how to storyboard on post-it notes

the traditional way of storyboarding is to draw 3 frames or so stacked on top of each other on regular pieces of paper.

i started to do that, but was frustrated by how inflexible it was. i visualize out of sequence, and so i had all these sheets of drawings that were out of order. then one day at work, i realized that 3×5 inch post-it notes are really close to the 16×9 ratio that i’m going to shoot on. just ignore the 1/4″ at the top, which is about the same size as the sticky part on the note, and there you go, 16×9. just draw the picture, keeping in mind to leave some room near the borders to make sure it’s tv safe.

then you can stick them all on the wall to get a flow of the story. you can move them around, or replace them once you get better drawings. you can try out different shots, and edit the entire movie this way. being able to see the entire movie at once is great. it’s easy to follow the screen direction of actors, and make sure you don’t cross the line, see the pattern of wide shots vs close ups, etc. and since these notes come in different colors, you can color code them too if you wanted to keep track of night vs day shots, or interior vs exterior. this short is pretty simple so i haven’t done that yet.

it might be hard to believe from these crude drawings, but i was actually an illustration major.

here’s another one.

here’s the growing wall of post-it storyboards.

  1. Ed left a comment on January 19, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    I often use drawings like these to show flow even for non-frame based work (such as user experience testing of websites etc).

    Clients tend to love it as well as they can actually see to some extent what’s in your head…

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