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Thread: Style Has Substance

  1. LeeNordling Guest

    Danial's grade:

    INCOMPLETE.

    Danial, phrases like "below us" are the equivalent of a camera direction, and this version is full of this.

    Previously, not doing this was a suggestion; this time it's the assignment.

    Try writing the second section without doing anything beyond writing left to right.

    In theory, the artist will find the best way to visualize this version, and that's the point of this version in the exercise: to write for the artist's interpretation.

    Thanks.

    --Lee



  2. Rain Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeNordling View Post
    Which version do YOU prefer?

    Which version to OTHERS HERE prefer?

    Which version would an artist prefer...and why?
    Well, I can say with certainty I don't like the Marvel method; feels like I'm half-assing my job as writer.

    I prefer scripting with camera/panel direction, as I can SUGGEST to the artist subtle nuances in the background, or focal points within the panel, which are intended to add depth to the story. That's one of the great things about this medium of combining words with images, right?

    However, as I noted last week, the column has proven the positives of KISS, or my variation of it: Keep It Simple Scripter.

    When working with an artist, I would likely submit my script (including camera/panel direction) for THEIR approval. If they feel they can do a better job without my suggestions, or even want me to rewrite the script without the descriptions, I would gladly oblige.

    Rain



  3. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by Rain View Post
    Well, I can say with certainty I don't like the Marvel method; feels like I'm half-assing my job as writer.

    I prefer scripting with camera/panel direction, as I can SUGGEST to the artist subtle nuances in the background, or focal points within the panel, which are intended to add depth to the story. That's one of the great things about this medium of combining words with images, right?

    However, as I noted last week, the column has proven the positives of KISS, or my variation of it: Keep It Simple Scripter.

    When working with an artist, I would likely submit my script (including camera/panel direction) for THEIR approval. If they feel they can do a better job without my suggestions, or even want me to rewrite the script without the descriptions, I would gladly oblige.

    Rain
    One follow-up: you'd do this even knowing that YOU suggesting camera angles could lose the potential for the artist to bring a new view to the story you never even imagined?

    Yes, it would be nice if somebody could read camera angles and pretend they never existed, but, more often than not, that DOES set the direction.

    One reason I'm posing this question: just because writers USE camera angles, that doesn't mean they actually understand how to use them as well as somebody who can draw...or knows his/her own drawing style.

    I'm not pushing this direction as A way to go--my column notes advantages of each version; I'm simply curious about the default of writers getting their two cents in...when, frankly, the best storytelling and comic is, I believe, a more worthy goal.

    --Lee



  4. Rain Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeNordling View Post
    One follow-up: you'd do this even knowing that YOU suggesting camera angles could lose the potential for the artist to bring a new view to the story you never even imagined?

    Yes, it would be nice if somebody could read camera angles and pretend they never existed, but, more often than not, that DOES set the direction.
    Actually, after posting my reply I thought of that very issue, and must say that's a valid concern.

    Therefore, I will NEVER use camera angles in every panel, or even on every page. I will use them ONLY when I'm passionate about the image's composition and my confidence in the shot -- which will be far and few between.

    I know what you're thinking: Rain, how do YOU KNOW when an angle is imperative? Well, quite frankly, I do not. But I prefer not to hogtie myself by saying I'll NEVER use them. (And, having lots of videography and photo experience, I like to think I have some knowledge on shot composition, though in different mediums.)

    Folo up question for the teacher: What are the merits, if any, of Marvel style?

    Rain



  5. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by Rain View Post
    Follow-up question for the teacher: What are the merits, if any, of Marvel style?
    If you're Stan Lee "writing" a million books, you can write a page or two of story, give it to Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others to draw, then you get to exercise your Super Power of Snark and Exposition to have it all make sense.

    Seriously, if an artist is a natural born visual storyteller, and really has the potential to be a co-author (by figuring out what can go in all the panels and has the POTENTIAL to make sense), then you end up with a much more dynamic-looking book than most traditional scripted books...because the visual story in the visual medium is visually driven.

    I had--(was forced)--to do this for Marvel on a couple of my "Aladdin" books.

    I hated it.

    More than hated it; I despised it.

    My big problem was that I had a humorously driven book that was going to be paced according to how the artist was going to draw it.

    The "problem" was that the editor was having trouble with the art and the lettering (because the artist didn't ALLOW for the lettering), so everything got crammed together.

    Her solution: let the artist draw the book, and I'd figure out the words.

    HATED IT!

    So I cheated.

    I wrote all the panels...delineating the panels...(had the lettering scripted already, even though I didn't turn it in)...and sent in JUST the visual direction, again, panel by panel; there was NO way I was going to let the artist pace the gags.

    The editor was happy, because she didn't have to figure out how to cram in the lettering; that was now my job, and it wasn't too bad trimming it to fit.

    If I had not fully understood all the tools in the toolbox that was at my disposal, I would've been screwed. However, when faced with a situation, I was able to divine a different solution to the problem than the one that was suggested...without pissing anybody off.

    She was happy; the artist was happy; I was mostly happy.

    To quote John Cleese from the "Moose and Germans" episode of Fawlty Towers: "I think I got away with it."

