Well I mentioned the possibility of this production diary in the weekly art chat I attend and received some encouragement over there. Anyway I think it's about time I got started. Hopefully it will be educational as well as document where I am in the story. Let's start by getting everyone up to date with looking at entrapments plot design.
Plot design is vital to comics. Without it you just have a bunch of random pictures shoved together for no particular reason, and most of us aren't interested in experimental comics. Plot design has many names, I'm sure most would just call it script writing. I however don't because I don't actually start with a script in most cases. We will look at script writing and different approaches later but first how we begin fleshing out those ideas. The comic I'm working on is called entrapment. I began working on it 8 or 9 years ago. Not constantly but that's when it first came about in it earliest form. Entrapments writing is quite complex and since then I have found better means to do so. I will discuss some of them within this segment even though they are not related to entrapment, because well its always better to review what didn't work and what did and what could have been implemented to make it a better writing experience.
Don't worry I won't be spoiling the story for you guys. I mean that would suck if I did. the whole point of writing a comic is too well let the art and words do the talking together and well only half of it exists right now so you will have to wait for the art to arrive. I have been told its quite visual in places from the few people who had the pleasure of reading it several years ago and really have some awesome opportunity with the art because of it. Some of which will present a challenge and I might talk about once the pages have been released ^^ so let's begin looking at entrapments creation shall we?
[Just to note that entrapment originally was not written as a comic. I have a BA honours degree in film and TV production, and part of that was script writing. Entrapment originally was intended to be a short film however it never got made due to what was deemed as to many effects and out of our budget range. There is also the fact my interest in filmmaking dropped and I began to get more into art and telling stories that way. ]
The thing that's most likely to destroy my comics
This is probably the biggest obstacle that stands in my way. It's not time, knowledge on comic making, procrastination or anything like that. It's actually my confidence. I'm not a confident person, especially with anything to do with writing is involved. I have a very hard time with writing, it doesn't come naturally to me. I find it very frustrating to get what's in my head onto paper at times and usually I talk myself out of posting something as simple as a hints and tips journal etc. I worry that my writing isn't going to be very good. So ultimately what is most likely to kill this comic is going to be my lack of confidence in my writing winning and convincing me to abandon it.
Don't worry it hasn't succeeded yet, I'm not looking for you can do it support or anything like that, I in fact tell you this because I feel it's important to let people know you have these inner demons. I find by getting it off my chest I feel better. I also hope that by mentioning it people will release that every artist has fears about their work... these are mine and I will overcome them. I hope you do the same.
Coming up with ideas
I personally don't approach every project I do exactly the same. I think ultimately you should do what works for that in particular project and the such. Entrapment started in my very early script writing days as well so it's far from perfect. Generally I write all my ideas down no matter how bad they are. This can be through dialogue, notes on story ideas. A character or whatever. I even note down individual images and such. I always find its best to record all ideas no matter how bad or even how inappropriate for a project at the time because it may be helpful in the future for a different project. I also think it's important to read those notebooks back from time to time because well so pretty good gems might be hidden in there and might even spark off a better idea. This is what happened in entrapments case.
At the time I was doing my first year script writing module at uni and we had been separated into scriptwriting groups. The idea that 2 would write the scripts and the other 2 (or 3 in other groups case) would act as an editor and aid in the development of those scripts. Anyway we as a group had to bring ideas to the table and well after a pretty lousy discussion of coming up with no ideas what so ever we ended up saying "lets go away and meet again tomorrow or the day after and see what we come up with" so that's what we did.
I don't do well under pressure. Ask me to sum up my story and such under pressure and I can't. I just draw a blank. Its why I have never attempted to talk about the summery of the story in the chat because I'm super bad at it. This also applies with coming up with ideas. The pressure was on and there was no way in hell I was going to come up with something that wasn't lame in a couple of days. Anyway I ended up flipping through my ideas book and there was this sheet of paper with some typed up stuff and read it back. It must have been the worst written poem on the planet, it most certainly is to the point where I can't read it today without cringing. But remember how I said potentially bad things can be the bases for better things. This was one of those moments for me, I felt I could build upon it and make it better and that the ideas behind it where good. Even if it was badly written. That and I was kind of hoping that the rest of my group would have a better idea. Remember that lack of confidence I mentioned. It was pretty much kicking in here.
So I took said poem to the script meeting. We had already decided on one idea which was actually abandoned at a later date, so it was just the second scriptwriter to find. Apparently I was the only one that had anything. Apparently I had to tell them this idea. And so I told them and it apparently clicked with them. All of a sudden I had people very excited about my shitty writing and while I didn't have to be the writer if I really didn't want to the rest of the group kind of said this is my thing and only I could do it justice. At least give it a try.
This was for a film so I had to prepare a pitch to pitch at our next seminar. Pitches are used in the comic industry too, you pitch story arcs to marvel for example. So talking about it kind of relevant. Just I'm not going down that route with my comic. The pitch did not go so well. My pitch was weak, my 25 word premise wasn't eye catching, my Witten treatment didn't have the flair to capture anyone's attention and my spoken pitch well it involved taking more and more steps backwards away from our tutor and trying to disappear into the background. It was defiantly not a good pitch. A pitch is where you sell someone your story idea. And while yes my idea was developed it wouldn't have been in the real world. There is a theory that we actually pitch successfully all the time.
According to Elliot grove when a friend or relative rings us and goes what's up? We will pitch our problem at people to get sympathy or prospects in love or work to gain support and admiration. We will tell you won't believe what I did the other day to create wonder or tell an embarrassing event that happened to ourselves which we will usually play for sympathy or to make someone laugh (I personally favour the laugh route) and if we manage to do these things we apparently should be able to pitch and have the potential to pitch well. It's just a lot of us fail when it comes to pitching our own ideas. The good thing about working in a group is that they're there to go "hey that wasn't so bad, we think you can do this keep trying etc. etc." That and there's also the sense of shame you feel if you think you're going to let them down.
My 25 words are different today to what they where back then. right now it is:-
Guilt can be all consuming. The guilty must be punished but not everything is what it seems. If things don't change soon she will break.
I think I can do better. Maybe I'll try again once I've started drawing it. I've defiantly got to write a better blub/synopsis that's for sure. Way to revealing right now. Need to sell the sizzle and not the steak. So far I have found having some form of synopsis to work from is really useful to keeping your story on track. It's like saying this is what it's going to be about now don't get side tracked generally a quick read of your synopsis and boom your away planning. This is something I have learned since initially writing entrapment. Ground level (the comic that I plan to do after entrapment) has a synopsis and its certainly making it easier to develop the characters, do the research and come up with the story structure for it. Even if I am purposefully trying to stay away from it right now as I don't want to get distracted. It means when I come back to it I know instantly where I was going with it. And whether or not a scene enhances the story or is just filler which we don't want.
Come back next time for part two of plot design. We'll finally touch the script writing process.