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Scriptwriting and Storyboards

Writing a treatment

Filmmakers write 'treatments' to pitch their ideas to film producers or financers. The aim is to get approval or funding to proceed with writing the screenplay.

A treatment should ‘sell’ and communicate the idea in a lively and dramatic way. Use highly visual nouns, verbs and adjectives to convey the overall mood and tone.

The screenplay

The screenplay brings initial ideas to life by capturing what the director wants the audience to see and hear.

Screenwriters use a series of screenplay conventions to effectively communicate their ideas to the cast and crew of a production in an established and universally understood format. There are many screenplays available online that can help you to familiarise yourself with scriptwriting terminology, formats and guidelines.

The shooting script

The shooting script complements the screenplay by communicating visual ideas for each scene. The shooting script communicates to the production crew where and when to use selected camera shots, movements and angles for each scene.

Shooting scripts are laid out in table format. Scenes are broken up according to the action. The shooting script includes detailed descriptions of shot types, transitions, visual content and sound to be captured for each aspect of the scene. Both shooting script and storyboard use abbreviated directorial terms to specify camera placement and movement.

Creating the storyboard

A storyboard is a visual representation of events as they are to be seen through the camera lens. The storyboard is informed by the script and uses rough drawings – like a comic strip – to plan shots. Storyboarding key scenes that may require a higher degree of planning or those that feature complex visual production techniques will help ensure their successful execution.

Storyboards can be used for both animation and live action productions. Drawings can be simple, but each scene should be worked through until the planned sequence of events runs smoothly. Each sketch should fill the frame in exactly the same way the shot will fill the screen in the finished film.

Storyboard Generator

Explore storyboarding concepts further with the Storyboard Generator. Choose a script and create a storyboard, and build your own storyboard using background location photographs.

Save and share your storyboard video with friends. Remember to register with Generator first if you would like to save your storyboard.