The Storytelling Lab - Ep23: Storyboard Art with Nick Sung
Updated: Apr 27
This week we welcome Nick Sung, a storyboard artist who has worked with companies such as Pixar, Airbnb, and Nike to incorporate storytelling into their brands! Nick discusses the art of visual storytelling, using pictures to complement words, and using stories to create a social impact. We circle back to empathy with this episode -- no matter what medium you use in your storytelling, it all comes back to communicating human experience!
I am SO PUMPED about the conversation I had with Nick Sung.
Okay, so I am super comfortable in the worlds of writing and storytelling. But I am terrible at drawing, storyboarding, and anything that involves a designer’s mind.
What impresses me the most about visual artists and designers is the way they can look at a blank space or canvas and literally see the finished products in their minds.
I cannot do that.
This week I talk to Nick Sung, a storyboard artist who has worked with companies like Pixar, Airbnb, and Nike to incorporate storytelling into their brands!
Nick and I discuss the art of visual storytelling, using pictures to complement words, and how stories can create a social impact.
One of the absolute coolest projects he’s worked on was “Project Snow White” where Airbnb hired him, then an employee of Pixar, to work as a story artist and map out the story of Airbnb's user experience -- from the perspectives of both hosts and guests.
It was a completely unique and, in my opinion, genius way of a company truly trying to understand what their customers or clients might experience.
We circle back to empathy with this episode -- no matter what medium you use in your storytelling, it all comes back to communicating and understanding the human experience!
Some highlights of our conversation:
Why Nick is excited by good collaboration and interesting ideas
Why Nick identifies first as a storyteller
What it’s like to be an animation story artist: feature animation filmmaking
Having opportunities to shape the narrative and then enhance with visuals
Being able to work on structural framework and technical execution
How to storyboard? How do you know what shot to use when? First, Identify the heart of the material & narrow down the one shot (in each scene) that NEEDS to be there
How do you begin to master the art of storytelling?
The importance of mastering the storytelling tools you have available to you
How is being a story artist different than creating a story as a writer?
Pictures and words should compliment and play off each other. The visuals should be complementary to the script, not an exact copy.
Inspiration from Disney’s Aladdin: how Nick started thinking about animation as a craft & a possible career path
Remakes - everything is told more than once. What matters is the execution
Different ways that you can use story art
Project Snow White with Airbnb (2012)
How Nick was able to help Airbnb get everyone on the same page
Storyboarding the user journey for hosts and guests & using the storyboard as point of alignment for everyone’s work at Airbnb
How the act of visualizing the experience helped the research team ask tough questions and make business decisions
Storytelling as a way of communicating human experience
Working at Pixar for 6 years (on projects like Up)
The creativity & exploration allowed while working at Pixar
Learning how to tune into sensitivity in order to authentically respond to the world around you
Learning the language of communicating so that people can “get it”
Having a reason for the decisions you make & being able to question your own creative choices
The decision to work on projects that have social impact: why is it important?
How stories change the way we see the world & offer different ways of living
The responsibility we have as people who make things
We asked Nick why he became a storyboard artist.
“I think every kid draws, I just didn’t stop”
As always, I hope you enjoy the episode!
Peace and Love,
Check out Nick’s website http://www.nicksung.com/
For more storytelling tips and tricks,
Follow us on Instagram @sixsecondstories
Visit our website sixsecondstories.com