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

  1. LeeNordling Guest

    Ronald's example:

    1. Mickey's mouse house; the Disney mouse house (or room).

    2. Carl McMurphy's bed; the bus stop at 3rd and Elm.

    3. Flippy's Burgers kitchen; Flippy's Burgers counter.

    It's all clear.

    Nothing's generic.

    It's all specific.

    The exposition giving this information is pretty well concealed.

    --Lee



  2. drgerb Guest

    Assignment 1.

    Panel 1. A shot of an African savannah with Himba natives in the foreground going about their day to day business.

    Narration: Namibia, Africa, 1969.

    Panel 2. A shot of the first Woodstock, with hippies making love, partying, enjoying life.

    Narration: Bethel, New York, 1969.

    At first I thought about bridging the gaps between American culture and African culture... That whole, how far have we come in 200 years? And to think some tribal cultures are in the same place they were in 2,000 years ago. Who's right? Then I realized keeping the same place (Doing an Africa, 1439, Africa, 2043) wouldn't have passed since you wanted two different spaces. So then instead of paralleling times, I figured I'd parallel places. What were they doing in Namibia when our hippies were making dirty public love in 1969? Something similar? Or totally different?


    Assignment 2.

    Panel 1. A wide out shot of the Las Vegas strip.

    Narration: Las Vegas... When you need something to do, come here...

    Panel 2. A medium shot of the lit up McDonalds on the Las Vegas strip with our narrator seated in one of the windows.

    Narration: ...And when you've run outta stuff to do in Vegas and you get hungry for McDonalds fries? Well, then come here.

    It could fail because the second panel may NOT necessarily be in Vegas. There could be a DRASTICALLY similar scene in another town in another country, though I highly doubt it. The McDonalds on the Las Vegas strip is pretty hit or miss. I feel this one passes since it bridges the Las Vegas strip to the McDonalds on the strip. If it's not obvious, the narration could switch to something like, 'If you're ever lost in Las Vegas... ...Just find the McDonalds on the strip.' I think that'd clarify where we are in both panels if there were any doubts.


    Assignment 3.

    Panel 1. Jimmy is stranded in an avalanche. Over the shoulder shot, of him waving to the background of the image, which is just a snow covered mountain.

    Jimmy: When I was stuck in that avalanche on the Wrangell Mountains of Alaska...

    Panel 2. Similar shot, though Jimmy is now wearing a bathing suit and is standing off the coast of a beach. A palm tree is in the foreground.

    Jimmy (continued): ...I couldn't help but wish I was back in Waieli, Hawaii during spring break.



    PS: Just wanted to say to Lee, great job with the article. You posted a mention before of how you won't be helpind me / us on this particular topic in the future, which is understandable. But you said you've gotten a few comments about that comment. They thought you were ending the column, but you reiterated that it's just this particular lesson which will end... Which is totally understandable.

    The article has come a long way and I hope you keep it going for a very long time. If I can imagine myself on the path to success, or being a well-off published writer someday, and I can come back online here and see the article is still going, that'd be a great feeling. To think, on the other hand, that someday in the future I'll still be a wannabe writer sitting on his living room chair staring at his computer screen, and there aren't any new updates over here? That'd be depressing.

    I just thought about it for a second, and I understand articles are a tough thing to do. You can update them weekly for a VERY long time and it seems to hit a point where the same people commenting are the same people commenting every week. But the thing about the internet is you gotta realize how valuable this information is to EVERYBODY. Not just us, not just the ones you hear from on a daily basis, or just from the number of reads you posts get. Five years from now some high school kid will come across this very post and learn something in order to become the next Alan Moore.

    That is why I stress keep this thing going. I thought about how to spread the word. Maybe ads, maybe mentions on other forums. I dunno if that's something you'd want, more viewers, or whatnot... But I think the word of mouth route is so easy to go about, all of us readers should let our fellow aspiring comics creators know about this little diamond in the rough Lee has got going here. I don't know.

    But if you have thought about giving it up, Lee, please don't. Your articles are teaching SO MUCH to people who don't even admit that they are learning from them, let alone post every so often. If you feel you don't get the feedback, or the views this forum deserves, just stick with it. You mentioned a while back, thinking about killing it, and I'm so glad you didn't decide to go through with it. It took a while for me to start posting replies again, but just know the ones posting every week, the ones trying to redo their assignments, and the ones to just stop by and say hello... They are just a tip off the ole iceburgh. There are SO MANY more who, for whatever reason, choose to stay quiet in hopes of learning without typing. I ask you, Lee, to keep this going for a VERY long time and let the anonymous ones hold onto their identities... But I also ask you, the readers, to go ahead and become contributers. Thanks again, Lee. I have learned so much while continuously reading your updates and following along with the posts by the week. I only wish many other people can learn this easily too.
    Last edited by drgerb; Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 05:52 PM.



