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A History of Storyboarding

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A storyboard is a large, linear comic strip of the film or animation, which is produced beforehand to help the film directors and cinematographers visualize the scenes and identify some of the potential problems before they occur. Storyboards often include arrows, lines of action and instructions that indicate movement and frame progression.

The first person to use "storyboards" is thought to have been Leonardo da Vinci.1 The storyboarding process, in the form it is known today, was developed at the Walt Disney studio during the late 1920s after years of similar processes being used at other animation studios. Walt Disney and his artists "invented" the storyboard in 1929 with the making of Steamboat Willie, the first animated cartoon feature. This method is still used in the movie industry today. Storyboarding became the planning process for Disney's entire organization. Walt Disney World was planned exclusively via storyboarding.2

Storyboarding became popular in live-action film production during the 1940s.

Some directors, such as Joel and Ethan Coen, storyboard extensively before taking their movie pitch to funders. They stated that showing the financiers exactly where the money was being spent helped them get the figure they were looking for. Other directors storyboard only certain scenes, or not at all. Animation directors are usually required to storyboard extensively, sometimes in place of actually writing a script. Storyboards were adapted from the film industry to business, purportedly by Howard Hughes of Hughes Aircraft. Today they are used by industries for ad campaigns, commercials, proposals and other projects intended to convince or compel to action.2

There are many benefits to storyboarding. Storyboards are visual, and often much easier to understand than the written word. Storyboards reduce the time spent on unfocused, undirected discussion of the project. They allow everyone to share ideas equally. They identify problems and organize ideas to solve those problems. They depersonalize disagreements by making the facilitator the focal point. Storyboards are action-oriented, intense, and engage everyone in the process of their creation. They are especially helpful in generating alternatives and making decisions. Storyboards also demand a high degree of participation, getting everyone on the project team involved.3

Walt Disney once detailed the process



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