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fisherman
01-05-2011, 11:45 AM
Am I totally off here or are *those suckers selling more easily than screenplays???

*I understand that the screenplay would have to be interesting as a comic book too... But isn't comic book script format very similar to screenplay format??? Just hypothetically, whaddayathink?

AnotherCaucasianGary
01-05-2011, 12:00 PM
It's a good way to get your story out there if that's all you're interested in doing, but unless your comic is a success it doesn't make it anymore attractive to Hollywood.

SoCalScribe
01-05-2011, 12:32 PM
Am I totally off here or are *those suckers selling more easily than screenplays???

*I understand that the screenplay would have to be interesting as a comic book too... But isn't comic book script format very similar to screenplay format??? Just hypothetically, whaddayathink?


If you have an established property, it's more appealing than an unknown one. So a hit comic would increase your chances of selling the script. Of course, your comic has to be a hit, first. ;)

If by similar formats you mean that the structure is basically comprised of describing the setting and action in a scene/panel and writing the dialogue that will appear, then yeah... the formats are similar. I don't know enough about comic book outlining to say whether there are any more similarities than that.

fisherman
01-05-2011, 01:12 PM
Thanks guys.

At this point I'm more interested in getting my name out there than making tons of money, and yes, it makes no nevermind to me whether it happens through a comic book, screenplay, or novel's format.

Of course, the money thing would be nice too, but that's not what I'm after anymore.

Porkaccino
01-05-2011, 02:07 PM
As for script format, while the basics of writing out action and dialog are roughly similar, the page format is different. Think of it like you're doing a little more visual directing than you would in a screenplay. More than just spilling the story, it's up to the writer to designate what's on which page (including planning exactly how many pages each issue is), how many panels per page, and what happens in those panels. The artist will have something to say about the size and shape of those panels, among other things, but it starts with the writer.

However, the semantics vary greatly. There's more layout variations to comic scripts than screenplays. Different writers use all kinds of fonts and have different preferences for how to use page breaks, how to format the dialog, upper and lower case, and all kinds of stuff. But the basic idea is the same. Read enough comic scripts and you'll get an idea of what might work for you. There are numerous comic scripts available for download at a site called, bizarrely, Comic Book Script Archive. Check it out...

http://www.comicbookscriptarchive.com/archive/

If any seasoned comic writers (which I am not) want to step in and correct me and say, no, there's one format for beginners, then please speak up. I'm just calling it like I see it.

CthulhuRises
01-05-2011, 02:38 PM
I once pontificated adapting one of my screenplays into a Graphic Novel. I did some serious research...the main issue is collaborating with an artist. You'll be very hard pressed to find an artist to work on Spec, so that makes things a bit arduous. Unless you want to pay upfront, out of pocket, you better have a really good idea and a really good friend.

catcon
01-05-2011, 02:48 PM
There was that guy posting here a few months ago about the $50,000 deal to convert your script into a graphic novel. I thought it was interesting.

On another note, in the past two weeks I've queried two cartoon/comic book companies about one particular script I have that reads like it could have come from a comic book or animated cartoon. Obviously, an industry trend is to create the feature script from a successful graphic source, but I asked if they've ever considered going the opposite direction?

One passed, one yet to hear from!

fisherman
01-05-2011, 03:06 PM
As for script format, while the basics of writing out action and dialog are roughly similar, the page format is different. Think of it like you're doing a little more visual directing than you would in a screenplay. More than just spilling the story, it's up to the writer to designate what's on which page (including planning exactly how many pages each issue is), how many panels per page, and what happens in those panels. The artist will have something to say about the size and shape of those panels, among other things, but it starts with the writer.

However, the semantics vary greatly. There's more layout variations to comic scripts than screenplays. Different writers use all kinds of fonts and have different preferences for how to use page breaks, how to format the dialog, upper and lower case, and all kinds of stuff. But the basic idea is the same. Read enough comic scripts and you'll get an idea of what might work for you. There are numerous comic scripts available for download at a site called, bizarrely, Comic Book Script Archive. Check it out...

http://www.comicbookscriptarchive.com/archive/

If any seasoned comic writers (which I am not) want to step in and correct me and say, no, there's one format for beginners, then please speak up. I'm just calling it like I see it.

Thank you, man. And I have heard the same thing about the semantics. I feel as though that would be a good thing for a screenwriter; to have more freedom with his style.

And @ CthulhuRises and catcon, I am pretty sure a person can submit a comic book script to an agency, and that the agency often hires the artist themselves. And someone once told me that Kevin Smith wrote comic books in screenplay format, but I don't know how true that is...and plus, he was probably already a made man when he did that.

