THE BROADCAST: Anatomy of a Scene, Part 5

So we’ve gone through all the motions. Script, layouts, artwork, a new script. After all that, this is what the final result looks like:

For me this moment is always somewhat bittersweet.

There’s nothing better than seeing your story come together. At the same time, this is when I have to lock it in and move on to the next scene. No more scripting, no more notes for Noel. This is the point where I have to let go and be happy with the work we’ve done. Probably the most difficult step of all.

THE BROADCAST should hit shelves in comic stores next week, but you can still pre-order through the NBM website.

THE BROADCAST: Anatomy of a Scene, Part 4

Once Noel’s finished his work on a scene it’s time for me to go in and give the dialogue one final polish (I’m something of a perfectionist). Sometimes I don’t need to make changes at all. Usually, however, I do.

For instance, this scene saw the addition of one or two panels on each page. Obviously this means I need to review the dialogue’s placement, making sure it’s still appropriate given the page’s new layout.

From there I want to make sure the dialogue compliments the art. Sometimes Noel’s work isn’t exactly what I pictured in my head. Sometimes it will say enough that I can delete some dialogue. Other times, I need to add a line or two for clarity.

This scene saw a few minor tweaks. The biggest came on page 66. You may remember that initially there was no dialogue in the first panel. When I saw it, however, I didn’t think reader’s would understand the old man was coming out of his desk because he was angry and felt the addition of a line or two was called for.

Once I’ve finished tweaking everything I send a “lettering script” to my letterer with the art. He takes it from there.

Here’s a look at what one of these shortened scripts looks like…

****

PAGE SIXTY-FIVE

PANEL THREE:

Dawson (standing): PLEASE, TIM. YOURS IS THE ONLY HOUSE WITH A STORM SHELTER FOR TWENTY MILES.

TOM (on left): THE CHURCH IN TOWN HAS A CELLAR.

JACOB (far right): AN’ IT’S FILLED TEN TIMES OVER BY NOW.

PANEL FOUR:

TOM: I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU TWO WANT, I DO. BUT UNTIL MY DAUGHTER IS SAVE NONE OF THIS IS GOING TO BE OPEN FOR DISCUSSION.

PANEL FIVE:

JACOB: BUT MY DAUGHTER’S HERE.

TOM (off panel): I KNOW THAT, JACOB.

PANEL SIX:

DAWSON: CAN YOU LET US DOWN FOR NOW? AS SOON AS KIM SHOWS, WE’LL–

TOM (off panel): IT’S NOT GOING TO BE THAT EASY.

PANEL SEVEN:

JACOB: GODDAMNIT, SHARDER!

PAGE SIXTY-SIX

PANEL ONE:

TOM: YOU KNOW? I THINK I’VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF THIS!

PANEL TWO:

KIM (off panel): DAD!

PANEL THREE:

TOM (far right): OH, THANK GOD.

PANEL FOUR:

KIM: IF I’D KNOWN…

TOM: I KNOW, SWEETHEART.

PANEL SEVEN:

JACOB: YOU TWO JUST REMEMBER WHO WAS HERE FIRST.

****

Don’t forget to pre-order. Also, ELK’S RUN, the book Noel did with Random House, is available for just $10 in the NBM store. Definitely worth a look.

THE BROADCAST: Anatomy of a Scene, Part 3

This one doesn’t require much explanation. Once Noel and I are both happy with the layouts, he goes to work. A few weeks later, I end up with something like this waiting in my inbox…

I know, I know. Someone shouldn’t get to work with an artist THIS talented on their first book. But hey, someone has to be the exception that proves the rule. Might as well be me. 😉

Be sure to pre-order your copy of THE BROADCAST today. Time is running out!

THE BROADCAST: Anatomy of a Scene, Part 2

Yesterday I shared an excerpt from THE BROADCAST’s script, today I want to give you a look at the next step — layouts.

Essentially, Noel takes the script and does a very rough version of the illustrated page. It’s a vital step in the process because it gives us a chance to make sure the story is being told visually.

