Page 1

10yearbook-CONTINUED.qxd:Layout 1

C

O

4/2/09

N

T

3:28 PM

I

Page 16

N

U

I

N

G

THE FIRST DECADE

C

H

A

P

T

E

16 R


10yearbook-FULL.qxd:Layout 1

3/19/09

9:33 AM

Page 216

16 IDWAT THE

C

H

A

P

T

E

R

MOVIES

Although the genres appear vastly different on the surface,

fans of comics and fans of motion pictures share a strong common bond... the love of visual storytelling. Pacing,

viewing angles, lighting for dramatic effect... all these are

shared elements, and IDW has recognized and explored

this link over our history.

However, true to our core ideals, we haven’t grabbed blindly at franchises, seeking the ones with blockbuster box-office potential. Instead, we’ve done comics based on films we really believed in, ones that we thought would look as great on the printed page as they did on the silver screen. But how does a film make that transition? Although there is no standard–each project is totally different, and each film is an independent entity–Kris Oprisko provides a rough step-by-step guide to the process: _________________________________ The Devil’s Rejects, art by Mike Lopez.

217


10yearbook-FULL.qxd:Layout 1

3/19/09

9:33 AM

Page 216

16 IDWAT THE

C

H

A

P

T

E

R

MOVIES

Although the genres appear vastly different on the surface,

fans of comics and fans of motion pictures share a strong common bond... the love of visual storytelling. Pacing,

viewing angles, lighting for dramatic effect... all these are

shared elements, and IDW has recognized and explored

this link over our history.

However, true to our core ideals, we haven’t grabbed blindly at franchises, seeking the ones with blockbuster box-office potential. Instead, we’ve done comics based on films we really believed in, ones that we thought would look as great on the printed page as they did on the silver screen. But how does a film make that transition? Although there is no standard–each project is totally different, and each film is an independent entity–Kris Oprisko provides a rough step-by-step guide to the process: _________________________________ The Devil’s Rejects, art by Mike Lopez.

217


10yearbook-FULL.qxd:Layout 1

3/19/09

9:33 AM

Page 218

Step One: That Looks Cool! Exploration & Discovery In the case of 30 Days of Night, the comic came before the movie. But with our other movie properties, we had to discover the right fit, that special project that just made sense as a comic. Our interest in a movie property usually starts in one of two ways. The first way begins when the general buzz surrounding a project permeates the Internet and something sounds like it could be a good IDW comic. This by necessity needs to be pre-production or very early production buzz, since we need time to complete the comic in time to bring it to the market concurrently with the movie’s release. We then look to what studio is producing the movie. Through the many, many pitch meetings that Ted has taken in L.A., both in the 30 Days era and beyond, IDW has amassed an impressive array of Hollywood contacts. Then there’s CAA, our management company, who is connected to anyone who is anyone in the business. Through this network, we find out who we need to talk to. These same sources also constitute the second way movies are brought to our attention. Our web of 218

Hollywood contacts know their business inside and out, and also know our strengths and our style. With these facts in mind, they often suggest upcoming film projects that they think would be a good match. In some cases, the producers themselves are comic fans, or want to see their story in our medium, and will reach out to us about working together. As to the type of film we are looking for, we have followed a path similar to our comics in general. That is, we built on our strong horror roots in the publishing world by expanding into scary movies. Luck would have it that a resurgence of interest in horror films in general, which had ebbed since its ’80s heyday, coincided with our entry into comicbook publishing. What’s more, we look for a certain mood, a certain feeling, that we know we can capture. We generally have a few artists in mind from the get-go (see Step Four), and we also need to remember that not all movies are easily adaptable to the form. For instance, a super-creepy horror flick that is psychologically rather than action-based may just not translate into comics, no matter how great the source material is.

Step Two: Let’s Make a Deal Obtaining the Rights So we know the movie we are interested in, and we’ve got by the first step of determining who we need to talk to. Next comes the negotiations over obtaining the rights. Of course, there is always the issue of money, and at times the price is just too high and our interest ends there. But often the studios recognize the benefit of having their film get a wider release in another medium. Or, in the case of prequels or “world of ” books (stories that take place in the world of the films without being a part of the official mythology), creators have further stories to tell, and thus don’t want to get hung up over money. But besides the obvious financial terms to be negotiated, other important but not-so-obvious parameters are set at this stage that have a huge effect on the project as a whole. The first of these concerns timing. Movies have such a short window to capture the public’s attention that it is absolutely essential that the comics be timed perfectly... although a book arriving before the movie can serve to stoke interest, if it arrives too early it will be unknown and won’t make an impression. Similarly, a book that comes out

