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Old 09-22-2009, 12:00 PM   #46
jrod
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arseneau77
Ahh...I see. Gotcha. Sorry, I didn't get that from the panel. But it does make sense once you explained it. Thanks
No need to apologize, we all see things differently. Sometimes we take risks with our layouts and sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:07 PM   #47
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I'm a little confused by #9 -- what's the aesthetic and/or functional purpose of the middle four panels, where the three to the right are identical? Is it just to give the impression of movement through the tunnel? If so, couldn't this have been better accomplished by having something on the wall that the light is hitting change slightly in each panel? Personally I think that page works with only the first and last panels but maybe I'm missing something obvious...[/QUOTE]

This plays out like a scary movie for me. If they were to leave just the two panels, I think a great opportunity for creating mounting tension would have been wasted, and the encounter would not have been as frightening. By putting the same picture up several times it allows the reader's mind to start the process of wondering if something's out there, and draws out the scariness of being alone in the dark on a bike in a tunnel. As I'm looking at this, I'm putting myself in that scene going, "Oh, great. A freaking tunnel. You can do this..... not so bad, there's nothing, just a tunnel, not so bad HOLY CRAP!" That wait before the bad guy jumps out is terrifying.
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:10 PM   #48
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Oh cool, the info on that scene makes it even better.
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:15 PM   #49
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First, let me say that in the following I mean no offense to you Jason, as the editor of this piece, whatsoever, but I'm using it as a learning experience (which I think was your intent anyway) so here are my thoughts on how I might have approached the same scene...

I agree that it's good to have something in there for those middle panels to build suspense but, if it were me, and I was trying to build that same scene, I might have done something like this:

Have the same angle in those middle panels, but the POV moves a little in each shot, either closer to the over-the-shoulder vantage point or farther away and ending in a high wide angle. Both would serve different purposes, depending on what mood I was aiming for (in the case of this one I think the moving in ever so slightly in each panel would be my first choice).

OR, you could have the 'camera' (sorry, hard habit to get out of) essentially moving in an arc around the boy as he drives so that you get a middle shot of his scared face, but then that makes the viewer an observer and not a participant, which would ruin the mood I think Jason was going for.

So, in the end, for this scene, I think a slow but steady push in of the POV would create a nice tension - like the reader is on the bike behind the kid and is leaning forward in apprehension of what's up ahead.

Thought?
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:25 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arseneau77
First, let me say that in the following I mean no offense to you Jason, as the editor of this piece, whatsoever, but I'm using it as a learning experience (which I think was your intent anyway) so here are my thoughts on how I might have approached the same scene...

I agree that it's good to have something in there for those middle panels to build suspense but, if it were me, and I was trying to build that same scene, I might have done something like this:

Have the same angle in those middle panels, but the POV moves a little in each shot, either closer to the over-the-shoulder vantage point or farther away and ending in a high wide angle. Both would serve different purposes, depending on what mood I was aiming for (in the case of this one I think the moving in ever so slightly in each panel would be my first choice).

OR, you could have the 'camera' (sorry, hard habit to get out of) essentially moving in an arc around the boy as he drives so that you get a middle shot of his scared face, but then that makes the viewer an observer and not a participant, which would ruin the mood I think Jason was going for.

So, in the end, for this scene, I think a slow but steady push in of the POV would create a nice tension - like the reader is on the bike behind the kid and is leaning forward in apprehension of what's up ahead.

Thought?
Hey, there's no wrong answer. Except for this one. And you smell.

Just kidding.

It all depends on what you want to do. Personally, I think moving the zoom or the camera puts this sequence in time by making the images sequential. That may be more effective for building tension, but I don't think tension was really the goal here, at least. Of course, it's hard to tell that without the page being in context so, yeah, if tension is the goal than your layout would most likely work better.

But it's interesting to note how simply tweaking little things in the sequence can bring about a different feeling to a piece. I think that last exercise, if we all had pen and paper, would bring this point home even more. Looking at this PDF: http://www.teachingcomics.org/attach...re_handout.pdf

If the second panel switches to the shooter, stays on the gun, switches to whatever's being shot, switches to a clock at noon, or non sequiturs to a steaming tea pot it will all have a different effect on the feel of the sequence. If the second panel has a worms eye of the shooter he's our hero, if it has a bird's eye he's our villain. If we're in close it's his emotion that counts, if it's a far shot it's the action.

All of these choices say something about the piece, so what do you want to say and how do you say it?
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:31 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrod
I think moving the zoom or the camera puts this sequence in time by making the images sequential. That may be more effective for building tension, but I don't think tension was really the goal here, at least. Of course, it's hard to tell that without the page being in context so, yeah, if tension is the goal than your layout would most likely work better.
Right. I thought of that after the previous post -- that I really don't know what the context of this page is at all and that the way I saw it playing out, my perspective limited to this one page, may not be at all the way it actually does in the finished product.

Still, though, discussions like this on the whys and wherefors particular 'shot' choices are made are very interesting to me.

Expect me to question your choices again
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:17 PM   #52
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I'm going to try and do at least one exercise from each of these sessions. I did the one describing the journey to work in nine panels. It was an interesting exercise and I was consciously thinking about the time difference between panels. When I'm writing normally this is never the case.

1)

It's early morning, the sky still slightly dark, the world at large has not quite woken up yet. Dressed in a smart shirt, tie, and trousers Dan leaves his house, closing the front door behind him.

2)

Dan stands under a bus stop sign at the side of the road. He looks at his watch, rolling his eyes.

3)

Dan stifles a yawn as he sits on a mostly empty bus. Outside the window, on the side of the road, groups of children in school uniform walk on the path being far too boisterous for this time in the morning.

4)

Dan walks through the hustle and bustle of a busy city sidewalk. Shops line the road on either side.The workers and office drones all head in the same direction.

5)

Dan walks through the automatic doors of a modern looking police station. A few shady, haggard looking characters sit on the steps leading up to the building.

6)

In the reception area of the police station Dan slides his ID through a card reader. Sitting on benches in the foyer, watching him with equal parts hate and interest, are more doomed souls.

7)

Inside a staff kitchen. Dan stirs a mug of steaming hot coffee. In the background other members of staff, and a few officers, stand around chatting.

8)

Dan climbs the steepest looking stairs known to man, his eyes focused intently on the cup of coffee he is carrying.

9)

Dan sits at his desk, a stack of reports, folders and logs by his left arm. A login screen with the police logo fills the monitor in front of him. He looks at his watch, rolling his eyes.

I also noticed that my time started to compress towards the end. This is more to do with me trying to add some variety to the panels than achieving some kind of chronal balance. Otherwise it would have been 1) leaving house 2) walking to bus stop 3)at bus stop 4) On bus 5)leaving bus 6)walking through city streets 7) walking up station steps 8) walking up stairs with coffee 9)at desk

Looking at that the second one seems more balanced, in the fact that there seems to be an equal amount of time between the panels rather than the first example where the time between panels starts to get less and less as they progress.

Wow. This is me rambling.



Looking forward to dialogue as well in the coming days.
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Old 09-22-2009, 02:02 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hill
Looking at that the second one seems more balanced, in the fact that there seems to be an equal amount of time between the panels rather than the first example where the time between panels starts to get less and less as they progress.
And I think it works, depending on what you wanted to show. I think the way it's laid out now, it works as a story that at first focuses on the monotony of the commute and all of the people going about their business, and then hones in to the monotony of your world. I think the first half should feel almost claustrophobic, people crowding you in on the bus and on the streets, played against the kids who have room to run and play. Then ,when you get to the police station, you can play with angles and exaggerations. Worms eye of the staircase which goes up into nothingness, stack of papers that go up out of panel - these kinds of techniques actually imply a longer duration between panels, believe it or not.

Think of it this way - you have a panel with someone walking up a staircase. The next panel is this person at a desk. In one implementation of the first panel, we have a medium shot of the person taking his first step, we see the top of the staircase. In the other implementation, we see a worm's eye of the person taking his first step, but the staircase disappears into shadow. The person goes from point-a to point-b in the same amount of gutter time, but in the latter example the panel time has an inherent feeling of greater duration.

What you would do, is set a cadence in the first part, set gutter time so that we see shifts in location, we know that there are large gaps. Then slow down the panel time, so that the monotony and slowness of the day become internal and perceived, it's no longer this universal time, it's your internal clock, how the world slowed down even more for you.

You see what I mean? Thoughts?
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Old 09-22-2009, 02:34 PM   #54
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I think I do see what you mean, yeah.

I think I've chosen to slow down the time at the end of the page through the frequency the events occur in. From home to bus in the first two panels to entering the station to desk in four panels at the end. I haven't though played with the angle of the shots or panels which, as you said, can also influence how time is perceived in a panel.

I also noticed that whilst I said I was consciously thinking about the transitions between panel and the time gaps between them I wasn't consciously thinking about the effect it had on the overall page. The bunching together of events at the end as well as some of the shots you mentioned would definitely give a claustrophobic feel to the page. Shows what I think of my new job, huh?

Also, and this may be off topic slightly, I noticed in Understanding Comics McCloud talks about how panel size can change how we perceive time too. This is something I've never really looked at in any of my scripts. I get the basic notions behind the line of thought but have never really thought about using it.
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Old 09-22-2009, 02:44 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hill
Also, and this may be off topic slightly, I noticed in Understanding Comics McCloud talks about how panel size can change how we perceive time too. This is something I've never really looked at in any of my scripts. I get the basic notions behind the line of thought but have never really thought about using it.
Panel size or gutter size? Because both can really do the job. So can simple tricks like breaking panels, full bleeds, and insets - time is your to play with in comics and there are so many techniques you can use to lead the reader's perception of time.
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Old 09-22-2009, 02:52 PM   #56
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I hit "Submit" too early, I wanted to talk about these two pages:
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/16.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/17.jpg
and tie them into the "simple tricks" talk.

Notice how on page 16 there are no panel borders. You have two of the Endless, Dream and Death, having a conversation. There is still implied movement of time and implied panels, but no real defined panels. That's because these character are endless, time is meaningless to them, when they talk, it's as if they talk out of time. What is a minute-long conversation when you were there before the beginning and will be there past the end?

It may seem like I'm reaching but do you know how to tell that it's a deliberate technique? Because on page 17, when a human enters the picture, they become confined to well-defined panels. They are back in our time stream, they are being seen from the perspective of a mortal, someone for whom time has meaning.

You should all go back and read over your old comics. Not YOUNGBLOOD #1, I'm talking about BONE or SANDMAN or WE 3 or WATCHMEN - something with some heft to it. And pay attention to the gutters and pay attention to the feelings they may have, at once, subconsciously brought about. You may be surprised at what you find.

As I said in the past, WATCHMEN is required reading when I teach. Everything in that book is so deliberate, it's an example of technical perfection in comic booking. You should reread that book and study every panel and every gutter and you'll learn more than I can ever teach you.
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:03 PM   #57
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And, actually, one more thing about the above recommendations. I kind of went with mainstream books where the writer is very involved in the art-process (and, in Bone's case, where the writer is the artist). I tried to throw out books you all may have in your collections or, if you don't own them, will be in your local library.

But, in all honesty, if you really want to see the power of the panel and gutter, get comics from cartoonists that do it all themselves. Get some manga - get Urasawa's MONSTER or PLUTO. If you're at SPX this weekend, stop by the The Savannah College Of Art And Design booth and pick up their 2008 Sequential Art Anthology, it's a completely wordless book from cartoonists that does a fantastic job of telling a story and implying the passage of time without falling back on dialog and captions.

I've already recommended Phil Hester's OVERSIGHT but I'd like to double up the recommendation on that. Paul Pope's work is a great call, too. And, if you're feeling like giving a little back, pick up my book, POSTCARDS - my favorite Phil Hester story is in their and you can read our editor Chris's story while you're at it (and 14 other fine stories).

ANYWAYS...study comics, don't just read them.
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:06 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrod
Panel size or gutter size? Because both can really do the job. So can simple tricks like breaking panels, full bleeds, and insets - time is your to play with in comics and there are so many techniques you can use to lead the reader's perception of time.
Panel size was what I meant to say. Interesting analysis of the Sandman panels too. Weirdly enough I was just looking at a page of the script from Sandman #17 and you're right, it is a conscious decision on Gaiman's part. There are specific instructions within the panel descriptions concerning panel borders, etc.

Edit: I've recently been trying to not only read comics but take them apart and analyze them (something I'm quite adept at doing with movies, thank you unfinished film degree!). I spent a few hours last week going through issue 1 of Y The Last man and writing down panel choices, shot choices, panel counts etc for every page. I even tried to analyze plot strands (Vaughan would start with Yorick/Beth introduce a new character then flip back to Yorick/Beth before introducing another character, and so on).

There was an interview with Kurt Busiek recently where he says that he would do something similar with issues of Spider-Man, deconstructing them and trying to gauge pace and timing and why certain things worked and others didn't etc. It's annoying me now because I can't find the damn link!
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:07 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Dan Hill
Panel size was what I meant to say. Interesting analysis of the Sandman panels too. Weirdly enough I was just looking at a page of the script from Sandman #17 and you're right, it is a conscious decision on Gaiman's part. There are specific instructions within the panel descriptions concerning panel borders, etc.
Oh, really? Great fuck I am SO SMART.
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:51 PM   #60
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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?
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