10 Signs to Know if You’re Reading a Strong Script

Before I get into this, I just want to make one thing clear.

I love writers. I respect writers.

I know how hard it must be to write a script from a blank page. Just as I know how hard it is to draw a storyboard from a blank page. It’s very easy to come in after it’s finished and pick out what could be better.

I just want you (and the writers) to know how artists see their scripts when taking them to the next level in production. I’m writing this from a visual storytelling point of view. And it’s all for the good of the story, right?

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I see myself as the ‘fresh eyes’ when I get a script. Board artists can point out things that may have been overlooked by the writer and director. Sometimes time runs out and it just has to be good enough…because hey, there’s schedule to keep! I get that completely.

I write this out of my experience and opinions of animation scripts.

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Production Journal – Getting the Show on the Road

And so it begins.

Here I am, starting the first board of a new cartoon. I’ll be doing five shows in a series of 52 eleven minute episodes over the course of six months. It’s a brand new show created (and directed) by a buddy of mine, so that alone makes it all pretty neat.

I’ll be working from my studio at home but you could very well end up working in-house. Studios sometimes want the less experienced people in-house but feel comfortable with the experienced ones working on their own. There’s no set rule and I’ve done both.

So what happens first?

Well,I had a meeting with the series director on Monday and signed my contract along with a few other forms. Since I’m dealing with a studio I’ve worked with many times over the past 8 years or so, it’s all pretty much routine at this point.

I had received the script on the Friday before, to become familiar with it. Read your script before you talk about it with the director! It would be ridiculous to try to ‘fake it’ and read along as you discuss it. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this script so it’s important you understand it and get the director’s take on it.

The meeting begins.

Here is where we discuss the script and his vision for the show. And I had a few notes. Now, I love story and want the cartoon to be as good as it can, so I give my honest opinion about the script. I see myself as the ‘fresh eyes’ to the story. Keep in mind that I know the director and the studio, so if you’re new to this, be careful…they can be a sensitive bunch. They have worked very hard on those scripts and I respect that. If you don’t feel you have the experience to give your opinion, then don’t.

I do. So I did.

It was fun, right Boots?

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So You Want to Be a Professional Storyboard Artist, eh?

I couldn’t help it, I’m Canadian.

This is an introductory post I’ll expand on in the ‘Production Journal‘ and ‘Storyboard Like a Pro‘. If you want to do storyboards for a living and have no idea what it takes, I’ll break it down for you. No sugar-coating…you deserve that. Here we go:


Do you have to know how to draw? Yes. How good? Pretty darn good. Do you have to be drop dead amazing? No. I’m nowhere near amazing, but I’m pretty good and get the job done. As I’ve said before, the drawings aren’t the most important thing in a board. But to work professionally, you need good solid drawing skills. And hey…amazing can’t hurt.


Do you need formal training to be able to work professionally? I’d like to say ‘no’, because anything is possible, but I’d be more inclined to say ‘yes, you do’. Any kind of formal art training is great to grow as an artist. Take classes in drawing, painting or life drawing if that’s what you love. Will that alone make you a storyboard artist? Nope. If you want to work in the animation, film or gaming field, you need some training in that field. You can’t produce storyboards for an industry if you don’t know how that industry works. You must know how a cartoon is produced or a film is shot in order to storyboard for a production effectively. Even if that training is reading everything you can gets your hands on…you need it. It’s expected.

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But I Can’t Draw!

Well, not with that attitude.

Wish you could produce your own storyboard for a short film? Not an artist? Can’t draw a straight line without a ruler?

I don’t buy it.

If you’re capable of writing your name, you can draw.


As I mentioned in a previous post, storyboards are about communication, not pretty pictures. Sure, pretty pictures help. I won’t deny that. But if these boards are just for you, or for a small group of people to work from, you can do them yourself. With some guidance and a few tips. Which you will be able to find right here…how convenient!

OK, and some practice : ).

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The Production Journal Intro

This is the area where I’m going to ‘journal’ my next storyboarding gig. I start at the beginning of December and it goes till June 2008. I’ll tell you more information about the series when I get going. And when I find out from the studio what I can’t say. Just so you know, I … Read more

Know Your Medium!

Here’s some differences between boards done for 2D animation, 3D animation and for live action film. This is why you should know the medium that you’re boarding for. I’ll break it down this way. For Film, the board: is a great way to organize your shooting before you shell out any money is a flexible … Read more

So What IS A Storyboard, Anyway?

In short, it’s a bunch of drawings that tell a story in a clear and organized manner. “Kinda like a comic book?” Pretty close, but with some differences. It’s a visual interpretation of a story or script that depicts every scene, action and camera movement. The storyboard has to work technically and follow the same … Read more

What’s All This Then?

Hi and welcome to my very first blog. It’s a little intimidating but hey, I’m here. I’ve been a professional storyboard artist for over ten years and want to give a little back. I’m creating a space where you can come and learn something about visual storytelling. I’ll be documenting my next boarding assignment online … Read more