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Scripting?
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ArgenVert



Joined: 05 May 2009
Posts: 73
Location: Midlothian, VA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:44 am    Post subject: Scripting? Reply with quote

I know this is going to sound like such a newbie question, but how do you guys script your webcomics?

I've heard the term tossed around a ton, but I've never "scripted" out a comic. I've never written out a comic before drawing it. I've always just got an image or vague plot in my head, and then made it up as I drew the comic.

So, my question is how do you guys actually script out a comic?
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Lavenderbard
^_^


Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 840
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if I'm the person to go by, but I write out a script that looks like a play script -- dialog with a few stage directions. That gives me an idea of where the story is going, and what sort of dialog bubbles I'm looking at. Then I draw up the storyboards using that as my guide.

I have a pretty good idea of what the story is, and the scenes I want already before I start scripting, but I find that writing them down in script form makes me pay more attention to details and flow and pacing and that kind of stuff, than I do when I'm watching 'in-my-head theater'.

Personally I don't worry about paneling when I script, I worry about that in the storyboard stage -- that's what its for. Smile
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Siabur



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 682
Location: Fairview, Capitol City of Rimminion next to the diner and while things go on around us.

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strip #20
Pl-1 Tyler: What is it that you want Solomeade?
Solo: I want to know why you are here.
Pl-2 Tyler: When is here?
Solo: When? Really? So it’s true. You are from another time.
Pl-3 Tyler: What do you mean, another time?
Solo: You will soon tell me everything. I’ve picked up a few things from the Zuckus.

So this is what my scripts look like. I'll throw in a few directions. It's a 3 panel strip (pl-1 = panel 1)
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ttallan
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Joined: 28 Feb 2008
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine is a long-form comic, one with an end that I am slowly working towards. With that in mind, here is how I script:

I have the entire story plotted. When I script-- taking the rough plot ideas and writing them as full dialogue and "stage direction"-- I work in chapters, like a small story arc. It usually takes several rewrites to turn it into something I'm happy with. Ideally, I have the script done months before I get around to drawing it, so I have plenty of time to mull it over while I work on current stuff.

When it's time to draw, I break my script into comic page-sized chunks, deciding how much can comfortably fit on a page, which moments need special artistic attention, etc. There is always revision to the script at this stage-- condensing dialogue to make it fit in the panels, scrapping unnecessary lines, adding bits of dialogue for better pacing.

I have no idea if this is how "the pros" do it, but this is what works for me. Smile
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ArgenVert



Joined: 05 May 2009
Posts: 73
Location: Midlothian, VA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ttallan wrote:
Mine is a long-form comic, one with an end that I am slowly working towards. With that in mind, here is how I script:

I have the entire story plotted. When I script-- taking the rough plot ideas and writing them as full dialogue and "stage direction"-- I work in chapters, like a small story arc. It usually takes several rewrites to turn it into something I'm happy with. Ideally, I have the script done months before I get around to drawing it, so I have plenty of time to mull it over while I work on current stuff.

When it's time to draw, I break my script into comic page-sized chunks, deciding how much can comfortably fit on a page, which moments need special artistic attention, etc. There is always revision to the script at this stage-- condensing dialogue to make it fit in the panels, scrapping unnecessary lines, adding bits of dialogue for better pacing.

I have no idea if this is how "the pros" do it, but this is what works for me. Smile


Do you write it out like a story, or you write it like a screenplay, or some other way?

I'm more oriented towards the long-form format, though I'm making half-pages. I'm actually rather talented at writing, but I don't see the need to go through all the trouble of writing a full-on short story if I'm just going to put it in comic-form anyways.
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photobyjt



Joined: 11 May 2009
Posts: 107
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cheat... I have a gifted son that is constantly coming up with ideas. Some days I can't pull him away from drawing...

Seriously, it is amazing to watch him create. I think that if someone was to study the 'greats' - it doesn't matter which area (art, music, etc.) The 'greats' just do it and amaze the rest of us. Then we spend the rest of our lives trying to put their process in a formula so we 'teach others' how the 'greats' do so great.

That being said, my own personal formula is the shotgun approach. Stick it up in the air and I see what I hit. It also helps to have a gift to tell what is crap and what is good.

Don't know if this will help... Confused

http://photobyjt.com/vanefield.aspx

http://photobyjt.com/comics.aspx
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ryan.noriega
Plan Eleven


Joined: 21 Mar 2009
Posts: 336
Location: Texis

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am currently working on three comics, and I have different approaches for each. For QuickThought*, it's all single panel and most of the strips I drew on napkins a year or so ago. For the Holy Mole book, I wrote an outline and I write a script and then I draft it out to corresponded to shot angles, but that's what I get for going to film school.

