5 reasons why you should storyboard your short film


5 tips from a girl who desperately tries not to go insane while slowly moving towards the actual production of her 10 minutes short film.

And 4 tips to get you started.

5 reasons why you should storyboard your short film

1. Because it’s fun

When was the last time you grabbed a pencil and drew something? Makes you feel like a kid all over again.

2. To conquer your inner Billy Mack

Remember Billy Mack saying “This is shit, isn’t it?” about his comeback Christmas hit?

I hear that in my head all the time when I think about my script. Here is the trick:

drawing your storyboard makes you hear Joe (Billy’s manager) say:

“Yep, solid gold shit, maestro”.

Start drawing, visualize your film and you realize your story is better than you thought.

3. Better to fix problems now than later

When drawing and visualizing your film you’ll come to places in the script where your story doesn’t work. There are gaps or weird jumps in your story which you had not noticed before. (Say hello to another script rewrite).
But hey, better to realize that now then when standing on set with actors and crew breathing in your neck or worse, when sitting in the editing room when it is far too late.

Fix this in your script now, it will improve your script and your film.

4. See things you had never seen before

When drawing your story – new and unexpected visual ideas will bubble up in your head. Guaranteed. And it will change the way you thought scenes would look like when you wrote it down.
Draw it, improve your script with it – and generally – Be Prepared To Be Surprised.

5. Be a professional

Being this prepared, you will come across as professional. When your DOP asks you how to set-up and frame a shot, you can show him, as you know exactly how you want it. It will save you time on the shoot, It will keep setup times down, it will keep your actors happy and it will make your shoot an overall better experience. Not only for you, for every one. And let’s face it, the shoot will be torture for you as a director, so the more you are prepared the better.

4 tips to get you started

1. Storyboard paper

Get some free story board paper here. Generate it on the fly and print the pdf files on your printer.

My experience is that 2 columns and 3 rows works fine. I actually scaled it down and printed 2 pages on 1 page. That way you have a handy A5 size format that will fit in your bag.

2. Start in the middle

To conquer the – “Oh dear – I don’t know where to start” feeling, here is a tip:

Don’t start at the beginning of your film, start somewhere in the middle of the script. Somehow the hurdle of starting at the beginning with scene 1 is much higher. Pick an easy short scene in the middle and you will get into the groove in no time.

3. You don’t have to be an artist

It doesn’t need to look like a work of art – and you are not making a comic book either. Stick men and women are fine!

4. Play that funky music

Play music that relaxes and inspires your mind. Make sure to have tea. And make sure to have chocolate or biscuits or Jammie Dodgers (or all of it!) – for the moments where you start wondering why you are doing all this in the first place.

You know why you are doing it – you want to make that film.

That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.

8 thoughts to “5 reasons why you should storyboard your short film”

  1. Well, it certainly looks like you’re going somewhere with this :) Best of luck with it. I can’t really remember if you’ve already found the lead actors?

  2. Pardon my ignorance but do you need to have written a script before the storyboard or can you just storyboard first then write a script round it??

  3. @grigorisgirl – well “normally” you write your script first. But that’s not to say that people might story board certains parts of a story first and then write it into the script after.

    The story board is really just a tool to help you prepare and to force you to think about thing so you are better prepared on the day where scenes actually get filmed. It forces you think about what you want to show the audience. If you want close ups of things or not – things like that.

    So if the camera man asks you : where do you want me to put the camera – you can say – iover there and I want a close-up shot of Dan eating a Jammie Dodger :)

  4. On one of the many Lord of the Rings DVDs, Peter Jackson talked about how he basically made the trilogy 6 times, one of those times being the storyboard.

    It’s all preparation, and so necessary, because when you’re actually shooting you’ve got a million time-critical things going on (light, actors, permission, props, etc. etc. etc.). Doing the storyboard will help stop you going mad when you’re shooting, because you’ll know where you are.

  5. I have to say I particularly liked reason nr. 2… it applies so well to so many other things too – will definitely keep that one in mind :)

  6. awesome……mind bloing for me because it will now help me alot for upcoming short films…thank you very much for everything

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