Narrative Story Boards

I was very interested in the bit about “narrative story boards.” I had never heard of this concept before, but it is extremely useful. Some of my favorite movies are constructed using this technique, and I’ve always wondered how it was done. Concept boards is an online whiteboarding tool that helps teams come together to brainstorm ideas, collaborate on projects and centralize documentation.

A narrative story board is a visual representation of a story as it might be told visually.
It is a plan for a moving picture. In the past, when films were made by assembling physical objects, there was an important conceptual difference between a narrative story board and a shooting script. A shooting script specified the exact placement and movement of actors and props. A narrative story board was a more open-ended description of how a story might be told cinematically. It defined the main events in the story, but not every detail.

Many directors still prefer to work from narrative story boards rather than from scripts, because they allow for greater spontaneity and flexibility during filming.

Narrative story boards are useful tools for discovering what kind of footage you will need to fulfill your creative vision. In my next post, I will explain how to create one.

I use the term “storyboard” here to refer to what is sometimes called a “scriptment” or “scriptment treatment.” The term refers to the process of laying out the major scenes of a film in prose form.
A storyboard is thus a prose description of the events in a film, but unlike a traditional script, it contains almost all of the narrative information — dialogue is generally limited to essential lines, and action descriptions are usually only brief. The advantage of this approach is that it leaves room for interpretation by filmmakers, actors, writers, editors, etc. It also allows the director to maintain more control over the project. In most cases, storyboards are used as a preliminary step in preparing for actual shooting or animation.

A story is a description of a set of events. The events are what happened. The description is your interpretation of what happened, and of its significance.

A story is not just a piece of writing. A story is also the work that comes from interpreting the events in some particular way, or telling it to others in some particular way. For example, the set of events leading up to your sitting down to write this sentence would be a story if I told it to someone else. That’s my interpretation of the events, which I’m now making available for you to interpret yourself.
What makes a good story? One possibility is that it is surprising: things happen that are unexpected, out of the blue. Another possibility is that it has an element of surprise even for the person who lived through it — because it has an element of irony or paradox or something similar. Find out the appealing story for your storyboard.