For the normal Holy Mole strip, if I don't have a good idea of what the strip will look like, I do type it out on Final Draft, look it over, rewrite it, print it out, try to separate it into frames, rewrite it again if necessary, and then finally draw the strip, usually making additional changes after that step.

It seemed to be easier when I was drawing Squirrels, but that was a simpler time, with simpler characters and punchlines and plots, and I would just write, the way you were talking about before. I usually made a draft first in my class notes, but that was about it.

It really depends on how cohesive you want your plots to be in the long run, but the way you're doing it really works the best for what you're doing.
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plughead



Joined: 30 Nov 1999
Posts: 542
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I script on 11x8.5 sheets of paper, in super rough thumbnail mode. Each numbered sheet represents a spread, and I staple all these suckers together. It's my bible. I often throw these script pages up as vote bribes along with a bit of commentary showing the original storyboard vs. the final art.

But I always change, modify, move, delete or add sheets as a scene or sets of scenes develop. I do regular read-throughs and constantly massage the wordosity and visuals for better flow, logic or emotional impact.

I've never typed anything. No script. No screenplay and no Word documents! I just see stuff in my head like a movie!
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ArgenVert



Joined: 05 May 2009
Posts: 73
Location: Midlothian, VA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ryan.noriega wrote:
I am currently working on three comics, and I have different approaches for each. For QuickThought*, it's all single panel and most of the strips I drew on napkins a year or so ago. For the Holy Mole book, I wrote an outline and I write a script and then I draft it out to corresponded to shot angles, but that's what I get for going to film school.

For the normal Holy Mole strip, if I don't have a good idea of what the strip will look like, I do type it out on Final Draft, look it over, rewrite it, print it out, try to separate it into frames, rewrite it again if necessary, and then finally draw the strip, usually making additional changes after that step.

It seemed to be easier when I was drawing Squirrels, but that was a simpler time, with simpler characters and punchlines and plots, and I would just write, the way you were talking about before. I usually made a draft first in my class notes, but that was about it.

It really depends on how cohesive you want your plots to be in the long run, but the way you're doing it really works the best for what you're doing.


Part of the problem I'm having is that the larger the piece I write, the more epic and serious it tends to be. I want to establish longer (10 page-ish) story arcs, but I'm afraid I'll get too serious and loose my silly "edge".

It's a balancing act, and that's why I'm so focused on writing and refining any future stories. I've tied this balancing act with longer stories in the past (see my archives, if you must view my failure), and I managed to be neither funny nor dramatically compelling.
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NK_Nutter
Yarrrrr!


Joined: 07 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I script all the spoken dialogue out. And that's pretty much it.
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Dutch
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Joined: 30 Nov 1999
Posts: 1673
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my head, mostly. Four panels, the situation comes first, the joke comes second, and in my head I fit it into four panels. Three is neccessary, I just make one of them larger.

If I have a full storyline I want to flesh out, I'll write them out in quick little paragraphs each, leaving the odd ones empty to give me room to slip in a strip I think up while I'm going.

Storyboarding? Never done it.
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Cyclone_49



Joined: 29 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to write very far in advance - I'm a lot more comfortable that way and it gives me a more time to work on the jokes and dialogue. though I also write in a very random order, and as a result I often have comics and story-arcs that won't be drawn for months planned out to the most intricate detail, yet have no idea what's going to be going up next week. I dunno, whenever I get an idea for a strip I write it down as quickly as I can, and afterwords I stitch them into storylines, filling out the stuff in between and working out when exactly it will be going online. Back when I had a strip buffer I used to draw them rather randomly as well (the first comic in my archive was finished far later than like the next 15 or so comics).

Typical time frame for writing a script for any given comic would be:

-Come up with the initial idea. Generally at least a couple days is spent with it floating around in my brain, analysing how it would work as a strip, which characters would be involved, and whether it's actually that funny.

- Write out a rather crappy first draft, which is generally far too wordy and has it's fair share of awkwardly phrased sentances or jokes.

- Leave it for a period of time (ideally at least a week, though often the schedule doesn't always allow for that), then go back to it with fresh eyes, cutting down all the unnessecary words and generally just improving the writing and jokes. If I'm really unsure about it I'll get a couple of friends to look at it and tell me their thoughts.

- A final lookover just before I send it to my artist, making little tweaks to it.

- Then, once the art has been completed and I'm putting the speech bubbles in, I'll make small changes to the dialogue, generally trying to cut it down even more to ensure it doesn't get too wall of text-y.

Back when I was drawing the comic my scripts basically consisted of dialogue and occasional stage directions. Now that I have a new artist my scripts obviously have to be a lot more elaborate in my description - though I still like to leave a lot of room for the artist to do her own thing and put her own creative spin on it.

