Another Christmas gift from my parents (love you guys!) is Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers by Marcos Mateu-Mestre, visual concept, animation layout and graphic novel artist whose credits include "Balto" and "The Prince of Egypt." I was so eager to absorb the information in this book that I opened it before Christmas.
I read it in one sitting and highly recommend it to filmmakers and comic artists. It's not a huge book but it's hugely packed with visual explanations of the text, each image clearly describing the principle being discussed. I especially liked the opening chapter, "General Thoughts on Narrative Art." He listed these priorities when approaching one's visual story:
1. What are we trying to say in our narration as a whole?
2. What mood do we want our audience to be in throughout the story and at any given time within a specific sequence or shot?
3. What is the function of this moment within the story?
4. How are we going to take our audience there?
5. What in our drawing is contributing to the general statement?
6. What can we leave out without changing what we are trying to say?
I'll be sure to keep all of the above in mind as I work on my film.