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Thread: Your Own Private Wormhole, Part 2: The Case of the Befuddled Passenger

  1. LeeNordling Guest

    Your Own Private Wormhole, Part 2: The Case of the Befuddled Passenger

    “It’s a shame you can’t get frequent traveler miles for what we’re going to be discussing this week,” I lament.

    Your hand goes up.

    “Yes?” I ask.

    “Does this mean we don’t have to stay in one place like last week?”

    “Yes,” I reply.

    “Does that also mean we’ll get to go anywhere we want to?” you ask hopefully, your eyes sparkling with anticipation.

    “You’re very quick,” I reply. “Yes, and I only have a few important travel restrictions.”

    “There’s always a catch,” you mumble.

    Yes, there’s always a catch.

    Heretofore, you’ve been using this particular sequential art tool with wild abandon. It’s one of the coolest things about creating comics.

    From panel to panel, you jump from one place in a room to another, from one room to another, from one city, country, or world to another.

    You go where you want to so often that you already know how to do this.

    In one panel you’re in a Los Angeles restaurant, and in the next you’re suffocating without a helmet on Mars.

    You’re proficient at going anywhere you wish to, but there’s one important problem: you’ve got a passenger, and you too-often leave that passenger behind or befuddled about where they landed.

    Your hand goes up.

    “Yes?” I ask.

    “I have a passenger?” you ask, checking your armpits, just in case that’s where he or she is hiding.

    “At this very moment,” I answer cryptically.

    Your passenger is your reader.

    As we discovered last week, when you were travelling through time, you often left your traveler confused as to when you were from one panel to the next.

    Too often, when traveling from one place to the next, you’re exactly like a skier going straight down a slope, a skier who doesn’t know that going carefully where he needs to is better than streaking down the hill so fast that he’s blinded by tears of sequential-art, space-hopping joy. Worse, when he wants to slow down or (heavens forbid!) stop, this is the wrong moment to start wondering where the brakes are located.

    Your hand goes up.

    “Yes?” I ask.

    “Are you suggesting that I’m out of control?” you ask, lost in the analogy because streaking downhill like an Olympic champion sounds like fun.

    “Suggesting?” I ask with eyebrows raised. “I’m sorry for being vague. I’m not suggesting it; I’m saying it.” (Writing it, actually.)

    We’ve discussed the “learn to walk before you run” analogy many times, especially as it applies to working on the fundamentals of hitting before swinging for a grand slam, and here we go again.

    Leaping willy-nilly from a location in one panel to another location in the next panel is fine for the sake of willy-nilly-ness, but it’s completely irresponsible when you’ve got a reader-passenger wondering whether he’s still in Kansas, and why little folk dressed in funny outfits are dancing around the dead old lady with the striped socks and ruby slippers.

    Too often readers get to a place in the story and wonder, “Where am I?”

    Your hand goes up.

    “Yes?” I ask.

    “I always state my location in my script,” you declare defensively.

    “Yes, you do,” I respond, “but that’s in the description portion that’s intended for the artist. When you change location, do you stop and think that the passenger-reader might need to know that location?”

    “Sometimes,” you answer, your hand slowly lowering.

    That’s right, sometimes.

    And, to be entirely frank, sometimes you won’t want the passenger-reader to know where the story has landed. Editorially, that can be a powerful storytelling tool, but it needs to be used with intention, not by accident.

    Often, too often, the creator intends for the passenger-reader to know exactly where the story has landed, but hasn’t done the work to make it clear.

    The resulting disconnection between your intention and a passenger-reader’s reality leaves the passenger-readers wondering where they’ve landed. Momentarily dazed and confused, they too often waste valuable concentration trying to get their bearings at a critical moment when you, the creators, are trying to get them to pay attention to something else. Their attention split, the passenger-readers suddenly deal with confusion compounded by further confusion.

    And the story jumps the rails.

    Sure, a passenger-reader can stop and figure it out, just as most of us have, by stepping back, re-examining the sequence that led up to the point of confusion, and finally figuring out the creator’s intention. With the story back on the rails, they move forward, but valuable story concentration and intended story pacing are lost.

    All because the passenger-reader didn’t understand what you wanted them to know.

    We’re not going to discuss when and where it’s important for you to inform the reader of the change of story location, because the variables are too numerous, though I will take this space to note one really important rule of thumb: better safe than sorry.

    When you change locations and want the reader to understand where you’ve gone, if you don’t have the advantage of a landmark or sign, then you are better off doing something to let the reader know where you’ve brought them.

    There are many sequential art tools for doing this, and practicing them will be our work for the week.

    Your hand goes up.

    “Yes?” I ask.

    “You said the W word.”

