What Are the Elements of a Storyboard?

By Jennifer VanBaren ; Updated April 12, 2017
A storyboard begins with an idea about a story that is used to produce a book or movie.

A storyboard is a visual picture that conveys a story in a logical order and is used for many things including films, animated pictures and books. On a storyboard, an artist creates pictures, panel by panel, that illustrate the order and events of a story including the characters and dialogue. A storyboard must contain several key elements in order for it to be effectively used to produce films or books.

Story

The first primary element of a storyboard is the story it tells. By creating the story in order on a storyboard, the creator can visually see if the story makes sense, is complete or is missing key information. A storyboard also helps the creator organize and insert key details and points from the story in a logical manner.

Characters

A storyboard also contains the characters in the story. When creating a storyboard, most creators use pen or pencil and are not concerned with making the characters look good. Some people even use stick figures instead of drawing complete characters. As a writer draws a storyboard, the characters in the story are able to develop into their own personalities, through the way the creator illustrates the story. The storyboard illustrates the actions of the characters, such as the way they are moving or what they are doing.

Dialogue

Dialogue is also an element of a storyboard. A storyboard not only shows the characters in the story, but also shows what the characters are saying. It can also illustrate the tone of voice the characters use, such as the loudness of the words, or specific types of feelings that words can produce, such as anger, sarcasm or excitement.

Time Frame

Storyboards also contain notes about time frames, such as how much time will be used in a specific scene, or how much time passes between frames. This element of a storyboard helps writers narrow down a story to a specific amount of time.

Camera Details

Numerous different terms are commonly used in the production of storyboards, especially when referring to the camera details. The storyboard illustrates where the camera should be positioned, and shows which frames are close-up shots or shots with a moving camera. Other camera terms include dissolve, which occurs when the camera fades out of one shot and into another and zoom, which is when the camera moves close to the picture.

About the Author

Jennifer VanBaren started her professional online writing career in 2010. She taught college-level accounting, math and business classes for five years. Her writing highlights include publishing articles about music, business, gardening and home organization. She holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and finance from St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind.