How to Make a Storyboard for a Short Film

Storyboarding a short film is like directing a short film. Hence, the decision you make while creating the storyboard dramatically affects how the film would be. Consequently, excellent decision-making skills in storyboarding will ensure that general production and post-production process becomes smoother. For this reason, learning how to make a storyboard for a short film is essential as it predicts the outcome of the entire film.

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It is essential to first understand the basic concepts of a storyboard before learning how to make a storyboard for a short film. Storyboards might not be the final product of a film, but they are an integral part of the in the preproduction process of a film. Storyboarding plans on how the story in the film unfolds. are experts in storyboarding. The company provides the following guidelines that will increase your expertise in the field of storyboarding.

How to Make a Storyboard for a Short Film

Definition of a Storyboard

A storyboard is a visual presentation of a film, a short video or animation. A storyboard is usually an important entity in the preproduction of process. Typically, a storyboard consists of several visual representations, i.e., images that reflect on everything that is to feature on the final film.

In most cases, storyboards are hand-drawn. However, some animators or creators opt to use storyboarding software. The end product of a storyboard looks like a graphic novel or a comic book.

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Importance of Storyboarding

A storyboard usually highlights the flow of a script. Typically, a storyboard translates the flow of the script from words to images. Every visual representation on the storyboard should give information for someone to understand the flow without reading the script. However, when making the storyboard, one should ensure that they do not include too much information. Generally, the importance of storyboarding includes the following:

  • The storyboard is a graphic novelization of the main script whereby each panel portrays vital moments in the script.
  • The primary aim of the storyboard in the preproduction process is to ensure that you select all the important aspects you need to create a consistent and exciting story. Consequently, considering only the important aspects will go a long way into saving money and time.
  • Well-made storyboards are important elements of directing complicated shoots. Thus said, using storyboards as an organization strategy will help you plan for the shooting of these complicated shoots.
  • A storyboard could be used as collaboration catalyst to ensure that the whole crew is on board in the preproduction process.
  • Storyboards make it easier to share and explain the vision of your short film. Thus, it becomes easier for people to understand the direction of the short film.
  • Making and organizing storyboards provides an order of the scene by listing different frames of the storyboard. In addition to this, storyboards also indicate camera movement. Consequently, production work becomes easier.
  • A storyboard could help one in estimating the budget of the project.

How to Make a Storyboard for a Short Film Using Easy Steps

How to Make a Storyboard for a Short Film Using Easy Steps

  • Create a shot list: Select a scene from the main script and create a shot list. Figure out a specific camera angle that highlights the message in the scene. Ensure that someone can pick out vital information about the characters as well as the plot from these angles.
  • Sketch out the list: Using the created shot list, you can now sketch the selected scene. Create something that looks like a comic strip using the squares of your storyboard. In case you are not an artist, using stick figures and basic shapes can work. However, if you need finer details on your storyboard, you can consult My Homework Writers for skilled and experienced artists.
  • Fill in all the essential details: The storyboard has to contain all the vital information on the plot of the script. Even though the storyboard contains static images, the final results would be an animation or a moving video of the entire script. Thus sad, the storyboard has to include an indication of motion. For example, if there is movement in the scene, you could use arrows to indicate the direction of movement. As additional information, you could choose to include the camera angles and the props needed. However, make sure that you only include relevant information.
  • Include additional words: other words at the bottom of the sketches will help in figuring out what is going on in the storyboard. Here, you can opt to include any information that cannot be expressed by the visual presentation. The words might include any dialogue or sound direction

Step By Step Guide On How to Make a Storyboard for a Short Film

For anyone who wants to understand how to make a storyboard for a film from scratch, the following guide by My Homework Writers will come in handy. My Homework Writers is a community of experts who are well versed in storyboarding. offers homework help for animation storyboards, movie storyboards, video storyboarding and documentary storyboard. Read on to expertise your knowledge on how to make a storyboard for a short film.

Mark up the script

Before you get all caught up in the action of making a storyboard, you have to plan for your story. Here, you have to break down (mark up) the script into different separate scenes. At this point, you will have to highlight all the important elements of the scenes that would affect the screenplay.

How to Make a Storyboard for a Short Film

In the olden day, breaking down the script was done by using pens and highlighters on the script. The markings of the script were then put in summary form on a script breakdown sheet, which is printed, copied, assembled and distributed among the production team. However, due to technology, work has been made much easier. Nowadays, you could use a script breakdown software and amongst the production crew via the cloud.

Factors that affect the nature of the storyboard:

  • The location of the scenes
  • Costumes of the characters
  • The props needed
  • Cast members of the scenes
  • The importance of the key elements assembled

Analyze the whole script scene by scene and decide on the appearance of each scene.

Establish an aspect ratio

Aspect ratio refers to the shape and size of the frame of your camera. One thing about storyboarding is that it involves a lot of framed boxes. Hence, you have to establish the sizes of the storyboard frames to create a storyboard panel.

