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ComicStoryworld Extra: Script Guide

ComicStoryworld Extra: Script Guide

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Published by Tyler Weaver
"ComicStoryworld Extra: Script Guide" is a digital supplement to my book, "Comics for Film, Games, and Animation: Using Comics to Construct Your Transmedia Storyworld." It is a short guide for screenwriters, game designers, and animators who are taking their first crack at creating comics.

Inside, creatives will find notes, a format guide, and a real-world example, my own "Whiz!Bam!Pow!" project.

Questions and comments may be sent via Twitter @tylerweaver or via my Tumblr, Penny a Word at tylerweaver.tumblr.com.
"ComicStoryworld Extra: Script Guide" is a digital supplement to my book, "Comics for Film, Games, and Animation: Using Comics to Construct Your Transmedia Storyworld." It is a short guide for screenwriters, game designers, and animators who are taking their first crack at creating comics.

Inside, creatives will find notes, a format guide, and a real-world example, my own "Whiz!Bam!Pow!" project.

Questions and comments may be sent via Twitter @tylerweaver or via my Tumblr, Penny a Word at tylerweaver.tumblr.com.

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Published by: Tyler Weaver on Oct 16, 2012
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01/26/2013

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  Welcome  to  the  ComicStoryworld  Script  Guide!  
  A  comic  book  script  is  a  unique  beast.  Like  a  film  script,  it  has  two  functions:       •  Provide  a  blueprint  for  the  construction  you  and  your  collaborators  are   about  to  build.   •  To  be  a  communications  tool  in  the  collaboration  between  writer  and  artist   (and  editor!).     But,  unlike  a  film  script,  there’s  no  set  format.  There  are  as  many  scripting  styles  as   there  are  writers.  Some  will  use  a  word  or  two  of  description  to  give  the  artist  the   utmost  freedom  to  do  their  job;  others,  like  Alan  Moore  (Watchmen,  V  for  Vendetta,   From  Hell),  will  describe  each  panel  in  exhaustive  detail.     I’m  only  giving  you  the  format  that  I  use.  It’s  the  one  I’m  most  comfortable  with,  and,   at  least  so  far,  it’s  been  a  confusion-­‐free  communication  tool.  But,  just  because  this   format  works  for  me,  it  doesn’t  mean  I’m  going  to  pound  my  chest  and  scream  USE   THIS  WAY  YOU  MUST!    Use  whatever  gets  your  ideas  across!        To  better  understand  the  format,  I’m  also  including  my  original  script  for  a  one-­‐ page  comic  book  from  Whiz!Bam!Pow!,  my  own  Golden  Age  comics/transmedia   project,  along  with  the  completed  artwork  from  artist  extraordinaire,  Blair   Campbell.  Note  that  the  comic  is  done  in  the  1940s  style…  the  writing  is  meant  to  be   over-­‐the-­‐top!       As  a  writer,  your  job  is  to  clearly  communicate  your  ideas  to  an  artist  in  a  manner   that  both  tells  your  story  and  gives  the  artist  room  to  use  their  own  expertise.  I  hope   this  brief  guide,  coupled  with  my  book,  Comics  for  Film,  Games,  and  Animation,  helps   you  do  just  that.     This  document  will  be  ever-­‐evolving;  I  plan  on  incorporating  your  thoughts  and   questions  throughout  each  evolution.  If  you  have  any  questions  or  suggestions,  don’t   hesitate  to  ask  me  via  Twitter  @tylerweaver  or  on  my  Tumblr,  Penny  a  Word,  at   tylerweaver.tumblr.com.       -­‐  Tyler        

                   

FORMAT

 

PAGE  ____  (  _____  Panels)  
 

PANEL  1       What  happens?  Describe  in  your  own  words.       1.  CAPTION:     NARRATION  /  DESCRIPTION     2.  [[CHARACTER  NAME]]    -­  DIALOGUE   3.  [[CHARACTER  NAME]]    -­  DIALOGUE     4.  [[SOUND  FX]]         PANEL  2     What  happens?  Describe  in  your  own  words.     5.  CAPTION     NARRATION  /  DESCRIPTION     6.  [[CHARACTER  NAME]]  –  DIALOGUE   7.  [[CHARACTER  NAME]]  –  DIALOGUE     8.  [[SOUND  FX]]    
      …    

                 

 “THE  SENTINEL  SUNDAY  STRIP”   WHIZ!BAM!POW!    

                                                           

 

“THE SENTINEL SUNDAY STRIP” (NOTE: THIS STRIP IS MEANT TO HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED IN 1940 PLEASE USE VEHICLES, CLOTHING STYLES, ETC. APPROPRIATE TO THAT ERA)

PAGE 1 (10 Panels) PANEL 1 - SPLASH PANEL* The Sentinel flies through the air, carrying an unidentified woman. 1. WOMAN: WE MADE IT OUT JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME! 2. THE SENTINEL: JUST DOING MY JOB!

PANEL 2 A city block is in flames. Wrecked cars all over the place. Pandemonium in the streets. 3. CAPTION: IN THE SENTINEL’S ABSENCE, THE BIG CITY HAS BEEN ATTACKED! WHAT COULD HAVE CAUSED THIS?

PANEL 3 The Sentinel puts the woman down on top of a building. 4. THE SENTINEL: YOU’LL BE SAFE HERE! 5. WOMAN: NOT UNTIL YOU GET BACK!

