Storyboarding Practice (part 1)

We revisited writing storyboards today in Tony’s class, making up our own using an except as a prompt and breaking down the paragraph into pertinent panels. It was recommended we stick to about 6-7 panels, to see how we could combine narrative motifs in order to get across the main ideas – for example, using thought bubbles or splitting the panels for a variety of angles.

I don’t claim to be an amazing artist – in fact, I’m extremely sub-par – however, the entire point of a storyboard is using quick, loose sketches to get across important parts of a script. Camera angles, movement direction, some minor dialogue, etc. will all work together with the images to establish the story.

Excerpt for Storyboard
Once a guy stood all day shaking bugs from his hair. The doctor told him there were no
bugs in his hair. After he had taken a shower for eight hours, standing under hot water
hour after hour suffering the pain of the bugs, he got out and dried himself, and he still
had bugs in his hair; in fact, he had bugs all over him. A month later he had bugs in his
lungs. Having nothing else to do or think about, he began to work out theoretically the
life cycle of the bugs, and, with the aid of the Britannica, try to determine specifically
which bugs they were. They now filled his house. He read about many different kinds
and finally noticed bugs outdoors, so he concluded they were aphids. After that decision
came to his mind it never changed, no matter what other people told him … like “Aphids
don’t bite people.” They said that to him because the endless biting of the bugs kept him
in torment. At the 7-11 grocery store, part of a chain spread out over most of California,
he bought spray cans of Raid and Black Flag and Yard Guard. First he sprayed the
house, then himself. The Yard Guard seemed to work the best.
Phillip K. Dick
“A Scanner Darkly”

While I went through the paragraph, I tried to colour-code the chunks of text I would use to make up the narrative of my panels. That resulted in the following 1/2 lined description for each panel:

  • Panel 1: Man standing in his house, scratching at his head and trying to get rid of imaginary bugs. Thought bubble of doctor saying there are no bugs.
  • Panel 2: After 8 hours in the shower, he has a towel wrapped around him and is still trying to get the imaginary bugs out, but now they cover his body.
  • Panel 3: Sat at a table with a big book in front of him, he’s on a page describing aphids. They’re all over the walls, him, the table, etc.
  • Panel 4: A group of people chastising him, saying there are no bugs or that aphids don’t bite people.
  • Panel 5: The outside of a 7-11 store, with a sign saying “sale on bug sprays”
  • Panel 6: Man back in his house, spraying himself with Yard Guard, while the fumes start to fill up his house – discarded empty bug sprays piling up around him.

I ended up with something that I think gets its point across:


Overall, I think storyboards are an important part of the development process, whether it be in VFX or games – storyboards can be used for narrative in video games just as much as it can be in film. I’ll be using them for our ideas in our Imagined World project, since we have an independent camera that will moving through the environment without prompt from a player. We’ll need to map out the way the camera moves and what it’ll focus on, so a storyboard seems like a good way for everyone to decide on what route to take.


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