No matter how one tells a story, the sequence of events and how it’s communicated requires planning.

If “a picture is worth a thousand words”, it’s easy to see the enormous amount of information conveyed in a video production – especially an animated one.

With that much information, it can’t all be left to chance, not without risking considerable rework.

In this case, a storyboard is a form of shorthand for a production from which the video emerges.


The main distinction with animated productions is that it has a lot to do with creating those things that surround the story.


Methods can vary wildly, as long as it can communicate the key elements.

Whether it’s hand-drawn, or with the use of Word templates, the basic idea is to frame a sequence of events in a way that brings order to the story and all the surrounding content.


Preparing for a storyboard involves some choices. Here are six key elements to consider before you start your next project:


Resources and reasonable expectations

Pixar, for example, uses a lot of detail in their storyboards. It’s a function of what you expect from your presentation.

Feature films, with tens of millions of viewers and enormous budgets, will demand a storyboard with more detail and resources than a podcast.

If a balance can’t be found, you may be putting too much into your preparations and not enough into your production.


Organizing your ideas:

Instead of thinking of storyboards as a preview of what your final product is going to be, treat them as a way to organize your ideas.

At this stage in the development process, making something of a certain quality should be the last thing on your mind.

You only need to make them detailed enough so that you and your collaborators know what’s going on.

Making storyboards is the time to turn the swirling brainstorm into an organized template or timeline, to make sense of your idea and provide the foundation that you will build upon as you move forward.


Want to try this out in a video? Wideo’s classic template is perfect for organizing your ideas:



Re-Use this Template

Maintain perspective

For as much as a video animation includes the management of a broad array of variables, like sound and color, don’t lose sight of the story!

This is especially true if you’re managing a backstory.

We’re all familiar with that, as it’s become so common during prime-time television – even with animated feature presentations.


Storyboarding is a collaborative process

It should be appreciated that any video production involves the management of many variables communicating many things.

The presumption that all possible points of view and all variables can be managed through the mind’s eye of one person can yield disastrous results.

Consider your human and creative resources when estimating the scope of your project.


It’s OK to be non-committal

In other words, don’t be married to every idea at the point of conception.

The things you may have considered to be critical elements of the story may have worked their way out as part of an evolutionary process.


Have Your Goals Been Reached?

Finally, when your storyboarding is complete, it’s important to ask yourself whether or not your video/storyboard is doing the task you want it to.

If your goal is to entertain, then it’s a good idea to show your storyboards to someone whose opinion you trust and see what their reaction is, but always remember to trust your own instincts.

If your goal is to enforce a particular brand and logo, take a moment to acknowledge whether the storyboard is consistent with your brand and logo, otherwise either the storyboard must change, or if the storyboard is particularly superb then it’s time to make a new logo.


Storyboards have value in all video presentations.

This is especially true with animation since every element is the creation of the animator.


Nick Rojas is a business consultant and journalist who lives in Chicago and his hometown Los Angeles with his wife.

His work often discusses social media, marketing, and branding regarding small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

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