    “My, you are quick today,” I note.

    This week, we’re going to practice going from one space or location to another, while making certain the reader-passenger is comfortably aware of each.

    My use of the term “space or location” is simply economical, because it encompasses much more than space or location; it entails moving from any real or imaginary place to any other real or imaginary place.

    Thus, you can move from any delusion to any reality, from one dimension to another, from an orc-infested Hobbiton to a world visited by Spaceman Spiff. The only boundaries are the editorial parameters and your imagination.

    But please remember to walk before you run.

    If you don’t meet our the editorial parameters of the assignment, then you have, once again, brought along a befuddled passenger-reader, and you won’t have yet learned to write with intention.

    This is where we first make certain of sequential art fundamentals, then swing for the fences.

    Here’s the assignment:

    1. Write two different spaces in two separate panels, spaces that are clearly understood by the reader-passenger.

    2. Write two different spaces in two separate panels, spaces that are clearly understood by the reader-passenger. There will be a caption in panel one, and it will bridge to a caption in panel two.

    (My use of the term “bridge” means that I intend that the caption to clearly continue, in some manner, from one panel to the next. The nature of that bridge is up to you.)

    3. Write two different spaces in two separate panels, spaces that are clearly understood by the reader-passenger. One character of your choice will be in each of these locations, and what he/she/it says in a panel one balloon will bridge to his/her/its balloon in panel two.

    To clarify, it’s entirely up to you whether you wish to repeat the same locations in #1-3.

    Also, you are not limited to the sequential art tools I noted, as long as the necessary ones for each portion of the assignment are utilized. For example, I don’t care if there are characters in #2, or even balloons in #2; I simply want to make sure you use a caption bridge on #2.

    If each space in each panel is not made entirely clear to the reader-passenger, then it will be an automatic FAIL.

    Again, I caution you to start slowly, crawl even, if that’s what’s necessary to get it right.

    Let’s get to work.

    ***

    Lee Nordling is the owner and founding partner of The Pack (the-pack.biz), a comics-related content provider for the publishing industry. He is also author of “Your Career In the Comics,” an overview of the newspaper comics syndication profession and industry.

    If you wish to contact Lee separately from Comics Pro Prep, please write to him at lee@projectfanboy.
    Last edited by LeeNordling; Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 04:39 PM.



  2. drgerb Guest

    Before I begin, I'd like to start off by saying thanks for nailing this article today. I'm currently working on an interesting project and trying to figure out how to scramble the order of events and locations in order to keep the story understandable, and also interesting, in the sense that the beginning of the actual book isn't the beginning, chronologically, but it acts as the beginning as a way of introducing everything and being a beginning... Blah. Anyway. This helps me understand what I should and what I shouldn't do.

    And also before I begin, a couple of my cents: In all my comic book projects, I *TRY* to keep scene changes on the beginning of pages. It all depends, obviously, on whatever it is you're doing / going for, but if it's a big scene change, or one that's going to last for a while, I feel like putting it into the space of time that it takes a reader to turn the page lets their attention come back and kinda start over on the next page / beginning of the new scene. I hate doing them in the middle of pages. I can see, though, ala Alan Moore, using the final panel of one page to begin the next scene, while the previous panel ended the last scene. Then on the page turn, the actual new scene kicks off, while the last panel acted as a 'transition' kind of deal. Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself, and sorry Lee for going on such a tangent. This is all just MY personal opinion. No rules at all. This is just what I go for in my own projects, and I felt like bringing it up. I tried to keep it short, but if it is going off too far on a tangent, feel free to delete these coupld of paragraphs and just leave in my attempts at the exercise. Anyway--

    1. Two separate spaces in two separate panels. I like to think I took a somewhat interesting / creative, but still simple enough approach to this to adequately convey where we are in each panel.

    Panel 1: A shot from the front of a man staring straight at us. He is in his 60's, has an intense look on his face, and has a beard. The shot is from his waist up. His hands are on the counter, which is at the bottom of the panel.

    Panel 2: Over the shoulder shot of the same exact man, although now his shoulder is in the bottom left of the panel. The rest of the panel shows a bathroom mirror, which is identical to the previous panel of the man looking at himself, however any noticeable features are in reverse this time around (duh, he's looking at his reflection).

    I think I succeeded here. The first panel is obviously a shot of the man from the perspective of the bathroom mirror, or between the man and the mirror. The second shot is on the opposite side of the bathroom, near the wall behind the man, and focusing now on his reflection / shoulder in the foreground. In the first panel, we introduce a man, and in the second we reveal where we are, where we were previously, and what's going on. I feel it works.


