Narrative Structure | Storyboards | Animatics
When was the last time you watched a movie on DVD? Did you ever watch any of the behind-the-scenes content on the disc? Ever wonder how the movie was filmed and put together? If you're fortunate enough, the DVD will probably even show you some storyboards (or animatics) and how close the final shots were to the original storyboard sketches. We'll be covering how valuable storyboards can be in your design process for linear media, especially when trying to tell a story that will captivate the targeted audience. | | Narrative Structure | |
Before creating a storyboard, you have to be able to tell a proper story first, and that's exactly what narrative structure is. When coming up with a story, some things to remember are that it should be engaging, entertaining, and be able to stir up your audience's emotions! Think about some of your favorite movies and some scenes that really tugged at your heart or captured your imagination. If you're going to learn from the best, you'll need to have a critical eye for how those scenes were shot and edited and how that story unfolded. Don't be afraid to study some of your favorite movies for techniques that you could incorporate into your own skill set.
If you look at any story, the basic narrative structure is comprised of an introduction, body, climax, and conclusion. Most stories you hear or see are probably told chronologically, which means the sequence of events were told in the order that they happened. But when you create a narrative, the order in which these events are told doesn't have to be in sequence! Remember the movie Memento by Christopher Nolan? There's an example of a narrative that didn't stick to the classic formula of storytelling. If you've never seen it, the story was basically told backward, which really altered the way the audience perceived the characters and events that occurred throughout the movie.
There are numerous opportunities to craft effective stories that can communicate old or current problems, new features, and what makes a particular product stand out. With animation and video becoming increasingly popular and heavily utilized on websites, and broadband access being adopted by more of the population, the possibilities are endless.
Narrative structure depends heavily on cinematic techniques involving camera placement, angle, and distance to and from the subject of interest or focal point. The easiest way to learn cinematic language is to create a reverse storyboard of existing commercials. This means that you can go to YouTube, find your favorite commercial and roughly sketch each shot. (A shot is from camera on to camera off, or when an angle or view changes.) In this way, you can teach yourself how to use extreme close-ups, close-ups, medium shots, and long shots (establishing shots) to tell a story to your audience.
Cinematic language also utilizes metaphors. What is a metaphor? It is similar to a symbol, but it uses something familiar to explain something that might be more complex. For example, "Love is a rose" is a metaphor using a simple object like a rose to explain the complicated concept of love. Directors and cinematographers use metaphor to create mood and further a story. A good example is in The Shining when Jack is writing feverishly at the typewriter, but later we see through Wendy's eyes that he has been typing "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" over and over again. The typewriter becomes a metaphor to describe Jack's deteriorating sanity.
The most important thing to remember about the use of metaphors is that they seldom include the words "like" or "as." A metaphor ''is" something else. | | Storyboards | |
Storyboards are typically made up of a series of quick sketches displayed in sequence to help visualize a wide variety of media such as films, cartoons, websites, and video games. A storyboard looks like a roughly