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Strip 311, Volume 3, Page 12


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< Piro >


"scripting woes"

Monday - September 16, 2002

[Piro] - 00:31:01 - [link here]


Ok, pure and simple, no whining, no apologizing, and as such i don't wanna hear any bitching :P Comic schedule this week is sorts nudged forward a day - still gonna have 3 comics, but they are going to fall on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Two reasons for this - I spent a lot of time at the office this weekend working to help hit Monday's deadline, and ... i flat out was not happy with today's script.

Scripting is probably one of the most intangible part of writing a web comic. On the surface, it looks like its the easiest part - a typical script looks something like this:

----[ROW - 2]----....[frame 1](Yuki has springs up behind him, piro freaks out.)Yuki:  ohayo, piro-sensei!!Piro:  Waaagh!!

Pretty simple, right? Not really. I can usually figure out how long it takes to draw 8 drawings, how long it takes to clean them up, how long it takes to finish the comic in illustrator, etc. When I have to estimate how long it takes to write a script? I have no idea.

A script for a comic starts from two sources - first, you have to have some kind of vision in your mind what the comic is going to be, what is going to happen, how it will look, what you want to say. Secondly, you have to think about both the past and the present - how does the comic fit in the flow from last weeks comics to this weeks - things i do now, will effect what i can or cannot do in the future.

That being said, i've had times where i've spent an entire day on a single script. I've put other scripts together in the car waiting to pick up seraphim from work and they come out great. A lot of times, the script isn't finished... i sit here at 3am pondering what the final lines need to be. This is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, its a good thing. Scripts must be flexible - they have to react to the art, the dialogue has to be flexible enough to work with the drawings that you produce. It's a weird chicken-and-egg problem. Sketches influence the script, the script prompts the sketches which in turn influence the script again. Add a layer of 3am blurriness to it and you get a typical Megatokyo comic. Hell, there have been times that i've done all the art and had no idea what the dialogue would be - felt like i was playing ad-libs. :P

Is this bad? No, its not. Comics are not about sitting down and writing a script, then just doing drawings for it. Drawings are part of the communication, part of the language itself. If the text isn't flexible, you leave out a lot of potential to tweak dialogue to match something in the drawing that may have come forward that you didn't plan.

The bad thing is that sometimes, there is nothing you can do to feel good about a script. I spent 3 hrs working on the script today, and at the end, i decided to scrap it. Starting from scratch, and a different perspective, it still is taking time to get it to work. Writers block? A little. I'm trying to do a little too much with the next few comics, which is part of the problem. By the time 9pm rolled around, and i was still working on the script... i could see the writing on the wall. So, rather than get too worked up about it, i decided to just push the schedule up a day, put up a little fredart sketch.

Anyways, at least i seem to be back into the habit of writing rants. :P I've been re-discovering a lot of old anime music i haven't listened to in ages, most of this is the fault of my new MP3 player - i picked up a I-river Slim-X (my office computer doesn't have a sound card, so i finally sad the hell with it and got myself a MP3 player :P) Works pretty nice, actually. The controls are a little cheezy feeling, but it works well, and once you figure out how to navigate, its not that bad.

I came thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to finally buying a Nintendo Game Cube today. Seraphim is a MAJOR Puzzle Bobble adict (they call the game 'Bust a Move" here in the states) and she felt the need to play the Nintendo 64 version (Bust-a-Move 2). So, i found myself digging in the closet and unearthing the old N64 console only to find that i had no video cable anymore. I was delighted to find out from Dom that the video connection for the Game Cube and the N64 were the same, so i figured that we'd run to the store, grab a game cube and whee! Off we go.

Wouldn't you just know it'd be my luck that the goddamn store would have a Gamecube video connector. "thats all we need, right?" "well, yeah, but..."

I guess its all for the best. I think getting that GameCube would have meant more delays in the comics - i'm bad enough as it is. (sigh)

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< Dom >

Oop ack!

"A minute clicking of little wheels"

Tuesday - September 17, 2002

[Dom] - 01:15:00 - [link here]

So this week is, again, a busy week. I spent much of the non-football-watching portions of Sunday trying to browbeat a script out of Fred (futilely, but I at least made progress), and with one of the staffers in my department on a month-long vacation, I'm shouldering a little more of the burden than usual. Deadlines creep up on me again, and what do I do in this situation?

I get really contradictory. I've spent the last few days alternately desperately searching for something to do, or avoiding anything that looks the slightest bit productive. Sometimes I do both at the same time, in the great art of procrastinating through semi-useful tasks.

Ranting's one of these semi-useful tasks.

My relationship to MT and to my job is funny, though. While it's a damn lot of fun working on these things, it warps my perception of other things in the same vein. For example, video games get run through a pretty vigorous gauntlet before I decide whether or not I like them, which kind of makes me a video game snob now--though I'll still play games I deem mediocre, just to fill in time, and sometimes to be able to complain about how good they'd be if they developers had done {X}, where X is the set of actions they could take to improve the game. Similarly, reading comic books has become a game of Spot the Innovative Layout, which is why, unlike many people I've talked to, I (gasp!) like what Frank Miller did with DK2, even if the writing and art weren't as good as Dark Knight Returns. It's the same game with Identify the Metaphor, a game I got used to after over half a decade of literary training.

But enough of that! On to the games that I believe will devour my soul.

First on the list is Super Monkey Ball 2, which I'm still refusing to buy during the busy season, because I'll spend too much time unlocking Monkey Tennis and Monkey Shoot to get anything done. They've improved on Super Monkey Ball so much that I don't feel the need to pull out the original ever again--simultaneous Monkey Target, more varied arenas in Monkey Fight, the whacked-out lanes in Monkey Bowling, and, of course, the fabled Ei-Ei-Poo song. Dammit, I also need to make (or browbeat someone into making) my Misheard Lyrics "The Monkey's Down with the Sickness" music video. So many pipe dreams, so little attention span!

The next is Animal Crossing/Doubutsu no Mori, which has already devoured two of my co-workers. It sounds like The Sims, but with surrealia instead of Suburbia as its setting. Some of the stories my co-workers are telling are... just so strange. At lunch today, I was regaled with the tale of how someone received a satellite in the mail--which was immediately topped by the lunar base sitting in the living room of another co-worker's Animal Crossing house. Or about the 6 AM aerobics, the exciting prospects of getting new shovels and fruits, and special hats. I'm more intrigued than I should be, and I wish I could plant sacks of money in my background and have them turn into money trees... ach. It's like a less insulting city of Seamen, with The Sims and Harvest Moon thrown in.

Meanwhile, Tekki/Steel Battalion is coming to the office soon... many people I know are intimidated by the controller and the price point, so apparently I get to be their monkey's paw. That, or I get to taunt them--either way, I hopefully will get some face time with the mech simulator people are talking about in hushed whispers or outright disbelief...

Alright, back to being useful. Later!


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