    2. Bridging two separate spaces. (Quick question on bridging: Can you bridge a speech balloon on panel 1 with a narration box on panel 2? Or would that not work? If you can't, if instead you can only bridge speech balloons or narration balloons, then does it matter where the dialogue begins? I'm assuming not, since the sky's the limit and we, as creators, can do whatever we want. But does the bridge MEAN that the balloon in panel 1 takes place in panel 1, while the balloon in panel 2 takes place in panel 2? Or is this kind of thing somewhat vague? Can the balloon in panel 2 not NECESSARILY be taking place in panel two, but furthering the time frame / speech on panel 1, while introducing the NEW visual aspect of panel 2? Does any of this make sense? Lol)

    Quickly, I originally had my number 3 as this number 2. Then as I went back to read the test, and reread the second and third assignments, I realized what I came up with for 2. worked better for 3. And now I'm rewriting my number 2, while bumping my former 2. to number 3. Anyway.

    Panel 1. A shot of a Vietnam jungle, greenery in the background, in the middle ground a bunch of shadowed / blacked out figures are standing there pointing guns at us.

    Narration: And as the shit hit the fan in Vietnam, it couldn't help but remind me of another time passed...

    Panel 2: A shot of a middle school lunch room, background is the green of the walls, in the middle ground a bunch of middle school students are staring, pointing, and laughing at us, the viewer.

    Narration: ...My time in middle school.

    I think this works, although it DOES jump in both time and distance. It goes from a young man in Vietnam to his time in middle school. It jumps both locations and times. The locations are obvious (Vietnam and middle school), however the times could vary. If this does fail, I will try another attempt at number 2; Trying to bridge just two separate places, not separate times also. Though I do think this does work, and if it does, I'll go ahead and try using my creativity on a few more attempts to see if I can dig up any invisible stones to use in the future. Muahaha.


    3. Bridging two spaces in two panels with the balloon of one character.

    Panel 1: A shot of a man walking down a street in New York City with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

    Narration: That year I was lost. I was wandering all the way from the east coast...--(bridged to panel 2)

    Panel 2: A shot of the same man walking along a busy Hollywood street. In the background on the hill is that famous 'Hollywood' sign.

    Narration: (continued from panel 1) ....To the west coast.


    I feel as though this works. I show the visual elements to remind the reader of where we are, and I reinforce those with the narration so there can be no miscommunication at all.



  3. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by drgerb View Post
    Before I begin, I'd like to start off by saying thanks for nailing this article today. I'm currently working on an interesting project and trying to figure out how to scramble the order of events and locations in order to keep the story understandable, and also interesting, in the sense that the beginning of the actual book isn't the beginning, chronologically, but it acts as the beginning as a way of introducing everything and being a beginning... Blah. Anyway. This helps me understand what I should and what I shouldn't do.

    And also before I begin, a couple of my cents: In all my comic book projects, I *TRY* to keep scene changes on the beginning of pages. It all depends, obviously, on whatever it is you're doing / going for, but if it's a big scene change, or one that's going to last for a while, I feel like putting it into the space of time that it takes a reader to turn the page lets their attention come back and kinda start over on the next page / beginning of the new scene. I hate doing them in the middle of pages. I can see, though, ala Alan Moore, using the final panel of one page to begin the next scene, while the previous panel ended the last scene. Then on the page turn, the actual new scene kicks off, while the last panel acted as a 'transition' kind of deal. Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself, and sorry Lee for going on such a tangent. This is all just MY personal opinion. No rules at all. This is just what I go for in my own projects, and I felt like bringing it up. I tried to keep it short, but if it is going off too far on a tangent, feel free to delete these coupld of paragraphs and just leave in my attempts at the exercise. Anyway--
    Happy to help, Roberts.

    I realize there's a nice convention for establishing a new location at the beginning of a page, but it's a little too dogmatic to be anything other than a device.

    I have a book for very young kids that involves a cut-back from one character in one location to another character in another location, and, because the stage was clearly set about where each of them are, it was seamless.

    Quote Originally Posted by drgerb View Post
    1. Two separate spaces in two separate panels. I like to think I took a somewhat interesting / creative, but still simple enough approach to this to adequately convey where we are in each panel.

    Panel 1: A shot from the front of a man staring straight at us. He is in his 60's, has an intense look on his face, and has a beard. The shot is from his waist up. His hands are on the counter, which is at the bottom of the panel.

    Panel 2: Over the shoulder shot of the same exact man, although now his shoulder is in the bottom left of the panel. The rest of the panel shows a bathroom mirror, which is identical to the previous panel of the man looking at himself, however any noticeable features are in reverse this time around (duh, he's looking at his reflection).