This is what a typical panel from one of my scripts would look like:

Panel 1:
(Sylvester is in a doctor’s office. He looks a bit worried. The Doctor is looking at a file, looking very unsure)
Sylvester: So, have you worked out what I’ve got Doc? I’m feeling sicker every day.
Doctor: Well, um, the blood tests have come back with a result, but… (new speech bubble) Well, this disease can only be contracted if…

I rarely storyboard, occasional for more elaborate strips, I'll draw up a really crappy mspaint mock-up for my artist to use as a guide, but Ive found even that isnt very neccesary anymore.
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Chilari
Spambot Extraordinaire


Joined: 06 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I script panel by panel, page by page. For each panel, I start with the size and shape the panel will be, then describe what's in that panel in detail, sometimes also including information about some of the colours that appear in that panel. Then I put the text that's going to appear in that panel. So a page description might look like this:

Panel 1.
Half page establishing shot. Looking from above down into an underground steampunk settlement. There are bare pipes everywhere, and at least three levels with metal stairs between them and walkways between the left and right sections. A few people can be seen on the walkways, or working in the machinery. Gas lamps illuminate them and some parts of the walkways, while other areas are in shadow. The setting is mainly brown and grey. Some bits of metal shine yellowy in the lamplight, others are rusty - redish brown. The people are dressed more colourfully, in yellows and blues and greens and reds, but their clothes are pretty dirty, so those colours are faded, and their hands and the bottoms of their trousers are covered in soot.

Text:
Caption, top left corner: "I was born in New Harveton."

Panel 2.
Quarter page, bottom left. Fred Bloggs is turning a valve. He is about 13 here, and wearing only trousers and a waistcoat, no shoes. He is crouched on a pipe about a foot in diameter, his arm stretched out to reach the valve, which is fixed to another pipe which has a narrower pipe going up from it right before the valve.

Text:
Speech bubble, tail off panel pointing down. "Fred!"

Panel 3.

Quarter page panel. The pipe Fred is on from beneath, and slightly back a bit. Fred is looking down from above the pipe; you can see his face, with his ear-length hair falling past his face, looking at the camera. One hand can just be seen at the same edge of the pipe. There is moss on the bottom of the pipe, and a drip of water.

Text: Speech bubble, Fred. "Done, boss."


Not that the above is relating to anything, I just made it up on the spot. Ideally, I'd have a plot before I start writing the script, and probably a chapter-by-chapter outline too. Or, if it's a longform comic composed of shorter storylines, I'd have the storyline drafted and at least some idea of the progression of the whole comic in each storyline.
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ttallan
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Joined: 28 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ArgenVert wrote:
Do you write it out like a story, or you write it like a screenplay, or some other way?

I'm more oriented towards the long-form format, though I'm making half-pages. I'm actually rather talented at writing, but I don't see the need to go through all the trouble of writing a full-on short story if I'm just going to put it in comic-form anyways.

My scripts are closer to a screenplay than to a story. It's dialogue with little notes to myself. I agree with you, there's no point writing it all out in short story format-- or even in full screenplay format-- when I'm just writing for myself, not for another artist. Here is an example of how my scripts look:

Quote:
Chapter Three

Aria’s walking down the hallway from the cafeteria with several boxes of supplies and stuff. Her hair is in a different style than before, perhaps a bun or a simple ponytail. Her hands are quite full and she’s having trouble holding it all.

“Can I help you with all that?”

Darvin starts collecting some boxes from her arms into his own without waiting for an answer, presumably because it looks to him like she’s about to drop it all.

Aria: “Oh! I’m so sorry, sir. It’s no trouble, I can manage.”

Darvin (scooping up several items): “It’d be no trouble with a handcart. But you seem to have left yours behind, so I’ll have to do.”

Aria: “Oh, no, Mr. Deloren, I can—”

Darvin: “And if Fusella found out you were calling me ‘sir’ and ‘Mr. Deloren’ off the bridge, she’d laugh hard enough to rupture the hull. Darvin, please. So where are we going?”

Aria sighs in resignation. She can’t say no to such a handsome smile. And anyway, Darvin’s already walking off with half her stuff. “To the Survey Contact Team operations room.”

And here's how the final version ended up. When I translate even my mostly-dialogue scripts to pictures, there are always small edits I have to do in order to make it flow properly from panel to panel, and page to page.
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munkymu
Postpostpostpostpost!


Joined: 30 Nov 1999
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the most part I script GB like a screenplay, with dialogue and some stage directions. I don't break it up into panels until I start doing the rough page, though, and if I'm stuck I write full-on prose because I think better that way.

For shorts, I just write out a quick outline of what happens and then jump into the roughs/thumbnails right away.
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