38 Fantastic Storyboard Examples (2020 Guide)
Storyboards are a necessary organizational tool that productions use to plan out each shot and get their cast and crew members on board with their vision for the scene. Storyboards are used in every genre of film and television, even commercials and music videos. Prior proper planning prevents poor performance- and overspending.
I've compiled a list of 38 fantastic storyboard examples to get the ball rolling.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse has got to be one of my all-time favorite animated films. The level of detail is astonishing! Take a look at this storyboard example where the action sequence just jumps off the page!
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas is another excellent storyboard example. With stop-motion animation, every shot counts. The painstaking process required to shoot each scene shouldn't have to be done more than once. This is where a detailed storyboard can be your best friend.
Spirited Away is an animated film by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki about a 10-year-old girl and her parents who stumble upon and become trapped in a seemingly abandoned amusement park. Once she discovers that the amusement park is a resort for supernatural beings who need a break from their time spent in the earthly realm, Chihiro must work there to free herself and her parents who have been turned into giant pigs.
This classic adage, "the grass is always greener on the other side," comes alive in the stop-motion animated Coraline. When Coraline discovers a secret door in her new home that brings her to a new world- like her own, but better in many ways- until Other Mother and her fictional family try to keep her there forever.
In a world where rats don't belong in the kitchen, one dares to dream of flavorful combinations. With the help of garbage-boy, Linguini, Remy can follow his dream of becoming a chef.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox is odd and intriguing. Stop-motion animation for adults, but adapted for kids, is really quite the concept.
When Mr. Fox breaks his promise to his wife to never again steal from farms, their whole lives, and their animal friends' lives, get turned upside down. Then still, a fox is just a wild animal.
In all honesty, I could watch Up repeatedly, and I'm always a little disappointed when my children don't choose it for family movie night.
This storyboard example is from part of the opening sequence in which Karl and Ellie meet and form a fast friendship that eventually turns into a sweet love story. Adventure is out there!
Beauty and The Beast
If I could identify as any Disney Princess, it would be Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Not because my life story is anything like hers, but because I love the library the Beast gives her!
This storyboard sequence is from Belle's attempt to run away from the Beast and his castle. You felt chilled to the bone and frightened just by looking at the pictures.
The Lion King
The storyboard example from The Lion King perfectly displays the character's personalities.
Toy Story 3
This storyboard example takes us frame by frame through the opening action sequence.
Kung Fu Panda
Animation storyboards are often extremely close to what you would find in the finished product because the storyboard is literally the building block for the scene.
In this sequence, Po attempts Kung Fu.
Tom and Jerry
One of the things that I love about storyboards is that they are a piece of art history.
This episode of Tom and Jerry "The Little Orphan" is one of the earliest animated storyboards you can find online.
Marvel's Avengers series is one of the most well-known action film series out there. The Avengers films are so jam-packed with action sequences, a good storyboard really comes in handy when planning out each shot and camera angle to get the most out of each frame.
Edge of Tomorrow
When Earth comes under an alien attack, it's up to William Cage to save the day. Trapped in a Groundhog Day type of time loop, Cage finds himself getting killed over and over and over again, each time learning and advancing, getting closer to defeating the invaders.
Aging and weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X at a remote outpost on the Mexican border. His plan to hide from the outside world gets upended when he meets a young mutant girl who is very much like him. Logan must now protect the girl and battle the dark forces that want to capture her.
The Italian Job
After a gang of professional thieves robs $35 million in gold bars from an Italian gangsters' safe in Venice, they are betrayed and left for dead by one of their own. Seeking revenge, they plan an incredibly elaborate heist against the traitor to get the gold back.
Set in Detroit, Michigan, in the near future, RoboCop centers on police officer Alex Murphy, in the crime-ridden city, who is murdered by a gang of criminals and subsequently revived by Omni Consumer Products as the superhuman cyborg law enforcer, RoboCop.
Neo, a computer hacker, learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers. By day he is an average computer programmer and by night a hacker.
