Storyboard Conventions

The next step in our pre production is creating a selection of storyboards to show what the visuals will look like. We have done a script which we can refer back to, to create the storyboards. The storyboards will help us during our filming process to make sure we get the best shots possible and in terms of preparation, it means the whole filming process won’t be very time consuming since everything has been prepared before hand. In order to create the best possible storyboards, we have searched the typical conventions of storyboards used in the film industry.

What is a storyboard? 

A storyboard is a graphic representation of how the film will unfold, shot by shot. It is referenced by the film makers in production and pre production to create the best film possible.

movie_storyboards_jurassic_park1.jpg

Storyboards for ‘Jurassic Park’

Storyboards have many conventions which are recommended to be considered to allow us to create a selection of useful and helpful storyboards. These include:

  • Camera Shot Distance (Long Shot, Wide Shot, Close Up, Extreme Close Up)
  • Camera Movement (Zooms, Pans, Tilts)
  • Camera Angles (High, Low, Flat)
  • Location (where the scene is set)
  • Who is in the scene (character name)
  • Type of action in the scene (arrows in the direction of movement, notes for the actor etc)
  • Description of what is happening (general info about the scene)
  • Types of transitions should be noted (dissolve, wipe, fade)
  • Notes for the sound (diegetic and non diegetic, narrative, off screen, voice over etc)
  • Timing of each shot (noted in the top corner of the storyboard box)

If we take these conventions into account, it will mean we have a helpful storyboard to look at whilst filming – meaning our filming won’t be clumsy or messy and it will be completed quickly and sufficiently.

Podcast : Conventions of the Murder Mystery Genre

A genre that has intrigued me and Adam is: the murder mystery genre. Because of this interest, we decided to research the genre further which has opened us up to many new ideas for our film opening. To present the typical conventions of the murder mystery genre and to use as many media forms as possible, a podcast would be the best way to talk about the genre. To do the podcast, we used an audio recorder to record ourselves talking about the subject then to add into the podcast, I created a picture on Pixelmator to add into Final Cut Pro when editing.  Here is the podcast below:

To make it easier to look at the conventions, for reference we have included short bullet points of what we spoke about down below:

  • The plot usually contains an unsolved crime at hand. The protagonist is usually the one attempting to solve the crime, the detective. The whole storyline is typically based around the protagonist trying to solve the crime by piecing together: clues, events, suspects and circumstances.
  • Since there is a detective as a protagonist, there will most certainly be a villain which needs to be caught. Since there is a killer, there needs to be some victims too else, there will be no murder(s) to happen.
  • The setting tends to be where the crime occurred and where the evidence takes the protagonist. A common setting which is always referred back to in many murder mystery films is in fact an office where the detectives meet to piece evidence together.
  • The way the film is edited is also quite unique. In murder mystery films, there are quite a lot of fade to blacks, potentially this could mean that suspense is added to the quite dark matter at hand in terms of the plot and the events taking place.
  • The iconography is usually a very sad, dull day. To present this in the film, dark and rainy days are used in many outdoor scenes and settings.
  • A common use of non-diegetic sound used in these films is a sad, eerie and mysterious score played at many times during the film. This adds tension and an uncomfortable atmosphere to the film.
  • Most common themes presented are: conspiracy, pursuit of something or someone, acts of murder, sadness, suspense and of course, mystery.

Audience Expectations of the Thriller Genre

Linking onto my video about the conventions of the thriller genre, there are also audience expectations of what a thriller film should be as well as what the target audience arguably is. Of course, anyone can enjoy whatever film they want but, a common demographic for the thriller genre are young adults; mainly 18-25 year olds. This is mainly because, young adults/people this age are attracted to the graphic action and tense storylines the thriller genre contains.

That being said, there are many different sub-genres of the thriller genre which attract audiences of different ages. A romantic thriller for example, can target a female audience whereas an action thriller can attract a more male dominated audience from the ages of 15-30. A lot of films are targeted at certain ages and genders because of how much the audience connects and relates to the character (more specifically, the main character).

The target audiences of the thriller (sub)genre obviously expect excitement and to be on the edge of their seats during their time watching the film. A trailer which includes fast paced editing and the most exhilarating scenes from the film will obviously attract more of the target audience to go watch the film. A strong storyline which engages the audience into the characters’ lives is also an audience expectation. A thriller film does not give much detail about the characters at the start so, a lot of the film is about character progression. This links to the feeling of wanting to watch more of a thriller film because, as these storylines begin to unravel, the plot becomes exciting and like I said before, it puts the audience on the edge of their seats.