THE ART OF STORYBOARDING
Storyboarding is an art form that, in my opinion, doesn’t get nearly as much fanfare as it should. It’s more than just drawing, far more. In fact, storyboarding is more than just a single skill, but rather a combination of numerous different skills. Not only do you need a solid basis in sketching and drawing, but you also need to have an astute mind for film direction as well.
A JACK OF ALL TRADES
Setting up shots, a knowledge of perspective, framing, movement, and sequence flow are all skills that a storyboard artist needs. In addition, each artist needs a knowledge base of acting, set designing, set dressing, costume designing, and all other aspects of film in order to present them on the page. As you can see, they really need to be a “jack of all trades.” And on top of all this, they need to be able to do it all in a swift and timely manner. Luckily for your viewing pleasure, Andrés "Drew" García-Price is one of the best at all of these things. He is the consummate “jack of all trades,” and superbly shares how to best become one yourself in "Storyboard a Monster Movie - Traditional Techniques"
"INHABITING" THE SCREENPLAY
At one point in the lesson, Andrew talks about the storyboard artist being the first person to “put their feet on the ground of the story.” Of course, the writer invents the whole thing originally from scratch so the foundation definitely starts with them. But the storyboard artist is then the first person to “inhabit that space.” They essentially see where the ends of the story do and don’t meet within the frame. As mentioned earlier, since a storyboard artist is performing a lot of it on paper, they may have to act like every person on the crew.
WORDS TO VISUALS
Let me explain this further. It’s understood that they definitely do a lot of directing, in order to compose the shots, but let’s think about why they need to know acting. How else could they convey the scene correctly if they didn’t have a firm grasp on how an actor would express his range within it? In addition to the artist’s skill of sketching the basic anatomy, they also need to know the actor’s skill for using these emotions in order to draw them. It’s not something you think about at first, but when this all sinks in, it makes you truly realize how much a storyboard artist has to think about and know. What if a costumer hasn’t come on board yet? They’d need to create and come up with costumes for the actors. What if a set designer hasn’t come on board yet? Yep, they’d need to dress the sets themselves. And on and on… You get my point. They have to think about everything. And even if any of these aspects of the crew are already on board, a storyboard artist still needs to know how to communicate what anyone tells him. They always need that knowledge regardless.
After watching this lesson, not only will you have a whole new respect for the art of storyboarding, but you’ll definitely want to see more examples of storyboards as a blueprint for your favorite films. Word of advice, next time you’re watching a DVD, take note of the special features option to see if there’s a storyboard option. If there is, watch this segment after you watch the film. You’ll be amazed how fluid and cohesive simply looking at these sketches are. The entire film is there, and it was the storyboard artist that conceived it. Pretty amazing stuff. Enjoy watching, and enjoy building massive respect for this far too-often overshadowed art form.