In film and television, a script breakdown is: a) an analysis of a screenplay in which all of the production elements are reduced to lists in order to schedule and budget the production; b) a director’s creative analysis of the dramatic action, reciprocal struggle, theme, and design elements of a screenplay. Character breakdowns may also be created, and are used in casting calls.
In comic books, it is the process of determining how each action, character, and piece of dialogue described in the script will be placed visually on a page. In the studio system that dominated mass-market comic-book production from the 1940s through the 1970s, breakdowns were done by the penciller or by a separate breakdown artist, rarely by the scriptwriter; in some cases, breakdowns were done from a rough story outline before the dialogue was written (the "Marvel method"). Later comics writers such as Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, influenced by cinematic technique, began to include more layout details within their scripts. Cartoonists who both write and draw their own work sometimes begin with a script and do their own breakdowns, and sometimes work through drawings without a separate script.