Head of Story

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What does a head of story do?

Heads of story are in charge of turning the writer’s words and the director’s vision into a visual representation of the narrative. They produce series of panels to plan the action, staging and camera choices in 3D digital shots or 2D animation frames. They also work to ensure continuity between animated scenes.

Depending on the production, the panels might consist of rough drawings, or cleaner artwork. If the panels are being sent overseas to be animated, for example, more accurate and detailed drawings are necessary. For computer-generated (CG) animated films, detailed drawings are less important. Heads of story can draw their panels in any medium, but often combine different kinds of software to get the results they need. Once these have been edited together, they form the basis of the production team’s animations.

Heads of story work closely with the director to develop and structure the story. They often contribute to the writing and editing of a film or series. They manage and inspire a team of storyboard artists. They present sequences, animatics, or reels, to allow signoff for the next stage of production, often managing multiple revisions and variations in the process.

Heads of story might work in-house at an animation studio or they might work on a freelance basis.

What’s a head of story good at?

  • Drawing: have good drawing skills, be able to communicate a narrative visually
  • Knowledge of animation: be literate in animation with a good understanding of animating and editing
  • Communication: be able to take direction and use constructive feedback to make changes to your work, have excellent presentation skills for communicating with clients
  • Leadership: be able to share a vision, inspire a team and manage the storytelling of the project

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