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Scripts and scripting.
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Prestwick



Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:14 am    Post subject: Scripts and scripting. Reply with quote

I looked at Tara's latest bonus on Galaxion.com and found it a really interesting insight into how other creators script their comics.

I was just wondering how you guys script your comics? I'll show your mine..

Because myself and German are thousands of miles away from each other, we need to be absolutely clear on what we're doing because mistakes can be costly time wise to rectify. I can't just go round to his house and likewise for him because London and Buenos Ares are quite a way apart, haha.

So my style of scripting is something which is quite script, colour co-ordinated but is easy to follow.



So you see first of all, I split everything up colour codes. Deep red for scene synopsis, green for third person, black for talking and *for telling German where and when actions take place*

So this all translates into:



This is a big hit with the Argentines down south and has worked really well for something which I threw together in a hurry so this is the standard I work to.

What about you guys?
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Varethane



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 559

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, oh, I can do this!



....yikes.
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ttallan
Postpostpostpostpost!


Joined: 28 Feb 2008
Posts: 1128
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Prestwick-- it's good to know some people found all that blather of mine interesting! Smile

I like the way you use colour in your scripts, it seems very helpful. I tried doing something like that, but I don't think I had it as well-defined as you and it just ended up looking like a rainbow exploded.

I just wanted to mention, though-- although the link in your post takes you to the right place, my site is actually galaxioncomics.com. Galaxion.com takes you somewhere quite... different. Rolling Eyes

@Varethane-- that is awesome!
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Prestwick



Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@TTallan - Derp, sorry Embarassed

@Velthrane - that is a pretty epic script. Lookts more like a work of art. Imagine, they'll be selling them at Sotherbys in 200 years time!
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Lavenderbard
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Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 840
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Varethane, LOL! I wish I knew where I tucked my hand written copy of Scent of Spring. There are bits that look about like that.

But I don't have the original scripts of either of the two I'm actually working on readily to hand, so I grabbed a bit of Black Flag 2 (which I'm storyboarding right now) that didn't contain any spoilers.

Later...
Sirens go off, the Revenge has been dropped into realspace again.
Bellamie is decending on the lift, analysis tool in hand.
Bellamie: The second time in six days -- this is getting serious. He should have let me take those samples. (She turns to Chivers.) Where is he, anyway? Isnít he going to help?
Chivers: The Captain? Heís supervising the tuning teams on the fore generators.
Bellamie: Oh. (She joins the tuning team herself but the next chance she gets she tells Chivers) You need to convince him to head into Barataria for repairs. My mother wonít even be there.
Chivers: Why donít you convince him.
Bellamie: (Puzzled) Why would he listen to me? I donít even see him much anymore, and when I do, heís with Lai or Linda. They... donít seem to like having me around.
Chivers: Maybe theyíre jealous.
Bellamie: Jealous? Why?
Chivers: Youíre pretty, bright, talented...
Bellamie (looking bewildered) But so are they! (She goes off to some other task.)
Chivers: (looking after her) ...also completely clueless.


As you see, my scripts look a lot like play scripts. Minimalistic, almost entirely dialog, and nothing fancy. I do all the splitting up into panels and pages and so forth at the storyboarding stage, rewriting the dialog as needed as I do so.
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 2968
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Varethane, that is what I believe the kids would call "epic." :D

For gag-a-day type stuff, I jot the idea down on an old Dilbert day calendar page (I have a stack of 300+ of these under my calendar, after all!), and toss it on the table next to my computer, where it sits along with the others until I need a comic idea and happen to grab it.

For my story comic, I'm slightly more organized. My working scripts look something like this snippet from the episode 4 .txt file:
Code:
A* Ep. 4


Sal - shipper Vero knows


# scene 1 - Freighter AX71120 control module

1
(digital flicker, rez in)
2
v - S-Sig?
3
s - Yeah. Don't worry, the cabin's sealed back up now.
4
v - That meteoroid hit--
5
s - Just the cabin. I think I've got most of the systems back online.
6
s - I tried shutting down the reactor like you wanted, but I'm still getting energy readings.
7
s - I think it-- Ugh...
8
v - Sig! Where's your helmet? You should--

The letter beginning each line of dialog is a cryptic abbreviation for the name of the speaking character. The number below the line is the ID number for that line that I'll also put on the photoshop layer containing the text, and in the file name of the wav file for the recorded dialog.

