Putting Your Story on the Silver Screen

Alfred Hitchcock controlled all creative aspects of his films and constantly visualized his movies. He began with a story or idea and moved quickly to develop a look for the film. Each step in the process had drawings—costume design, production design, set design, visual effects, written scene descriptions, shot lists, storyboards, and camera angles.

Hitchcock envisioned his films in detail before the camera began to roll. His ideas weren’t just written, they were drawn before the were filmed. Careful planning of each scene saved time and production costs.

Storyboarding helps you plan your visuals. Even though it sounds like a tool from the motion picture industry, don’t let storyboarding intimidate you. Many of the concepts work in other forms of story telling, like presentations. A film maker likes to visualize the entire movie before going into production. They’ll usually tape the storyboard on a wall and begin by looking at the sequence, transitions, and framing—making sure it hangs together structurally, conceptually, and visually.

A Presentation Storyboard simply helps clarify your idea.

Dan Roam, author of Back of the Napkin, states, “The person who has the ability to verbally describe a problem has a great talent—but also a great limitation. All the real problems of today are multidimensional, multifaceted, and deeply layered. There is no way to fully understand them—thus no way to effectively begin solving them—without at some point literally drawing them out. Storyboard your presentation on the smallest size sticky note to help constrain how much you put on a PowerPoint® slide.”

You don’t have to be a talented artist, you just have to sketch something looks and quick—doodles, really. This step helps you see all the visuals in your talk before you produce them. You’ll be able to tell right away if your concepts are too complex, time-consuming, or costly. If so, eliminate them and re-brainstorm a new way to communicate that message.

We all have the capacity to draw.  Yet drawing is an undeveloped—and in many organizations unrewarded—skill which makes it hard to be motivated to try. But try anyway.

Really listen to your verbal stream and attempt to draw what you are saying. That way, others will see it too.

At our studio we don’t write our stories, we draw them

 – Walt Disney

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