Saturday, April 25, 2009

Basic Scriptwriting: Teleplay, Comics & Screenplay

I was scheduled to end my vacation in May, but due to the SWINE FLU outbreak in Mexico, I've decided to go home early. Better safe than sorry.

First, let me thank GOSSIP GIRL... er... Heather... (LOL), for answering my emails. Thank you, Miss Dublin, Ireland. Funny how Ireland and The Philippines' music, sentiment, and temperament resemble in many ways.

There were many nasty emails coming from different people and I'd rather let sleeping dogs lie, except for one who advised me to come clean on something, as if I had done an illegal thing, or maybe he thought I run as Vice Mayor of Manila? Well, let me tell you, my friend, I am not Iskho Moreno, but I admired what he did after the mudslinging he endured during the elections. In my case, I am not running for public office, so whatever I do is not important to anybody but to myself.





Another letter that needs attention:


You promised in your blog several months ago that you will tackle the basic principles of scriptwriting. I've waited and waited, but nothing came out. Now I will remind you to please fulfill that promise.

Good luck, good health and God bless you.


David Garcia
Garden Grove, CA

Well David, thank you for reminding me. The basic things sometimes, are the most important in anything.

So, here it goes. I know that not all the people out there are interested in this, but I'll make it quick and dirty. If you guys get something from it, good. If you think you already know everything on this subject, then let's just say that it is a review of what you already know.

• What is the most important thing in a story?
For me, it is the character. Why? Character creates action. Action moves the story forward.

• What are the things involved within a character?
Purpose, or goal. Like any person, a character in a story has a purpose. Good purpose, bad purpose. And when there is purpose, what does it make him do? Work on it. Strive, struggle, pursue.

• When the character pursues something, what does he experience?
Failures, obstacles, successes, triumphs.

• After all these trials, what is the ultimate thing a character must do?
Decide, hoping that the decision he made is the right one. Some character succeed, others fail. Some pursue their goal and would not stop until they win. Others give up and abandon their goals, their dreams.

These are the basic purposes of a character. From the Bible, to great literature and down to comic books, we encounter all these things in a character.

Therefore, when you're creating a character, that character must have a goal, or some kind of philosophy that he believes in. A story without conflict is like a penis that would not get hard. The Aussies would certainly not like that and they'd call you "dry blow".

So make sure that when you create your leading character in your story, give him a goal. Let him struggle to reach that goal. While trying to work to succeed in fulfilling that goal, give him triumphs and obstacles. Build it up by making the trials harder as he goes deeper into the story. Near the end, he will do the so-called "greatest performance of his life" by finally deciding on what he must do to "once-and-for-all" achieve his goal. That decision may make him win... or lose the game.

Many beginning writers are groping in the dark when it involves the technical aspects of scriptwriting. Take note that for any story to make sense and to work as comics, tv or movie (and even stage play), it has to have some sort of paradigm where your story will play wonderfully and beautifully.

Since ancient times, the Greek tragedy was already using this paradigm. Now, we are already in computer age, but the paradigm still works and the reason why we like a movie, a TV series, comics, or stage plays. Look at the image below to illustrate the division of the acts.

Why are the current telenovelas so boring and atrociously nonsensical?
Because the writers seem not to realize that scriptwriting also means time. Every second counts. If they think this way, there's no way in hell they're going to dilly-dally with their scenes and waste the time of the viewers.

Let me give you an example of a one-hour TV script.
We know that one hour is 60 minutes. But if you're a writer, you know that a one-hour TV drama is only 44 minutes script running time. The remaining 16 minutes are used up by COMMERCIALS.
Therefore, your teleplay should be divided this way:

For Comics: If you have 40 pages, divide them as follows:

10 pages - beginning
20 pages - middle
10 pages - ending

For Screenplays: a one hour movie is 120 pages of letter size paper
(8.5 inches x 11 inches)

30 pages - beginning
60 pages - middle
30 pages - end

If you have more questions, just ask me in the comment area and I would gladly answer them.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Toons, Comics, Games Invade Vancouver Art Gallery

Since I am not very knowledgeable on Filipino comics, let me post something comics related. I hope you will find these two articles interesting.

