It’s probably one of the most overlooked parts of filmmaking when you’re just trying to make a small short film.
Storyboards can seem like extra work that will slow down your pre-production time. But I can’t stress enough just how much they can speed up both production and post-production.
Even if you’re only making a film that’s a few minutes in length, storyboarding out your shots will be an immense help. It means never having to pause production to figure out where you’re going to put the camera. It means not wasting the time of your crew (even if it’s just you) with reshoots when you don’t like the angle of a shot. Or, worse, figuring out during editing that you don’t have a shot you need.
You may think that just being familiar with the script is enough, and that you’ll know if you’ve got all the shots you need. If you’ve written the script yourself this can be an especially dangerous way of thinking. The stress of production on the day gets the best of most people, and you’ll be focusing on other things that can make you lose track of the bigger picture. Storyboards make sure that you always know what you’re shooting and what’s left to be shot.
If it’s a small production, you probably only have one camera. That means that every setup is stealing time from you. Uncertainty about positioning and blocking just dig that hole deeper.
Take the time, even if you’re just drawing stickmen, to storyboard your film. Consider taking your still camera to the set and snapping shots of your angles. Even that can be a big help. If your camera’s digital, you can arrange them on your computer and prepare everything without having to print anything off until you’re finished.
If you storyboard your film, you’ll be doing yourself and your cast and crew a huge favor.
It will even give you the time to indulge a bit if you spot the perfect angle on set on the day, because every other shot will already be decided ahead of time.