Script to storyboard
In a film, the audience follows a story not just through the characters' dialogue, but also through their actions. Even objects and settings help tell a story.
Storyboards help filmmaking teams tell the film’s story through images so they can plan how the film will look.
You can make decisions about how things will look by creating a storyboard. Each panel in a storyboard represents a camera shot, meaning what the camera will see and show. You do not have to recreate every frame of a film in a storyboard; that would take forever!
Recommended for Year levels: 5-9
Learning areas: English, Media Arts
Step 1: Read or download the script
Read our example script below, 'Jeremy's Lie'. You might notice it's a little different from a book. EXT. is short for interior, and the part in capital letters at top of the page is the scene header. It tell us whether the scene is inside or outside, where it's taking place, and the time of day.
There's also something called big print, which is where the action and what the audience will see is described, and you have characters names in UPPER CASE and centred when they speak, with their dialogue directly below. Want to know more? Watch our video Tips for Writing Scripts.
Read it a few times, even out loud if you like. You’ll start to visualise the setting, the characters and what it might look like.
Step 2: Have a look at the different types of shots used in films
We use different camera shots and angles to show the audience what's happening, the setting or world of the story, the emotions and body language of the characters and other important details that we want the audience to notice. Take a look at our examples and notice the shot types that stand out to you. This might be because you can visualise them easily, or you think what’s being shown in the shot is particularly important to the story.
Step 3: Scribble on your script
There are lots of clues in a script that tell us about the characters and the world or setting. Have a look at the shot types we have chosen for our script 'Jeremy's Lie'. There are no hard and fast rules when you are deciding your shots. You can experiment with a few different ideas.
Step 4: Storyboard
Check out our storyboard for 'Jeremy's Lie'. You’ll see that we have numbered the shots from our script and added some camera movements by using red arrows. It’s up to you whether you want to add this detail in.
Step 5: Shot list
The shot list helps you keep track of all your shots, so when it comes to filming, you know what you need to film. Have a look at our shot list for 'Jeremy's Lie'.
On set, filmmakers will often have their storyboard and script on hand too, as it helps them set up the shots as they planned.
Step 6: Make your storyboard
Now it's your turn! Have a go at doing a storyboard for the script example below. You can set up your storyboard panels by drawing them on a piece of paper (or on your iPad or computer), or you can download our template below.
As you plan your storyboard panels, think carefully about the shot type you're using, what you need to show in that shot, and where you want to position everything and everyone.
Remember, your storyboards don’t have to be works of art. They can even be simple black and white sketches with stick figure characters!