Storyboard Exercise

You don't need to be an artist to draw a storyboard. Many directors will simply draw stick figures. A professional artist might then be hired to illustrate the storyboard according to the director's rough sketches.

What to Do
Using the template provided, draw at least 5 shots (you can always use more) of a scene you make up. It can be from an instructional show you think up or someone doing an activity. The scene shows a character doing a simple act like using a hammer and nail or how to make a cup of tea. Be sure to indicate the shot number, shot type (WS, MS, CU, etc), and space to write any action/dialogue detail. Don't worry if your artistic skills are not comparable to DaVinci's or Rembrandt's. Stick figures are fine as long as you do your best to convey the equivalent of the different types of shots. 

For the artist-challenged, there are other options for storyboarding. Storyboard That is a free online tool to create your own storyboards that is fun and easy. It's a bit challenging, but try it out. See if you can find other online tools that can help you draw a storyboard. 

What to Avoid
There is an order, or pattern, to selecting shots that add to the flow and continuity. Sometimes, the order of the shots you choose, such as starting with a wide shot and then cutting to a close-up that shows some detail within the wide shot, can help you troubleshoot potential continuity problems before you start recording with the camera, e.g., crossing the axis or leaving a jump cut. Here are some other pointers:
  • Avoid cutting wide shots back-to-back. Wide shots show similar framing and can often lead to jump cuts, which can be jarring. 
  • If you use a POV shot, then it needs to be connected with a shot of the person whose eyes we're looking through. A good POV sequence might start with an Extreme Close-Up of the person's eyes followed by a cut to a shot that reveals what they're looking at.

Tips when determining the order of your shots

  • Wide shots can be followed comfortably by medium or close-up shots.
  • Close-up shots can be edited back-to-back comfortably.
  • Editing Pattern #1: start with a wide shot and then follow it with tighter shots. This type of editing pattern gets viewers closer to the subject.
  • Editing Pattern #2: start with a tight shot and then follow it with a wide shot. This type of pattern is known as a Reveal.

Types of Shots:

The following are a list of abbreviations for shots that you might use in your storyboard. 

Close-up – CU

Extreme Close-up – ECU

Medium shot – MS

Wide shot – WS

Point of View shot – POV

Over-the-Shoulder shot – OTS