too late can be doomed, if the fickle tastes of the public have already moved on to the next thing. Two other factors whose importance can’t be understated are access to materials and likeness rights. These are things most people never think about, but a bad relationship regarding either matter can kill a project faster than anything else. Access to materials simply means being given the tools that we need to accomplish the job. This encompasses stills of the locations, character shots for costume purposes, and drawings or shots of any pertinent special effects (like monsters!). It also means getting the script from which we’ll work, hopefully in its final version, as soon as possible. If the script is not final and is later modified, we have to make sure we are notified immediately, in order to shift course if possible. Sometimes we get changes that are just too late to implement, although this is rare. Likeness rights refers to whether or not the actors involved in the project have the right to approve their look in the book, above and beyond the usual studio approvals. ________________________________________________ Posters of movies that have become IDW comic books.

219


10yearbook-FULL.qxd:Layout 1

3/19/09

9:33 AM

Page 218

Step One: That Looks Cool! Exploration & Discovery In the case of 30 Days of Night, the comic came before the movie. But with our other movie properties, we had to discover the right fit, that special project that just made sense as a comic. Our interest in a movie property usually starts in one of two ways. The first way begins when the general buzz surrounding a project permeates the Internet and something sounds like it could be a good IDW comic. This by necessity needs to be pre-production or very early production buzz, since we need time to complete the comic in time to bring it to the market concurrently with the movie’s release. We then look to what studio is producing the movie. Through the many, many pitch meetings that Ted has taken in L.A., both in the 30 Days era and beyond, IDW has amassed an impressive array of Hollywood contacts. Then there’s CAA, our management company, who is connected to anyone who is anyone in the business. Through this network, we find out who we need to talk to. These same sources also constitute the second way movies are brought to our attention. Our web of 218

Hollywood contacts know their business inside and out, and also know our strengths and our style. With these facts in mind, they often suggest upcoming film projects that they think would be a good match. In some cases, the producers themselves are comic fans, or want to see their story in our medium, and will reach out to us about working together. As to the type of film we are looking for, we have followed a path similar to our comics in general. That is, we built on our strong horror roots in the publishing world by expanding into scary movies. Luck would have it that a resurgence of interest in horror films in general, which had ebbed since its ’80s heyday, coincided with our entry into comicbook publishing. What’s more, we look for a certain mood, a certain feeling, that we know we can capture. We generally have a few artists in mind from the get-go (see Step Four), and we also need to remember that not all movies are easily adaptable to the form. For instance, a super-creepy horror flick that is psychologically rather than action-based may just not translate into comics, no matter how great the source material is.

Step Two: Let’s Make a Deal Obtaining the Rights So we know the movie we are interested in, and we’ve got by the first step of determining who we need to talk to. Next comes the negotiations over obtaining the rights. Of course, there is always the issue of money, and at times the price is just too high and our interest ends there. But often the studios recognize the benefit of having their film get a wider release in another medium. Or, in the case of prequels or “world of ” books (stories that take place in the world of the films without being a part of the official mythology), creators have further stories to tell, and thus don’t want to get hung up over money. But besides the obvious financial terms to be negotiated, other important but not-so-obvious parameters are set at this stage that have a huge effect on the project as a whole. The first of these concerns timing. Movies have such a short window to capture the public’s attention that it is absolutely essential that the comics be timed perfectly... although a book arriving before the movie can serve to stoke interest, if it arrives too early it will be unknown and won’t make an impression. Similarly, a book that comes out

too late can be doomed, if the fickle tastes of the public have already moved on to the next thing. Two other factors whose importance can’t be understated are access to materials and likeness rights. These are things most people never think about, but a bad relationship regarding either matter can kill a project faster than anything else. Access to materials simply means being given the tools that we need to accomplish the job. This encompasses stills of the locations, character shots for costume purposes, and drawings or shots of any pertinent special effects (like monsters!). It also means getting the script from which we’ll work, hopefully in its final version, as soon as possible. If the script is not final and is later modified, we have to make sure we are notified immediately, in order to shift course if possible. Sometimes we get changes that are just too late to implement, although this is rare. Likeness rights refers to whether or not the actors involved in the project have the right to approve their look in the book, above and beyond the usual studio approvals. ________________________________________________ Posters of movies that have become IDW comic books.