    I think I succeeded here. The first panel is obviously a shot of the man from the perspective of the bathroom mirror, or between the man and the mirror. The second shot is on the opposite side of the bathroom, near the wall behind the man, and focusing now on his reflection / shoulder in the foreground. In the first panel, we introduce a man, and in the second we reveal where we are, where we were previously, and what's going on. I feel it works.
    FAIL.

    I don't know a man is looking into a mirror in panel one.

    Getting the heart of the assignment, I didn't ask you to make clear what the drawing is; I asked you to make clear where the LOCATION is.

    If there was a caption that read, "Mike looks in his bathroom mirror and doesn't recognize the face staring back at him," then the reader would KNOW Mike is in his bathroom.

    If you don't make the location CLEAR CLEAR CLEAR--not what the drawing is of, the location---it's going to be a FAIL every single time.

    Quote Originally Posted by drgerb View Post
    2. Bridging two separate spaces. (Quick question on bridging: Can you bridge a speech balloon on panel 1 with a narration box on panel 2? Or would that not work? If you can't, if instead you can only bridge speech balloons or narration balloons, then does it matter where the dialogue begins? I'm assuming not, since the sky's the limit and we, as creators, can do whatever we want. But does the bridge MEAN that the balloon in panel 1 takes place in panel 1, while the balloon in panel 2 takes place in panel 2? Or is this kind of thing somewhat vague? Can the balloon in panel 2 not NECESSARILY be taking place in panel two, but furthering the time frame / speech on panel 1, while introducing the NEW visual aspect of panel 2? Does any of this make sense? Lol)

    Quickly, I originally had my number 3 as this number 2. Then as I went back to read the test, and reread the second and third assignments, I realized what I came up with for 2. worked better for 3. And now I'm rewriting my number 2, while bumping my former 2. to number 3. Anyway.

    Panel 1. A shot of a Vietnam jungle, greenery in the background, in the middle ground a bunch of shadowed / blacked out figures are standing there pointing guns at us.

    Narration: And as the shit hit the fan in Vietnam, it couldn't help but remind me of another time passed...

    Panel 2: A shot of a middle school lunch room, background is the green of the walls, in the middle ground a bunch of middle school students are staring, pointing, and laughing at us, the viewer.

    Narration: ...My time in middle school.

    I think this works, although it DOES jump in both time and distance. It goes from a young man in Vietnam to his time in middle school. It jumps both locations and times. The locations are obvious (Vietnam and middle school), however the times could vary. If this does fail, I will try another attempt at number 2; Trying to bridge just two separate places, not separate times also. Though I do think this does work, and if it does, I'll go ahead and try using my creativity on a few more attempts to see if I can dig up any invisible stones to use in the future. Muahaha.
    PASS. And you used a caption to bridge the gap: Vietnam & middle school.

    Quote Originally Posted by drgerb View Post
    3. Bridging two spaces in two panels with the balloon of one character.

    Panel 1: A shot of a man walking down a street in New York City with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

    Narration: That year I was lost. I was wandering all the way from the east coast...--(bridged to panel 2)

    Panel 2: A shot of the same man walking along a busy Hollywood street. In the background on the hill is that famous 'Hollywood' sign.

    Narration: (continued from panel 1) ....To the west coast.


    I feel as though this works. I show the visual elements to remind the reader of where we are, and I reinforce those with the narration so there can be no miscommunication at all.
    FAIL: Narration is generally a caption, not a balloon, and the assignment calls for a balloon. With a fix, and a place to put the pointer, it'll be a PASS.

    Re. your question about beginning with a balloon and finishing with a caption on #2, I think the assignment is quite clear that there needs to be a caption in each panel that somehow bridges, the two.

    In practice, of course you could use both, and we do it all the time by moving from words in a balloon to words with quotes in a caption in the next panel, but that's not the assignment.

    Roberts, looking to go outside the sandbox remains something for your to consider, especially when the "job" is to stay inside the sandbox.

    Clearly you tackled material that was too ambitious to begin with, in spite of my warnings.

    The benefit for everybody, though, is that you THOUGHT you were accomplishing something--a man in a mirror--when the reader clearly could not be certain they were in a bathroom...or even, in panel one, that there was a mirror.

    It's a great example of the disconnect I described.

    Try again, and please go for something stupid-simple, just to nail the assignment.

    Thanks for being first.

    --Lee



  4. arseneau77 Guest

    Okay, I'll give it a shot:

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeNordling View Post

    1. Write two different spaces in two separate panels, spaces that are clearly understood by the reader-passenger.
    Panel 1. Establishing shot of the outside of a baseball stadium.

    Panel 2. In the midst of the packed stadium, a batter standing at the plate is in mid swing, making contact with the ball.