PANEL 4 The Sentinel flies into the heart of the city. 6. CAPTION: HIS CITY IN JEOPARDY, THE SENTINEL HURLS HIMSELF INTO ACTION! 7. THE SENTINEL (thought balloon)*: WHAT NEFARIOUS CREATURE COULD HAVE DONE THIS?

PANEL 5 A car SMASHES into the Sentinel from behind. 8. CAPTION: OUT OF NOWHERE, MECHANICAL DOOM STRIKES THE SENTINEL! 9. THE SENTINEL: OOOF!

PANEL 6 The Sentinel CRASHES TO THE GROUND. 10. CAPTION: THE STREETS CRUMBLE UNDER THE FORCE OF THE SENTINEL’S IMPACT!

PANEL 7 A GIANT FUCKING ROBOT holds the woman from panel 1 in its hand, towering over the Sentinel. 11. WOMAN: SENTINEL! SAVE ME!

PANEL 8 The Sentinel HURLS the car from on top of him. 12. CAPTION: THE SENTINEL BREAKS FREE FROM HIS TOMB OF CERTAIN DEATH!

PANEL 9 The GIANT FUCKING ROBOT’s EYES LIGHT UP with a Death Ray! 13. CAPTION: THE INCENDIARY METALLIC BEAST’S EYES GLOW RED, READY TO RAIN DEATH ON THE DENIZENS OF THE CITY - AND THE SENTINEL!

PANEL 10 The Sentinel flies into the air, battling against the death rays, bombarding him! 14. SENTINEL: NOT TODAY YOU DON’T! 15. END CAPTION: * WITH THE FATE OF HIS CITY IN HIS HANDS, CAN THE SENTINEL POSSIBLY PREVAIL? FIND OUT NEXT WEEK!!!
 

                 

written  by  TYLER  WEAVER,  art  by  BLAIR  CAMPBELL  

 

NOTES  

  *  SPLASH  PANEL  =  a  panel  intended  to  be  big,  bold  and  powerful.  The  title  page,   sometimes.  Also  called  a  splash  page  (when  it  takes  up  the  entire  page).  I  use   “Splash  Panel”  here  as  it  was  era-­‐appropriate  (1940).       *THOUGHT  BALLOON  =  use  a  cloud-­‐shaped  icon  to  demarcate  the  appearance  of   thought;  a  pop-­‐culture  version  of  the  Shakespearean  aside.  They’re  not  used  much   today,  as  Captions  have  taken  on  a  more  first-­‐person,  voice-­‐over  role.  However,  in   the  era  this  comic  was  crafted,  it’s  absolutely  appropriate.       *  END  CAPTION  =  this  is  used  rarely,  and  was  again,  era-­‐specific.  It’s  the  comics   equivalent  of  a  quick  fade  to  black  and  the  ominous  words,  TO  BE  CONTINUED.  In   the  1940s,  cliffhangers  were  a  bit  more  hyperbolic  than  today’s  cliffhangers,  hence   the  over-­‐the-­‐top  nature  of  the  writing.       In  the  case  of  Whiz!Bam!Pow!,  this  creates  the  illusion  of  “Perceived  serialization,”  a   topic  I  talk  about  at  great  length  in  the  book.     •   •   •     •  Yes,  I  swear  a  lot  in  my  scripts,  especially  when  I’m  excited  about  something.   Unless  it  says  “caption”  before  it,  it  doesn’t  go  into  the  final  product,  and  is  there  as  a   note  to  the  artist.       •  Why  do  I  use  numbers  for  each  element?  “Change  27  to  ‘He’s  all  yours  guys’”  is  a   far  simpler  ways  of  communicating  a  change  than  “Change  the  dialogue  in  panel  7   page  19  to  …”     •  But,  I  don’t  include  panel  numbers  until  the  final  script  is  locked.  Otherwise,   the  pages  would  be  a  haphazard  mess  of  unreadable  tripe.    Think  of  adding   numbers  to  the  script  like  adding  scene  numbers  in  the  script  breakdown   stage.     •  Note  that  I  don’t  use  sound  effects  in  the  excerpt.  Had  I  used  them,  I  would   have  given  them  a  number.     •  I  usually  give  each  page  in  the  comic  its  own  page  in  the  script.  If  I  go  over  a  single   page,  I  still  start  a  new  page  of  comic  on  a  new  page  of  script.  It  gives  the  artist  room   to  scribble  and  make  notes  on  a  print-­‐out.    

 

    If  you  remember  anything,  remember  this:       A  script  is  a  blueprint.  It  must  clearly   communicate  the  story  from  one  collaborator   to  another  to  produce  an  entertaining  work  of   art.       Now,  go  make  something!  
          •     •   •  

ABOUT  THE  AUTHOR  
  TYLER  WEAVER  is  the  author  of  Comics  for  Film,  Games,  and  Animation:  Using   Comics  to  Construct  Your  Transmedia  Storyworld  and  the  writer/co-­‐creator  of   Whiz!Bam!Pow!,  a  transmedia  story  experience  of  family,  forgery,  death  rays,  secret   codes,  laundry  chutes,  and  the  Golden  Age  of  Comics.  He  also  once  saw  an  ocelot.   You  can  find  him  on  Twitter  under  the  creative  handle  of  @tylerweaver.    

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