Programs are available that allow the film maker to add in each individual scene or segment of film and connect it to the appropriate scene before or after. This allows for easier editing of a completed production shoot. These dedicated storyboards are expensive, but seen in the overall cost of a film are deemed essential and can be used for every story that a director is involved with.

Business Use of Storyboards

  • Businesses have long used flowcharts in order to plan or predict future growth. By the use of a storyboard, businesses can now play out various scenarios and see what works best for them. Instead of Acts and scenes, each card on a storyboard can represent different possibilities and the various options that can happen from each situation.

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