While you want the art to work hand-in-hand with the dialogue that will eventually be included, a good artist will tell the story without a word on the page. Just look at the first set of layouts…

Already, we know three men are meeting behind closed doors (see how Noel stuck that panel in — and rightfully so).

We know that two of these guys are here to see the old man, and we know they’re pressing him about something (see how one of them is leaning forward, hands on the desk?)

We know it isn’t going well. Just look at the body language in panel five. Even in these rough drawings you can see he is getting upset.

And finally, we know the situation reaches a boiling point when the young guy finally snaps and pounds a fist onto the desk.

You’ll notice Noel added two panels to the second page. The last panel is a particularly important addition.

I initially wrote this page to end with Jacob’s dirty look — but showing Gavin and Eli as they watch Jacob storm away is a far stronger moment to end with. After all, Gavin and Eli are two of our most important characters. Leaving this scene without showing their dumbfounded reaction would have been a huge mistake.

THE BROADCAST: Anatomy of a Scene, Part 1

This week I wanted to give a behind-the-scenes look at how Noel and I collaborated on THE BROADCAST.

Below I’ve attached a small script excerpt that takes place near the beginning of the book’s second act. I’d love to tell you this is the first step in the creative process, but I’m just not that good. The truth is, this is what my scripts look like after endless outlining, note-taking and re-writing.

You’ll notice I use a sparse writing style, and it’s a very deliberate move on my part. While I usually have an idea how a panel should look, the truth is I try to give the artist as little description as possible. After all, he’s probably going to have better ideas on how the story should be told visually — why am I going to handcuff him with a list of things he “HAS” to include?

***

PAGE SIXTY-FIVE

PANEL ONE:

Emma and Sharon share a couch in the Shrader living room, three children crammed between them.

PANEL TWO:

Tom sits calmly behind his desk as Jacob and Dawson try to plead their case.

Jacob is in a chair. Dawson stands. The old man’s fingers are steepled in front of him.

DAWSON: PLEASE, TOM. YOURS IS THE ONLY HOUSE WITH A STORM SHELTER FOR TWENTY MILES.

TOM: THE CHURCH IN TOWN HAS A CELLAR.

JACOB: AN’ IT’S FILLED TEN TIMES OVER BY NOW.

PANEL THREE:

Tom leans forward.

TOM: I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU TWO WANT, I DO. BUT UNTIL MY DAUGHTER IS SAFE NONE OF THIS IS OPEN FOR DISCUSSION.

PANEL FOUR:

Jacob fights to keep his anger at bay.

JACOB: BUT MY DAUGHTER’S HERE.

TOM (off panel, softly): I KNOW THAT, JACOB.

PANEL FIVE:

Dawson’s talking to Tom but has his eyes on Jacob as he does. He wants to make sure Jacob doesn’t lose his cool.

DAWSON: CAN YOU LET US DOWN FOR NOW? AS SOON AS KIM SHOWS, WE’LL…

TOM: IT’S NOT GOING TO BE THAT EASY.

PANEL SIX:

Jacob slams his fist down on the desk. It catches everyone off guard. They jump back from the outburst.

JACOB: GOD DAMN IT, SHRADER!

PAGE SIXTY-SIX

PANEL ONE:

Tom comes out of his seat, enraged and ready to let Jacob have it.

PANEL TWO:

Dawson comes between the two as Tom rounds the desk. He has a hand up to each man, hoping he can stop them both.

KIM (off panel): DAD!

PANEL THREE:

All three men turn to see Kim coming into the room.

TOM: OH, THANK GOD.

PANEL FOUR:

Kim and her father embrace.

KIM: IF I’D KNOWN…

TOM: I KNOW, SWEETHEART.

PANEL FIVE:

Jacob looks over at Gavin and Eli who just appeared in the doorway. He doesn’t look happy.

PANEL SIX:

Fuming, Jacob storms out of the room. He eyes Gavin and Eli as he goes.

JACOB: YOU TWO JUST REMEMBER WHO GOT HERE FIRST.

****

Time is running out! Be sure to pre-order your copy of THE BROADCAST!