    Anyway, someday I'd like to write a "real" plot method book...but only with an artist whose work I know really well, and like even more.

    --Lee
    Last edited by LeeNordling; Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 09:31 PM.



  6. danialworks Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeNordling View Post
    Danial's grade:

    INCOMPLETE.

    Danial, phrases like "below us" are the equivalent of a camera direction, and this version is full of this.

    Previously, not doing this was a suggestion; this time it's the assignment.

    Try writing the second section without doing anything beyond writing left to right.

    In theory, the artist will find the best way to visualize this version, and that's the point of this version in the exercise: to write for the artist's interpretation.

    Thanks.

    --Lee
    I would like to thank project: fanboy for EATING my original attempt to post the rewrite an hour ago. Imagine my surprise when it wasn't here!

    Goodness, I'm dedicated!

    I've added the color shifts in the clouds to the plot as I don't know if this is being written for a penciller, full illustrator, or even a painter.

    Magazine.

    PLOT METHOD:

    A green dragon soars above the clouds, at first white streaked with gray--then drops below them. After the sun breaks up the clouds-- and the gray turns to purple--a flock of large flying creatures can be seen behind our dragon. These turn out to be giant rocs in pursuit of our green dragon.



    FULL SCRIPT, NO CAMERA DIRECTIONS


    Panel 1.

    The small figure of a green dragon soars above a cloud layer of fluffy white with streaks of gray; the clouds are like milky loam beneath him.

    Panel 2.

    Swooping motion lines tell us the green dragon has just dropped below the cloud layer; let's draw him somwhat bigger, now, and place him about halfway into the depth of the panel.

    Panel 3.

    The cloud layer has broken up into patches of white and purple as rays of sunshine surround the green dragon in flight.

    Panel 4.

    A menacing flock of large, indistinct shapes far behind the dragon.

    Panel 5.

    A flight of giant rocs giving chase in the green dragon's wake.




    FULL SCRIPT WITH CAMERA DIRECTIONS


    Panel 1. (TOP TIER, ON THE LEFT, WIDER PANEL)

    A LONG-SHOT looking down at a green dragon soaring above a solid cloud layer of white streaked with gray.

    Panel 2. (TOP TIER, ON THE RIGHT, SMALLER PANEL)

    MEDIUM SHOT, framing the dragon at center-- swooping motion lines show how he's just dropped below the cloud layer.

    Panel 3. (2ND TIER, ON THE LEFT)

    The cloud layer has broken up into patches of white and purple. Still a MEDIUM SHOT on the dragon-- though we are a little CLOSER-- as rays of sunshine are coming down through the seperations in the clouds.

    Panel 4. (2ND TIER, ON THE RIGHT)

    A flock of large, and so far indistinct-- shapes in flight. We finally see our dragon relatively CLOSE-UP in the nearer distance.

    Panel 5. (THIRD TIER, WIDTH OF PAGE)

    MEDIUM-SHOT. On the left, a flight of giant rocs giving chase. On the right, our ANGLE on the green dragon has become MUCH CLOSER.



  7. LeeNordling Guest

    Danial's grade:

    PASS with a caution.

    Since the purpose of the second example is NOT to direct the artist, but to explain what's going on in the story (from left to right, the limit of the direction), this line really just fights the spirit of this:

    "...let's draw him somewhat bigger, now, and place him about halfway into the depth of the panel."

    That's a camera angle, without calling it as such.

    The rest is working nicely, but I think it would be really good for you to consider how hard it is for you to refrain from directing the artist.

    Maybe that's just the way you prefer the relationship to be, which is fine and fair, if potentially limiting.

    Here's what I mostly saw in your second version: lots of nice imagery that a talented artist could have a ball with.

    It is, in my opinion, the better of the versions, if the goal is to get a dynamic page.

    Another aside: I created my version as a series of tiers because I was writing a comic strip-styled page.

    But there are some images from others that look like they could have much more creative layouts, rather than evenly divided tiers.

    I didn't intend for folks to mimic my page layout, but I find it interesting that so many did.

    To be clear: we just need to see your best vision for the page layout.

    Thanks, all. It was a pretty productive day.

    --Lee



  8. danialworks Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeNordling View Post
    Danial's grade:

    Since the purpose of the second example is NOT to direct the artist, but to explain what's going on in the story (from left to right, the limit of the direction), this line really just fights the spirit of this:

    "...let's draw him somewhat bigger, now, and place him about halfway into the depth of the panel."
    *--Honestly, I was just trying to keep it matching version three--*


    The rest is working nicely, but I think it would be really good for you to consider how hard it is for you to refrain from directing the artist.

    *--Sometimes, it's easy. "The dragon lifted off into the air." Sometimes, it's nearly impossible to give up the director's chair, even away from actors and such, I admit.--*

    Here's what I mostly saw in your second version: lots of nice imagery that a talented artist could have a ball with.

    It is, in my opinion, the better of the versions, if the goal is to get a dynamic page.

    *--Oh, mine too. By far. But I think there's some strength in all three-- showing some ability to work in the manner the illustrator(s) prefer. But for me, version 2 flies best, pun more or less intended, and how my brain is best learning to function as I concentrate more and more on comics scripting.--*

    Another aside: I created my version as a series of tiers because I was writing a comic strip-styled page.

