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Scripts and scripting.
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Prestwick



Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is so awesome. Its great to see so many insights into how people plan and script their comics. Shows how sheltered I am in my own little webcomic world Smile

@oppernaR : genius Very Happy
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oppernaR
Uses a ruler for everything


Joined: 30 Nov 1999
Posts: 2097
Location: TWCL resident

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paper email is the best invention since digital newspapers.
And the irony of scanning it to share it with you doesn't escape me, either.

I hardly script anything, but then.. I hardly draw anything.
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Novil



Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 393

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is the script I wrote for the strip Moms in Black for my artist Powree:

[0108] Moms in Black / Moms in Black

1. Panel:
  • Larisa and Sandra are sitting on a bench outside. They are listening to some music on Larisa’s mp3 player. This means that each of them has one earplug in one of her ears, like this: (-->PIC<--). Larisa is sitting on the left side, Sandra is sitting on the right side. In the background a woman (around 50) is talking to her husband. They should be several meters away and can be drawn without much detail. They just have to recognizable as adults. Her speech bubble should have a dotted outline (if possible, dashed would be okay, too) and some whitespace around the text to illustrate that Sandra and Larisa can barely hear her. But they do! And they have turned their heads slightly towards the woman in the background. In every panel there should be one, two or three small music notes drawn around the earplugs. Whichever looks the best.
  • Woman: Aw, look at those cute girls, they’re still so young and innocent.
  • Woman: Och, sieh mal die süssen Mädchen dort, sie sind noch so jung und unschuldig.

2. Panel:
  • In this and the following panels, the camera is focused on Sandra and Larisa. In this panel, Sandra and Larisa are looking at each other, completely puzzled. Nothing else is going on. In this and the following panels there should always be some space between Larisa and Sandra for the lyrics of the earplugs.
  • MP3 player: <small>I don’t mind</small>
  • MP3 player: <small>I don’t mind</small>

3. Panel:
  • Sandra and Larisa are laughing really hard now. Sandra is holding her right forearm in front of her eyes while laughing, similar to this woman: (-->PIC<--) but directly in front of the eyes, not the forehead. Larisa could look like this: ([url=http://www.epochtimes.de/pics/2005/01/15/xxl/2005-01-15-xxl—PR_0_Verm._Lachen_Bild2.jpg]-->PIC<--[/url]), but any other form of severe laughter would do it as well. There should be only one big speech bubble for the laughter of both of them.
  • Sandra and Larisa: <big>HAHAHAHA</big>
  • Sandra and Larisa: <big>HAHAHAHA</big>
  • MP3 player: <small>Killing time</small>
  • MP3 player: <small>Killing time</small>

4. Panel:
  • Sandra and Larisa have calmed down again. Larisa is looking at Sandra with a questioning look. Sandra is not looking at Larisa. Instead she is typing a sms into her cellphone while answering Larisa’s question, making a straight face.
  • Larisa: Do you have an idea who’s wiping the memory of all those adults so that they completely forget all the stuff they did at our age?
  • Larisa: Hast du ’ne Ahnung, wer das Gedächtnis aller Erwachsenen löscht, so dass sie völlig vergessen, was sie in unserem Alter alles angestellt haben?
  • Sandra: Must be the Moms in Black.
  • Sandra: Müssen die Moms in Black sein.
  • MP3 player: <small>As long as <newline> I can’t see it in <newline> your eyes!</small>
  • MP3 player: <small>As long as <newline> I can’t see it in <newline> your eyes!</small>

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Alohilani



Joined: 02 Dec 2009
Posts: 57

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

Possibly no one cares because my webcomic isn't even posted yet, just sitting here in a pile of marker drawings, but here are my notes-to-self on it.

It's an episodic comic, so these are ideas for later plotlines.

"IDEAS FOR LATER!!!

~Road trip (Jumbo/Large)

Dyna and Kila go on a road trip. Oh no.

~Wilderness

The scientists get stuck in the woods trying out a new teleportation device."

That- that's it.

And here's a block of dialog I jotted down for later use because I thought it was funny yesterday. Today I am not so sure.

