What is a Storyboard?

By Aaron Sherman

Find this and other great teacher resources in our Education Blog!

A storyboard is a graphic organizer that plans a narrative. Storyboards are a powerful way to visually present information; the linear direction of the cells is perfect for storytelling, explaining a process, and showing the passage of time. At their core, storyboards are a set of sequential drawings to tell a story. By breaking a story into linear, bite-sized chunks, it allows the author to focus on each cell separately, without distraction.

Create a Storyboard 

(This will start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)

Blank Film Storyboard Template
Blank Film Storyboard Template


Customize this Storyboard

(This will start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)

Create Your Own Storyboard  

Example of a Film Storyboard

A Brief History

Depending on the source, either Howard Hughes, with the 1930 film, Hell’s Angels, or Walt Disney, with the 1933 animated film, Three Little Pigs, is cited as the father of modern day storyboards. In 1939, Gone with the Wind was the first live-action movie to be completely drawn out on storyboards before filming.

The original storyboards showed stories broken up into pieces. Each piece of the story was drawn out on a card or piece of paper and pinned to a board in sequential order. Collaborators were then able to talk about and revise the story by looking at one part at a time, check to be sure it made sense, and plan for the production. Instead of redoing a large-scale drawing when changes were made, a single card could be reordered, redrawn, or even deleted. The ability to make changes easily ahead of time saves a lot of time and money!

Application: How can I use a Storyboard?

Over the last 80+ years, the use of storyboards has grown. Following the roots of animation and movie-making, storyboards are used by advertisement agencies for commercials, directors for plays, and artists for comics. Storyboards have also found their way into the business world for modeling how customers will interact with new products.

We all need to plan for something, whether it be at work, school, or home. Storyboarding out your desired outcome, even in a very simplified manner, helps you prepare for potential issues, make sure your plan is sound, and/or communicate ideas with others. There are many uses for storyboards in the entertainment industry, the business world, and education. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Entertainment IndustryBusiness WorldEducation
  • Plan for shots in a live-action video
    (commercial, vlog, TV show, film, etc.)
  • Pitch a product idea
  • Keep track of characters in a text
  • Plan a narrative for animation
  • Make "How-To" instructions
  • Summarize a text
  • Plan scenery for a stage production
  • Illustrate potential outcomes
  • Show steps in an experiment
  • Plan or create a graphic novel or comic
  • Present ideas to peers and colleagues
  • Create an illustrated story

  • Film and Entertainment Industry

    The ultimate in visual storytelling is film. Storyboards were first used for this purpose and work just as well (if not better) than they did in the 1930s. By storyboarding before filming, you can better plan out your camera angles, setting, props, actors, effects and so on and be more industrious during production. Storyboarding ahead of time also checks to see that your script makes sense and allows you to correct errors before they become too expensive to fix.

    These are some film projects that greatly benefit from storyboarding.

    Cinematic Direction
    Cinematic Direction


    Customize this Storyboard

    (This will start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)

    Create Your Own Storyboard  


    People love stories. People can connect to stories, and often remember information better when it is wrapped up in a story. It is sometimes better to show others’ stories rather than examples that are too close to home. Give examples using fictitious characters, rather than say things like, “When your boss comes to you and says you aren’t doing a good job….”

    We forget that people have different perspectives, backgrounds, biases and other stuff that could be clouding thinking or making someone think a certain way. Often we need a way to SHOW what we mean rather than spend time describing or explaining things. Meetings will be much more productive if everyone has the same visuals and everyone is on the same page.

    Common Business Storyboard Uses

    Using a storyboard lets you rapidly and easily experiment with a number of choices until you figure out what feels natural and right for you needs. Take a look at all of our Business Resources.

    SMART Goals
    SMART Goals


    Customize this Storyboard

    (This will start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)

    Create Your Own Storyboard  


    Storyboards and other graphic organizers are ideal for many aspects of education. A main thrust of a teacher's job is to relay information to students, and in turn, students must show mastery of concepts. In addition to some students being better visual learners, teachers tell narratives, describe processes, and organize information.

    Storyboard That has many Education Resources available for you to use in your classroom right now.

    The Most Dangerous Game Summary
    The Most Dangerous Game Summary


    Customize this Storyboard

    (This will start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)

    Create Your Own Storyboard  

    Now Get Started!

    Here at Storyboard That, we have expanded on the traditional storyboard and have made multiple layouts and we encourage you to use one in any way that you can think of! Visual communication and storytelling will make you think about the most important things and get you to collaborate in a whole new way.

    Create a Storyboard 

    (This will start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)

    Help Share Storyboard That!

    Read More of Our Blog

    Teacher Favorites

    Get the most out of Storyboard That with these great features!

    Classroom Features

    During your 14-Day free trial, you and your students will have full access to all the classroom features.

    • Unlimited Storyboards with up to 100 cells
    • Personal Teacher Dashboard
    • Support for Google Sign On

    Photos for Class

    Easily find that perfect photo thanks to integration with Photos for Class.

    • Millions of Creative Commons photos
    • Automatically cited when used
    • Makes storyboards POP

    Powerful Export

    After your storyboard is created easily export it to high resolution storyboard cells, PDF, slideshow, and so much more!

    • Export to PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides
    • Upload to your blog, wiki, email or social media
    • Create classroom posters and custom printables

    Presentation Ready

    Quickly turn any storyboard into a presentation to receive immediate feedback!

    • One Click Live Slide Shows
    • Export to PowerPoint (Keynote, and Google Slides compatible)
    • Create a new presentation just as easily after edits
    Start My Free Teacher Trial
    © 2019 - Clever Prototypes, LLC - All rights reserved.
    Start My Free Trial
    Explore Our Articles and Examples

    Business Resources

    All Business ArticlesBusiness Templates

    Film Resources

    Film ResourcesVideo Marketing

    Illustrated Guides

    Try Our Other Websites!

    Photos for Class   •   Quick Rubric   •   abcBABYart   •   Storyboard That's TpT Store
    Prefer a different language?

    •   (English) What is a Storyboard?   •   (Español) ¿Qué es un Storyboard?   •   (Français) Qu'est-ce Qu'un Storyboard?   •   (Deutsch) Was ist ein Storyboard?   •   (Italiana) Che Cosa è uno Storyboard?   •   (Nederlands) Wat is een Storyboard?   •   (Português) O que é um Storyboard?   •   (עברית) מהו תכנון?   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) ما هو القصة المصورة؟   •   (हिन्दी) स्टोरीबोर्ड क्या है?   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Что Такое Раскадровка?   •   (Dansk) Hvad er en Storyboard?   •   (Svenska) Vad är en Storyboard?   •   (Suomi) Mikä on Kuvakäsikirjoituksen?   •   (Norsk) Hva er et Storyboard?   •   (Türkçe) Bir Storyboard Nedir?   •   (Polski) Co to Jest Storyboard?   •   (Româna) Ce Este un Panou de Editare?   •   (Ceština) Co je Storyboard?   •   (Slovenský) Čo je to Storyboard?   •   (Magyar) Mi az a Forgatókönyvben?   •   (Hrvatski) Što je Storyboard?   •   (български) Какво Представлява Историята?   •   (Lietuvos) Kas yra Siužetinės Linijos?   •   (Slovenščina) Kaj je Snemalne Knjige?   •   (Latvijas) Kas ir Montāžas?   •   (eesti) Mis on Süžeeskeem?

    Page Render - Time 32.5688