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Old 09-22-2009, 08:49 PM   #61
r nelson
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A basic story is PROBLEM-SOLUTION-COMPLICATION-RESOLUTION. You can tell a story with that formula in as little as one page or even one panel (look at your daily newspaper's comics section).

The more complications you have, the longer your story will be.

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Old 09-22-2009, 08:54 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arseneau77
Is there a "trick" to determining roughly how many scripted pages a concept/pitch/outline/synopsis will translate into?

I know it depends on a lot of factors (like the style of the writer, etc) but I guess basically, what I'm asking is: say you need to have an 8 page script...or a 12 page script...or a 64 page script...Is there a way, in the ideas process to go "okay...that's an 8 page idea" or "that's a 64 page idea"? Or does it all just come down to experience?

EDIT: Okay, maybe comparing an 8-page idea to a 64-page idea is obvious...so say an 8-page vs a 12-page vs a 16-page then?
Honestly, it all depends on how you want to tell your story. I have a bias, sure. I honestly believe that an 8-page story shouldn't have more than two scene changes and it shouldn't have more than three developed characters and I can go on and on and on but, honestly, you can tell the WATCHMEN story in 8-pages. Will it be as robust? Fuck no, but you can do it. You can do it in one panel...maybe...let me try (bearing in mind this has been a drinking night)

PANEL 1 - Rorschach (walking off panel, disgusted), Nite Owl (disgusted), and Ozymandias (celebratory) stand in the midst of Times Square destructed. Blood and bodies everywhere, the remnants of an alien and alien tech spread across the ground.

Nite Owl: My God...

Ozymandias: Say what you will, Dan, but now the world has a new threat that transcends Russia and America.

Rorschach: Hurm...


Ok, so that's a lousy example but, really, that's the point of WATCHMEN. A million people will put a million different Act 0's in front of that panel but, end of the day, that's what it all boils down to. Is that a good story? Fuck no, but it's a story.

The fifth class we talked about scene work. I showed three different comic versions of the Obi-Wan/Darth Vadar battle. A manga version that was about 16-pages long, the original American version that was about four pages long, and a 1990s Dark Horse version that was around 2 pages long. The class discussed what worked and what didn't work for each version but then I asked, "Ok, which version is better?" That was a difficult question to answer. Eventually, everyone agreed with me that the manga version was "better" but it really comes down to the sensibilities of the reader and what the creators were trying to convey.

So, the short answer is: how many pages fit your story and, most importantly, can you convince your editor of that. And the second part of that is much, much more important for you to answer.

I'm doing a one-on-one with a kid now. He's a great kid. He really is. His parents reached out to me because the kid has aspirations of doing manga. He has this book he's working on - he's on the 30th volume. The very first thing I told him is that he needs to take this massive story he's working on and somehow find a one-volume story he can tell with it to start this whole thing off. The poor kid looked like I punched him in the balls. But it's true, you can take your biggest story and distill it into a small, small version and it's not necessarily bastardizing your story. Fuck, in some cases, it's making a really fucking awesome, really fucking tight version of your story.

So is there a hard and fast rule? No. But will pitching an 8-pager that has 8 scene changes, ten main characters, a shit-ton of backstory, and several leaps of logic will hurt your chances of getting it looked at? Hell yes. If you pitched the same concept in four issues will increase your chances? In an ideal world, no. In reality...yes, again, because four issues is more of an investment.

I really, really hate to say this because I BELIEVE in good comics, but sometimes you need to not just think about what's right for your story but you need to think about what's right for your goals. It's evil and it's ugly but it's real. Believe me, I know how ugly that thought is. This is what Chris and I still fight about to this day, but it's just reality. Until you're Alan Moore, or if you have the bread and the desire to self-publish, you're telling your story in your editor's form-factor whether you like it or not.

I don't know if that helps. Like I said, drinking. I may add to this later, when my lips are even looser and my vision's even fuzzier.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:55 PM   #63
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Cheezus...I ramble when I'm drinking.
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:03 PM   #64
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The best short story in comics history: "Pictopia" by Alan Moore. I read it in Anything Goes.
Do you teach that story?
I think I love it so much for the ending. (I love a good ending.)
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:15 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldMontgomery
The best short story in comics history: "Pictopia" by Alan Moore. I read it in Anything Goes.
Do you teach that story?
I think I love it so much for the ending. (I love a good ending.)
PICTOPIA is really good (ya'll can get it here: http://glycon.livejournal.com/6940.html ) but I never included it in my class. The only shorts we really studied was to compare and contrast Corben and Geary's version with "The Tell Tale Heart" - otherwise, we mainly constructed our own shorts from movie scenes and plays. I feel like a writing for comics class has to teach a writer how to take the continuous, fluid scenes and stories in his or her head and break them up into moments of time, so that's what we kind of focused on. I didn't want to get too derivative, and when it come to technique all you need is WATCHMEN and when it comes to theory all you need is UNDERSTANDING COMICS
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:20 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldMontgomery
The best short story in comics history: "Pictopia" by Alan Moore. I read it in Anything Goes.
Do you teach that story?
I think I love it so much for the ending. (I love a good ending.)
Oh, and my favorite short (mainly because of what I probably interpret from it rather than what it obviously means) is Warren Craghead's untitled story in TOP SHELF ASKS THE BIG QUESTIONS. If any of you are actually able to track that story down, you will probably see I have the potential to be the most pretentious mother fucker to ever walk the face of this earth and you'll probably stop listening to me...