219


10yearbook-FULL.qxd:Layout 1

3/19/09

9:33 AM

Page 220

Step Four: Setting the Mood Attaching Artists

Step Three: Story Time Scripting Now that the parameters have been set, the creative work can begin. First, the determination is made whether to go out of house for a writer. Many times it never makes it that far, and the writing will stay in-house, meaning it will be written by a full-time IDW employee. If the book is a prequel or “world of ” book, the first job of the writer is to talk with the producers or creative talent behind the movie property, to find out what additional stories there are to be told, and more importantly, what stories CAN’T be told. Many times the studios have hopes for sequels and want to hold back certain plot points for use in future movies… those are off limits to us. Then, using that information, the writer will come up with a brief synopsis, generally a page or two, laying out the action for the comic or miniseries. Once this receives studio approval, a full script is written and passed to the artists. 220

____________________________________ Sample script from Underworld: Evolution.

However, if the book is a movie adaptation, the process is a bit different. The writer works from the movie script itself, adapting it to best effect in the comic format. This usually means figuring out how to condense the dialog-heavy segments in favor of action sequences. Those segments, however, cannot simply be cut... the writer’s challenge is to fit that information into the script while keeping things visually interesting. This can be done through the use of narrated panels, where instead of a talking head we see the subject of the character’s speech depicted by the artist with an accompanying text caption. Another useful trick is to combine dialog and action scenes, where the dialog is exchanged by the characters WHILE they are doing something more visually interesting than simply talking back and forth at each other. With straight movie adaptations, a synopsis is not required. Rather, the final comic script itself is submitted to the studio for approval.

In the transmutation from movie to comic, you’ve seen how the writer takes on the role of director, framing the action to best dramatic effect. In this cosmology, the art team–penciller, inker, and colorist–take on the role of both cinematographer and actors. In other words, the look and feel of their artwork comprise the overall mood of the book, and the strength of their storytelling abilities comes into play in their depiction of the various characters and scenes of the film. They also have the director-like power of choosing the “camera” angles, or viewing angles in the case of comics. However, they have greater freedom in the presentation of the scenes than their film counterparts. Imagine a movie screen... no matter how radical the material that appears on it, the scenes are all confined to an identical, rectangular frame. Comic artists, however, are free to create panels of any shape to emphasize what they choose. What’s more, they can also vary the size of the panels themselves to give more visual punch to selected scenes, even to the extent of giving over an entire page or two to a single striking image (known as a splash page or double-page spread). This particular step is of paramount importance to both the movie studio and IDW. Although many, many steps happen behind the scenes, the primary driving force in both our industries is in the visuals. Therefore, it’s imperative we find an artist that can

grab the interest of our readership while providing a look that the studio feels captures the feeling of their property. In the case of a book where actors retain likeness rights, we also have to pay attention to the artist’s ability to do faithful depictions of the characters on a consistent basis. With those factors in mind, we prepare a list of 3 to 5 artists that we think could be right for the project. We first call to check if they have interest in such a project, then gather samples of their material to show the studio. On rare occasions we may have a spec (unpaid) sample piece drawn up that relates directly to the project at hand. All the samples are submitted to the studio for the final decision on who will be handling the art duties. Since we will typically have a finished script in hand by this point, that is delivered to the artist, along with all available reference material, and a schedule for delivering the work in a timely manner. The editor assigned to the book, besides being the individual who has hired the writer and compiled the possible artist list, is then in charge of ensuring the deadlines are hit. The editor also must check each piece of art as it comes in, submitting it for approval to the studio and trafficking it from penciller to inker to colorist.

____________________________________________________________________ This Page and Next Two Pages: Underworld: Evolution, art by Antonio Vazquez.

221


10yearbook-FULL.qxd:Layout 1

3/19/09

9:33 AM

Page 220

Step Four: Setting the Mood Attaching Artists

Step Three: Story Time Scripting Now that the parameters have been set, the creative work can begin. First, the determination is made whether to go out of house for a writer. Many times it never makes it that far, and the writing will stay in-house, meaning it will be written by a full-time IDW employee. If the book is a prequel or “world of ” book, the first job of the writer is to talk with the producers or creative talent behind the movie property, to find out what additional stories there are to be told, and more importantly, what stories CAN’T be told. Many times the studios have hopes for sequels and want to hold back certain plot points for use in future movies… those are off limits to us. Then, using that information, the writer will come up with a brief synopsis, generally a page or two, laying out the action for the comic or miniseries. Once this receives studio approval, a full script is written and passed to the artists. 220

____________________________________ Sample script from Underworld: Evolution.

However, if the book is a movie adaptation, the process is a bit different. The writer works from the movie script itself, adapting it to best effect in the comic format. This usually means figuring out how to condense the dialog-heavy segments in favor of action sequences. Those segments, however, cannot simply be cut... the writer’s challenge is to fit that information into the script while keeping things visually interesting. This can be done through the use of narrated panels, where instead of a talking head we see the subject of the character’s speech depicted by the artist with an accompanying text caption. Another useful trick is to combine dialog and action scenes, where the dialog is exchanged by the characters WHILE they are doing something more visually interesting than simply talking back and forth at each other. With straight movie adaptations, a synopsis is not required. Rather, the final comic script itself is submitted to the studio for approval.

