Reflection on Storyboards & Scripts

Over the past few weeks, we have looked at the production of scripts and storyboards. To learn further from this, I have produced a script and a storyboard of my own to go alongside coursework. Whilst the script was based on an original idea and full of codes and conventions for an audience member to easily identify that script's genre, the storyboard was my interpretation of a novel that has not been adapted into a film in the past.
Out of the two ways of producing a movable media text, the script is the most easiest for an audience member to clearly identify that text's genre, themes and setting. A script is also easier when a producer or a writer wants to illustrate a text's opening sequence. There are several layout requirements that allow a script to appear professional. A professional layout is particularly important if a person wishes to send a script to a studios or production company in order to pitch their idea. Those requirements are:
  • The font is in Courier and in 12pt. This is the font that is used by most TV and film scripts and looks formal. The 12pt size is large enough for a consumer to read it but small enough to allow enough writing on the page as possible.
  • One page (except cover page) = Approximately one minute screen time.
  • An opening sequence should only be about three pages long. If any longer, the opening sequence would not be concise and could lack relevancy. If any shorter, the reader may be unable to identify themes, character relationships or, importantly, the genre of the script.
  • In the opening sequence, make sure you introduce the narrative, time period, genre, setting and any important characters.
  •  Clearly make out the difference between dialogue and scene notes or descriptions. The best way to do this is to have the description in bold.
  • To include dialogue, indent the character's name to the centre and align the speech underneath the name. Do not use speech marks as this does not look professional!
  • Indent any scene transitions on the right.
  • Number scenes to make the script more easier to read (even if the text's layout of events is non-chronological for the purpose of the theme or genre).
This is an example of what a cover page for a script should look like:

When it came to me producing my own script, I decided to base my text in the Thriller genre. As this is a genre that I am really considering to base my final project on, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to gain an insight of how difficult producing a script in this genre could be. I found it quite hard to create a thrilling script  because I was unsure about typical codes and conventions for this genre. I know that most thrillers have negative themes so I also wanted to base my text on issues that were quite negative. I also wanted the text to explore social issues that affect a contemporary society because this will allow my text to relate to the audience on a more personal level. My script depicted a short confrontation between a middle-aged man and his teenage niece. Her reluctant actions soon reveal to the audience that she is a victim of physical abuse. I thought of several articles that were in the news during the past few years as inspiration for the script because I fortunately have not experienced this first-hand. I also sought inspiration from these articles because I wanted it to be a respectful approach towards the sensitive subject.
In today's lesson, we shared our scripts around in groups and everyone had to try and guess what genre my script was by placing their answer on a post-it note then slipping those notes in an envelope with my name on it. Some people were unable to pick out what genre my script was and this is something that I will definitely need to work on in the future by watching several thriller films and picking out codes and conventions that are within all of these films. Like I did with the previous script task, I could also analyse examples of thriller script openings on IMSDB.
The storyboard is a way of planning how you could illustrate a movable text. This form of pre-production planning is effective for texts in the fantasy, anime/animation or action genres where the film's visual elements are really crucial when it comes to capturing an audience's attraction and interest. Visual effects such as explosions and CGI characters may be difficult to describe in writing so the storyboard allows an artist to draw that effect on paper where it is clearer. This is an example of a good storyboard:
A storyboard should contain the following information:
  • Shot Numbers - allows a clear structure for viewers to follow.
  • Shot transitions - cuts, fades, swipes, etc.
  • Labelling of mise en scene to help establish shots.
  • Shot proximity - close-ups, long shots, over the shoulder shots, etc.
  • Any speech cues
  • Any sound notes (diegetic/non-diegetic)
  • Extra camera information - pans, zooms, hand-held shaking
For my storyboard, I decided to base it on a novel that is within the same genre as my script: thriller. I decided to do this because this would benefit me in future coursework for my final project. I am not a keen artist so I knew that before I even started this task that I was going to find this difficult. I produced a storyboard of my interpretation on the opening paragraph for the novel Casting Shadows Everywhere  by L.T Vargus. The opening paragraph describes how Jake, the protagonist, is one minute being his care-free self then, the next, is rolling around on the floor after being kicked in the crotch by his tormentor, Tony. I wanted to be imaginative when it came to illustrating how he suddenly went from flipping off the table to being so low on the floor. Rather than being realistic, I wanted it to have an alternative, non-naturalistic edge so that the storyboard was my own interpretation rather than copying the author.
What I can take away from this experience of producing a storyboard and a script is that I feel more confident in writing a script because I feel a lot more confident writing than I am drawing. Although I will need to work on incorporating clear thriller codes and conventions into my script in order for it to be more exciting and accurate, I am going to plan my final opening sequence using a script. I am going to use a script because I am staying away from using visual effects in order to enhance the piece's realistic effect.

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