The Storyboard Page

Once you have completed your scenes; scene heading, mood, movement and vibe. Written and distilled your scene beats and timed how long each scene plays in your head, your next step is the Storyboard page.

Once you’ve completed all the above tasks, you’ll see something similar to the image at the top – only they won’t follow that red line. Each scene is represented visually as follows:

  • The order of the scenes has been set by your work in the Timeline Page. To reorder you scenes, hold down the control key, select a scene and drag. When you place the scene in its new home, everything will retime around it.
  • The diagonal red line is there to help you map the energy of each scene. Your story should build in energy – drama and/or emotion for a drama, humour for a comedy, etc – as the story progresses. Click on your scenes and drag them vertically to how you feel each scene rightly plays. This isn’t about simply following that red line; it’s about identifying issues so they can be addressed. You may find, for instance, that a flat-feeling second act is actually caused by over-exuberance in the first act. Exciting first act scenes are great, but not if your audience starts looking at their phones in the second act.
  • The width of each scene represents the running time. This will allow you to quickly spot any pacing issues. Perhaps some scenes need to be re-ordered or their playing time changed. Command/Windows key-click on a scene to edit it in the senes page.
  • Hover over a scene to be presented with the summary. If that’s not enough, option/alt-click will bring up a larger view.
  • The image at the very top of each illustrates the time of day. Use this to ensure you’re not mixing times up.
  • The colour at the bottom represents the mood. This will help you to quickly identify if you have over-long stretches of one mood or if you’re jumping about in a way that may confuse you’re audience.
  • The arrow to the right indicates in which direction the mood is swinging. Look for flow.
  • Remember that good stories aren’t written, they’re re-written and it’s a hellavlot better to do that re-writing now, when you can see the whole thing laid out before you than when you’re deep in your draft.
  • Once you’re happy with how your story flows it may be time to move onto your draft. Or it may be time to produce a treatment based on your work (cmd-P) and take it to someone who might fund the next step of the process. The treatment you produce at this stage contains all of your scene headings and scene beats, in order, to give you the best chance to really represent your story.

**Many of the concepts behind the Timeline and Storyboard pages have been built around Western cinema theories. We are big fans of East Asian cinema and TV are working hard to bring Eastern storytelling theories to Story Distiller in an upcoming version.