Posted by johnamor | Filed under Work
Here’s the thing. Writing a good story and effectively writing for comics are two totally different things. They needn’t be mutually exclusive, but there’s a learning curve for everyone, right? WRITE! (See what I did there?)
Anyway, below is a brief breakdown of best practices I’ve seen my collaborating wordsmiths use in their scripting format. Note, what is discussed here has nothing to do with actual story but more what the script looks like when it is sent to the artist and other people working on the book.
Comics are a collaborative medium and as such should, ideally, be easy for multiple heads to work on.
1) Indicate important elements at the first page of every scene. Even if the element doesn’t appear until later, if you want a character to wear a specific sort of hat, the pavement to have a specific cobble, or the skyline to have a certain hue to it, indicate this early on and not on the panel it comes into focus. Artists need to approach the scene with all these factors in mind beforehand, so it is vital that they know what they are or else they run the risk of drawing something completely different.
2) At the page header, include a panel count. Page 4 (6 panels). While true that an artist takes each and every panel as it comes to make it as eloquent as possible, also note that the page has a finite amount of real estate. How big you make the first panel directly affects the size of the last. That action sequence in the middle of the page directly affects your establishing shot up top. Letting your artist know in advance how many panels you’ll be needing mentally equips him as to how best to approach the page’s flow.
3) One action per panel. A number of writers, especially those coming from straight prose, forget that one panel can’t show a man opening a door and walking through it at the same time. It’s an understandable fault, but if you want to keep the artist sane, do try to remedy it as quickly as possible. If it proves a difficult habit to break, be open to your artist’s suggestions to either remove redundant panels or create addendum panels to help progress the page narrative. Remember that your artist wants to tell the story as clearly as possible as well, so help him help you.
That’s it for tonight. I love you all, and Izzy you owe me a backrub.
One Response to “Scripting for Comics: Best Practices”
ej afzelius Says:
August 16th, 2011 at 2:07 am