Mad Max: Fury Road
The storyboard for Mad Max: Fury Road is drawn with a very comic feel, bringing intensity and color to the post-civilization world.
Sound of Music
The Sound of Music is a beautiful film, full of choreography- with children! Each image in this storyboard is incredibly detailed.
West Side Story
Romeo and Juliet, set in New York, set this musical modern-day, follows the story of one young gang member who falls in love with the sister of a rival gang member.
Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz storyboard was painted by Jack Martin Smith. Oz's smooth rounded nature stands in stark contrast to Dorothy's house that was blown there from another land.
Gone with the Wind
The orange, smoky hues make this whole scene feel apocalyptic like the world is on fire. This Civil War-era film is a classic.
A newsreel obituary tells Kane's life story, a hugely wealthy newspaper publisher, and industrial magnate. Kane's death becomes sensational news worldwide, and the newsreel's producer tasks reporter Jerry Thompson with discovering the meaning of "Rosebud".
What's not to love about Forrest Gump? This storyboard details a scene where Forrest is awarded a medal by the President and then promptly displays his gunshot wounded buttocks to the President and the entire audience.
The storyboard for this scene in Moulin Rouge uses directional arrows to keep us oriented. In the film, so much is happening in this scene. To make sure every bit is captured, the artist created a full detailed layout of each shot.
In Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park, a select group is chosen to tour an island theme park populated by dinosaurs created from prehistoric DNA. While the park's mastermind assures everyone that the facility is safe, they find out otherwise when ferocious dinosaurs break free and hunt.
The Lord of the Rings
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Every image in this storyboard sequence is meant to be dark, to show the fear needed to make the end result as scary as possible.
Christopher Nolan's Inception was a creative masterpiece that still leaves people debating whether or not we are in a dream or reality. This head-spinning film required all sorts of special effects to immerse the audience in the story. One of the most iconic scenes is detailed in this storyboard.
Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones, an archaeologist, tries to beat a band of Nazis to a unique religious relic vital to completing their plans for world domination. Indiana Jones is in constant peril, making narrow escapes at every turn.
Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Ridley Scott's storyboard for the 1979 sci-fi classic, Alien, shows the crew happily eating around the table. Suddenly, Kane begins writhing in agony, and a strange creature pops out – covering Kane's stark white shirt in blood. Gross.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Years after simian flu wiped out much of the world's human population, genetically enhanced chimpanzee Caesar and his tribe established a thriving colony in Muir Woods outside San Francisco. When a small band of human survivors emerges, Caesar is forced to grapple with the dual challenge of protecting his people and re-establishing a relationship with the remaining human population.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
One of the film's most iconic stories, Star Wars, began as a concept on paper. Creating the Star Wars franchise required some of the most creatively ingenious people to step into a film. Star Wars pushed the limits of imagination.
Children of Men
P. D. James' novel The Children of Men, describes what happens when society is unable to reproduce. Children of men were adapted into a film in 2006.
Interview with the Vampire
Sometimes, storyboard artists add a lot of verbal notes to their storyboards to make sure the idea comes across clearly, like in the case of Interview with the Vampire.
Wes Craven's slasher-horror set in middle-class suburbia follows a masked knife-wielding maniac as he terrorizes and murders high school students.
The Birds is a classic horror film in which birds ruthlessly attacked people. In this scene, the storyboard details the birds gathering on the school playground. The scene ended up playing out differently than what was drawn on the storyboard, but the idea was communicated well.
Storyboards are a vital part of the filmmaking process. Not only do they help you plan out your shots and get everyone on the same page, but they can also really help you visualize what your story world looks like. Even if you're not a great artist, do your best to struggle through, creating images that you can use to communicate exactly what is in your mind. The imagination is a powerful thing, and each one of us imagines scenarios in a slightly different way. It's okay if your first storyboard draft is a little ugly, the purpose is to help you visualize the scene. What easter eggs should be in the background? What character poses do you want to hit? What emotion should be conveyed, and how can the shot make it happen? Filmmaking is visual storytelling.