At the early stages of a film, or on certain kinds of jobs (such as agency boards for commercials) you may be asked to draw storyboards as beat boards. Beat boards don’t necessarily reflect how a project might actually be shot, but they do convey the major story points of the project so the story can be roughly imagined in a visual way. Often, storyboard artists will flesh out storyboards based on a set of beat boards and fill in the gaps. A key characteristic of beat boards is to create single panel storytelling images that convey meaning and emotion. These are usually the most climactic moments of the story represented in one illustration. The level of detail may vary depending on the project needs but for the most part, artists usually have more time to add details for a particular beat board. The classic American illustrators such as Norman Rockwell and Dean Cornwell were masters of capturing a whole story in one image. Of course, as storyboard artists we do not have time to take photo reference or labor for weeks over one image, but thinking in terms of storytelling illustration may help create winning beat boards. (Figures 8.1–8.3).
Excerpt from Professional Storyboarding by Sergio Paez © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.