Storyboarding for Film: Illustrating Scripts and Stories

Ryan Falkner, Filmmaker and Storyboard Artist

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13 Lessons (1h 17m)
    • 1. Trailer

      1:30
    • 2. Introduction

      4:31
    • 3. Warm-Up: Storyboard a Tweet

      2:15
    • 4. Core Concepts: Storyboards

      4:23
    • 5. Core Concepts: Scripts

      7:01
    • 6. Cinematography: Camera Shots

      5:05
    • 7. Cinematography: Camera Angles and Thumbnail Sketches

      10:22
    • 8. Cinematography: Camera Diagrams and Frame Sizes

      7:57
    • 9. Storyboarding: Page One

      8:34
    • 10. Storyboarding: Page Two

      5:16
    • 11. Storyboarding: Page Three

      7:49
    • 12. Storyboarding: Final Pages

      4:01
    • 13. Final Touches: Transitions and Advice for Aspiring Artists

      8:21
30 students are watching this class

Project Description

Storyboard a new ending to your favorite film

Project Description 

Storyboard a new ending to your favorite film. It's up to you whether you change or keep the plot.

To get your thinking started: How would you change the ending to Titanic, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, 500 Days of Summer, or the latest Godzilla?

Be sure to include:

  • The scene: Introduce us to the final scene in a few sentences.
  • The storyboard: Using the template or a setup of your own, storyboard the final moments. Think about how different shots, angles, and story contribute to your narrative and change the story.
  • The rationale: Share a few lines about why you illustrated the shots as you did.

Project Specs

  • Your final storyboard should include 4-16 frames.
  • Use the 16x9 template, or create your own.
  • Upload your image files as .jpgs.

Tools & Materials

  • All you need is a pencil, eraser, and paper.
  • Experienced illustrators are welcome to draw digitally on a tablet and refine in Photoshop.

Sample Project

Check out the attached files for the sketches and final version of Ryan's storyboard for "A Lady's Intuition."

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  1. Set the scene

    Select your film. Think about your favorites, research clips on YouTube, or browse your Netflix queue.

    Then, quickly distill the major plot points so that we're ready for the ending scene you'll storyboard.

    Share: Share a 3-5 sentence description of the plot up until the final moments.

  2. Draw your storyboard

    Using the provided template (see Additional Resources below) or one of your own, start drawing!

    If you're new to storyboarding, don't worry about transitions, movement, or too much annotation. Just get across the key visual moments that communicate your story. You may also find it helpful to rough out a quick script as a guide.

    Share: Your storyboard, drawn either digitally or by hand.

  3. Reflect on your rewrite

    What do your shots communicate that the original film didn't? Why did/didn't you choose to change the plot? If you were to do this exercise again, what would you change?

    Share: A few sentences reflecting on this storyboarding process and your artistic choices.

Additional Resources

  • WARM-UP. The warm-up exercise is to storyboard a tweet in 3-4 frames. Expore the attached file for Ryan's example.

    For more examples of tweet-sized stories, check out this article from The Guardian: "Twitter Fiction: 21 Authors Try Their Hand at 140-Character Novels."

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  • CHARTS. Many visual storyboarding concepts are best conveyed visually. Here are few charts and examples exploring the camera pan, the 180 degree rule, film aspect ratios, the rule of thirds, and types of camera shots.

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  • FILES. Explore some of the files from the lessons—a blank script, Ryan's annotations, thumbnail sketches, and a final version of the storyboard.

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  • TEMPLATE. Use the attached Photoshop (.psd) file as a template for your own 16x9 storyboarding frames. Print out copies to draw by hand, or open the file in Photoshop to digitally illustrate your scenes. (Tip: Remember to number your pages!)

Student Projects

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