– Heather Rankin

The Vancouver Art Gallery is bringing various forms of popular art together in one exhibition titled KRAZY! The Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art. On view from May 17 to Sept. 7, the exhibit aims to reveal the uniqueness of each medium, while uncovering their histories, interrelations and future trajectories. The installation is co-curated by such influential artists and producers as Maus author Art Spiegelman, The Sims creator Will Wright, comic artist Seth and animated feature film director Tim Johnson (Antz, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Over the Hedge).

“Despite the pervasive presence of these media, little has been done to assess the ties that bind them,” notes Kathleen Bartels, director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. “By offering an interdisciplinary account in a major survey exhibition for the first time, we will illuminate their importance as a sustained cultural force.”

One of the largest exhibitions ever organized by the gallery, KRAZY! will occupy two entire floors of gallery space and is designed in collaboration with Tokyo-based architectural firm Atelier Bow-Wow. Divided into seven sections by medium, the exhibition will include a mini-theatre for viewing animation, immersive video spaces and environments for reading manga, graphic novels and comics. In all, the installation will offer more than 600 works of art, including original sketches, concept drawings, sketchbooks, storyboards, production drawings, films, video games, animation cels, 3D models, sculptures, books and more.

Specific pieces include George Herriman’s last three drawings for Krazy Kat; Lotte Reiniger’s 1927 The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the first feature-length animated film; sneak preview of Will Wright’s new video game, Spore; and a selection of drawings from Yuichi Yokoyama’s latest manga, New Engineering. Also included are works by Moyoco Anno, Lynda Barry, Marcel Broodthaers, Chester Brown, Cao Fei, Milt Gross, Pierre Huyghe, Ichiro Itano, Yoko Kanno, Satoshi Kon, Harvey Kurtzman, John Lasseter, Roy Lichtenstein, Christian Marclay, Winsor McCay, Sid Meier, Shigeru Miyamoto, Junko Mizuno, Mamoru Nagano, Claes Oldenburg, Mamoru Oshii, Katsuhiro Otomo, Nick Park, Raymond Pettibon, Iwatani Toru, Chris Ware and Masaaki Yuasa. Conceived and developed by Vancouver Art Gallery senior curator Bruce Grenville, the KRAZY! will travel to a New York City arts institution in March of 2009.

• • • • • •

Will Eisner Comic Book Award Nominees Announced

Diversity is the rule for the 2009 Will Eisner Comic Comic Book Industry Awards, which announced its nomination in 26 categories today.

The leading projects, garning four nominations apiece, are the graphic novels Skim, Alan’s War, Umbrella Academy, Fables and Madame Xanadu.

Among comic book creators, Emmanuel Guibert and Chris Ware each lead the pack with four nominations for their work. Dark Horse Comics lead the pack among publishers with 13 individual and five shared nominations, followed by DC Comics with 10 individual and two shared noms and Marvel Comics with nine individual and two shared nominations.

The winners will be announced July 24 at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Best Short Story
* Actual Size, by Chris Ware, in Kramers Ergot 7 (Buenaventura Press)
* Chechen War, Chechen Women, by Joe Sacco, in I Live Here (Pantheon)
* Freaks, by Laura Park, in Superior Showcase #3 (AdHouse)
* Glenn Ganges in Pulverize, by Kevin Huizenga, in Ganges #2 (Fantagraphics)
* Murder He Wrote, by Ian Boothby, Nina Matsumoto, and Andrew Pepoy, in The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror #14 (Bongo)

Best Continuing Series
* All Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (DC)
* Fables, by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Niko Henrichon, Andrew Pepoy, and Peter Gross (Vertigo/DC)
* Naoki Urasawa's Monster, by Naoki Urasawa (Viz)
* Thor, by J. Michael Straczynski, Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales, and various (Marvel)
* Usagi Yojimbo, by Stan Sakai (Dark Horse)

Best Limited Series
* Groo: Hell on Earth, by Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier (Dark Horse)
* Hellboy: The Crooked Man, by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben (Dark Horse)
* Lock & Key, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
* Omega the Unknown, by Jonathan Lethem, Karl Rusnak, and Farel Dalrymple (Marvel)
* The Twelve, by J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston (Marvel)

Best New Series
* Air, by G. Willow Wilson and M. K. Perker (Vertigo/DC)
* Echo, by Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)
* Invincible Iron Man, by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca (Marvel)
* Madame Xanadu, by Matt Wagner, Amy Reeder Hadley, and Richard Friend (Vertigo/DC)
* Unknown Soldier, by Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli (Vertigo/DC)

