Filmmaking Basics/Thumbnail Storyboard/Picking narrative music for a scene

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Lesson #004 - Creating the Thumbnail Storyboards
Page 3 - Don't forget the Narrative Music!!!

The pages of this lesson are…
  • Title page which has the links to the require reading.
  • Page 1 - What are thumbnail storyboards? And what programs do I need?

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Wikiversity (English) Humanities Art and Design Fine Arts Film and Television Narrative Film Production Course #01 - Learning the Basics of Filmmaking Lesson #004: Thumbnail Storyboards Page 3 - Don't forget the Narrative Music

How Many Actors?[edit | edit source]

The most important thing to understand about this movie is there are four actors in this scene. The three visable actors are

  • The Poster for Star Wars
  • The old person
  • The young person

The fourth actor is invisible. The fourth actor is the narrator… which is the music.

This is important because you need to storyboard for the narrative music. If narrative music is playing for 3 seconds, you might need to add a frame that explains this.

The Musical Narrator[edit | edit source]

This motion picture would be a really dull movie if all you have is just two people talking. That is why you need narrative music… which is music that acts like an invisible actor who narrates the story… and more importantly, adds and hightens the moods in the movie.

Narrative music is not like background music which plays softly in the background. Narrative music is in-you-face music that talks to the audience. That is why you must treat the narrative music like another actor in the scene (which is a bit awkward when you are storyboarding since this actor, the narrative music, is invisible.)

Narrative Music in the Movie Script?[edit | edit source]

What makes all of this so confusing is that the narrative music is NOT explained in the movie script. Look again at the movie script. Then look at the original story. Most of the information you need for the music is in the original story, not in the movie script.

"And you thought this would be simple?

Identifying the Narrative Music in our movie[edit | edit source]

This movie is 60 seconds long (or maybe even as short as 45 seconds.) 60 seconds does not give us much time for a lot of narrative music.

Start by identifying the most important parts of the story. That will be where narrative music is needed.

  • The first time we see the poster for Star Wars. (Obviously, you must stop all action while the music for the poster dramatically announces the poster)
  • When the old person thinks of an answer to the young person's question. (This can be just one or two notes.)
  • When the young person is thinking. (The young person can stand there thinking for as long as you can have really entertaining and expressive music… but you would problem want to move the camera at the same time.)
  • When the old person smiles. (Does Yoda have a theme?)
  • When we see them walking home in Port Islee.

Most of these musical cues are less than 3 seconds. Only the first and the last can be longer without seeming to be odd.

There will also be background music to enhance parts of the scene but this music is played on top of the dialog (at the same time as the dialog). Therefore, we do not have to worry about the background music during the storyboarding process.