  3. LeeNordling Guest

    Roberts's grade:

    1. PASS. Perfectly clear.

    2. PASS. The narration makes it clear in the second panel that this particular McDonald's IS in Las Vegas.

    3. PASS. But a little weird, since these are word balloons, not narrative panels, but that doesn't matter, because the locations are made perfectly clear.

    Good work.

    --Lee



  4. danialworks Guest

    Anybody wanna try collaborating at the blackboard to get the assignment done?

    Assignment 1

    Panel 1. A Nevada desert at night. Many stars visible in the sky. Over the tallest brush, we can see a dilapatated but still lit-up highway sign in the distance-- and we can still read the ad-- CARY BUKE'S DESERT GAS writ large on top, and under that, TWO MILES UP, and finally at the bottom, TEN MILES FROM BEAUTIFUL LAS VEGAS. Jack Kyle, standing out of the shadows of the nearest brush, is reading a letter.

    *

    Probably a big panel!

    But I think it's my best use of a prop to indicate a location so far in this lesson.

    Lee can shoot this idea down if he thinks it's running before walking.



  5. danialworks Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by danialworks View Post
    Anybody wanna try collaborating at the blackboard to get the assignment done?

    Assignment 1

    Panel 1. A Nevada desert at night. Many stars visible in the sky. Over the tallest brush, we can see a dilapatated but still lit-up highway sign in the distance-- and we can still read the ad-- CARY BUKE'S DESERT GAS writ large on top, and under that, TWO MILES UP, and finally at the bottom, TEN MILES FROM BEAUTIFUL LAS VEGAS. Jack Kyle, standing out of the shadows of the nearest brush, is reading a letter.

    *

    Probably a big panel!

    But I think it's my best use of a prop to indicate a location so far in this lesson.

    Lee can shoot this idea down if he thinks it's running before walking.
    And I have a question for Lee. Yep, I put NEVADA in front of desert... but this time it's soley for the "penciller"-- a Nevada desert doesn't look like a Morracan desert. We know we're in the desert about 12 miles from Las Vegas. And unlike Milwaukie, of which there are oddly several, most people think Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Is it best to remove the word Nevada for the sake of the assignment, or leave it as a better description of my setting?

    And I just nitpicking or looking at nuances?



  6. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by danialworks View Post
    Anybody wanna try collaborating at the blackboard to get the assignment done?

    Assignment 1

    Panel 1. A Nevada desert at night. Many stars visible in the sky. Over the tallest brush, we can see a dilapatated but still lit-up highway sign in the distance-- and we can still read the ad-- CARY BUKE'S DESERT GAS writ large on top, and under that, TWO MILES UP, and finally at the bottom, TEN MILES FROM BEAUTIFUL LAS VEGAS. Jack Kyle, standing out of the shadows of the nearest brush, is reading a letter.

    *

    Probably a big panel!

    But I think it's my best use of a prop to indicate a location so far in this lesson.

    Lee can shoot this idea down if he thinks it's running before walking.
    It's absolutely clear that this image takes place "ten miles from Las Vegas, Nevada."

    So, in answer to the other question, there's nothing wrong with putting Nevada in your art description.

    As I'll cover in the next assignment, the best way to make your intention clear, if we didn't need to know this was a Nevada desert, would be to write: it's LIKE a Nevada desert or it's a Nevada desert, but it doesn't matter whether the reader knows this.

    Now, that's for this assignment.

    For a comic intended for publication, you can certainly put "Nevada desert" and not specify that for the reader...if that's your intent.

    We're going through this exercise because too many writers end up thinking that putting "Nevada desert" in the art description will mean the reader will KNOW the image is of a Nevada desert.

    That's the disconnect we're working on: making sure the creator understands what the reader will and won't understand.

    Thanks.

    --Lee



  7. danialworks Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeNordling View Post
    The best way to make your intention clear, if we didn't need to know this was a Nevada desert, would be to write: it's LIKE a Nevada desert or it's a Nevada desert, but it doesn't matter whether the reader knows this.

    --Lee
    See, this is the kind of thing I, personally, need to lock deep into my brain, and not have to consciously think about-- something I might normally do away from comics scripting, but need to work on HERE. "LIKE a--" and "the reader doersn't need to know this".

    Consider an apple left on your desk or poduim, Lee.
    Last edited by LeeNordling; Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 08:51 PM.



  8. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by danialworks View Post
    See, this the kind of thing I, personally, need to lock deep into my brain, and not have to consciously think about-- something I might normally do away from comics scripting, but need to work on HERE. "LIKE a--" and "the reader doersn't need to know this".

    Consider an apple left on your desk or poduim, Lee.
    Thanks, Danial.

    Those two examples are a personal stylistic choice that many writers may reasonably reject.

    I tend to write that way, as you'll see on Tuesday.

    I LIKE to tell the artist what I want the reader to THINK when they see the finished panel, sequence, or page, because I'm specifying my intention.

    I LIKE writing things like this: "We can tell from how Snidely Whiplash sneers at Naughty Nell that he's already begun to undress her with his eyes."

