An everyday story of leftwing folk

Friday, 19 February 2010

Up Close And Personalised Episode 6

These things can evolve right up until I press the red button. The "tamborine" quip came out as I was putting the frame together. Just seemed more natural than what I'd put there originally. Also seemed to fit with the "preacher man" look of our chap. Also he looked so humourless. It's like he's right and SO much of the world is wrong. So it just ain't funny. Is it?

Thursday, 18 February 2010

How it all began. Part 5

Around Christmas 2007 I showed the script to my wife.  She thought it was weird, but liked some of the jokes.  The kind of impact I was after, I guess.  The challenge now was to get the thing drawn.

I was still thinking about producing a “real”, physical comic.  On paper.  So I tried pencils and inks.  Very traditional.  Very slow.  Even if you’re aiming at something quite rough and ready, it just eats your time.  But I ended up with a few rough pencil drawings of the main characters, so I’d got a good idea of what I wanted them to look like.

I then had a go at some computer drawing packages, and a digitising tablet.  Again slow.  If I was going to do this, I felt it needed the momentum of regular episodes, and it needed to fit round a full time job and a life.

I picked up one of Frank Miller’s Sin City books in my local library.  I thought all the black kind of absolves you of adding a lot of detail.  And it would fit with that Hammett/Chandler feel to some of my dialogue.  So, with my head full of old black-and-white movies, I started messing around with photographic images in Paint.

Paint is not the most user-friendly of packages, but it’s like having a go at fixing your house with a hammer, a saw and a big screwdriver.  You can get results.  Quick.

And presentation software.  You know what I mean.  It’s everywhere.  With easy page turning.

Autumn 2008 and I was on a roll.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

How it all began. Part 4

I began scribbling down snippets of dialogue.  These were imagined discussions around a couple of particular “crimes” that had happened in the Organisation.  I was trying to push them further, but being just “a step away” as Oshii I think said.

At this stage I was just using letters to represent the individual characters – X, Y, and Z.  These three eventually became Faren, the Director of Compliance and Zee (sign of laziness in naming there).  But they had no flesh on their bones, other than X/Faren being a kind of imagined “me”.  The dialogue had that wise-cracking, film-noir feel to it even then. I guess it’s the kind of thing we all wish we could do, rather than stand, tongue-tied and mute in the face of the day-to-day nonsense we all face at work.

It still wasn’t forming into anything, though.   So I trawled the web in search of inspiration and advice.  Which I found in the multi-talented Alex di Campi.  Alex described using “story boards” in writing her comic books.  She is also a film/video maker, so this makes sense – and it certainly chimed with me.  I began using a two-column table.  In the first column I put a description of the scene, in the second I put the dialogue.  Suddenly all became clear, and I could “see” where I was going.

The story then took on a momentum of its own, and I’d pretty much got the whole thing into tabular form within a couple of months.  I was scribbling bits of dialogue into notebooks, and then stitching them together into longer pieces in the tables.

So, sometime around the end of 2007 I’d got a story called “Reaching the LEARNER” told in 7 tables.