Blocked Animation: Script and Storyboard

Seven pages of crudely drawn sea creatures

Thanks for coming back to see the progress I made on my animation in February. If this is the first time you’ve been here, check out my first post.

This month I wrote the script and blocked out the main scenes with a storyboard. This was much harder than anticipated, in part because I’ve been thinking about this character and story for so long.

Quincy started as a doodle in my notebook, an anthropomorphic squid who just couldn’t get over his terrible case of writer’s block. I always imagined him in a nature inspired dream world, collecting pages of inspiration that took the form of origami birds… but how do I get him there? What’s the plot?

It’s in there somewhere…

I settled on making Quincy a copywriter in a big soulless firm who just doesn’t have the time to work on his novel. I wrote a scene with his boss and a co-worker, setting up the situation, then finally got to the main imagery and theme I wanted to portray. Then I blocked out the action with a very rough storyboard.

I want the viewer to know certain things about Quincy: that he’s nebbish and a bit of a dork, and that he has great ideas, but has trouble executing them. I think I’ve achieved this in the script, but right now all that setup takes up half of the running time. That’s just too long.

Next month I’ll make up an animatic, which is a crude animation that’s used to get the timing down and make sure all your elements work together. One of two things will happen when I put this all together — 1: the setup will be way too long and boring and I’ll have to go back and work on the script to come up with a solution, or 2: the slower more metaphorical second half will end up being longer than it seems in the storyboard and everything will work out fine.

I’m hoping for #2.

Since this will probably be my most boring post (next month I’ll have a video for you, and after that, art!) I decided to share some of the animations that inspire me.

Bojack Horseman

When I noticed the banner wine came out of my nose I was laughing so hard.

If you haven’t seen this yet, stop what you’re doing and go watch it! The writing is funny and just the right amount of sarcastic; and I love all the sight gags they work into the backgrounds and character designs.

World of Tomorrow

Deceptive simplicity.

Don Hertzfeldt stuff is not for everyone, but I always like seeing the care and attention to detail he puts into his animations. They might look like stick figures and simple shapes, but he’s doing a lot of complex and experimental things, especially with this animation.

Song of the Sea

I had a hard time choosing just one image from this movie.

I love everything Cartoon Saloon does. Their art is so beautiful and expressive, but Song of the Sea just blew me away. I had to watch it twice; the first time I was so absorbed in the art that I missed out on the plot. (That’s not to say the story wasn’t good — my husband really liked it, but he paid attention to the action while I nerded out over the amazing water colored skies.)

Well, thanks again for checking in! Come back next month to see the animatic.

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Interested in other cool projects? Check out and follow the One Side Project Challenge publication. I will give project updates on the 3rd of every month, so stay tuned.

Rachel D’Erminio is a freelance illustrator/animator. Her website is