The most commonly used aspect ratios include:

  • For any online or TV video – 16:9
  • Comedies and film dramas- 1:85:1
  • For any square videos, i.e., for Facebook and Instagram – 1:1
  • Action epics that require extra widescreen – 2.39:1
  • For non-widescreen TV standard – 4:3
  • Any video in the 35mm digital SLR format – 3:2

Storyboarding software can help design your storyboard in the aspect ratio that you want it to be. Storyboarding software enables you to preview your images in different aspect ratios before you finally decide on one.

The number of frames needed per row on you storyboard is variant. Different scenes require different numbers of rows depending on the actions of the scene. If the scene involves a lot of action, then having four frames on each row is possible, this ensures that you put in as much information on the page as possible. In case the scene depicts a slower-pace, then you might need to include several details on the storyboard. In this case, you will require two to three panels.

Make your sketches

This stage is the heart of storyboarding. After determining the aspect ratios, you will have to sketch the subjects of the script. You might not be a great artist, but it is necessary to make clear drawings. The sketches are made using two ways:

  1. By using a pencil and a piece of paper
  2. A second option is the use of sketch programs or drawing apps to generate visual representations. As experts in storyboarding, My Homework Writers recommends the use of Penultimate, Paper, Procreate and Astropod, among others provided in this article.

The most important features while making the sketches are the actors involved in the video. These actors are going to scale through as the characters of the film. Thus, you have to make them a priority in the storyboard. Other objects are included only if they are important.

In case you are experiencing trouble sketching out your characters, you could consider hiring a professional storyboard artist to help you with the work. Contact for storyboard sketches.

Include a background

Alongside the characters or the subject, you will need to draw a background in your storyboard to orient your viewers. The background could be simple or elaborate, depending on the nature of the scene. Note that scenes that require attention to the characters and their movements will require a simple background. However, for slow-paced scenes, the background should be more elaborate.

The importance of including the background on your storyboard is to correlate the space and the characters.

Indicate motion using arrows

While creating a storyboard, arrows indicate motion. Hence it is important to add the arrows where necessary. Arrows give the direction of character movement within the frame. Is the movement away from or towards the camera? Viewers of the storyboard should be able to tell this by looking at the storyboard.

Include camera movements

Including the movements of the camera on your storyboard, indicates the point of focus on the scene. Camera movements help to explain the following:

  • When, how and where the camera ought to move when shooting the scene
  • Does the scene require a wide shot or a close-up?
  • Does the scene require a static shot, or will the camera move along with the characters?
  • What angle should the camera be? Is it at eye-level or low angle?

The important details of the camera movements should always be included below the storyboard frames. Use arrows to indicate the camera movements on the storyboard.

Include shot numbers on your storyboard

You will need to include shot numbers on the storyboard to label the shots. The starting point is number 1. The labelling of the shots makes it easier to reference the scenes. If you are making the storyboard using software, then the labelling of the frames will occur automatically. In case the creation of the storyboard is manual, then you will need to number the shots in the correct order.

In case the one scene scatters on several storyboards, then you will also include letters while labelling the shots. For example, if your third scene has four different storyboards, then you could label as 3a, 3b, 3c and 3d.

Make storyboards for the entire video

Now that you can work on your first storyboard go ahead and make storyboards of the whole video using these guidelines. Remember to only capture the important moments of the video, not every single scene. This process might be a bit daunting if you are making a feature film. For a short video, however, the process is quite easy.

At the end of the process, ensure that you review your work thoroughly to make the most out of it. Make sure to include as many details as possible while taking care, not to overload information.

Organize your work and prepare for a presentation

Now that the storyboarding process is complete, you can polish up the work before presenting them to the shooting crew or your client.

Points to Consider When Creating a Storyboard

As mentioned earlier, to understand the process of storyboarding the first step towards being a great storyboarder. First, you need to understand what you are doing before starting on how to do the process. Now that you understand how to make a storyboard for a short film, these storyboarding tips will increase your expertise in storyboarding.

Understanding storyboarding as a storytelling technique

First, before you start making a storyboard, you have to understand that your main job is to tell a story. Thus said, you must be keen on how you arrange your ideas and how you present the ideas. You have to critically analyze the script provided and understand the flow of the story. How would you manage to narrate a story is you don’t understand it? That would be quite impossible. For you to effectively create a story, you have to ask yourself the following question:

  • What is going on in the story?
  • Who are the characters in the story?
  • How does the story affect the characters?
  • How does the characters’ state of mind affect the story?
  • What is the audience supposed to feel?
  • Are there any emotional moments in the story?
  • How do these moments affect the audience?

How to Make a Storyboard for a Short Film

The above question will help you in figuring out the critical moment in the story. All the decisions you take towards narrating the story should be based on these questions.

Consider the line of action of each character

It is essential to pay attention to the line of action of characters to effectively draw your characters on the storyboard. This line of action indicates the energy exuded by the characters in the story. Drawing the line of action will help you to know the following information:

  • Is your character static or in motion?
  • What emotion does the character portray?
  • Does the character use much energy in the movements?
  • What is the direction of movement?

By doing so, you can effectively translate the actions of the characters from the script to the visual representation of your storyboard. Understanding the line of action of the characters is an important aspect of storytelling.

