Assignment 13: Fiction Writing Assignment No. 2
The Storyboard and Children's Story
EngC 1011 University Writing and Critical Reading
Kevin L. Callahan
EngC Writing Instructor
The critical transitional document, akin to the "prewriting" process for papers, which turns short stories into movies and TV show episodes is the storyboard. A storyboard is a series of rectangles on a page with simple hand drawn pictures of the visuals associated with the story. It is similar to the panels of comic books but is usually not as artistically complex. Action and camera angles are conveyed with stick figures and horizon lines. In addition to "prewriting" or outlining the visual images that the cinematographer and director will use to compose the actual shots, the storyboard also indicates the kind of "shot" or camera angle that is expected and there is a typical sequence which is followed which mimics the perception process that human beings use when they enter a room. This sequence is the Long Shot (e.g. a building or room), followed by the Medium Shot (an individual or head and torso shot), two Close Ups (the real "gold" in visual terms e.g. a sweating face or nervous tapping hand), and a cut away or reestablishing shot (usually a medium shot) which may be a reaction shot to the main action (someone looking at the protagonist, or the protagonist's shadow, etc.). The sequence of the story is described below the storyboard panel and the critically important soundtrack which includes the sounds, dialogue, or background "mood" music. Filmmakers quickly find that people tend to be more interested visually in some images than others (perhaps at some level for biological reasons ). These include: 1) human faces, 2) people doing some kind of work or physical effort, 3) quick action or movement, 4) extremely colorful images, 5) and highly emotional imagery. This is part of the reason television and movies have so much "sex and violence" in them. Movie film mimics the dream process better than video for physiological reasons since it is shown at a slower rate and Sigmund Freud always claimed that dreams were about "wish fulfillment" and the twin themes of "sex" and "death" at some level drove human psychology and were fundamental human interests always operating somewhere in the background of human consciousness.
Very akin to the storyboard is the children's story which requires proposing visuals in a storyboard format for the professional artist to produce. Children like to read about characters' adventures who are a couple of years older than they are e.g. if you are writing for an 11 year old the characters should be 13 to 15 years old, etc. Children's stories that are designed for very young children e.g 5 year olds, often have a morale and a happy ending and may involve animals, children and travel or adventures.
Instructions: Convert your short story into a storyboard or proposed children's story. Be explicit about the age of the audience you are aiming the piece at. Draw a series of rectangles on three pages leaving sufficient room to describe the shots (long shot, close up, etc.) and using the recommended shot sequence of LS, MS, CU, CU, RS for most of the sequence. Describe the action or dialogue and any music background (if a storyboard). The entire storyboard or children's story can be hand written and hand drawn (using stick figures, horizon lines, etc.) or the words may be typed.
The Storyboard or (alternative choice ) Children's Story Writing Assignment. (20 points).
Assigned: Thursday, November 30. Three pages long.
First Draft Due: Tuesday, December 5 with copies for the Editing Practice/Peer Review Workshop on that day.
Final Draft Due: Thursday, December 7.