It's a homage to Peanuts or, the way I see it, an homage to way Peanuts made you feel when you read it as a kid. It's sweet and it's pretty and it's basically pop-comic-art but I love it for it's simplicity and it's openness.

Believe me - you will think less of me if you see it.
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:24 PM   #67
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By the way...anyone in this thread coming to SPX this year? I'm honestly taking a shining to you guys and I'd like to meet some of you if you're around.
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:33 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by jrod
By the way...anyone in this thread coming to SPX this year? I'm honestly taking a shining to you guys and I'd like to meet some of you if you're around.
thats the booze talking
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:34 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by Pixelpushing
thats the booze talking
If it was the booze talking I'd say, "a/s/l?"
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:35 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by Pixelpushing
thats the booze talking
Plus, I like meeting people at cons because they tend to buy me beer.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:00 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrod
I feel like a writing for comics class has to teach a writer how to take the continuous, fluid scenes and stories in his or her head and break them up into moments of time, so that's what we kind of focused on. I didn't want to get too derivative, and when it come to technique all you need is WATCHMEN and when it comes to theory all you need is UNDERSTANDING COMICS
Amazing...this information truly is amazing. I hope people realize this.

What interests me is the juxtaposition of moments in time in different scenes to heighten mood. Please see the attached page from Valentina. You have the interrogation of Valentina and her frantic loved ones, and just everything...clicks. The shots from behind Valentina as we face the interrogators with her, the small panels focusing on her mouth, the side panels with a phone ringing and characters in distress...
This page just really works for me, and I'd like to use a similar technique in my DWPFF story.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:13 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldMontgomery
Amazing...this information truly is amazing. I hope people realize this.

What interests me is the juxtaposition of moments in time in different scenes to heighten mood. Please see the attached page from Valentina. You have the interrogation of Valentina and her frantic loved ones, and just everything...clicks. The shots from behind Valentina as we face the interrogators with her, the small panels focusing on her mouth, the side panels with a phone ringing and characters in distress...
This page just really works for me, and I'd like to use a similar technique in my DWPFF story.
The interesting thing about that page is that the mouth, in general, tells the least about a person. The mouth is what we use to trick people. We smile, we frown, we do deliberate things with our mouth. It's our eyes that never lie, but you focused on the mouth, and I think it worked. It's a bold page, honestly, and it seems like it works.

By the way, since I'm currently masturbating over WATCHMAN I'm sitting here with my Absolute edition on my lap. I'm flipping through the pages and I'm noticing something for the first time...there aren't any splash pages until issue twelve and those pages are dedicated to attack of New York.

Jesus Christ, how heavy is that? It's as if the whole book is small compared to those three pages. This book gets better every time I read it, it's a team firing on all cylinders and then snorting Ritalin to fire on a couple of more. It's a gloriously anal retentive book. And the thing is - it doesn't take chances from a technical stand point. It just strives to be technical perfection.

Fuuuccckkkk...I'm well past lady time and Ro's well past man time, so I think I should have another beer and stay in here.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:19 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrod
So, the short answer is: how many pages fit your story and, most importantly, can you convince your editor of that.
And, aye, there's the rub in my current situation

Great answer, btw, your single-scene Watchmen take totally made sense. Thanks for all the advice!!

(and, no worries...it's a drinkin' night for me as well hahaha)
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:24 PM   #74
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Are there film books besides Mamet's On Directing Film that you'd recommend for approaching comics narrative?

I have to be honest, I saw an episode of Burn Notice with an intriguing use of imagery...the damsel in distress was on the top of the screen, and there was a frame below with the cool car in action, racing to the scene.

I also have a theory that Gosford Park is the ultimate should've-been-a-comic movie: that move is so freaking densely layered, with so much going on, and a lot depending on rich dialogue you don't have time to savor in realtime.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:30 PM   #75
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Since we already started down this path, let's do it! In the class we moved from here to dialog but, honestly, the dialog discussion is basically where I tell you 90% of you are not good comic writers yet and you all hate me. So let's talk scene work, and I can still feel the love!

STAR WARS, those crazy STAR WARSSSSSSS...

If you have the DVD, watch the Ben/Vadar fight. Think about something I like to call key scenes. These are the moments that simply have to be in your scene. So, Ben's sacrifice, Ben saying, "I'll become more powerful yada, yada, yada", Luke seeing Ben die across the chasm...these are key scenes. Without these, you don't have your scene. Then look at these adaptations and talk about what's wrong, what's right, and what works for you even if it doesn't work for the story. And if history has taught me anything, I will then go into a long, drawn-out soliloquy about how awesome manga is.

So, Chaykin's original adaptation:
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWarsClass/12.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWarsClass/13.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWarsClass/14.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWarsClass/15.jpg

The Dark Horse "modern" adaptation:
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWarsClass/049.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWarsClass/050.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWarsClass/051.jpg

And the manga adaptation:
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWa...Untitled-1.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWa...Untitled-2.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWa...Untitled-3.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWa...Untitled-4.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWa...Untitled-5.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWa...Untitled-6.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWa...Untitled-7.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWa...Untitled-8.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWa...Untitled-9.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/StarWa...ntitled-10.jpg
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