As long as I don't have to pay anyone anything, I think I'll go ahead and try converting a screenplay to a comic book. I'll let you guys know what happens.

Slappynipsy
01-05-2011, 05:59 PM
I read comic scripts a lot and the formatting is always nuts. Some read like screenplays, some read like novels and some just read like the rantings of a crazy person...

As long as the artist can understand what your asking for the rest seems pretty open.

AnotherCaucasianGary
01-05-2011, 06:47 PM
I read comic scripts a lot and the formatting is always nuts. Some read like screenplays, some read like novels and some just read like the rantings of a crazy person...

As long as the artist can understand what your asking for the rest seems pretty open.This has been my experience, too.

The only thing I would add is that while the format of the script can vary wildly, the format of the medium can be deceptively rigid. There are limits to, say, total page number that can be imposed not only by something like a specific publisher's preference, but in printing and such. Therefore, even if you plan to self-publish, it should be considered before you start writing.

For example, usually the final page count needs to be exact for every issue - you don't have the freedom to go 3 pages longer on issue 1 because issue 2 is short four pages.

And the story needs to break down over a specific number of issues (i.e. a four-issue limited series or a three issue arc in an ongoing series, etc). So, you need to work out your story structure for the whole arc (what are the beats that issue begins and ends on) before you begin page budgeting for a single issue, and be ready to consider changes to the overall arc as you make changes to individual issue structure in the writing process.

AlexApprobation
01-07-2011, 03:50 AM
Important reading:

The Poor Man's Guide to Self Publishing by Val Staples
(If you're thinking about getting into comics, read this forward and backwards)

http://www.mvcreations.com/articles/publish.html

Dave Sim's Comments on Self Publishing
(These are old, but still very good points)

Read this first:
http://www.cerebusfangirl.com/artists/nftp/garyreed.php

Start with Issue 168 and work downward:
http://www.cerebusfangirl.com/artists/nftp/

LauriD
01-10-2011, 05:04 AM
And @ CthulhuRises and catcon, I am pretty sure a person can submit a comic book script to an agency, and that the agency often hires the artist themselves.

Are we talking literary agencies or entertainment agencies or are there agencies that specialize in graphic novels? Is there a listing?

tuukka
01-10-2011, 06:08 AM
Becoming successful in the comics industry is just as hard as becoming successful in the movie industry. So you should choose comics as your artform only if you specifically want to make a career in comics.

Just like with any skill, it takes about 5-10 years of hard training to become any good in making comics. If you have spent the last 5-10 years training screenwriting, it makes little sense to start making comics so that you could have a career in movies.

Comics might seem like a more cost-effective way to create a career, but they are not really. Making a graphic novel is expensive, because it takes a lot of working hours. Other mentioned that a comic illustrator was offering a 50.000 dollar deal in here to turn someone' script into a graphic novel. Well, you can make a feature film with 50.000 dollars. If you don't want to direct, then you can simply write and co-produce it.

If you want to make movies, make movies. If you want to make comics, make comics. If you want to make novels, make novels.

fisherman
01-11-2011, 01:25 PM
Are we talking literary agencies or entertainment agencies or are there agencies that specialize in graphic novels? Is there a listing?

My mistake. Words words words. What I meant was that a person submits the comic to an agency, who in turn tries to market it to a publisher, who often has in-house comic book illustrators.

And @ guy above me, I'm not too sure about the validity of that statement. Many articles have been published, books even, about the fact that it is a totally different fish to tackle when one tries to get a book out there as opposed to a screenplay.

For example, consider the fact that only so many (so few, really) screenplays are bought on spec each year in this increasingly sequel happy, tentpole, remake/pre-written driven marketplace, whereas tens of hundreds of original novels are put out each year. And of course there is always the obvious fact that novels are not a transformative medium; they are what they are.... But a film is a collaborative, transformative medium, in which so many people are involved that it's ridiculous.

tuukka
01-11-2011, 03:16 PM
And @ guy above me, I'm not too sure about the validity of that statement. Many articles have been published, books even, about the fact that it is a totally different fish to tackle when one tries to get a book out there as opposed to a screenplay.

For example, consider the fact that only so many (so few, really) screenplays are bought on spec each year in this increasingly sequel happy, tentpole, remake/pre-written driven marketplace, whereas tens of hundreds of original novels are put out each year. And of course there is always the obvious fact that novels are not a transformative medium; they are what they are.... But a film is a collaborative, transformative medium, in which so many people are involved that it's ridiculous.

How many graphic novels were published in America last year? And how many theatrical movies, STV movies and TV movies?