    2. Write two different spaces in two separate panels, spaces that are clearly understood by the reader-passenger. There will be a caption in panel one, and it will bridge to a caption in panel two.
    Panel 1. An outfielder shields his eyes from the sun in the midst of a professional baseball game, glove raised above his head blindly.

    Caption: Damn sun. Gonna have to finesse this one and go by feel. Seems like my whole life has been preparation for this moment--

    Panel 2. The same outfielder, as a 12 year-old boy, standing beneath a plate glass window containing a baseball-sized hole on the front of a suburban house. He holds his ball glove limply at his side, with a look of terror on his face.

    Caption: --and I know all too well what happens if I miss.


    3. Write two different spaces in two separate panels, spaces that are clearly understood by the reader-passenger. One character of your choice will be in each of these locations, and what he/she/it says in a panel one balloon will bridge to his/her/its balloon in panel two.
    Panel 1. A 12 year-old BOY stands sheepishly -- making a poor attempt at hiding his ball glove behind his back -- at the bottom of suburban bungalow steps. The plate glass window to the right of the steps has a baseball-sized hole in it. A grizzled (and currently furious) OLD MAN is standing on the steps in a tobacco-stained bathrobe, clutching a weathered baseball in his hand.

    Old Man: Is this your ball, kid?!

    Boy: Aw, geez...I sure am sorry, mister! I thought I had it for sure but...

    Panel 2. The boy as an adult professional outfielder sits on his rear end in this midst of a baseball field in the middle of a game in a packed stadium. One of his teammates sits nearby, holding his head in his hands. Stars and groans indicate the aftermath of a collision. A loose baseball sits on the turf between them.

    Outfielder: ...the sun was in my eyes.

    Teammate: Dammit, Johnston, I said 'I got it'!



  5. RonaldMontgomery Guest

    GULP

    One

    Panel 1: Day. A man stands near a small airplane runway at the Mid-America airport in Belleville, Illinois, grinning, watching a small prop plane taxi on the tarmac.

    1 Caption: Mid-American Airport. Belleville, Illinois.

    Panel Two: Inside the plane a woman smiles, waving.


    Two

    Panel 1: A gloomy living room. From the back: a boy sits in a chair, shoulders slumped, in front of a big screen TV. On the TV, the starship Enterprise hurtles through space.

    1 Caption: At the tender age of twelve in my living room...

    Panel 2: We're on the Enterprise, like we've stepped through the TV screen. Kirk is passionately kissing a green-skinned slave girl in his quarters.

    2 Caption: ...I enlisted in starfleet.


    Three

    Panel 1: The great hall of a bright, gay fairy book castle. A princess fretfully inspects a Pinocchio-ish wooden doll.

    1 Princess: KING BOZO, the castle is empty without your laugh. Until we can break the toymaker's spell --

    Panel 2: That evening in the hall, the princess bathes her doll in a small wooden tub on the floor.

    2 Princess: -- I'll never leave your side!
    Last edited by RonaldMontgomery; Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 07:53 PM.



  6. LeeNordling Guest

    Folks, I'm going to ask for some blanket revisions.

    As I pointed out to Roberts, just specifying an image doesn't mean that a reader knows he's there. THIS is the continuing mistake that too many creators make.

    Per the assignment, you are identifying "spaces that are clearly understood by the reader-passenger."

    If you show a castle, does the reader-passenger clearly understand where that is? I say No, no, a thousand times no. If you show a city skyline, does the reader-passenger clearly understand that it's NYC? Maybe it gets drawn generically, and it could be Phlly or Boston. But if you put a highway sign indicating that it's "New York" does the reader-passenger clearly understand that's it's NYC? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

    So, let me be specific: if a reader looking at the comic finished from your script doesn't know EXACTLY where each panel is, then it's a FAIL. If a reader-passenger doesn't know that it's "The pitching mound at Yankee Stadium," or "a cornfield in Kansas," or "Mike's bathroom," then it's a FAIL.

    It is your job as creators to make it absolutely clear where each of your panel choices is located.

    A description indicating a gay, fairy book castle isn't a PASS; it's a FAIL. Having a caption or balloon or sign INFORMING the reader that it's KING BOZO'S CASTLE is a PASS.

    An image of a bathroom isn't a PASS, it's a FAIL.

    If you don't use captions or balloons to signify the locations, then you need to use signage or well-known landmarks.

    I suspect there was some misinterpretation of the assignment, but the goal is for the reader-passenger to know EXACTLY where he/she is, not just a generic location that can be drawn.

    Why?

