A few days ago, Amazon Studios asked me to take their FREE storyboarding tool, Storyteller for a test drive. As I said in the blog post, I’ve done some storyboarding in the past… Mostly hand drawn because I was an artist way before I ever became a screenwriter. I’ve even used several popular storyboarding programs software in the past during their trial periods but never ended up purchasing them since I’m more of a screenwriter than a filmmaker these days and never could justify the cost.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised to find the tool to be both intuitive and feature rich. Doesn’t take you long to get up and running and if you can’t find an image within Storyteller’s database, you can always upload one of your own like I did for the background of my screenplay.
You’ll need an RTF version of your spec… You can upload it publicly or privately. Mine is private as this exercise was more for trying out the tool. The first thing I realized is that it could take awhile to storyboard an entire script… At least a month or two with a few hours here — a few hours there. For this test drive, I decided to concentrate on the opening of my spec…
It went fairly quick as Storyteller allows you to duplicate panels and I found that feature to be a godsend as this only requires you to edit the now existing duplicate panel instead of rebuilding the panel from scratch with background, characters, and props. A couple of quick edits and you’ve got an entirely new and different looking panel. You can zoom in anywhere on the panel and create your own camera shot.
The second part of my two-part post is really what made me sit up and take notice…
Because at the very end of my opening, I’d been back and forth on two lines of dialogue for YEARS now… LOL. There are versions with this dialogue included and versions with this dialogue taken out. Some days I feel like I was telegraphing and some days? I felt the dialogue was necessary.
Storyboarding with Storyteller allowed me to look at a visual representation of my spec… Something that I’d NEVER had done or been able to do before. Once I decided to add the dialogue that’s been haunting me for years? I saw that it does indeed play and that?
That means EVERYTHING TO ME.