… for Random Weirdness

Tip #580: The History of Storyboards

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Storyboards are designed to help plan the story before production starts.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tmray02/1440415101/
A storyboard for “The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd” episode #408 drawn by Tom Ray.

Topic $TipTopic

A storyboard is a graphic organizer that consists of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence. The storyboarding process, in the form it is known today, was developed at Walt Disney Productions during the early 1930s, after several years of similar processes being in use at Walt Disney and other animation studios.

The first storyboards at Disney evolved from comic book-like “story sketches” created in the 1920s to illustrate concepts for animated cartoon short subjects such as Plane Crazy and Steamboat Willie, and within a few years the idea spread to other studios.

Many large budget silent films were storyboarded, but most of this material has been lost during the reduction of the studio archives during the 1970s and 1980s. Special effects pioneer Georges Méliès is known to have been among the first filmmakers to use storyboards and pre-production art to visualize planned effects.

Disney credited animator Webb Smith with creating the idea of drawing scenes on separate sheets of paper and pinning them up on a bulletin board to tell a story in sequence, thus creating the first storyboard. Furthermore, it was Disney who first recognized the necessity for studios to maintain a separate “story department” with specialized storyboard artists (that is, a new occupation distinct from animators), as he had realized that audiences would not watch a film unless its story gave them a reason to care about the characters.

Gone with the Wind (1939) was one of the first live-action films to be completely storyboarded.

EXTRA CREDIT

Here’s a Wikipedia article to learn more.


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