    Because the work here makes my case. Folks don't know how or care enough to make sure the reader-passenger knows where he/she is, and this is a carryover from film. Show a city in a TV show, and a lot of us will recognize NYC...but comics aren't TV shows with photography, and it's up to you, the creator, to make locations known, when it's important, and it's important for this assignment.

    What's so hard about a caption that reads "Gotham City" or "NYPD Morgue" or "A poppy field in Oz."

    See the difference between showing a poppy field, and the reader not necessarily knowing that's in Oz? Okay, yeah, there's a green tower in the distance, so maybe the reader-passenger concludes it's Oz...but I cautioned in the column to be better safe than sorry.

    So, reboot this and try again. Be specific, and not just like the student who raised his hand in class and thought that putting the location in the description did the job. It didn't, and often doesn't...

    ...which is why we're making this mandatory, so you'll learn better how to actually focus on informing your reader-passenger.

    Thanks.

    --Lee
    Last edited by LeeNordling; Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 04:53 AM.



  7. danialworks Guest

    Assignmnet #1.

    Panel 1. A POV shot-- as if we're high on a rooftop looking down. Martin Daring is canvasing a New York City Street, grabbing a man in a business suit roughly by one arm. In the background, two others, one man, one woman, look frightened-- they've already been questioned and just want to get away.

    Panel 1. That rooftop. John Response-- his face all restrained anger-- has a telescope pointed down at the OP street. We can see a big gun holstered under his wind breaker.


    Assignment #2

    Panel 1. Detectives Brunner and Lockwood-- hands on guns, and faces grim-- have just gotten out of a their sedan, parked in Front of Hadley's bar, a tavern that looks as old as Detroit itself.

    CAP (BRUNNER): We had Donner cornered. Finally. We knew what we had to do--

    Panel 2. The bar is at the bottom of dark steps. Brunner and Lockwood are charging up the stairs, and they have their guns in their hands.

    CAP (BRUNNER): --get up those stairs, kick his door in, and try not to kill him when we kicked his teeth in to get him back to the station in a quiet mood.

    Assignment 3

    Panel 1. A nineteen forties airport is our background. A close up of Dapper and Pretty-- big smiles on their faces, a classic they only have eyes for each other moment.

    DAPPER: Paris?

    DAPPER: Baby--

    Panel 2. We're inside a ninteen forties passenger plane. Pretty has the window seat, her hand locked with Dapper's in the seat beside her.

    DAPPER: -- we'll go anywhere you wanna go!



  8. danialworks Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeNordling View Post
    Folks, I'm going to ask for some blanket revisions.

    As I pointed out to Roberts, just specifying an image doesn't mean that a reader knows he's there. THIS is the continuing mistake that too many creators make.

    Per the assignment, you are identifying "spaces that are clearly understood by the reader-passenger."

    If you show a castle, does the reader-passenger clearly understand where that is? I say No, no, a thousand times no. If you show a city skyline, does the reader-passenger clearly understand that it's NYC? Maybe it gets drawn generically, and it could be Phlly or Boston. But if you put a highway sign indicating that it's "New York" does the reader-passenger clearly understand that's it's NYC? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

    So, let me be specific: if a reader looking at the comic finished from your script doesn't know EXACTLY where each panel is, then it's a FAIL. If a reader-passenger doesn't know that it's "The pitching mound at Yankee Stadium," or "a cornfield in Kansas," or "Mike's bathroom," then it's a FAIL.

    It is your job as creators to make it absolutely clear where each of your panel choices is located.

    A description indicating a gay, fairy book castle isn't a PASS; it's a FAIL. Having a caption or balloon or sign INFORMING the reader that it's KING BOZO'S CASTLE is a PASS.

    An image of a bathroom isn't a PASS, it's a FAIL.

    If you don't use captions or balloons to signify the locations, then you need to use signage or well-known landmarks.

    I suspect there was some misinterpretation of the assignment, but the goal is for the reader-passenger to know EXACTLY where he/she is, not just a generic location that can be drawn.

    Why?

    Because the work here makes my case. Folks don't know how or care enough to make sure the reader-passenger knows where he/she is, and this is a carryover from film. Show a city in a TV show, and a lot of us will recognize NYC...but comics aren't TV shows with photography, and it's up to you, the creator, to make locations known, when it's important, and it's important for this assignment.

    What's so hard about a caption that reads "Gotham City" or "NYPD Morgue" or "A poppy field in Oz."

    See the difference between showing a poppy field, and the reader not necessarily knowing that's in Oz? Okay, yeah, there's a green tower in the distance, so maybe the reader-passenger concludes it's Oz...but I cautioned in the column to be better safe than sorry.

    So, reboot this and try again. Be specific, and not just like the student who raised his hand in class and thought that putting the location in the description did the job. It didn't, and often doesn't...