Best Publication for Kids
* Amulet, Book 1: The Stonekeeper, by Kazu Kabuishi (Scholastic Graphix)
* Cowa!, by Akira Toriyama (VIZ)
* Princess at Midnight, by Andi Watson (Image)
* Stinky, by Eleanor Davis (RAW Junior)
* Tiny Titans, by Art Baltazar and Franco (DC)

Best Publication for Teens/Tweens
* Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, adapted by P. Craig Russell (HarperCollins Children's Books)
* Crogan's Vengeance, by Chris Schweizer (Oni)
* The Good Neighbors, Book 1: Kin, by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh (Scholastic Graphix)
* Rapunzel's Revenge, by Shannon and Dean Hale and Nathan Hale (Bloomsbury Children's Books)
* Skim, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (Groundwood Books)

Best Humor Publication
* Arsenic Lullaby Pulp Edition No. Zero, by Douglas Paszkiewicz (Arsenic Lullaby)
* Chumble Spuzz, by Ethan Nicolle (SLG)
* Herbie Archives, by "Sean O'Shea" (Richard E. Hughes) and Ogden Whitney (Dark Horse)
* Petey and Pussy, by John Kerschbaum (Fantagraphics)
* Wondermark: Beards of Our Forefathers, by David Malki ! (Dark Horse)

Best Anthology
* An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories, Vol. 2, edited by Ivan Brunetti (Yale University Press)
* Best American Comics 2008, edited by Lynda Barry (Houghton Mifflin)
* Comic Book Tattoo: Narrative Art Inspired by the Lyrics and Music of Tori Amos, edited by Rantz Hoseley (Image)
* Kramers Ergot 7, edited by Sammy Harkham (Buenaventura Press)
* MySpace Dark Horse Presents, edited by Scott Allie and Sierra Hahn (Dark Horse)

Best Digital Comic
* Bodyworld, by Dash Shaw
* Finder, by Carla Speed McNeil
* The Lady's Murder, by Eliza Frye
* Speak No Evil: Melancholy of a Space Mexican, by Elan Trinidad
* Vs., by Alexis Sottile & Joe Infurnari

Best Reality-Based Work
* Alan's War, by Emmanuel Guibert (First Second)
* Blue Pills: A Positive Love Story, by Frederik Peeters (Houghton Mifflin)
* Fishtown, by Kevin Colden (IDW)
* A Treasury of XXth Century Murder: The Lindbergh Child, by Rick Geary (NBM)
* What It Is, by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Graphic Album — New
* Alan's War, by Emmanuel Guibert (First Second)
* Paul Goes Fishing, by Michel Rabagliati (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Skim, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (Groundwood Books)
* Swallow Me Whole, by Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
* Three Shadows, by Cyril Pedrosa (First Second)

Best Graphic Album — Reprint
* Berlin Book 2: City of Smoke, by Jason Lutes (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Hellboy Library Edition, Vols. 1-2, by Mike Mignola (Dark Horse)
* Sam & Max Surfin' the Highway Anniversary Edition HC, by Steve Purcell (Telltale Games)
* Skyscrapers of the Midwest, by Joshua W. Cotter (AdHouse)
* The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite, deluxe edition, by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba (Dark Horse)

Best Archival Collection/Project — Strips
* The Complete Little Orphan Annie, by Harold Gray (IDW)
* Explainers, by Jules Feiffer (Fantagraphics)
* Little Nemo in Slumberland, Many More Splendid Sundays, by Winsor McCay (Sunday Press Books)
* Scorchy Smith and the Art of Noel Sickles (IDW)
* Willie & Joe, by Bill Mauldin (Fantagraphics)

Best Archival Collection/Project — Comic Books
* Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!, by Art Spiegelman (Pantheon)
* Creepy Archives, by Various (Dark Horse)
* Elektra Omnibus, by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz (Marvel)
* Good-Bye, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Herbie Archives, by "Sean O'Shea" (Richard E. Hughes) and Ogden Whitney (Dark Horse)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
* Alan's War, by Emmanuel Guibert (First Second)
* Gus and His Gang, by Chris Blain (First Second)
* The Last Musketeer, by Jason (Fantagraphics)
* The Rabbi's Cat 2, by Joann Sfar (Pantheon)
* Tamara Drewe, by Posy Simmonds (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material — Japan
* Cat Eyed Boy, by Kazuo Umezu (VIZ)
* Dororo, by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical)
* Naoki Urasawa's Monster, by Naoki Urasawa (VIZ)
* The Quest for the Missing Girl, by Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* Solanin, by Inio Asano (VIZ)

