Amazon are using storyboarding to research whether a story should be made into a movie—or series—or not. On the face of it, it seems like a thoroughly good idea given that movies cost so much to make.
Briefly, you get sent a scene by scene set of graphics containing the main components of the plot—and are asked to comment accordingly. The storyboards are very clear and give a real sense of what is proposed. Some dialog is included in bubbles. In effect, you are looking at a comic—a wonderful communication medium in its own right.
I read every comic I could lay my hands on until my early teens—then stopped because they were banned in my boarding school. They didn’t stop me reading books as well. In fact, I read everything I could lay my hands upon. With hindsight, I’m rather sorry I gave up on comics, but they weren’t considered appropriate for adults in the culture of the time. More is the pity! When I was in Japan, I saw some graphically brilliant adult comics. Can’t comment about the text since my Japanese is non-existent.
Though I admire Amazon’s enterprise—it’s an innovative powerhouse of a company—I have mixed feeling about this approach from a creative point of view (whether is is commercially effective or not). Creativity by committee has a tendency to lead to the lowest common denominator—and I’m a great believer in the compelling creative vision of the individual—even though I freely concede that movie making is an innately collaborative medium. Nonetheless, the vision of an individual often dominates to great advantage.
I wish Amazon luck.
But could we writers use storyboarding in some creative way? I cannot draw worth a damn—but I’m attracted by the thought. Now to find somebody who can draw and who is creatively compatible.
I’m still a believer of the creative vision of the individual—but the prospect of extending it is challenging.