    ...which is why we're making this mandatory, so you'll learn better how to actually focus on informing your reader-passenger.

    Thanks.

    --Lee
    Hmmm. This time? It's not a question of whether you were unclear, Lee, or whether I misread... because last time it could be seen either way. Happy to take last time out as my misreading the homework.

    But this time, for me, anyway, the entire collumn seemed to be asking for smooth transitions, not "establishing shots."

    Still.


    Assignment 1.

    Add a corner street sign to panel 1 that reads "Broadway" and "145th Street." Panel 2, MAYBE a shot of the Empire State building if it
    doesn't clutter things up too much.

    Assignment 2.

    For panel 1, a painted sign at the bottom of the bar window that reads "Detroit's Oldest Place for Spirits of All Kinds."

    Assignment 3. A newspaper under Dapper's Arm-- we can read that it's a Chicago Tribune.

    Assigment #1 - new

    Panel 1. A too sunny day-- harsh and bright. Atlantic City in the background. A New Jersey Turnpike with a sign that reads "Atlantic City, pop. 5,567,000."

    Panel 2. Wer'e outside Caesar's AC, and let's establish that with some kind of marquee. A man drenched in sweat from sun and desperation alike is accousting innocent tourists.

    Assignment #2 - new

    Panel 1. We're looking through the front windshield of a sedan stuck in heavy traffic-- we're focused on the determined faces of detectives Brunner and Lockwood.

    CAP (BRUNNER): They say LA traffic is bad--

    CAP (BRUNNER): But Detroit--

    Panel 2. The sedan is angling straight down the middle of the street between two opposing lanes of cars.

    CAP (BRUNNER): --gridlock here makes a man itchy to get where he's going anyway he can."

    Assignment 3:

    Panel 1. The 1940's Chicago skyline is our background. It's a beautiful day in a wide open park. Pretty's arms are spread joyously wide. Dapper watches her, a big smile on his face.

    PRETTY: I love Chicago!! It's where we LIVE--

    Panel 2. Pretty and Dapper dance on a street corner of 1940's Paris. The Eiffel Tower peeks above a line of trees.

    PRETTY: --But Paris is all the more beautiful because we made it here together!!
    Last edited by danialworks; Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 06:07 AM.



  9. Rain Guest

    1:Write two different spaces in two separate panels, spaces that are clearly understood by the reader-passenger.

    Panel 1: From the point of view of a driver in the cockpit of a Formula 1 race car. We see a flag man standing on a wall to the right, waving a checkered flag. The driver has one arm extended out of the cockpit, pumping his fist in victory. We also see from our point of view that the driver's car is yellow, with a black 1 on the front body work. The car is about to pass text painted on the asphalt which reads: Monaco GP 2010.

    Panel 2: A flag man stands on a wall to the left of the panel, back to us, and waving a checkered flag. A yellow F1 car is coming towards him (and us) on the right side. The car has a black No 1 on the nose, the driver's right arm extended out of the cockpit pumping a fist in victory. The car is about to pass over text on the asphalt which reads (upside down to us, from this perspective): Monaco GP, 2010.

    2:Write two different spaces in two separate panels, spaces that are clearly understood by the reader-passenger. There will be a caption in panel one, and it will bridge to a caption in panel two.

    Panel 1: A muscle-clad soldier in fatigues fires a machine gun in the jungle.

    CAPTION: Rambo fought for his country in Vietnam...

    Panel 2: The same man, now wearing jeans and a T-shirt with a sack over his shoulder, is walking across a bridge. We see a Sheriff's Office cruiser is following closely behind his steps.

    CAPTION: ...only to be harassed by country-bumpkin cops when he returned to the good 'ole US of A.

    3: Write two different spaces in two separate panels, spaces that are clearly understood by the reader-passenger. One character of your choice will be in each of these locations, and what he/she/it says in a panel one balloon will bridge to his/her/its balloon in panel two.

    Panel 1: A classic "gray" alien with bulging black eyes sits on a grassy hill, looking at a full moon in the night sky. He's eating a slice of pizza.

    ALIEN: While I enjoy some aspects of life on Earth, particularly the food...

    panel 2: A classic "gray" alien with bulging black eyes sits atop a rocky crater in an otherwise barren, sterile landscape. He's looking towards a blue and green planet that is rising above the horizon, and framed by the blackness of outer space.

    ALIEN: ...I still prefer the ambiance of the planet's moon.

    Rain



  10. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by danialworks View Post
    Hmmm. This time? It's not a question of whether you were unclear, Lee, or whether I misread... because last time it could be seen either way. Happy to take last time out as my misreading the homework.

