5 Storyboarding Mistakes to Avoid

Nastya Bulavska
Nastya Bulavska
Content Manager at MakeStoryboard
6 min reading·

5 storyboarding mistakes

We prepare a new portion of interesting facts and life hacks to make your life easier and expand your knowledge about the storyboard industry. Of course, among our users there are both experienced creators and beginners, we are constantly trying to keep you all updated with the latest trends and news. 

Today we will talk about the most common storyboarding mistakes, so let's get started! 

Show, don't tell

A storyboard is primarily a presentation of visual information, so when you are faced with the task of presenting a product or visualizing the plot of a future animated video, you have the opportunity to describe it not in dry words, but to revive the scenario with movements, gestures, emotions, and colors. No need to oversaturate the frames with direct information, think about what the main goal and message are, what the author wanted to say, and what emotions the viewer should have?
For example, when putting a character in action, think about how he feels, what he thinks about, and how he will behave. You already have direct instructions, so you should convey the words through what is happening on the screen. Facial expressions, posture, body language - that's what's important. When the scenes are diverse and realistic, the viewer looks for the hidden meaning and draws conclusions by analyzing the image, your task is to attract attention and interest!

show, don't tell

Unnecessary cutting

Cutting is a technique used to focus the viewer's attention on a certain moment, the author moves from one angle to another, changes the plan to emphasize the action. Imagine a moment when a character checks his phone, it would seem nothing special, it's an ordinary action, so there is no need to zoom in. But if we want to show that he received a message from an important person, we can take the time to show the sender in close-up, because it is an important detail of the plot.
The problem is that many beginners don't ask themselves the question of purpose, how meaningful is it? Why do we need to show this element? As a result, the viewer finds it difficult to focus and concentrate on the integrity of the events, it is not aesthetically pleasing and spoils the perception. Remember, such frequent cuts hurt the film and overload the overall flow of the events. The viewer will feel overwhelmed and it's very unprofessional. If we show ordinary action, don't think that it will look too boring without the cuts, on the contrary, such stability helps to form a logical chain and to concentrate.

Unnecessary cutting


Do not leave too much space in the frame, and do not put only one character there, unless you want to show how lonely he is, otherwise, it will look flat and unrealistic. The frame should be lively and dynamic, and you know what will help us? Perspective!  Really, basic knowledge and a little bit of practice will help us to use this method correctly. 

Let's outline three main principles that are used in drawing to build a correct linear perspective. 

- objects that are closer to us (e.g. trees, buildings) are drawn in front of those behind us, i.e. a partial overlap effect is created.

 - distant objects for us should be lighter, and they do not need to be drawn in thick lines, it should create a feeling of airspace. 

- to create the effect of distance distant objects should be smaller in size than those in the foreground. You can see this if you look around. In reality, all the lines in the room are either parallel or perpendicular to each other. But when we draw in perspective, our parallel lines begin to converge, and the further away they are from us, the closer they are to each other.
This point where all the lines eventually converge is called the vanishing point. When we look at something, our gaze seems to draw a straight line to the center of the object. This center will be the vanishing point.

Another important element in building a linear perspective is the horizon line. This plane is an imaginary line that is at eye level and extends into the distance.

When you choose the height of the horizon, you define a specific set point of view for whoever will be looking at your picture. It means that in the picture, the horizon line will not move with our gaze, it will remain stationary, as seen by the artist himself.

You don't follow the main theme

After reading the script carefully, you have to determine the target audience, the mood, the tone, and the aesthetic. Once you have focused on the task and decided on the visuals, you can begin to work on creating. If you're doing a story about selling a product, choose the main characters that represent this process throughout the story, let it be consistent but clear to everyone. Visualizing the events we are choosing emotions that the audience will feel, so everything must be appropriate, of course, you can choose how it will look like, but it is worth relying only on the script. Many authors create a special palette of colors for a particular story, giving each of them a certain meaning and association. The images of the main characters are also no less important, sometimes they are attached to their lifestyle or character traits. When everything is thematically connected, it is much easier to convey the message and get feedback from the audience.

you don't follow

Unnecessary camera movements

Some may think that it is a good idea to make camera movements in almost every scene, but in fact, it is a gross mistake that beginners make. Professionals advise to stop using this technique because it will be much more useful if we make a stable shot than a dozen constantly changing ones. This will not only spoil the atmosphere but can make the viewer dizzy or confused. Sometimes it happens that the author has worked hard to create a set, and because he does not want the result of his hard work to go unnoticed, he moves the camera around the background to draw more attention. If you want to show all the details, do it in a stable shot, and do not take the wrong approach in any case. In cases when the staging is not fully developed or does not quite fit the scene, the artists adjust the frame as they need. You can not rely on this, even if it seems that there is no other way because, in the end, it will look incomplete and messy.

Finally, let's talk about continuity. When creating the first shots, you must remember that everything goes in the right sequence through the story until the last frame. Moving on to the next scene, check the position of the characters, their size, movements, and the distance between the background and the backdrop. Everything should be taken into account because after compiling line tests you should get a clear coherent story. You can use our animation tool, which will help you produce your boards in dynamic mode, making it easier to check whether everything fits together!


In conclusion, it is important to say that everyone can make mistakes, which is not bad. Storyboarding is an art that requires certain skills that you develop with experience. But by analyzing your work and learning from your mistakes you can speed up the process considerably. You can find even more information for creators on our blog! Join MakeStoryboard and let's grow together!

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