Monday, June 22, 2009

Celadore Script Competition - results!

So, I got six scripts for my first ever script competition, which is six more than I expected!

Since it was such a small number of participants, everyone will be rewarded for their efforts.

The five runners up will each be sent an original piece of art by me, drawn for your respective scripts. A favourite panel, or a richly described character, etc.

Walter Ostlie, best known around the Zuda boards as slidestudios and responsible for Cubicles, and art chores on the Rejects, is the grand prize winner. Wally will be getting his four screen script completed by me, and the original art.

It was hard to pick a winner, and in the end it came down to a kind of synergy. When I read Wally's script, a lot of panels formed in my head instantly, unlike some of the other scripts which while all had their moments, indeed gave me a few of those 'oh hell, how am I going to fit all that in to one panel?' moments.

Which brings me to two points emerging comic writers need to keep in mind when writing their scripts.

1. If there's more than one thing going on in each panel, it's too much.

For example, and this is the most common example I've ever seen, if you have two characters talking (facing each other) it is impossible to show both their reactions. I used to get this a lot from seasoned book editors also, so it's not really just novice comic scripters who do it. Hell, I probably still do it.

But, if it's a reaction shot, you need to decide whose reaction is the most important and stick to that. If we see the back of the other character's head, so be it. Much like when kids learn to draw and eventually realise you can't show everything, ie. both ears are drawn visible on a 3/4 view head, this is that same thing. But for scriptwriters. :o)

And 2. Be aware of your space.

Say you have a page/screen with 9 panels, it's okay to have some large speech bubbles in maybe one or two panels, but not in every panel. And certainly not three large speech bubbles in one panel. You could do that if it's only 1 to 3 large panels to the page/screen, but not in 9 tiny panels.

Also, when two character's speech bubbles do overlap in one panel, as in a back-and-forward exchange, it works better with short sentences, and not long paragraphs of speech. That could be very hard to lay out.

Sometimes I think this comes from thinking of your script as for a movie/tv show, and not a comic. When writing a scene, we tend to play it out in our heads, with actors, and sets, etc. - like life - so take a second look at what you've just put down and make sure it works in the comic medium. If you've put down scenes that have too much going on, go back to point no 1 and edit, edit, edit. Try to find a focal point. The one thing that panel has to get across.

Wally, your script had some great pacing, and also fit well within the Celadore world. Something that others didn't do so well. Which is my fault really, for not explaining everything about the Order, so sorry about that, folks! Oops. You can hit me when you see me next.

The Hunger are only meant to be masquerading as a vampire band, even though they are actually vampires, and some of the scripts had them acting a little too vampiric publicly. Wally's script has some bigotry against the vampire band, but it's vague, so I twisted it to mean the locals who threaten them just don't like tough, goth rock chicks in them there parts.

Putting Angus (Aprils' missing pomeranian) into the script was also a selling point, as it immediately made me think of another little side story of how Angus got from Boston to a gas station in the middle of nowhere. Poor doggie.

Plus, and this is just another personal preference, I'm not one for pop culture gags, so while some of the parody singers that popped in some of the other scripts were funny, it's not something I would find myself ever putting to paper. To me, it's the difference between Dreamworks films that date really quickly due to their endless pop culture references, and Pixar, which has character/situation based comedy, giving a more timeless quality.

So, sorry to the couple of entrants who did that. You were the victim of my prejudice.

(Wally did give me a Twilight reference, but I'm not all about complete zero tolerance.)

So, sketches are underway for Metsuke, Jen, Julia, Math-San and Daniel. I heartily thank and congratulate every one of you on entering some great scripts. Keep one eye on your mailbox. Metsuke, here's yours, the first to be done. (You have a tshirt coming too, of course).

Daniel, there's a quick little sketch of Taint Buzz at the top of the post, to tide you over til I do the proper sketch.

Wally, you'll have to wait a bit longer for yours, as I draw up the full pages in and around doing Cel 3, which is now underway.

This was fun. I may do it again.


Walter Ostlie said...

Holy crap-tastic! Awesome man. I can't wait to see it. I hope you enjoy drawing it and happy that you didn't ding me for the twilight reference...I had to do it :-) Thanks for the props on the script. One of my pet peeves with writing is the whole two actions in one scene, so I try to stay away from it.

saulone said...

Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing the slidestudios written/Caanan illustrated 4 pager.

Killer contest. I am contest retarded, I fear.