Vampire Mob, Issue 1, Page one, by JM Ringuet.
As I stated in Part Two of this series, I still don’t know how to do what the title says, yet!
When I was trying to wrap my head around the graphic novel/comic book script form, Corey Blake, who is the creative consultant for VMob Issue 1, described it as “writing a letter to an artist.”
That helped a lot!
Whenever I write scripts, I’m thinking about the audience. Not whether the audience will like what I’m writing, but how they might respond. With laughter, surprise, did I make them jump? They’re gonna love this! That kinda thing.
Now that I was writing a script that was a “letter to the artist,” I had a couple more things to think about. The audience and the artist who would be talking to them with pictures.
Staring at a page that was to be moving images, with sound, and making it four to six panels on one page is an interesting mind-fuck of a puzzle.
Don’t think about the panels on the page as you would a storyboard, they are so much more powerful.
The old screenwriting saying, “show it, don’t say it,” really came in handy!
What’s important on the live-action script page? That was a good place to start.
What could be lost in the script that wouldn’t take away from the story?
There were a couple minor storylines I wanted to weave into the live-action version of Vampire Mob episode one, season three, the script I’m adapting.
I tried drawing, poorly, how the panels might look. Even just that little experiment had me pointed in a better direction.
I needed to lose those minor storylines and focus on getting the most important one to dominate.
I quickly could see that they were just a diversion from the task at hand, introducing the story to those new to VMob and reintroducing Don & co. to the folks who know VMob.
There was some darling killing, serial killing!
Less was definitely more.
I’ve had the pleasure of personally editing everything I’ve shot since 2006 and that has also given me another opportunity to rewrite. That opportunity would not exist telling stories in this form, at least not in the same way.
Two quick tips I learned:
1) Don’t try to fit too many things in one panel. The image doesn’t move, so you can’t have a character doing a laundry list of movements in one panel.
2) Think about who is talking on the page and who is reacting to those words. Something I like to do in the stories I shoot is to see the character who isn’t speaking listening to the character who is, but off-screen.
(OFF-PANEL) in graphic novel script form becomes the O.S. (Off Screen) equivalent in screenwriting.
Sound effects are the other thing you will be typing and that takes some getting used to. Google for lists of comic book sound effects and you will find a whole lotta stuff on it.
How much story can you tell in the provided space becomes the next game you play, and it’s a fun one!
IN PART FOUR, I’ll type words about how I got the script locked down and the process of working with JM Ringuet, the artist, in creating the cover and first 3 pages!