I spell-check the script, and copy-and-paste lines from it into Photoshop when I'm doing the lettering, to make sure I avoid spelling errors as much as possible.

When the animated episode is released I release a somewhat polished up version for translators or the merely curious: still in plain txt format, but reformatted to ape movie/voiceover script formats I've seen. The released episode 4 script is here for instance.
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ttallan
Postpostpostpostpost!


Joined: 28 Feb 2008
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lavenderbard wrote:
I do all the splitting up into panels and pages and so forth at the storyboarding stage, rewriting the dialog as needed as I do so.

Yeah, that's the way I do it, too! The editing stage in which I turn the text into pages is really quite fascinating, even to me. It's like magic, because that's when the art meets the writing and *poof*, comics happen. All sorts of ideas that never occurred to me during the script stage suddenly pop into my head when I reach the storyboarding stage. At one point, for example, a certain character went from being a minor one to a personal favourite, as his personality developed via inventive ideas for the background art.
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Prestwick



Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I were drawing the comics myself, I'd work it out panel by panel. I choose to just lay out the dialogue and leave German with a loose synopsis is because I wish him to have as much freedom as possible rather than impose something upon him. If he asked me to lay it out panel by panel, I'd agree to it so we're all flexible at the end of the day.

The exciting thing is waiting for German's sketches to come back at which point I read through the dialogue and imagine the final page. Thats when I realise how awesome being part of the creative process really is.
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Sylvia



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 154
Location: PA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know why, but I started writing all my scripts in private facebook notes, and it's still how I do it. I just write the scripts - I don't plan them out or use a lot of description. I write them ohnorobot-style so I can just cut and paste to ohnorobot when I'm done.
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jinxtigr



Joined: 30 Jul 2008
Posts: 473
Location: Vermont

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't imagine anything as terrifying as having to comic out "disguised after what appears to be a long time in the area on a job and upon seeing Kathy, decides to spring her for jail" O_O

Terrifying because, how much of that is background or narrative that will not or cannot be shown in actions or tight dialogue? You can show him rescuing Kathy but it's a bitch to show him DECIDING to rescue her because that's internal monologue. Never mind the difficulty in having someone's big tension be getting held hostage, by people with no name and no identity who speak no known language and offer no action to take other than to wait... Alan must come as a big relief.

All my scripting happens on little cards, or now it's started to go on sheets of paper folded into 16-page minicomics, stapled and cut into a teeny booklet a bit larger than a business card. ALL the dialogue and plot for a strip update goes on one of those pages. If it doesn't fit, it's too much or I won't be able to get it across.

The dialogue has to reveal everything about where the characters are at in very few words, any stage directions will typically be about manner of gesture (like 'dives, flared arms, big move to attract attention' or 'click click! out of bullets' or 'turn to run to the ship', all from actual upcoming scripts).

I swear by this, I really do- because it's just like screenwriting, really. I guess it's not easy but if you buy the basic concept it really works: namely, that you can only tell a story about sound-bite dialogue lines, quips, emotional reactions, and the attitudes of characters. A lot of the background ends up left a stark raving blank, but it's insane how much can be built on just the attitudes of characters if your primary motivation is understanding who they are and what they want and where they're going with it.

People will read insane amounts into simple emotional reactions and attitudes, but will forget which continent, which insurgent group, even the names of the characters themselves.

When the reactions and attitudes are really basic, characters don't need to explain anything to each other because their conflicts and desires are starkly obvious. You end up playing off seemingly inconsequential stuff like a Tarantino flick, like hitmen nervously bantering about foreign McDonald's quirks, then griping 'we should have shotguns for this' then getting into a last argument over their slightly differing ethics about footrubs Smile

That way you implicitly learn stuff based on the positions they take on unrelated topics, shafts of light indirectly illuminating the subject rather than clumsily trying to manufacture a response like 'Jules considers himself sophisticated and a man of personal honor, and feels he knows better than most people. Vincent is less sophisticated and earthier, but possesses a degree of common sense and ability to cut to the heart of a situation'.

