Dec 03 2008

Do you want to write comic books? We need a sample script

Today, I received an e-mail from a prospective comic-book artist.  He said that, as part of his application process, his employer wanted him to illustrate a 24-page story.  But he doesn’t have a script.  Would you like to do a sample script for him?  As a sign of my appreciation, I’d be willing to help review your script, which will help you eventually sell your script to a publisher. If you’re not sure how to write a script, Dark Horse Comics has some formatting tips here.

The artist would really appreciate if your script included each of the following:

  • An action sequence (such as a fight, a heated argument or a chase scene).
  • A close-up on faces for emotional effect.
  • At least one cityscape, such as a zoomed out shot of an urban skyline.
  • One male and one female character. (These only need to appear once, so that he can demonstrate his grasp of anatomy).
  • An instance of fire or explosions. (This artist is very confident in his ability to illustrate fire, so he’d like to show that off).

If you’d like to participate, please e-mail me at superheronation[AT[gmail[DOT]com.  Thanks for your help!

Legal details: Allowing the artist to use your work for his application would not affect your legal ownership of the script or your exclusive rights to it in any way.

21 responses so far

21 Responses to “Do you want to write comic books? We need a sample script”

  1. Ragged Boyon 05 Dec 2008 at 8:45 am

    What level of skill is he looking for?

  2. B. Macon 05 Dec 2008 at 10:19 am

    I wouldn’t worry too much about script quality. Beggars can’t be choosers; you get what you pay for… pick your proverb. If you’d like to get this published, obviously do as well as you can, but I’d recommend thinking of this as just a rough draft.

    It’s easier to revise a draft into something publishable than writing something publishable on the first try. That just doesn’t happen.

  3. Ragged Boyon 05 Dec 2008 at 10:24 am

    I’ll go for it!

  4. Ragged Boyon 05 Dec 2008 at 10:24 am

    So the story is up to me.

  5. Ragged Boyon 05 Dec 2008 at 10:34 am

    I have alot of questions now.

    How much of the story is negotiable with the author? or is it all me?

    24 pages?

    How long should the sample be?

    Don’t worry I’ll try my best to accomodate the artiist’s needs. Could you email me instead?

  6. B. Macon 05 Dec 2008 at 11:12 am

    He had five requests, but other than that the story is up to you. If you wanted to turn your story about Adrian into a comic book, I think that would work fine.

    1) an action sequence

    2) an emotional close-up

    3) a city scape

    4) at least one male character and one female character

    5) fire or explosions

    If you’d like to submit this to publishers, my main suggestion is that you give readers enough of the story that they will want to buy the next comic. So we’d probably have to feel like something has definitely happened. For example, the character might have met with the aliens for the first time, or actually gotten his powers, or whatever.

  7. B. Macon 05 Dec 2008 at 11:27 am

    Dark Horse Comics had a few other recommendations/guidelines that you might find useful.

    –Limit each panel to a max of 50 words for dialogue and/or captions.

    –They’d like each bubble of dialogue/caption/thoughts to have at most ~25 words. (If the character speaks for 50 words, then they’ll just use two bubbles. Please pace your dialogue so that it can be divided into two bubbles accordingly).

    –In action sequences, try to limit yourself to 4 panels per page. Give the artist more space to work.

    –If there’s something you’d really like to see in the art for a particular panel, make sure to let the artist know. Anything you fail to spell out to the artist is left up to the artist’s discretion.

    –Try to tell as much of the story as possible through visuals.

  8. Ragged Boyon 05 Dec 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Based on his needs, I doubt I need to start at the beginning of the story, I think I’ll start with a planning scene and then move into a fast paced action scene. I think I’ll use Adrian’s story. I’ll give him his exosuit and some tech, he fight along side a fellow competitor and at one point consult Jimelly on communication device. I don’t know how well he is at water, so I’ll just keep it at technology. I’m really looking forward to this.

    Is there anyway I can contact the artist?

  9. Ragged Boyon 05 Dec 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Also, on the first page of the script would it be necessary to tell the artist a little of the backstory?

  10. B. Macon 05 Dec 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Normally, a script wouldn’t include backstory. However, if you’re giving him a script for what’s essentially issue #2 or #3 of your story, then a brief synopsis of what he missed up to that point would probably be useful.

    I will e-mail him, but I’m pretty sure that it would be at least as useful for him (and maybe more useful for you) to do a script for your first issue. After all, if you try selling your story to a comic book company, they’d probably be most concerned about what happened in issue #1.

  11. Ragged Boyon 05 Dec 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Ok, I can do that.

  12. B. Macon 05 Dec 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Good luck.

  13. Ragged Boyon 06 Dec 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Writing a comic book script is a painstaking process, and even though the guy found someone else, I “may” write my story in comic format. I think I’d be easier for me, seeing as a lot of my ideas are very visual.

    I think I’ll write the comic script, the hardest part in my opinion is describing the pictures and placing panels. That’s a serious visualization task, I’m up for it though.

    I’ll definitely need your help, wish me luck. Adjusting to comic script will take time.

    Pow right in the kisser!!!

  14. Ragged Boyon 06 Dec 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I’m very interested in sending my finished work to Image Comics.

  15. B. Macon 06 Dec 2008 at 7:02 pm

    OK, but Image says on its submissions page that it won’t accept scripts unless they are accompanied by at least five inked pages. The good news is that they don’t require color for submissions, but you’d still need to find an ink artist. My guess is that 5 inked pages from a talented amateur would probably cost maybe, umm, $150-200?

    Moreover, and what may be worse, Image wants the pages to be inked by the person who will actually be working on your team. This is what they say…
    The creative team in your pitch is the one we expect to see actually working on your book. It is NOT okay to pitch a book and say it will be written by Alan Moore and drawn by Joe Madureira and then switch to another creative team. If the artist you pitched with leaves the team, go back to the end of the line and start over. This also means that on all ongoing titles, we need to be made aware of and approve ALL changes in the creative team. It’s NOT okay to have six pages in issue #1 drawn by some hotshot while some guy off the street draws the rest of it.”

    So you’d not only have to get an artist on board to help you do a submission, but you’d also have to get someone that you’d actually feel comfortable having as a professional partner.

  16. Ragged Boyon 06 Dec 2008 at 7:40 pm

    I’ll work it out, I still have along way to go anyway.

  17. B. Macon 06 Dec 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Good luck! I’m doing a script for Dark Horse. Hopefully that will turn out smoothly. The formatting for comic-book scripts is very strange to me.

  18. Ragged Boyon 06 Dec 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Me too, I find this site helpful for examples. Some of them look alot more complicated than the others. I find the Teen Titans script by Geoff John easiest to read and visualize.

  19. Ragged Boyon 07 Dec 2008 at 7:13 am

    I think somewhere over the course of writing my script, I’ll go and learn how to ink drawings.

    I may consider submitting to Dark Horse, but I think Image would respect my creativity more. I can’t be sure of that allegation, though, so whichever is more convenient for the time being.

  20. Ragged Boyon 07 Dec 2008 at 7:15 am

    I, however, will probably use a different story than Adrian’s original, I’ll still use his character but I may change the storyline and his powers to make it more superhero-esque

  21. Ragged Boyon 07 Dec 2008 at 7:17 am

    Actually, I may keep his powers, I’m not really sure as of now.

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