"Kila: Hey, I have this friend with relationship issues.
Dyna: A friend, huh? I gotcha. You don’t need to be embarrassed, honey-pie; heaven knows you haven’t had much practice with men.
Kila: No, I really have a friend. Insomuch as he is my friend. It’s Pilau. He needs help.
Dyna: Don’t pin your inadequacies on poor Pilau. I said I’d help you.
Kila: IT’S NOT ME, DYNA! AME KEF, would I really ask you and your bird-brain to help ME?
Dyna: Why are you so negative?
Kila: FFAH! Never mind, I look online!
Dyna: I need to start slipping her anxiety medication.
Kila: I HEARD THAT, YOU MORON!"

And uh I guess the rest of my notes are still in my head somewhere.
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ttallan
Postpostpostpostpost!


Joined: 28 Feb 2008
Posts: 1128
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Novil, there's a lot of detail there, for a 4-panel strip! I haven't done a lot of comic work where someone else has provided me with a script, but when I have, I've always seen it as part of my job to take many artistic liberties (I'm sure that's not exactly an ideal quality in an artist-for-hire, but it's how I keep myself entertained Wink ). For the most part, though, the process between a writer and artist duo is a mystery to me. I'm curious to know, from the writer's perspective-- how closely did the image of the "Moms in Black" strip in your head match the final art that Powree produced? What changes in your scripting style have you made, if any, over the course of your partnership in order to improve the final product?
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Immer
Sliced Bread


Joined: 26 Dec 2005
Posts: 457

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doing a gag strip without a set storyline, I don't have to think of scripts that flow together in the long run. Every strip runs independently of one another, so I get ideas spontaneously rather than planning them out. Whenever I get an idea, I save it as a text message on my phone, and then transfer the idea later onto a wordpad document on my computer. They're extremely simple, and look something like this:

1. --Daniel is sitting on a cliff, looking pensive--
Daniel: (God, if you're out there, please give me a sign.)
2. --An advertising plane passes by over the horizon--
Plane: CHEAP VIAGRA! 1-800-GETITUP!
3. --Daniel looks repulsed--


I envy you guys that can plan storylines in advance and get them done. I find myself either getting bored or becoming unmotivated.
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Prestwick



Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Novill, that is pretty detailed and colour coding for great justice, brotha' *bro-pound*. What happens going forward from when you hand over the final draft to Powree? Do you have good natured session reviewing the script where both you and Powree suggest improvements or does Powree go forward with the script and then tweak whatever sketches he has done?

I've had different experiences with the two or three artists I've worked with but all three have been positive and enjoyable.

German is much more laid back and highly talented so if you give him a detailed script he can turn it into reality exactly how you visualised it which is fantastic. I think someone a few months commented on the fact that talk a lot about other stuff (Argentina, Rugby, drinking) but apart from exchanging scripts and talking about bits and bobs about dialogue, we more or less are autonomous as a comic producing unit. I write, he draws and usually I don't even have to suggest changes as the pages are that top quality.

I've worked with Jules Rivera who does Marsh Rocket and that was a great experience as Jules is far more proactive as an artist to suggesting changes and artistic license which means we have lots of good talks and scripting sessions. Next time though we need to do it in person or over Google Wave as it'd make real time changes much easier.

Basically you need to get a very good rapport with yours artist. If you don't see eye to eye then its going to be very hard for either of you two to get along and that can result in a very poor product.
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jinxtigr



Joined: 30 Jul 2008
Posts: 473
Location: Vermont

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Immer wrote:
I envy you guys that can plan storylines in advance and get them done. I find myself either getting bored or becoming unmotivated.


Bear in mind that's probably all to the good- if you're getting bored, the storyline is almost certainly crud Smile

I can say that I actually don't plan STORYLINES half as much as I'm following out the interactions of characters and situations- sometimes if I have a good moment that needs to happen, there will be storyline setting up that moment.

It's a visual medium. Things that would go well in history books, or seem like 'obvious plot events' because they're stuff happening, will often not give you that much- like robots fighting Gungans, in theory the epic scale of it is exciting and in practice it sucks and is drama-less. Things that are more experiential, that can be conveyed with situation and impression, can make a huger effect.

The dog dying in Futurama blew people away, laid them to waste, and it's only a cartoon and nothing HAPPENS- but it makes a point about loyalty and lost hope that's unbearably tragic, just with situation and cartoon. Is that a plot or a storyline? In comics you don't have to use plot and storyline- you can deliver concepts that are hard to sum up in essay form.
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henspacecwb



Joined: 19 Sep 2009
Posts: 106

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm another colour-coded GoogleDocs junkie.

