The Key to Getting Storyboards Right—Pre-visualizing Your Success

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

Sometimes clients, agencies and producers are not totally in agreement with what exactly will be shot.  Storyboards make definite what is going to be shot and cut out the problem of confusion or multiple opinions on set.  Shoots needs to be run on time so that the project doesn’t go over-budget.  This is especially important when you are working with celebrities who often can only be on set for a short day.  Therefore storyboards help one organize the shoot and save money.   

Telling the Story

One of our favorite aspects of storyboards are that they prove to us that our story is working visually and also that it has all of the key elements of a story such as the beginning, middle, end, obstacles, climax, resolution etc.  You can literally see if it’s all working in a storyboard because film is visual storytelling. 

It’s also fun to cross off each picture with a pen after you film it and get the satisfaction of getting closer and closer to completing the shoot. 


In the world of commercials for example it is essential to use storyboards to time out your project.  There is no 33 second spot on television and using storyboards you can animate each picture in sequence and time out the whole story.  Having a very precisely timed out storyboard ensures your success and saves quite a lot of time in the editing room and prevents jumpy cuts which can be ungraceful.

We realized early on in our Pfister Ladera commercial shown in the video interview that storyboards were going to mean the difference between success and failure.  We had started out wanting to film parts of the commercial in a one take without edits but the storyboards allowed us to realize that moving set pieces and a moving camera would take way too long and just the opening we wanted to do would take 12 seconds out of 30.  So we stuck to the storyboards and timed out each shot and added them together to arrive at 30 perfect seconds. 

Coordinating Your Team

Storyboards can be shown to your cinematographer, lighting team and art director so that before the shoot, they can do all of their needed prep accurately.  They know the composition, shot size, if there is movement or not and what props and set pieces will be needed. We personally find it very helpful to sit down with a cinematographer over storyboards and discuss the visual storytelling and camera movement and angles.  This makes a cinematographer’s job running his team and organizing the equipment highly efficient.  Again, the more prep you do and the more you pre-visualize, the more success you will have on set. 

Winning Against Time

Lack of time is the biggest enemy of creativity.  When you don’t have enough time, you start having to compromise your creativity, you get stressed and you are no longer being an artist but instead you are watching the clock  

In summary, storyboards make you highly efficient, organized, in agreement as a team and ultimately confirm that your story is working. 

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About the Author

Dream Team Directors
Dream Team Directors
In 2007, the dynamic husband and wife filmmaker duo of Bayou Bennett and Daniel Lir founded Dream Team Directors. Their vision was to combine imagination, humor, beauty and a desire to positively impact the world through their stunning creative work.

They started their collaboration as writer/directors with the viral hit “Text Me” which won multiple awards, was featured in Teen Vogue, Seventeen, NY Press and voted for honors by Execs at Fox Searchlight, DreamWorks, MTV, New Regency. The film quite literally captured the texting and Facebook generation and was praised by Producers such as Martin Brown "Moulin Rouge".

In their 13 years of working as a stellar team, they have had the opportunity to collaborate, direct and produce with great talents such as Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo, Oscar nominee Juliette Lewis, Golden Globe nominee Anthony Mackie, Lea Michele of Fox's "Glee” and "Scream Queens", Coldplay, P. Diddy, Paris Hilton, Lindsey Stirling and top model, Bella Hadid.

Their company motto, "Let our dream team manifest your dream", symbolizes the expansion and positive attention they win for their celebrity and high-profile brand clients such as Adidas, Atlantic Records, Smashbox Cosmetics, Chrome Hearts and more.

Their most recent inspiring drama, “Tombstone Pillow” , shot in a Manila cemetery where 6,000 families live received a flood of awards including Best Inspiring Film, Best Drama, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Short Film which brings their total festival wins to over 50.

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