This week we discuss one of the tools of the trade when creating a live action or animated film: the storyboard. A storyboard, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is a series of panels on which a set of sketches is arranged depicting consecutively the important changes of scenes and action in a series of shots. These sketches help the filmmaker and his or her crew figure out what shots work or don’t work in the scene, clarify sequences and figure out new and innovative ways to make the scene more interesting. Most importantly, it gives the filmmaker a sense of direction so that they know what and how they should film, thus enabling them to save time and money.

Below are some storyboards I found on the web that show the creative storyboard process at work. The first site is a sequence from the box office smash “Superman Returns” and includes informative commentary by Director Bryan Singer. The second site is a series of boards by Frank Forte from the episode “Public Enemies” from Nickelodeon’s hit Nicktoon “Danny Phantom,” created by Butch Hartman. The third site features several excellent storyboards from the film “V for Vendetta,” based on the comic of the same name by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. The fourth site features boards from the episode “The Beach,” drawn by animator and comic artist Scott Shaw for the Fox hit “The Simpsons,” created by Matt Groening.

“Superman Returns”
http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/movies/20060627_SUPERMAN_FEATURE/blocker.html

“Danny Phantom”
http://www.frankforte.com/storyboardDP.html

“V for Vendetta”
http://vforvendetta.warnerbros.com/cmp/concepts.html

“The Simpsons”
http://www.shawcartoons.com/gallery/storyboards/aae

If you are interested in learning even more about storyboards, particularly for animation, check out Don Bluth’s The Art of Storyboard, available online and in bookstores nationwide.

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