    But there are some images from others that look like they could have much more creative layouts, rather than evenly divided tiers.

    I didn't intend for folks to mimic my page layout, but I find it interesting that so many did.

    To be clear: we just need to see your best vision for the page layout.

    *--My first thought was for panels 1 and 2 to be two triangles forming a square in the top tier, but then I consciously chose SIMPLE, just as I cut panel 6 to make the page only a SEQUENCE instead of suggesting the start of a story--*


    --Danial
    Last edited by LeeNordling; Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 01:59 PM.



  9. ChrisLewis Guest

    Hi, all. Here's Drunken Cooking in comics trim.

    Plot method

    Biff cuts up various vegetables and some meat and places them in a pan to cook, all the while drinking a lot of beer and getting progressively drunker. He sets the pan down directly in front of his displeased wife, who’s seated at the table with their amused teenage daughter. Biff sits down, raises his bottle in a toast, and passes out on his plate.

    Full script, no camera directions

    Panel 1. An empty pan is on the heating element of a stove. On the counter top next to the stove we see a whole carrot, a stalk of celery, an unopened beer bottle, and a piece of raw meat. Biff is cutting an onion on a cutting board and we see nice, small, uniform dices.

    Panel 2. Biff takes a swig out of a mostly full beer bottle.

    Panel 3. The onion cooks in the pan. An empty bottle is on the table. Biff is cutting the carrot. We see slightly larger, less uniform pieces.

    Panel 4. Biff takes a swig out of a mostly full beer bottle.

    Panel 5. The onion and the carrot cook in the pan. Three empty bottles are on the table. Biff is cutting the celery and there are small motion lines around the knife suggesting a wobbly motion. We see random-sized pieces here and there.

    Panel 6. Biff takes a swig out of a mostly full beer bottle.

    Panel 7. Now the celery is in the pan and the vegetables are starting to smoke. There are four empty beer bottles standing on the table and another one tipped over. Biff is cutting the meat haphazardly with an even wobblier knife.

    Panel 8. Biff takes a swig out of a mostly full beer bottle.

    Panel 9. Biff places the smoking pan in front of his disgusted wife who is seated at a table set for dinner. A young teenage girl, also seated, looks on in amusement.

    Panel 10. Biff, now sitting down in front of his plate, his eyes crossed, raises a beer bottle in a toast. Smoke drifts over.

    Panel 11. Biff has just passed out face down into his plate while still holding on to his bottle.

    SFX:
    Thunk!


    Full script, camera directions

    Panel 1. (I picture the following eight panels to be small, have a uniform size, and be divided into two tiers of four panels, but if the artist has a better idea I’m open) From Biff’s POV we are looking down at an empty pan on the heating element of a stove. On the counter top next to the stove we see a whole carrot, a stalk of celery, an unopened beer bottle, and a piece of raw meat. Biff is cutting an onion on a cutting board and we see nice, small, uniform dices.

    Panel 2. Tight profile shot on Biff taking a swig out of a mostly full beer bottle. We see him from the waist up and we’re going to get progressively tighter in on him.

    Panel 3. Similar to panel 1. From Biff’s POV we see the onion cooking in the pan. An empty bottle is on the table. Biff is cutting the carrot. We see slightly larger, less uniform pieces.

    Panel 4. Tighter on Biff from the last panel we saw of him. We only see his hand, the bottle, and his head.

    Panel 5. Similar to panel 3. From Biff’s POV we see the onion and the carrot cooking in the pan. Three empty bottles are on the table. Biff is cutting the celery and there are small motion lines around the knife suggesting a wobbly motion. We see random-sized pieces here and there.

    Panel 6. Tighter on Biff from the last panel we saw of him. We only see the top of the bottle and most of his face. His eyelids are a little droopy.

    Panel 7. Similar to panel 5. From Biff’s POV we see the celery in the pan and the vegetables starting to smoke. There are four empty beer bottles standing on the table and another one tipped over. Biff is cutting the meat haphazardly with an even wobblier knife.

    Panel 8. Tighter on Biff from the last panel we saw of him. We only see the very tip of bottle as it makes contact with his lips, the beer slightly dribbling out the side of his mouth.

    Panel 9. Head-on shot as Biff’s hand, reaching in from the left of the panel, sets the smoking pan in front of his disgusted wife who is seated at a table set for dinner. A young teenage girl, also seated, looks on in amusement.

    Panel 10. Tight frontal shot of Biff, now sitting down in front of his plate at the head of the table, his eyes crossed, raises a beer bottle in a toast. Smoke drifts over.

    Panel 11. CU on Biff passed out face down into his plate while still holding on to his bottle.

    SFX:
    Thunk!



  10. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by danialworks View Post
    *--Honestly, I was just trying to keep it matching version three--*
    I understand, but that's why I qualified that they needed to be the same within the context of their mandated styles.

    This would have worked fine and been consistent, within the context of the style: "Swooping motion lines tell us the green dragon has just dropped below the cloud layer."

    --Lee



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