Harlan Ellison has written about this sort of thing, that's where I get a fair amount of it. That, and doing it Smile
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Luke



Joined: 15 Jul 2009
Posts: 753
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sometimes have an idea o the punchline before I start drawing, but usually, I just have an image in my head that I like, and start to draw it, the joke usually comes as I go.

This may explain why many of my comics end up with horrible pacing. If I try to write anything in advance, however, it always ends up really in-jokey.

I really admire you guys for having the patience to pre-script everything. I sure as heck don't.
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Prestwick



Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jinxtigr wrote:
I can't imagine anything as terrifying as having to comic out "disguised after what appears to be a long time in the area on a job and upon seeing Kathy, decides to spring her for jail" O_O

Terrifying because, how much of that is background or narrative that will not or cannot be shown in actions or tight dialogue? You can show him rescuing Kathy but it's a bitch to show him DECIDING to rescue her because that's internal monologue. Never mind the difficulty in having someone's big tension be getting held hostage, by people with no name and no identity who speak no known language and offer no action to take other than to wait... Alan must come as a big relief.


That is only the basic synopsis, just an overview which I may or may not use when describing an issue in public and just lets the artist knows whats going to happen in the grand scheme of things. What he actually comics out is what is written down page by page and this has proven to be quote a good system. Its let us build the tension of Kathy's kidnapping, the arrival of Alan and the scene where Alan breaks Kathy out of her captivity.

And a lot of that was done, like you say, with visual cues such as exchanged glances and subtle exchanges of dialogue but mostly on visual cues which help convey the gravity of whats happening. Alfred Hitchcock is someone who did this down to a tee with scenes like the train scene in the 39 Steps or the Crop Duster scene in North by Northwest which are absolutely stupendous. The way Hitchcock builds tension simply through mostly visual cues is superb and is something of an influence on how I write.

So for example for a page as part of Kathy's captivity:

-----
Page six.

Kathy grudgingly eating food while her captors stand over her, watching and talking amongst themselves. Kathy for her part spits out a few words before she receives glares and raised hands and is cowed back into eating.

Kathy: After the initial shock, my time being held captive was dull mixed with brief moments of..interactivity with my captors.


Kathy: They'd feed me, obviously wanting me to look full and plump for when they'd eventually slit my throat.

*Kathy sits there, eating, with the three Insurgents standing over her, staring..*

Kathy: And I for my part played the role of the defiant American..

Kathy: What the fuck are you looking a-

*insurgents glare, one raising his hand as if to smack her in the face at which point Kathy goes back to eating*

Kathy: ..to a point.


-----
After I deliver the entire script to German, I let him know that if he wants to discuss or change any part, he just needs to speak to me. I say this with each artist I've worked with which means we've had some great discussion about storyline. German though has always worked it almost exactly how I wanted it first time, I've never actually had to ask him to make changes beyond aesthetic things like decor and what not.

Which means for example what you see here is almost exactly like what he sketched out originally.

A system of cards or mini comics is a really interesting concept as it gives the artist lots of freedom to get lost in what he's doing which means more enjoyment for everyone.

I might be way off but it reminds me of people like Armando Innauchi (who writes and directs the Political satire "The Thick of it" and the film spinoff "In The Loop") who just puts a basic scene down with little cues and talking points and relies on the actors ad libbing and adding to the scene as they go along. Larry David and Curb Your Enthusiasm is another great example. These are really positive examples as they are absolutely epic series to watch.
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oppernaR
Uses a ruler for everything


Joined: 30 Nov 1999
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


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dpat57
Ich bin ein webcomicker


Joined: 11 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Couple of related/interesting older threads:

Scripting?

Okay, how do you PLAN your comic's pages?
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Lavenderbard
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Joined: 12 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jinxtigr wrote:
All my scripting happens on little cards, or now it's started to go on sheets of paper folded into 16-page minicomics, stapled and cut into a teeny booklet a bit larger than a business card. ALL the dialogue and plot for a strip update goes on one of those pages. If it doesn't fit, it's too much or I won't be able to get it across.


When I'm storyboarding, I write all the dialog out on the page, so it's pretty obvious when I've trying to do too much, and need to either reduce the wordage, or split the page.

In fact, "If you can't get the page to work, you are trying to put too much story on it" has kind of become my principal advice to self while storyboarding.

I guess the result is probably something that could be written on a business card -- I just arrive there via a different process. Smile
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