A single drawing translates to one idea

It is important to concentrate on one idea at a time to effectively communicate your story through a storyboard. Thus said, one drawing on your storyboard correlates to one idea in the story. Note that when you include multiple ideas in a single drawing, you might confuse the audience. Moreover, the audience might pick on a minor idea instead of the main idea of the drawing. For this reason, anyone creating a storyboard should commit to describing one idea at a time.

Generally, if a scene has different ideas, you have to draw separate drawings for the ideas. However, a major rule in the storyboarding process is that you should never overcrowd your storyboard with too much information. The question of how many storyboards in a movie is dependent on the key elements present in the movie.

Drawings on storyboards have to be neat

Remember, the main aim of creating storyboards is to narrate your story. Anyone viewing the storyboard should be able to understand what is happening in your story. As such, clear drawings will greatly help in the narration process. You could use simple volumes and shape to describe the state of your characters.

Silhouettes provide clarity

Clarity is important in enhancing quick understanding. You should always consider the fact your audience has a short time to process the information. Hence, at no point should your audience be in doubt of what is happening in the storyboard. To test the clarity of your drawing, you can try filling the drawings with solid colours. Can you still understand what is going on in the storyboard? Generally, using silhouettes help in enhancing the clarity of your drawings.

Assume the positions of the characters

When you put yourself in the characters’ shoes, you will narrate that story better. Own the story and the character so that you can explain what is happening in the best possible way. Understand the dialogues if there are any. Assume the positions of the characters. This way, you can relate to the actions as well as the emotions of the characters. Draw expressions and movement that will help you convince viewers on what is happening in the storyboard. However, you should make sure that you maintain the consistency of the characters of the actors.

Always consider the frame

Storyboarding has to consider the frame as the eye of the work. The frame helps to create aspects ration of your film. The movements of elements within the frame should be highly considered.

Make several thumbnails to perfect your final work

Thumbnails are drawn quickly and in small sizes. Therefore, you could draw several thumbnails to explore the different ways of illustrating one main idea. From these thumbnails, you can settle on one that best explains your idea.

Consider the point of view with the eye line or the horizon line

Using the thumbnails, you could use them to determine the point of view. The point of view determines the placement of the camera. A high horizon line will make the audience look down while a low horizon dictates the audience to look up. When considering the point of view, you should check the different options and settle on one main one. Generally, most people prefer low horizons since they are somehow consistent and reflect on how we experience the world.

Draw grids to aid in the placement of objects

Whenever you draw a grid, you create a world for your characters. The grid can be a technique to show a wall, a sky plane or the ground. If an element intersects the horizon line, then all other elements will also intersect the horizon line at the same height. With the horizon line intact, the grid will help you in placing the key elements of the scene. You should always ensure that the characters fit within the spaces created.

Make a draft of your storyboard panel

Now that you have all the elements needed to create your storyboard make a rough one first before you make the final one. The director or the supervisor usually reviews this rough panel before you make the final product.

Film Storyboard Software

Nowadays, there are different software that makes storyboarding easier. You could use the following in your work:

ShotPro for iOS

For anyone using an iPad, the ShotPro software will help you in storyboarding. The software is very advanced. You could add a structure sensor and scan physical objects around you to import objects into your storyboard in 3D.

StoryBoard Fountain

StoryBoard Fountain is among the newest storyboarding software. The software is a web app that uses a modern user interface to transform a script to storyboard sketches. The app is very flexible to use and is available for free.

Make Storyboard

Make Storyboard is a collection of software that enables you to organize your storyboard sketches and images. The software has a provision for shares and comments and can be used on several devices, including tablets and smartphones.

Shot Designer

Short Designer software combines Shot lists, camera diagram, and storyboards to give a better insight into camera-blocking. You can animate characters and tack your shots using ‘Walk To’ and ‘Track To’ commands.


TVPaint is animation software for making drawing on storyboards in 3D. For this software, there is a provision to upload and share items with your crew. The software also provides training for anyone who needs to understand how to use the software in creating storyboards. Professionals, as well as schools, use TVPaint. For those yearning to know how to create a storyboard in PowerPoint, this is the best software for that.


OpenToonz is a film storyboard software that produces animation in 2D. The software allows you to draw illustrations in elaborate details and give room for more addition of effects. The best thing about this software is that no copyright restrictions are meaning you can use it in commercial work. In case you are stuck on how to make a storyboard for animation, this software will be of great help.


Canva software makes storyboarding quite easy. The software contains several movie storyboard templates that you could choose from. In addition to this, the software contains images, frames and grids that you could use to organize all the scenes. Another great thing about Canva is that you could opt to choose a font type, colour, headers and even subheaders. The software is the best option if you are working with someone else in creating the storyboard since it allows for collaboration. You can also share the final design via mail or as PDF file.

Storyboarding Homework Help

In case you need direct help from experts, you can contact My Homework Writers for storyboarding homework help. will help you complete your storyboarding project at affordable prices.

In conclusion, following this guide on how to make a storyboard for a short film will make the storyboarding process easier. When creating a storyboard, care should be taken on the key details only.

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