If you’re planning an action film, you’ve got a lot to think about. Your budget, your artistic vision, and your “money shots” must all come together to create an exceptional, exciting movie. Crafting polished, professional storyboarding is the key to effective previsualization – the storyboard acts as a detailed template that maps out the action, from the very first frame to the final shot. As well, your storyboard can help you streamline your pre-production before the cameras start rolling – a great storyboard can save you time, money, and hassle…however, it must be put together correctly for the best results. Previz begins with a group session where you and your crew brainstorm ideas and innovative ways of bringing your vision to life. Classic, critically acclaimed action movies (The Matrix, The Bourne Identity) push the envelope with special effects, unique locations, and tight suspense that builds to a stunning climax. To get this sort of heart-pounding excitement, you’ll need to come up with a complete script before you begin storyboarding. Then, you can move forward, mapping out the action, frame by compelling frame…
Once you’ve brainstormed your script development and other conceptual ideas for your production, you should decide just how you want to approach the storyboarding process. Film storyboarding software may be your best bet here…today’s filmmakers take advantage of technological advances that allow them to create perfect storyboards, sometimes in mere minutes. The labor-intensive struggles of past decades (where directors relied on models, dolls, and Bristol board layouts to simulate action sequences) are over. Web storyboard software offers a ton of pre-loaded characters, backgrounds, props, and special effects. It’s p
ossible to create full storyboards for every camera angle and location – without paying for a live artist. Adding music and dialogue are so easy with digital storyboard software – clicking a mouse is all that’s required. You can also import images and photographs to use in your storyboards – today’s hottest programs work with the software you already know and enjoy! For aspiring or veteran filmmakers, storyboarding is just more creative, fulfilling, and useful when it’s done with digital storyboarding software. These programs pay for themselves over time, and they create a layered, dimensional effect that is also so easy to share on iPhones, websites, and blogs. You can use your storyboards to pique interest in your production, before you film a single frame of action. In fact, great directors like Scorsese and Jim Cameron often use detailed digital storyboards to attract new investors for an upcoming production. These storyboards are like the perfect advertisement for their film.
Whichever method you use (be it old-fashioned paper storyboards, filmed models and action figures, or sleek digital storyboards), you should consider all the elements of your production when you begin storyboarding. Camera shots (close up or long shot?), camera angles, casting (how will your characters look?), locations, props, and music…the list goes on and on. The more detailed your storyboard is, the better it will serve you as you move into production. Using your storyboard to get a handle on your budget is also a great idea – you can decide what equipment you need, how big your crew will need to be, and how many actors and actresses you’ll need to cast. From planning craft services for your talent and technical crew, to planning the logistics of moving from one location to the next…proper previz and storyboarding can make pre-production efficient and cost-effective – it can streamline your entire shoot.