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6 Common Storyboarding Mistakes to Avoid

When you are creating an animated video for your business, one of the most important steps in the process is the storyboard. A rough representation of how your video will play out, shot by shot, a storyboard not only helps you plan for the production of the video, but it can save you time and money in the long run by giving you the chance to work through potential problems before you create the final product.

It also helps you refine and share your vision with others, who may not have a complete understanding of your concept based on the script alone.

Despite the importance of storyboarding, many new video creators either skip the process altogether, or make some big mistakes that delay their production schedule — or worse. If you avoid these mistakes, though, you will have a more successful video, and an easier time making it.

Mistake #1: Storyboarding Before You Have a Script

Even if you have a vision of how you would like your animated video to look, you cannot create a storyboard until you have the script completed. Trying to create a storyboard without a script is essentially putting the cart before the horse.

You need to know what key points you plan to make and what the call to action will be — and make sure that everything makes sense — before you start adding animation ideas; otherwise, you’ll be trying to match your script to the animation and you may miss key points. When your script is in place from the start, you’ll be in a better place to divide it into sequences, identify more creative animation ideas, and produce a better product.

Mistake #2: Not Seeking Feedback on the Storyboard

Storyboarding should be a collaborative effort between everyone involved in the production of the video. Writers, animators, technical folks, even the people handling the audio and the marketing tram should all be involved with the storyboard to ensure that it works from every perspective.

For example, an animator could identify a place in the script that is too complex to visualize, and help simplify it in the storyboarding phase, helping avoid unnecessary delays and expense.

Mistake #3: Failing to Include Clear Instructions

Even when all of the players are involved with the storyboarding process, it’s still vital to include all of the relevant instructions for the video in the script. It’s unlikely that everyone will be in the same room for the entire process, so clear, complete instructions are important to ensure that everyone’s on the same page and you won’t have to go through too many revisions.

Instructions that you need to highlight include

  • The background of each scene

  • A summary of the action of the scene

  • The location and size of any text appearing on the frame

  • Any other important details to remember

Nothing is too small to consider, so as you create your storyboard, pay close attention to developing instructions.

Mistake #4: Not Syncing the Animations to the Script Well

The entire purpose of storyboarding is to create a visual roadmap of the animation so the team creating the actual video has an idea of what to do. And while it doesn’t necessarily have to be detailed — simple rough sketches are fine at this stage — you want to spend time making sure that the storyboard is coherent and that the visuals match the script.

This is the time to make adjustments to the script and tweak your ideas, so if it’s not working, revise your script or try new ideas. Again, it’s best to make these changes on paper before you start working with an animation creator, so you can save time and money.

Mistake #5: You Don’t Follow a Theme

As you develop the storyboard, make sure that the video will maintain the same theme throughout. Don’t confuse your audience.

For example, if you are telling a story about a customer, follow that customer through the whole journey from pain point to resolution.

If you are detailing a process, focus on the process, and don’t get bogged down with charts and graphs. Remain consistent, and don’t be afraid to scrap ideas in the storyboarding phase that simply aren’t working.

Mistake #6: The Video Tells, Doesn’t Show

Finally, the first rule of creative writing applies to your animated storyboards: Show, don’t tell. The whole idea of creating an animated video is to give your audience a visual representation of your product or service.

Don’t waste time telling them about all the great features and benefits — show them. Your storyboard is a perfect test of whether or not you are effectively visualizing your concept or not. If you aren’t revise it now to be more engaging, with more show and less tell.

Again, storyboarding is important to a great animated video. It doesn’t have to be a complex process, but you still need to give it the time and attention it deserves to ensure a successful finished product.