Storyboarding

Storyboarding is a way to visually represent various scenes or story points sequentially on one or several pages or boards, most commonly associated with the planning of film or television programs. I find storyboarding to be an essential tool for analysis of other works as well as for the planning and drafting of my work, be it creative writing (libretto) or score-related (orchestration). At each juncture storyboard elements can be altered slightly in order to accommodate the elements of that specific creative task (story development, planning of musical scenes and elements, full orchestral realisation) but the basic design remains the same: a landscape-oriented table plotting scenes or events, often with a hand-drawn graph above indicating the natural rise and fall of dramatic tension in the piece. 

Recently I have used storyboards for my own compositional practice as work progresses, but I have also found them to be a great collaborative tool for use with directors and dramaturge, as well as being excellent ‘pitch’ tools when suggesting possible stories for operatic or balletic (music drama) to companies and funding bodies. They can be as basic or as detailed as you wish, and have been a fantastic way to streamline work and spot problems from afar.

Storyboard for use in studio for The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie
Very basic story breakdown of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant
Progressive storyboard for use in studio for the opera Beyond the Wall
Draft Storyboard for libretto and score formation Beyond the Wall

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