The following scene is repeated throughout production companies and advertising agencies every day. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Art Director, Joe Smith, is preparing to review a script with a new storyboard artist that he has never worked with. Joe will proudly demonstrate his drawing chops with some smart looking thumbnails of his idea and immediately start rattling off details as if he were Quentin Tarantino wired on 4 vente cappuccinos. It goes something like this:
“We open on a man sitting in his living room watching a football game; his wife comes into the room holding a tray of Jolly Wonga Snacks. She is an average looking housewife. She hands him the snacks and sits down with the tray waiting to see his reaction, then in the next scene he turns off the TV and picks up a Jolly Wonga…..”
Does this situation sound familiar? It seems Joe is being very clear about what he wants. He has the thumbnails and a shot list. However, unless you have a comfortable and long-standing relationship with a storyboard artist who has the ability to draw exactly what’s in your imagination, the approach above may leave you less than satisfied with the end result.
For the few art directors who have ever had the pleasure of taking an acting class you can appreciate the work of a method actor. Method actors don’t just read dialogue; they live the dialogue—totally immersing themselves into their character to replicate real life emotional conditions.
If you find yourself just reading copy and rattling off a shot list to your storyboard artist or your client—stop, reset! It’s time to take your storytelling to the next level and thus the quality of your storyboards. Does that mean you need to distinguish yourself with an acting performance worthy of over 500,000 page views on YouTube? For the shy and timid have no fear, the following 8 essential elements are now available in an easy to use worksheet that will make the master storyteller come out of you and your artist’s pencil. This worksheet comes from the experiences of drawing storyboards for over 16 years in the advertising, entertainment and production industries: