Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Details, details, details.

You always need to tell the story your way with as much or as little detail as you feel is necessary to get your ideas across to the artist.
Every artist I know appreciates scripts in which the writer has made all of the story's requirements clear. More description doesn't always mean more work for the artist. But less description can lead to the artist carrying more of the load on the storytelling end. If something in the panel needs to be emphasized, if the setting is vital to the story, if a particular angle in a particular panel is needed to establish something the character is feeling. The artist needs to know these things. 
I have had artists ask for clarification on some element in my script but never had an artist ask for less detail.
The most common critique I have of the scripts I review is that the writer is not being specific enough; leaving too much up to the artist. Artists like specificity. They don't want to be alone thinking up every little detail, element, gag, and emotion.
And, as I said, it's your story. You need to feel confident in it before you hand it in. 
As far as stage direction, all comic scripts are shooting scripts. Suggest panel compositions, "camera" placements, and block out the action. The artist, like a director, is free to riff off the script. It's a collaboration and everything should be flexible. Even in a detailed script there's room for the artist to improvise and bring his own contributions to the finished project. It's a collaboration. 
As I always say, often you have NO idea who'll be drawing your story. You need to make it bulletproof in case some tyro winds up with it.
I always ask artists what they like to draw. Is it girls, cars, action, dinosaurs or like that. Scott McDaniel loves drawing buildings. Joe Kubert insisted his stories contained weather elements. And Rodolfo Damaggio loves drawing helicopters. he;s the ONLY artists who loves that. Graham Nolan BEGS me not to write in copters. But there's no reason you can't include elements that the artist likes. 
Since my answers her on CE usually contain an inside baseball story...
Stop me if I've shared this one before. 
Stan Lee hired Archie Goodwin to take over writing Iron Man. ('67 or '68?) But Stan needed him to start RIGHT AWAY. Gene Colan was sitting home waiting for a plot. Archie went for the interview to a desk and began writing a plot in a legal pad. Then he phoned Colan.
Archie read a couple of sentences and Gene said, "Is that it?" 
"No, there's a little more," Archie said. And he read a couple sentences more. 
"Is that it?" Gene said. 
"No. There's more." Archie read two more sentences.
"That's it, right?" Gene said. 
Archie looked at the eight pages he had remaining to read and said, "Yeah, Gene. That's it."
"Great! Tell Stan I'll have pages tomorrow!" And he hung up. 

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