I'm betting the two numbers aren't that far off from each other. Obviously I'm not including on-going serial comic books, just like I'm not including TV-series.

How many movies became popular last year? How many novels became popular last year?

The thing is, it's not enough to get something published. Anyone can self-publish whatever crap they want, whether it's a movie, a novel or a comic book.

Your work needs to become popular and well-received, if you want it to do your career any good. And that is just as difficult in comic world (or novel world) as it is in movie world.

I have many times seen this concept of "Hey, maybe I should try making a comic, because I haven't been successful in screenwriting", and I just find kind of silly. It's an idea born out of an illusion that making comics is somehow easier than making screenplays. It's not. Comics demand just as much devotion, hard work, talent and skill as screenplays.

If you think that turning your screenplay into a graphic novel will be a shortcut to success... It doesn't work that way. You have to train years and years in comic book world, before you are any good in that particular craft.

There are people in the comic book world, who have transferred their text to movies. It does happen, obviously. But think about it: People like Alan Moore, Frank Miller and Mark Millar always wanted to be comic artists. They worked insanely hard for a very long time before they became popular.

Think of that devotion. And then think how well you are going to stand up against people like that, who have devoted their entire lives to comics. Your first ever attempt at comic book simply isn't going to be on the same level, just as the first spec script by some random dude is not going to be good enough to be turned into a movie.

Now, I'm sure there are exceptions to this rule also. There is always someone who wins in the lottery. But I wouldn't count on winning a lottery, hard work and devotion are more reliable in reaching your goals.

instant_karma
01-11-2011, 03:36 PM
I have many times seen this concept of "Hey, maybe I should try making a comic, because I haven't been successful in screenwriting", and I just find kind of silly. It's an idea born out of an illusion that making comics is somehow easier than making screenplays. It's not. Comics demand just as much devotion, hard work, talent and skill as screenplays.

If you think that turning your screenplay into a graphic novel will be a shortcut to success... It doesn't work that way. You have to train years and years in comic book world, before you are any good in that particular craft.

There are people in the comic book world, who have transferred their text to movies. It does happen, obviously. But think about it: People like Alan Moore, Frank Miller and Mark Millar always wanted to be comic artists. They worked insanely hard for a very long time before they became popular.

Think of that devotion. And then think how well you are going to stand up against people like that, who have devoted their entire lives to comics. Your first ever attempt at comic book simply isn't going to be on the same level, just as the first spec script by some random dude is not going to be good enough to be turned into a movie.

Now, I'm sure there are exceptions to this rule also. There is always someone who wins in the lottery. But I wouldn't count on winning a lottery, hard work and devotion are more reliable in reaching your goals.

Well said.

fisherman
01-12-2011, 05:51 PM
I hear you, man, I hear you.

In that last post, I was actually talking about novels as in books--like Moby Dick and Scarlett Letter. And yes, you are right, it is difficult to become rich because of a novel selling. However, I think the odds are a little better. Not by much, but a little better.

KodyChamberlain
09-12-2012, 12:12 PM
Some thoughts on the question of comic script format: I've drawn scripts written by Keith Giffen, Jonathan Hickman, Josh Fialkov, David Tischman, Steve Niles, and more. Everyone uses a different format. I also write and draw my own material, and I use the standard screenplay format. I'll explain why in a minute.

Here's a full issue PDF for anyone interested in seeing how I format. LINK (http://kodychamberlain.com/uploads/fun/Sweets_Issue01_KodyChamberlain.pdf)

Here's how I use the various functions:

Act=Issue (I normally write in 5 issue arcs)
1 Scene=1 Comic Page (doesn't apply the script page count, only the comic page count)
Action=Panel description
Dialogue=Text inside balloon


Here's why I use this format: Since the "reveal" in comics happens on the page turn, that means reveals are best placed on even numbered pages, page 2, 4, 6, etc. The cliffhanger of a standard comic would be on page 22, an even numbered page. So writing scenes with scene numbering turned ON helps guide my story reveals and placement of double spreads (if needed). Although with digital tablet readers these days, I almost never do spreads anymore, and reveals can happen on EVERY page turn, not just even numbers. But print still dominates sales, so I take good care of those readers.

Using screenplay format also helps me calculate balloon size by having the dialogue in a very narrow column in the center of the page. I normally letter my own comics, and having the dialogue somewhat resemble the size of the balloon it's a useful guide for the thumbnail and drawing process. Scripts that insert dialogue justified to the left are a little tougher to figure out spatially.

And finally, since my industry (comics) doesn't have a standard format, I can use whatever format I like. With all the interest in from Hollywood these days, it makes sense to use a format the film industry is familiar with.