I've written a Google script template that automatically does the page and panel numbering. I've got the rough story in the GoogleDoc unformatted. As I move on getting closer to the drawing stage I add the formatting to break it up into the pages and panels. The colour coding is so I can see it easily see it on a laptop beside the drawing board.



In the unlikely event that anyone could possibly want to work the same way as me, the template is public if anyone wants it . Just search for colour coded script in the Google templates.
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4LS



Joined: 18 Jan 2007
Posts: 666
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ttallan wrote:
The editing stage in which I turn the text into pages is really quite fascinating, even to me.

Oh god storyboarding. I don't like saying it, but I often end up hating this stage. Which is a shame, because like you said, it's hugely important. But I find it so bloody difficult! As far as I'm concerned, it's the hardest part of making the comic work. There's so many different ways of doing things, and so many different ways of screwing it up, and why do my characters have to spend all their time talking to each other anyway, dammit?!

It's usually the point at which I think I should just forget it, and put in an exploding helicopter instead. It wouldn't be so hard to make that look interesting. But then ...
jinxtigr wrote:
in theory the epic scale of it is exciting and in practice it sucks and is drama-less.

... so I don't.


Anyway. Here's my script of the first page of the current scene in Kaspall:-
Quote:

A taxi cart pulls up, C&C get out. Ca is smoking. She's tired, strained. Cl is looking at her. Worried? They go in the front door. (Maybe one big panel exiting taxi, and then small panels at the door. Cl leaning on frame. Note ward lines? Check previous pages).
Cl: Out of interest, are you planning on talking to me any time soon?
Ca: ... Huh?
Cl: Talk. Ing. To. Me. You know? Using words to commuuuunicate? Apparently it's the next big thing.
Ca: ...
Cl: We can use mime if you'd rather – but that gets tricky with more abstract stuff.
Ca (drags on cigarette, pulling face): What? Mime?
Cl: Yeah. Like if I did this ... (does a series of bizarre movements) ... you might think I meant: 'Can we get Mickey Spenser locked up for his terrible production of 'Where's My Legs?' (Caroline smiles)
When I actually meant 'Should we tell someone about the crazy werewolves in the Skein who tried to kill us?'.(Caroline frowns)

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Novil



Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 393

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ttallan wrote:
Novil, there's a lot of detail there, for a 4-panel strip!


That’s true. But I believe that it’s my duty as a writer to come up with a script that is so detailed that my artist does not have to think for an hour how the strip could be drawn at the beginning. I also think that a strip can profit from a detailed script because it is better when two people instead of only one consider details “Sandra is not looking at Larisa. Instead she is typing a sms into her cellphone” that add to the immersion of reality.

ttallan wrote:
how closely did the image of the "Moms in Black" strip in your head match the final art that Powree produced?


This one was very close. But just the strip before looked quite different. Occasionally, I don’t have a clear idea in my head how parts of the strip will look when drawn, for example the first two panels of this strip.

ttallan wrote:
What changes in your scripting style have you made, if any, over the course of your partnership in order to improve the final product?


Just a few at the very beginning. I try to take into account how much space is needed for the speech bubbles. I have also stopped drawing sketches or taking photos of myself since I either find good examples at Google Images or can rely on Powree for drawing it correctly with just the script.

Prestwick wrote:
@Novill, that is pretty detailed and colour coding for great justice, brotha' *bro-pound*. What happens going forward from when you hand over the final draft to Powree? Do you have good natured session reviewing the script where both you and Powree suggest improvements or does Powree go forward with the script and then tweak whatever sketches he has done?


Powree is female, so she.

After I have posted the script in our internal forum, Powree starts drawing a draft. She rarely asks questions, and so far she has never felt the need to discuss a script. The draft already looks very similar to the final strip, except for the sketchy linework. In about two thirds of all cases one or two minor corrections are needed, most often regarding the facial expression of a character in a panel. When explaining why I’m not yet totally happy does not seem sufficient to get it right, I also try to look for better examples at Google Images or re-draw this part of the draft myself which she can then use as a model for the final strip.
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Prestwick



Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hah. Oops. Sorry Powree Embarassed

Quote:
That’s true. But I believe that it’s my duty as a writer to come up with a script that is so detailed that my artist does not have to think for an hour how the strip could be drawn at the beginning. I also think that a strip can profit from a detailed script because it is better when two people instead of only one consider details “Sandra is not looking at Larisa. Instead she is typing a sms into her cellphone” that add to the immersion of reality.


