storyboarding and the creative process


New member
Mr. Mullin,

I am interested in the balance between creativity, and order in a production. That is, after storyboarding films, I have found oftentimes that I deviate from them quite far once I'm on set, as a new set of ideas emerge. Can you talk about how storyboards can be used to help the creative process, instead of making it (as it feels for me now), boundries. Thanks.
The more prepared you are, the more creative you can be. Preparation like shot-listing or storyboarding doesn't have to be creatively limiting at all because you don't have to follow them exactly.

It's just that the visual ideas you have in the luxury of prep, sitting at a drawing table, are different than the ones you have on the set under a time pressure -- it's a different part of your brain. When I have time in prep, and I can think up and discard a half-dozen approaches for the first shot of a sequence, for example. On a set with everyone watching you, you go quickly with your instincts, your first ideas, and with what you have to work with.

I find that when I'm rushed on the set, it's easy to fall-back on standard coverage techniques, whereas in prep doing storyboards, I can think of alternatives more clearly because I'm not under a time pressure.

So neither approach is right or wrong, you have to do both when making a movie: pre-visualize versus design a shot on the spot, figure out coverage on the spot, etc. You need both skills.

There is a lot of fear that takes place before you begin shooting, and prep helps take a lot of that away because the amount of work you have to do is more clear.

This is all assuming that you know how to plan a sequence in a practical manner that is doable on the shooting day.