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Storyboarding for Feature Animation

Alessandra Sorrentino
9 Lessons (4h 49m)
9 Week(s)
English French Spanish Portuguese

Two Ways to Learn


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  1. Watch Video Lessons at Your Own Pace
  2. Assignments Included
  3. Peer Feedback
  4. Switch Courses as Often as You Like
  5. Access to all Schoolism Webinars included

LIVE Classes

personalized instructor feedback

  1. Watch Video Lessons with a Planned Curriculum
  2. Scheduled Assignments with Deadlines
  3. Personalized Paint-Overs and Real-Time Feedback From The Instructors
  4. Watch Video Lessons and Peer Feedback as Often as You'd Like
  5. Ability to Contact Instructor with Questions
  6. Digital Certificate of Completion
  7. Weekly Class Meetings LIVE on Zoom
  8. Access to all Schoolism Webinars included

Course Description

Storyboarding is a fundamental process when it comes to planning a film project, pitching your ideas, and ultimately bringing a script to the big screen. But what does it take to become a good story artist and work in feature animation? Join story artist and 2D animator, Alessandra Sorrentino, to talk about the art of storyboarding as it applies to feature animation, take a look at the many ways to tell a story, and go over the tools you'll need to help the Director convey their idea.

In this course, Alessandra covers a wide-range of topics including how to draw quickly, camera work, different types of shots, cutting, camera movements, beatboards, drawing with clarity, pitching, staging, how to lead the eye, the role of the story artist in a studio setting, how to build your portfolio and much more, with plenty of demos, TV/film studies, and engaging assignments to do along the way. So if you're interested in a career as a story artist for feature animation, this course will teach you the techniques you need to execute ideas that serve the bigger picture, and give you the know-how to create your own stories that express themselves at their full potential!

➡︎ For the ‘Critiqued Sessions’, students will meet up with Alessandra Sorrentino LIVE once per week on Wednesdays at 9am PT / 12pm ET.


Lesson Plan

In our first lesson, I'll begin by giving you a brief overview of my journey in animation, from my first drawings all the way to Pixar, and share my early influences that helped me develop my personal taste in storytelling. We will also be covering the difference between story artists and storyboard artists, the difference between a storyboard and a comic, the role of the storyboard artist in animated and live action films, and why we need storyboards as a production tool.

When you think of storyboarding, you might not necessarily think of storytelling right away, but story artists are writers, too! In this lesson, we will focus on the many ways to tell a story and the tools you'll need to create your own stories. We'll take a look at what makes a good storyteller, how to overcome writer's block, story games to get your ideas flowing, understanding story structure, and all of the storytelling ingredients that go into creating a story that connects to people on an emotional level in a way that feels unique and believable.

Being a storyboard artist not only requires you to be good at drawing, but also to be good at drawing FAST! In this lesson, we're going to talk about building storyboards, destroying storyboards, and repeating that process until we've achieved something that conveys the story idea clearly. Remember, storyboards don't need to be beautiful, but they do need to be clear! We'll also go over thumbnails vs. first pass drawings, drawing for feature animation vs. TV animation, shorthands, and adding perspective and tones to your storyboards.

You know what they say: know your angles! This is also true when it comes to storyboarding, and in this lesson, we'll be covering the practical tools of camera work. From establishing shots, to Dutch angles, P.O.V. angles, and so much more, we will be looking at several different types of shots and camera movements that you can use to achieve a sequence of shots that give the best storytelling result. We will talk about how to shoot with intention and do a comprehensive demo to show how different views of the same scene set up can tell many stories and create suspense, drama, excitement, mystery, etc.

As storytellers, one of our main goals is to make sure that our visual language is readable for our audience, and the main ways we do that is through the staging and composition of our shots. In this lesson, we will be tackling these themes in detail by going over clarity of staging and framing, and strengthening the dramatic effect of our shots with posing, silhouette, and line of action. From there, we will move on to topics like how to lead the eye and how to break down the action of a scene as we analyze effective shots from various movies.

There are many things we see in TV and film that guide our emotions, from the musical score, to the dialogue, to even the color scheme of a scene. But one of the most important factors guiding our emotions and our interest is the way a scene is cut! So in this lesson, we'll be going over the art of cutting; when to cut, why to cut, and how to do it well. We'll be analyzing examples of small sequences and exploring what happens to the story if we swap the order of the scenes, as well as analyzing scenes from TV shows and movies to break down the cutting choices that were made.

Every artist has their own process for creating storyboards, and we are going to explore the many different approaches to storyboarding in this lesson. I'll also be showing you my personal story approach when boarding a scene from kickoff to delivery, and how I thumbnail a script to explore the potential of a sequence. We will talk about the difference between beatboards and storyboards, ways to improve the story process, what to add to make the scene feel more real, and tips for making the story as strong as possible.

Actions certainly speak louder than words in this lesson where we’re going to be talking about character performance, how a character’s personality comes across in a scene, and how to handle sequences with no dialogue. Nailing down the performance starts with observation, so I’m going to teach you how to build your mental library by studying from reality, how to add subtle nuances to the scene to help the viewer connect to it on an emotional level, and how to break down a scene without dialogue to make it more manageable. We’ll also be covering the realities of a studio and the performance that artists need to put on when pitching a scene to the rest of the team.

We've made it to the end of the course! But before you go off on your own, I'd like to impart some final advice to you. So in our final lesson, I'll be going over tips and suggestions on how to approach your next steps. I'll cover topics like how to find work, how to build and organize your portfolio, how to handle job applications, and what you can expect in your first studio job. Furthermore, I'll share my advice on whether attending art school is worth it, perks to working as a freelancer vs. full time in a studio, and some final book recommendations that I think will be very helpful as you continue your learning.


Alessandra Sorrentino

Alessandra Sorrentino is a story artist and 2D animator, born and raised in Turin, Italy. She has been active in the animation industry for the past 16 years, starting off her career in Ireland at Cartoon Saloon, where she worked on both animation and story on the Oscar nominated feature films "The Secret of Kells," "Song of the Sea," "The Breadwinner" and "Wolfwalkers." She has spent several years in London working with clients such as Netflix, Blue Sky, Aardman, Locksmith Animation, Cartoon Network, Disney television, Nickelodeon, BBC, Studio Aka, The Line, Passion Pictures. She is currently a story artist at Pixar Animation Studios.