HIRING A FREELANCER TO TURN YOUR SCRIPT INTO A (VIDEO) STORYBOARD
August 2022, Mar Exposito
Maybe you don’t know how to put my story ideas into pictures - and why should you? You are the producer!
But then, it can get overwhelming commissioning a freelance artist to bridge that gap between a script and actual animation.
Other than creating fully animated videos, from script to final edit, in our studio, Maru Exposito, we sometimes work in very specific parts of production. One of our strengths is static storyboard and animatic (or video storyboard) creation.
In this article, we will list what is done from the moment a producer contacts us with a script, to delivering the final storyboard files an animation studio will need to start their magic and make the final video.
Hopefully, this will help you visualize what to expect: meeting content, files and information needed from each side, reviews, and most importantly, what you get.
The step-by-step list below is based on the creation of a static storyboard and its animatic counterpart for what should later become an anime-length episode.
Other storyboard processes may adapt if it is for a shorter product (short film, music video, commercial) or something much longer (feature film).
1) Early project review
🔲Sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) if requested.
🔲Get as much project basic information as possible to consider if it matches the studio’s values, availability, and skills:
Project goal: Get streaming platforms’ attention, get released on youtube for free and attract merchandise buyers, get funds for charity, expand a social message to help society,...
What is ready so far: Synopsys, script, character designs, some voiceovers…
Who is the target audience: Age, language, culture...
How and where will the work be used
Deadlines and timeline flexibility
Design style preferences if any
🔲Review their project content and take detailed notes.
2) First client meeting
🔲Discuss this in meeting, while taking notes:
Basic questions again:
Budget idea for the final animation (so I can create a storyboard that then they can afford to get animated).
Top target audience.
Core message of the story/project.
Confirm expectations from the studio: specific tasks and content.
Confirm what will everyone provide (designs, files, script, audios,...).
In the animatic, settle on dialogue and sound effects: Subtitles or audio.
Inform about processes and communication methods.
Ask the top questions about the script.
Discuss how long is the animated video expected to be.
Confirm how will the opening and ending credits be.
Confirm the level of creativity desired: Stick to script? Or bring creative ideas?
🔲After the meeting, reconsider again if this is a good project that will fit both sides.
🔲Send meetings notes to the client to have information in written format and lower miscommunication risks.
🔲Fill in my project checklist (a special spreadsheet) where I calculate the hours, costs, and steps that will need to happen to make that project happen.
🔲Prepare the proposal’s PDF and send it.
The proposal should include:
When would the project start
What is the expected production timeline from that date
Price(s) for the project and currency
Milestone payment system.
What will be delivered. Usually, a static storyboard in multiple .jpg files, a video storyboard (or animatic) in .mp4, and a Premiere Pro file as a bonus if they plan on making changes
Revisions time that is included.
Until when this proposal is valid.
Open for questions/suggestions :)!
🔲Continue the conversation to find the win-win deal!
4) Studio Booking
🔲Send an invoice and receive booking payment (first milestone, or full price).
🔲Ask some other questions that I need to start working such as the aspect ratio desired.
5) Creating the first storyboard and animatic draft
🔲Read again all materials given, meeting notes, and messages, and take further notes.
🔲Draft the first version of the storyboard on paper in a big notebook.
🔲Send previews to the client so they know things are progressing well:
🔲Digitalize all the thumbnails drafted on paper by re-drawing them properly in my digital template.
🔲Create the animatic on Premiere Pro. Export, check how it feels, and improve it.
🔲Match the changes I made in the animatic in the prior step to the static storyboard (CSP file). Review grammar and typos.
🔲Send files around 24h prior to meeting time.
🔲Mention in meeting:
The video’s camera movements such as pans and zooms in the animatic are very basic. Some should "start slow and then move faster" or "curve". But those things are noted in the static SB and left to the final editor to test.
Any necessary changes in mind?
🔲After the meeting, send meeting notes again to have key info in writing.
🔲Invoice and receive payment.
6) Necessary changes and clean-up!
🔲Apply requested changes to storyboard and animatic
🔲 Clean up necessary drawings and text: prepare for anyone to understand so another animation studio can create it if needed.
🔲Upload new files (first only animatic until payment is done!)
7) Delivery of the final storyboard and animatic
🔲Discuss cross-marketing strategy if applicable.
🔲Invoice and receive final payment.
🔲Send static storyboard and the premiere file folder.
AND IT IS DONE!
By that moment, you can now see (and probably listen to) your story fully and everything is ready for the next step: get an animation studio to bring it all to life, with shinny designs, clean-up drawings, and a stunning score.
Needless to say, some of those services are available in our studio as well, if you like our style and how we work. Feel free to fill in the Animation Enquiry Form to get in touch anytime.
Extra: You can also access the internal tutorial I made for the studio in this Patreon private post. It is a much longer and more detailed version of what is shown in this article. It will be interesting if you are a freelance artist, are curious about how production works, or want to support this studio in general.