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Old 16th September 2011, 08:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Wink What Style Do You Feel's Best?

We're talking panel descriptions here ladies and gentlemen,

For those unfamiliar, panel descriptions are bits of writing meant to form the illustrations found in comic scripts. I've read quite a few of dissimilar styling. Some favor quick and not overly descriptive paragraphs, perhaps three or five sentences more or less. Others make elaboration look like the depths found in kiddie pools, sometimes having one panel described at full lengths of a page.

Is it merely style that dictates what is best? Is it the writer's aspirations to create a full-bodied immersion with a uniquely identifiable world and/or settings? Please, if you've read or written any do tell. I'm curious.
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Old 20th September 2011, 02:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: What Style Do You Feel's Best?

Depends how much work you're looking to put in. Most professional writers are reasonably detailed, but don't want to spend too much time for each panel. They get paid for the script, not for the hours they put in.

Mostly comes down to how much the writer trusts the artist's instinct. A lot of writers are too specific in their vision, and unwilling to allow much room for the artist to interpret the script, Alan Moore as a famous case in point. This isn't helped when most writers have a dismal sense of page-layout and pacing, but insist on the page being presented a certain way. A lot of it is ego.

For example, I've seen scripts adapted when the artist selected chose to end the page with a different panel than the one the writer had specified, moving THAT panel up to the start of the next page. The artist's instinct to alter the script was correct, and the comic was stronger for it.

The communication between the artist and writer is the key. If there's an understanding there, the scripts can (and should) be more sparse. Unlike a movie script, the comic script should be targeted at the artist, and specific to the creator relationship.
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Old 20th September 2011, 11:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: What Style Do You Feel's Best?

I've been keen to that during my writing,

What I've adapted is a strong referencing towards key item placements for continuity and atmospheric detail, as such, the setting's given a unique identity. I want the artist to know where he's at and in what position of the setting. As to ego, all that I truly desire is realistic portrayal in the respects of character appearance and lighting. I hate abstract mugginess that I feel clouds a sense of realism, however there are scenes where an abstract illustration is favored.

I know it is ultimately the artist who breathes life to the script. At times I use language that appeals to the artist and asks them to do "what they feel's best". Hence the forum subject title.

Is it vital not to give a hard angled layout? I mean language like, "The room's wood paneled walling is seen angular along the panel's right edge, as it spans outwards to a corner with the room's adjacent wall, which then runs left and off the left edge."

Would that be advisable or not?
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Old 21st September 2011, 12:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: What Style Do You Feel's Best?

P.S.

As to spacing, or what I'd like to phase as a "cinematic feel"; my panel layout is done in a way so that there's a template when it comes to character dialogue. My meaning is that when viewing a portion of character dialogue, you're seeing the various emotive gestures such as eye and head placement and motions, body motions, and mouth motions. I do so in aim that the dialogue is given emphasis according to how the character appears or the mood by which they say a certain piece of the script.
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Old 21st September 2011, 05:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: What Style Do You Feel's Best?

You're correct to want to specify angles etc, especially if you're unsure of the artist and whether they want to achieve the same sense of drama. Then again, FAR too many comics are too wild and random with their arrangement of angles, which usually comes down to a writer wanting to cram as many different angles and shots in the script as possible but not having a vision of how they sit together.

The important thing for the artist to know is: what are the important elements in that panel, and in that page? Its not just character and dialogue, you need to establish setting, establish the key props and objects, and give the reader a sense of spatial awareness. Those notes need to be in the script. Usually before you even get into the panels, the start of the page and the scene might have a note just describing the space for the artist. Then, let them decide where to place the 'camera'. Except if you specifically need to see the gun on table, or hand on doorknob, etc, let the artist know.

Is it vital not to give a hard angled layout? I mean language like, "The room's wood paneled walling is seen angular along the panel's right edge, as it spans outwards to a corner with the room's adjacent wall, which then runs left and off the left edge."
Would that be advisable or not?


I would say avoid this kind of specificity. The artist will have a far better instinct for composition than the writer, and asking for these details is a mistake when you should be concentrating on letting the artist know the key players, the key objects, a SENSE of setting, and the spatial relationships.

Unless if the orientation of the wood panelling is somehow important to the plot, or will play some important part later (and it could, if you're writing a forensic investigator drama, or something where there will later be a hidden panel in the wall, or whatever). Also, if you've decided that the owner of the house has a certain taste in furniture which tells the reader something about them, sure, specify it then.
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Old 21st September 2011, 06:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: What Style Do You Feel's Best?

Very good then, it would seem I'm on track.

I don't try to get too crazy with a multitude of varying angles. Most simply hinge on favoring a particular side and/or portion of the character's body with high to low perspectives. Eighty percent of human communication is non-verbal; let the character's facial features and emotion be the source of variation, not angles. If someone relies on wild angles for grandeur then I'd feel that it's due to their characters being stale or that the dialogue lacks depth, or both.

That said, is my referring to panel placement; for example "the panel's mid/left area or the panel's upper/mid/right area, and so on" unnecessary?
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Old 30th September 2011, 09:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: What Style Do You Feel's Best?

As a general rule, I'd say don't try to "direct" your comic. The artist is the director. You're the writer. Tell the story, and let the artist do his job.

The writer-artist relationship is key to making this process fluently. Bad communication, and bad scripting will make you revise **** all the time.


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Old 3rd October 2011, 05:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: What Style Do You Feel's Best?

Noted, thank you.

Should I use more objective language?
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Old 3rd October 2011, 06:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: What Style Do You Feel's Best?

Personally, I want to be objective, but also make the reader/artist connect with the story/characters on an emotional and entertaining level.

Why don't you throw in a few panel descriptions you have in this thread so we can get a sense of your writing?
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Old 3rd October 2011, 06:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: What Style Do You Feel's Best?

I can do that. Hmm, lets see. Well, I just finished this bit. Hold a sec.
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Old 5th October 2011, 11:26 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: What Style Do You Feel's Best?

Ok, well I don't know where all of October 4th and 5th's comments went.
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Old 6th October 2011, 01:03 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: What Style Do You Feel's Best?

The post containing cruggero's first page requiring a critique (page 108 of Gunslinger...) is now in its own thread (Birth of a Gunfighter) in the Critiques sub-forum, together with the reaction from others to that page.
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Old 6th October 2011, 01:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: What Style Do You Feel's Best?

Ursa,
I sent you several apologetic messages and am unsure of their reception. The times of those my threads freely pertained were graciously reverenced. My understanding and subsequent comments congruent with it, were simply deductive guesses when finding sections of the thread missing. I hadn't meant to convey cynicism. If I did, I am sorry.
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