What does a Storyboard Assistant do? Where does a Storyboard Assistant work? ACR takes a look:
About Storyboard Assistants
Many aspiring animators gain experience through internships, an entry-level or support position or both. This is also a great way to get your foot in the door at a major studio. Becoming a storyboard assistant is one way to accomplish both. Storyboard assistants provide support to storyboard artists. This position allows the assistant to refine their drawing skills and gain valuable experience with industry graphics, storyboard, and editing software.
Storyboard Assistant Jobs
Storyboard assistants wear many hats. The tasks involved in the job vary depending on the production and the storyboard artist’s process. In general, storyboard assistants clean up the storyboard artist’s drawings in preparation for the next stage of production. They add additional characters if needed, fill in background details, or scan drawings as needed prior to editing.
Storyboard assistants may work in-house with storyboard artists, they may work with artists that live overseas, or they may work from home. Either way, storyboard assistants must be able to work both independently and as part of a team. Storyboard assistants work primarily for animation studios, film and video production companies, game design and development companies, and advertising agencies.
Storyboard Assistant Salaries
Storyboard assistants belong to the broad group “fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fine artists such as illustrators and painters average $44,850 per year. The lowest 10 percent average $18,450 per year and the highest 10 percent average $91,200 per year. The top paying creative industries for this group include software publishers (average $79,420 per year), the motion picture and video industries ($68,630), and advertising, public relations, and related services ($61,690).
The top paying states for fine artists include Washington (average $70,580 per year), New York ($69,380), California ($62,160), Connecticut ($59,720), and Michigan ($54,710).
Becoming a Storyboard Assistant
Storyboard assistants typically hold a degree in fine art, animation, film, illustration, graphic design, drawing or painting. Most employers prefer a degree, plus experience through an internship, entry-level/support position or both. However, some employers may be willing to hire an applicant that has an outstanding portfolio, plus advanced storytelling and film theory skills.
Job Trends for Storyboard Assistants
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for fine artists is projected to grow four percent for the 2012-2022 decade. The demand for storyboard assistants with advanced experience with industry software (graphics, storyboard, and editing) will have the most opportunities in the field as well as artists living in California, New York, Florida, Washington, and Texas—the states with the highest employment levels for this occupation.
Storyboard assistants with an interest in the game design and development industry will have even greater opportunities. As part of the software development industry, the game design and development industry is projected to grow 22 percent for the 2012-2022 decade.
Awesome Animation Fact: The directors and crew of the animated film Finding Nemo (2003) went to great lengths to create the most spectacular underwater scenery most viewers had ever seen. According to Lick-Wilmerding - Animation 2012, members of the Finding Nemo crew spent time studying oceanography, visiting aquariums, and even scuba diving to make the film as similar to underwater life as possible. It worked. In 2004, Finding Nemo won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.