Best Writer
* Joe Hill, Lock & Key (IDW)
* J. Michael Straczynski, Thor, The Twelve (Marvel)
* Mariko Tamaki, Skim (Groundwood Books)
* Matt Wagner, Zorro (Dynamite); Madame Xanadu (Vertigo/DC)
* Bill Willingham, Fables, House of Mystery (Vertigo/DC)

Best Writer/Artist
* Rick Geary, A Treasury of XXth Century Murder: The Lindbergh Child (NBM); J. Edgar Hoover (Hill & Wang)
* Emmanuel Guibert, Alan's War (First Second)
* Jason Lutes, Berlin (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Cyril Pedrosa, Three Shadows (First Second)
* Nate Powell, Swallow Me Whole (Top Shelf)
* Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library (Acme)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
* Gabriel Ba, The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse)
* Mark Buckingham/Steve Leialoha, Fables (Vertigo/DC)
* Olivier Coipel/Mark Morales, Thor (Marvel)
* Guy Davis, BPRD (Dark Horse)
* Amy Reeder Hadley/Richard Friend, Madame Xanadu (Vertigo/DC)
* Jillian Tamaki, Skim (Groundwood Books)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist
* Lynda Barry, What It Is (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Eddie Campbell, The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard (First Second)
* Enrico Casarosa, The Venice Chronicles (Atelier Fio/AdHouse)
* Scott Morse, Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! (Red Window)
* Jill Thompson, Magic Trixie, Magic Trixie Sleeps Over (HarperCollins Children's Books)

Best Cover Artist
* Gabriel Ba, Casanova (Image); The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse)
* Jo Chen, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity (Dark Horse); Runaways (Marvel)
* Amy Reeder Hadley, Madame Xanadu (Vertigo/DC)
* James Jean, Fables (Vertigo/DC); The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse)
* Matt Wagner, Zorro (Dynamite); Grendel: Behold the Devil (Dark Horse)

Best Coloring
* Steve Hamaker, Bone: Ghost Circles, Bone: Treasure Hunters (Scholastic Graphix)
* Trish Mulvihill, Joker (DC), 100 Bullets (Vertigo/DC)
* Val Staples, Criminal, Incognito (Marvel Icon)
* Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien: The Drowning, BPRD, The Goon, Hellboy, Solomon Kane, The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse); Body Bags (Image); Captain America: White (Marvel)
* Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #19 (Acme)

Best Lettering
* Faryl Dalrymple, Omega: The Unknown (Marvel)
* Jimmy Gownley, Amelia Rules! (Renaissance)
* Scott Morse, Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! (Red Window)
* Nate Powell, Swallow Me Whole (Top Shelf)
* Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #19 (Acme)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
* Comic Book Resources, produced by Jonah Weiland
* The Comics Journal, edited by Gary Groth, Michael Dean, and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)
* The Comics Reporter, produced by Tom Spurgeon and Jordan Raphael
* Comics Comics, edited by Timothy Hodler and Dan Nadel (PictureBox)

Best Comics-Related Book
* Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front, by Todd DePastino (Norton)
* Brush with Passion: The Art and Life of Dave Stevens, edited by Arnie and Cathy Fenner (Underwood)
* Drawing Words and Writing Pictures, by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden (First Second)
* Kirby: King of Comics, by Mark Evanier (Abrams)
* The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America, by David Hajdu (Picador/Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Best Publication Design
* Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! designed by Art Spiegelman (Pantheon)
* Comic Book Tattoo, designed by Tom Muller, art direction by Rantz Hoseley (Image)
* Hellboy Library Editions, designed by Cary Grazzini and Mike Mignola (Dark Horse)
* What It Is, designed by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Willie and Joe, designed by Jacob Covey (Fantagraphics)

There you go, folks. Linda Barry, a Filipino cartoonist, is becoming unstoppable. I hope she wins!