    The reason I, personally, like it is because it gives me a point of discussion with the artist if the drawing doesn't achieve this intended goal.

    If, for instance, Snidely has a big cheery smile and big wide eyes, I can say to the artist, "Does it look like he's undressing her with his eyes? Shouldn't there be a leering sneer there?"

    Now, I COULD have written a leering sneer, but he might just end up looking angry, and then we're arguing about the artist's drawing, rather than whether the goal has been met.

    When I have a story I have a strong vision for, I write defensively, but not so densely (except here in this column) that the point gets lost.

    And that's a personal choice.

    I find a defensively written script helps focus me and the artist on the editorial goals, not each other.

    To be clear, where I've got projects that require a more collaborative/inspirational contribution from the artist, I focus MUCH less on writing defensively, and I write more dramatically, so that in this case the artist will know what needs to be captured emotionally in each panel, sequence, or page.

    As always, the trick to using any of our sequential art tools is to know WHY we're using them, and I guess that's also what this class is about.

    Thanks again, Danial.

    The apple is tasty.

    --Lee
    Last edited by LeeNordling; Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 03:01 PM.



  9. drgerb Guest

    I want to give another quick thanks to Lee for this article, and especially for that link he posted above. If anybody had glanced over it or didn't give the link the time of day it deserves, I strongly suggesting go back and check it out again. The biggest bit advice that I've been keeping in the back of my mind as I second guess my own projects:

    SO: WE, THE WRITERS, MUST ASK OURSELVES OF EVERY SCENE THESE THREE QUESTIONS.

    1) WHO WANTS WHAT?
    2) WHAT HAPPENS IF HE DOESN’T GET IT?
    3) WHY NOW?
    That's one of the many things in comic book format, that keeps the readers coming back, or atleast continuing the story. Answering those three questions, in respect to each of your scenes, I think drives the idea home to the reader and it makes the reader understand why he's folllowing through and not getting bored. A bored reader is your enemy.

    I also wanna bring up a couple of movies to maybe pitch to everyone else, the aspiring comics writers. I'm an avid movie fan and every now and then I come across a great movie. Then sometimes I come across a great movie that tells the story *PERFECTLY* and would make for a GREAT comic. Something I wanted to start doing a while back was watch a movie, pick a scene, and pause it as I go about watching it to get the perfect panels for a comic book... Then, as a hobby, translate the moving movie to a handful of comic book pages, keeping the dialogue / words in the movie to a comic-bookey limit, while picking the most dynamic of still shots from the movie as panels. I felt it might help my storytelling abilities, especially in regards to comics.

    A few of the movies I suggest are 1, Lucky Number SLevin. The dailogue is perfect, the writing / editing / jumbling up of scenes is just great, and it's also a great movie to watch if you're bored. So many little nuances, on the first watch, bring you into the story. The second time you watch it, all these little things, you realize, foretell the future. Pulp Fiction; Another great editing job with VERY believably dialogue. All Quentin Tarantino does here is throw a bunch of AWESOME characters into a bunch of coinsidential, out of luck places, and show how they react. That's a major understatement. Lastly, The Thin Red Line: The best war movie I've ever seen. It jumps from character to character, narration to narration, presents war as something very real, and gives each character the reasons he or she has, all legit in their own right, for doing the things they do.

    I understand so often we, and our teachers, stress not looking at comic books as movies, which is understandable. But sometimes you can learn a lot about your own storytelling abilities by watching / involving yourself with the right stories in another medium. I feel like movies accomplishes this, and watching the right ones may help us tell the best stories we want to tell.

    Watch those movies, or pick your favorite comic books, and after reading / viewing each scene, ask yourself the above quoted three questions. Chances are every good story explains each answer to you through it's scenes. When you can write a story, and answer every one of those questions for each scene, I feel then you will finally understand the potential you, as a creator, has. Sorry for the tangent, Lee. Just felt like getting it off my chest. Thanks again.



  10. LeeNordling Guest

    We'll be discussing another excerpt from Mamet's letter tomorrow.

    As Roberts notes, anybody interested in visual writing should read that letter Mamet wrote to his TV writers.

    It's both an inspiration and a challenge to break through bad habits, much like what we try to do here at CCP.

    I also want to add that the only reason I didn't delete Roberts's post is that tomorrow we ARE going to discuss some aspects how comics are like movies, though that's not the point.

    Roberts, I'm leaving your post, (almost deleted it) but please don't interject again on a completely separate point; there are plenty of other discussion groups where you can say whatever you have to say on any topic you choose, but not here, as you know. Working to undercut what we're doing here doesn't accomplish anything constructive, and the only way to have made it constructive would've been for us all to join in on your topic, which, again, isn't what we're doing here.

    Please respect the rules.

    'til tomorrow, then.

    --Lee
    Last edited by LeeNordling; Monday, March 29, 2010 at 03:37 PM.



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