Storyboarding

When I started making short films, I told myself that I didn't need to storyboard. Storyboarding was for perfectionists, who couldn't think on the spot. Storyboarding made the process longer and anyway, why should you draw something when you have a camera to take images for you? I mean, if you're going to draw it all out why not be an animator instead? That was my stupid logic. Then I made my first short film. And the next. And the one after that. I discovered that there were times when I became stuck. I didn't know how I wanted to shoot the next scene and people were waiting impatiently for me to get on with it. As I made more short films I also began to realise that things I thought were wonderful in the script stage, didn't make sense or just were plain boring in the edit.

Then, one day, I decided to storyboard my next short film. I storyboarded every shot. The film still had flaws. It didn't work in some places and I made mistakes. But I never for a moment felt lost on set because I knew that in the back of my car was my safety blanket - little squares with pictures that told me what to do next. It also made it easier when the cinematographer seemed confused by my vague explanations to simply show him the drawing. "Ah, I see," he said and got to it.

Since that production I decided that storyboarding was the way to go. I needed to storyboard. It also helped me to think more about why I wanted to use certain angles, why I was choosing to tell the story with THIS particular shot. It helped me see that I didn't need that scene here because I already got that across in the other scene.

Storyboarding makes you a better storyteller. It makes you think in a different way to when you write. It helps you visualize how you will shoot your film. It can even remind you of props you will need and reminds you of the logistics of what you're trying to do.

Do you like storyboarding? Do you think it's important? Why?