    But this time, for me, anyway, the entire collumn seemed to be asking for smooth transitions, not "establishing shots."
    Hi, Danial.

    Thanks for tackling the second batch, which allows us to continue the discussion and reach to the heart of the assignment.

    The assignment is not striving for smooth transitions; I don't recall ever discussing that.

    We're striving for CLEAR transitions, which is the bane of most comics writers.

    And we're not concerned with whether the images chosen are establishing shots or not. I simply want you using all your sequential art tools to make the location clear to the reader-passenger. The nature of the shot is up to you.

    For example:

    PANEL DESCRIPTION: a voice from the other side of the door screams at Gerald, who's sitting on a toilet. He's looking up from a comic and responding in kind to the scream.

    VOICE THROUGH THE DOOR: Gerald, you've been in there an hour!

    GERALD: This is my house and my bathroom, and I'll stay in here another hour if I want to!

    ***

    It's Gerald's bathroom in Gerald's house. Simple.

    Without that declaration, it could've been somebody else's house, but the reader-passenger is not the least bit confused on this point, because of how I tucked the exposition into the argument.

    And there's no establishing shot in the panel; there's simply the necessary information about the location for the reader-passenger.

    We want the reader-passenger to ALWAYS know exactly he is. Comics creators have been working on smooth for so long that this is not the issue or the thing they need to concern themselves with here. When it's important for the reader-passenger--"when," which is determined by you on a script--getting this information in is the first importance, and doing it well is the second.

    Danial's grade for his first amended attempt:

    1. FAIL. In panel one, you intended the reader-passenger to know it was NYC, and there was nothing else in your captions, balloons, or objects described that indicated this was NYC and not some other big city. The artist would have known he/she's supposed to draw NYC, but the reader might have only been able to guess. "Broadway" is a good NYC street-sign, but without more specificity it's problematic. There's a Broadway in a lot of cities.

    Now, had you NOT specified that you wanted this to be in NYC, then I might've given a PASS on this, because you did identify two cross streets, but since you intended something that wasn't clearly imparted, well, that's why it's a FAIL.

    If the reader-passenger DIDN'T recognize the Empire State Building in the second panel, he'd wonder what city he was in.

    Welcome to why this exercise is important: you wrote one thing with intention, and imparted something different to the reader-passenger.

    2. FAIL. I know from your revised panel one that we're outside Hadley's Bar in Detroit, but I haven't a clue where we are in panel two, except inside some stairway, and that somebody named Donner is cornered.

    It's dramatic, but it doesn't meet the requirements of the assignment.

    That said, has you SIMPLY noted in the expositionary dialogue that this was Donner's apartment building, it would have been a PASS.

    If you and others don't make the location painfully clear to the reader-passenger, then it's a FAIL.

    Like Roberts, you put creativity, and perhaps smooth transitions, over the assignment on this one.

    3. NO GRADE. The mechanics are deftly handled, and the addition of the newspaper saved panel one. Because of the airport, we're making a logical jump that we're within a airplane. I think this skirts the limits of the assignment, because Roberts could quite legitimately say, "How is inside an airplane different from inside a bathroom, or you saying how is this different from being on a rooftop?"

    Well, the assignment calls for specificity. We want to KNOW where the location of the reader-passenger, not surmise it, and this second panel is clear on by surmising.

    We don't know if the airplane is on the ground on the tarmac at some airport, and which one in Chicago? Maybe it's in the air, too, and we don't know that.

    I'd like everybody to note that this gets a NO GRADE only because the transition and dialogue helped make it maybe and maybe not clear they are in a commercial airplane.

    What I'd like to see from others is something so clear that I don't even have to wonder whether the plane is on the tarmac or in the air.

    Had this been a shot of the plan flying, with the balloon pointing to one of the passenger windows, this would've been both clear AND dramatic.

    It's a good two-panel sequence, Danial, but I'm only keeping my eye on the nature of the assignment, and like with Roberts, I'd like you to work on simple-stupid before stretching your wings.

    Danial's second attempt:

    1. PASS. Very clear in both panels.

    2. NO GRADE. The first panel is fine, but, like the airplane example, it's only the context of the two panels that tells us this is still a street in Detroit. I'd like other reading this to work more on clarity than transition.

    3. PASS. This is a terrific example of addressing the assignment. Danial uses dialogue effectively to clarify the location in both panels.

    BTW, it would have also been a pass to have a man standing on a street in Chicago and saying, "I'm standing in Chicago..." and when he's now in Paris, he'd be saying, "...and now I'm in Paris."

    It's not deft, but deft isn't part of the assignment.

    I look forward to reading more.

    Thanks.

    --Lee



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