Visualize your film with a storyboard made in Milanote

Follow this step-by-step guide to learn the modern process of storyboarding in Milanote, a free tool used by top creatives.

How to create a film storyboard in 6 easy steps

Storyboards are a powerful way to visually organize the composition, action and look of a film before you start bringing it to life. As director, producer and screenwriter Martin Scorsese said, “The storyboard is the way to visualize the entire movie in advance.”

Many people devote their entire careers to storyboarding as it combines disciplines and techniques such as illustration, writing and production. Traditionally, a storyboard would be created with analog sketches, but with a modern digital tool you can use photography, animation, color and notes to highlight key characters, scenes and objects.

Whether you’re creating a storyboard for a documentary, animation or a feature film, this guide will take you through every step to refine your process and create a modern storyboard.

1. Identify key scenes in the script

When creating a storyboard, it’s crucial to know what story you’re telling. The best starting point is to break up the script or narrative you’ll be working from.

Mark up the key parts of the story by highlighting major beats such as actions, locations, wardrobe, staging, narrative arches, and major plot points. This will help you form the frames for the storyboard and figure out how you’ll move from one scene to the next.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Create a new board for your storyboard.

    Create a new board

    Drag a board out from the toolbar. Give it a name, then double click to open it.

  2. Add a note and paste a scene from your script.

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left hand toolbar.

  3. Highlight the key scenes with the text highlighter.

2. Map out the key scenes

Next, map out the scenes you identified in the script. Give each one a number and a relevant title so it's easy to link them back to the broader story in the script.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add a column for each frame.

    Drag a column onto your board

    Name it, then drag any relevant notes or images into your column

3. Add images or sketches

Now it’s time to begin visualizing each scene. This part of the process has been referred to as “idea landscaping”—a place to brainstorm the visual features of each beat within the landscape of a story.

Some storyboard artists might begin sketching with a pen and paper first, but with modern storyboards you can collect reference photography, illustrations, screenshots, location shoots, and even motion from anywhere.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Upload images for each frame.

    Upload a file or document  

    Click the "Upload file" button or just drag a file onto your board. You can add images, logos, documents, videos, audio and much more.

Pro tip:

Websites like Shotdeck and Filmgrab are great places to gather reference images if you're not confident sketching.

4. Describe what happens in each frame

While each frame is a static image, try to communicate how it's going to look and feel as a moving sequence. Describes the style, mood, and behavior of characters. Consider how the camera will move through the shot and how you'll transition from one scene to the next. Add details about the sound to help your team imagine the emotion and drama you're trying to capture.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add a note to describe each frame.

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left-hand toolbar.

5. Share it with your team

When you're ready, invite your team to review your storyboard and share their feedback. This is the perfect moment to see how others interpret your vision for the story. It's also a great opportunity to make any final tweaks while in pre-production. Adjust the order of your frames or edit the content based on everyone's feedback.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Share the storyboard with your team.

    Invite editors to your board

    Open the "Editors" menu from the title bar of your board. Add email addresses of the people you'd like to collaborate with—they'll receive an invitation via email.

  2. Start a comment thread.

    Start a comment thread

    Drag out a comment from the toolbar on the left and place it on your board. Other editors can reply to your comment.

  3. Mention teammates to get their attention.

    Mention teammates to get their attention

    Type '@' in any text field to mention someone who has access to your board. They'll receive a notification and be able to respond to your comment.

6. Finally, reference it on the day

Traditionally, you'd print out your storyboards to refer to on the day, but online storyboards can be accessed on phones or laptops. This way, you can reference it with ease as you prepare for each scene.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Download the Milanote mobile app.

You're done!

Now that your storyboard is complete, you have a clear vision for your film! Remember, just as creativity and inspiration are constantly evolving, so are ideas. Come back and edit your storyboard when inspiration strikes. Use the template below to create a new storyboard in minutes or check out our full guide on how to plan a film.

Start your storyboard

Get started for free with Milanote's easy to use storyboard template.