I'd agree with that. It'd be quite difficult to get the artist to fully immerse hi-...err..themselves..in the story and atmosphere if each page only has a single line with a basic "Alan shoots bad guy with gun. Kathy is very pleased" kind of thing. I mean, I'm all for setting artists free and all that but thats taking the mick. Starving the artist of information is kind of like cruelty to artists Sad

So I use a lot of descriptive text and make very good use of photos and videos when I need to describe something to German. For example, proper forced entry techniques used by the SAS (blowing off the hinges before the door knob with a shotgun) I sent a few videos showing various entry techniques including crowbars, shotguns, frame charges and so on.

Also, for the weaponry, I send both a standard side on photo and an "action" photo of the weapon being used. This was of vital importance when using the German MG3 machine gun. As for using it, I went with what I know and told German to make it appear as though Alan was firing the MG3 in bursts. He executed this so perfectly that we have an ex-Bundeswehr serviceman who is a fan commended us on the attention to detail thats what happens when you have an eye for detail and a great relationship with the artist.
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Alohilani



Joined: 02 Dec 2009
Posts: 57

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

4LS wrote:
ttallan wrote:
The editing stage in which I turn the text into pages is really quite fascinating, even to me.

Oh god storyboarding. I don't like saying it, but I often end up hating this stage.


Really? It's my favorite part! I love to think of all the little gestures and expressions the characters can make when they talk, what different camera angles I can throw in, where the speech bubbles should go...

I write and draw my comics myself, so I don't have to worry about writing a coherent script since what I write is basically there to trigger my memories of what I wanted to draw. On the drawing side, however, I have taken requests from people- I've never really collaborated on a comic, this was just casual art-sharing among friends, and I find that the worst thing ever to hear when you ask someone what they want you to draw is

'oh just do whatever you feel like :>'

Yes, thank you, that's how I spend the time I don't spend drawing requests.

Anyway, Prestwick, your attention to detail sounds quite impressive. I can't imagine how much time you and German must put into this stuff. You sound like very professional people.
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Metruis
Postpostpostpostpost!


Joined: 14 Oct 2008
Posts: 1019
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prestwick wrote:
Quote:
That’s true. But I believe that it’s my duty as a writer to come up with a script that is so detailed that my artist does not have to think for an hour how the strip could be drawn at the beginning. I also think that a strip can profit from a detailed script because it is better when two people instead of only one consider details “Sandra is not looking at Larisa. Instead she is typing a sms into her cellphone” that add to the immersion of reality.


I'd agree with that. It'd be quite difficult to get the artist to fully immerse hi-...err..themselves..in the story and atmosphere if each page only has a single line with a basic "Alan shoots bad guy with gun. Kathy is very pleased" kind of thing. I mean, I'm all for setting artists free and all that but thats taking the mick. Starving the artist of information is kind of like cruelty to artists Sad

If I was doing art for someone as their artist, what I'd want would be just "Alan shoots bad guy with gun." I hate detailed, elaborate descriptions of each panel; I prefer to be creative and come up with an interesting way to present what's scripted. I'm glad this works for you guys, though. Cool

My scripts vary a lot depending on the scene. Most of my work is done in the storyboarding stage. I have a very, very loose outline of the whole story, which includes such gems as
Quote:
She ends up taking the sword. (they go back to get the sword once they decide to leave because she thinks it's relevant? and Dayun's all 'fuck it we're going to get suspended anyway')


And that is the extent of the script for that scene. I have no shame in posting it, even though it's not going to be up for months, because no one besides me will have any idea what it means. Laughing As I get closer to scenes, either I script them in my rough pencil stage, on the paper... I find I get a much better idea of how the scene works if I script it visually... or if I have an idea for a scene and want to put it all down without having the time to script the whole thing, if I really want it detailed, I end up with something like this.

