Storyboards are simple drawings done during preproduction and production as a guide for, and to begin a conversation about, the content of shots and scenes. There should be sound design storyboards too, because it would present an opportunity (and an obligation) to actually think about, discuss, and plan the way sound will work in each scene, and in the movie as a whole. It would happen early enough so that sound ideas could have an influence on the way scenes are blocked, lit, and paced, as well as where they are shot.

8 thoughts

  1. Hello M. Thom, thanks a lot for your work and for this blog. I’m teaching Sound in an animation school in France. My students learn to edit Sound on animatics in order to think about the sound during conception. Is the same thing done on big animation movies you work on ? Are directors editing sound in order to exchange with the sound team ? I completely agree that it should be done on traditional movies too.

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  2. Bonjour Pierre!
    Far more early thinking about sound happens in the animated films I work on than the live action ones… but still not nearly enough. Big budget animated features, not all but most of them, tend to be wall-to-wall dialog only because the filmmakers can’t think of other sonic ways to tell the story. They need to try harder.

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  3. Great idea, Randy. I hope some examples for sound storyboards will surface. Meanwhile, can you extend this idea into the script stage–how sound might be better represented there, instead of just putting a sound-related-words in ALL CAPS? Or address in a future blog post?

    I have some selfish motivations for this as I am currently writing a script where a particular sound evolves like a character, or leitmotif, throughout the course of the story, from barely being noticed to being quite full and consequential.

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  4. Great suggestions! Would apply for capturing dialogue and environments (mic techniques). Sub-storyboards for sound design – literal/non-literal. Musically (knowing key, meter, tempo, emotion) – applying to sound. Harmonic layers/triads/tonics of sound with music – consonance. Or the opposite for sound and music demonstrating fear/anxious – dissonance. Seems like a storyboard would also make transitions happen smoother/smarter, way before the cutting room, way before shooting – better for the editor too, entire team come to think of it. Great stuff, love this blog!

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  5. Dear Randy,
    Well, you have coined the term “Storyboard for Sound” like an old wine in new bottle. As I guess we all almost have a habit of sketching the sound plan for each and every scene for FF, Documentary(if I know the detail of the place beforehand), and short films.I do have and now I am into teaching sound for more than 7 years and I guide students to make this storyboard of sound or sound sketches for each scene for whatever projects they do.
    Anyway this is a very timely topic you have mentioned. Thanks for the same. And as a Production Sound Designer and Sound Designer, I have always been fascinated by your work and your body of work. It seems I have never got enough opportunity.

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