Quote:
INT. A strange dark place – unknown
Rease stands on one white stone, staring across a black sea of ink, water sloshing up against some gray walls. The door is white and blasts her with white. She is standing on one of a series of stepping stones leading towards the white doorway. She stands, staring at the white doorway. Blue’s voice comes from beyond the white doorway.
BLUE
Come with me, Rease. I can tell you everything you want to know.
Rease stares towards the door with a slightly stricken look on her face. Show her from beyond the door, the walls white on this side, white water splashing up against the barriers. Beyond the white water, there’s white sand, bits of blue, and otherwise a lovely, beautiful looking place. Rease seems to be a bit horrified or stricken.
REASE
Everything?
Blue materializes, coming towards her and wrapping around her with her ethereal, ghost-like body.
BLUE
Everything. You just have to come with me.

REASE
Where are you going to take me?

BLUE
To the white city. To the pinnacle of all memories.
She smiles and her eyes light up with brilliant white fire.
BLUE
It is memory’s domain. You will find your answers there.
Show another shot through the door, Blue pushes Rease to take a step forward.
BLUE
As well as your escape from the one who hides inside your mind.
Rease looks back at Blue, who looks suddenly a lot more demonic for a moment or two.
REASE
Saerin?


The final version of that scene can be found in my archive in chapter five, somewhere... the biggest change was that I removed the wall and just made it empty space, with a door in the middle of nowhere, because I felt that looked more visually interesting and mysterious.
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Zoe Robinson
Resident Diet Lawyer


Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 1865
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the most part, my gag-a-day scripts are actually stick figure sketches in the notebook I carry with me everywhere. I can normally get three or four strips per page of the book, like so:



However, for long form comics I prefer an actual script, because I like to know where each panel will be and whether any panels require dominance of the page. A script works well for this, and can work equally well for gag-a-day comics.

Here's an example. It's from an as yet unpublished comic I'm working on at the moment, called The Improbable Adventures of a Cat on a Motorbike:

Zoë Robinson wrote:

Page 1

Panel 1 Close-up on ARCHIBALD, specifically on his head and the fact that he's clinging on to his hat with one hand. He looks pleased to see the reader but also slightly worried.

Caption: Hello there, dear reader! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Archibald
Withenshaw the Third, but my friends call me Archibald.
Caption: Those who don't know me call me 'Mr. The Third'. Those who don't know any
better call me 'Archie'. I don't like it when people do that.
Caption: You seem to be a fine, upstanding sort of person. You can call me Archibald,
too. No need to stand on ceremony here, old chap.

Panel 2 Pan back and we see why ARCHIBALD is looking so worried.

Caption: You might be wondering why I'm hanging upside down from this bridge. Well,
there's an interesting story behind that. Let me tell you about it.

Panel 3 ARCHIBALD is forced to emergency brake on his motorbike, causing lots of smoke to pour from the wheels. A NINJA POSTMAN has launched himself at our unsuspecting hero, to deliver a letter with great vengeance!

Caption: It all started a week last Thursday. I was driving home from dinner at my local
'incredibly fantastic bikers club' meeting when I was set upon by a ninja
postman!
Archibald: Egads!
SFX: SKREEEETCH!
Postman: Hai-ya!

Panel 4 The NINJA POSTMAN hands an envelope to ARCHIBALD in a way that would otherwise look like an attack. Archibald looks thoroughly shocked.

Caption: Naturally, I was both shocked and appalled at the very idea of a ninja being able
to get past my wily and, dare I say it, brilliant sense of my surroundings, but in
this case I must conceed that this chap certainly knew what he was doing.
Postman: Message for you, neko-san!
Archibald: Thank you, my good man.

Panel 5 ARCHIBALD has ripped open the envelope and is reading the letter it contains. He is smiling.

Caption: His delivery complete, the ninja disappeared into the night with such a masterful
display of stealth that for a second I was convinced he had never actually been
there.
Caption: I glanced at the letter. It was from my Great Uncle Samson, owner of the greatest
motorbike parts factory in the land!
Archibald: “Dear Archibald, I would be most delighted if you could attend a small get-together
I am planning at my enormous house.”
Archibald: What a splendid idea! I shall go there at once!

Panel 6 ARCHIBALD looks at his bike very sadly. It is not moving.

Caption: Unfortunately, it was at this point that I discovered my amazing breaking skills had
broken my bike.
SFX: WRR-WRR-WRR-CLUNK!
SFX: WRR-WRR-WRR-CLUNK!
Archibald: Oh, drat.

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