In the transmutation from movie to comic, you’ve seen how the writer takes on the role of director, framing the action to best dramatic effect. In this cosmology, the art team–penciller, inker, and colorist–take on the role of both cinematographer and actors. In other words, the look and feel of their artwork comprise the overall mood of the book, and the strength of their storytelling abilities comes into play in their depiction of the various characters and scenes of the film. They also have the director-like power of choosing the “camera” angles, or viewing angles in the case of comics. However, they have greater freedom in the presentation of the scenes than their film counterparts. Imagine a movie screen... no matter how radical the material that appears on it, the scenes are all confined to an identical, rectangular frame. Comic artists, however, are free to create panels of any shape to emphasize what they choose. What’s more, they can also vary the size of the panels themselves to give more visual punch to selected scenes, even to the extent of giving over an entire page or two to a single striking image (known as a splash page or double-page spread). This particular step is of paramount importance to both the movie studio and IDW. Although many, many steps happen behind the scenes, the primary driving force in both our industries is in the visuals. Therefore, it’s imperative we find an artist that can

grab the interest of our readership while providing a look that the studio feels captures the feeling of their property. In the case of a book where actors retain likeness rights, we also have to pay attention to the artist’s ability to do faithful depictions of the characters on a consistent basis. With those factors in mind, we prepare a list of 3 to 5 artists that we think could be right for the project. We first call to check if they have interest in such a project, then gather samples of their material to show the studio. On rare occasions we may have a spec (unpaid) sample piece drawn up that relates directly to the project at hand. All the samples are submitted to the studio for the final decision on who will be handling the art duties. Since we will typically have a finished script in hand by this point, that is delivered to the artist, along with all available reference material, and a schedule for delivering the work in a timely manner. The editor assigned to the book, besides being the individual who has hired the writer and compiled the possible artist list, is then in charge of ensuring the deadlines are hit. The editor also must check each piece of art as it comes in, submitting it for approval to the studio and trafficking it from penciller to inker to colorist.

____________________________________________________________________ This Page and Next Two Pages: Underworld: Evolution, art by Antonio Vazquez.

221


10yearbook-FULL.qxd:Layout 1

3/19/09

9:33 AM

Page 222

Step Six: The Soundstage Lettering and Graphic Design

through, a comfort level has set in on both sides and changes become rarer and rarer.

Besides motion itself, the other major difference between movies and comics lies in the realm of sound. As a medium that is read, comics lack the auditory cues, sound effects, differences in intonation, and mood music that is omnipresent in films. To a large extent, it is the job of the letterer to make up for this disadvantage as much as possible.

Books with likeness rights present a bigger challenge. Actors tend to have egos that can diplomatically be termed “healthy,” so they often are next to impossible to please when it comes to depictions of themselves. Often it is not reality they seek, but an idealized vision of themselves that they’d like to be true. What’s more, actors are not the easiest people to get in touch with for these approvals, so we enlist the help of the studio as much as possible. This speedbump means that we have to build in much more time for books with likeness approvals.

One of the least appreciated and hardest of all comic disciplines occurs before the letterer applies a single word to the art, which is in a final, colored stage at this point. This is the process of ballooning–adding the speech balloons to the page. The balloons must be presented in a logical order that will lead the reader’s eye from left to right, and it must be obvious at all times who is speaking. However, great care must also be taken to avoid covering any essential art with a speech balloon, and herein lies a good balloonist’s greatest skill.

Step Five: Getting Things Right Approvals The approval stage, as you may have noted, is not a stage that comes in strict chronological order… it is a constant back-and-forth flow between the movie studio and IDW. The individual project determines how heavy that back-and-forth is at each stage of the process. For instance, prequel and “world of ” books generally require more interaction during the scripting stage than straight adaptations, for the obvious reason that the writer of an adaptation is working from a more-or-less final template already. On the art side, IDW works the standard way by giving the studio approval rights at the pencil, color, and final (lettered) stage. The inked pencils are not subject to approval. The editor will typically have one or two contacts at the studio to whom all materials are submitted. The studio then routes the artwork internally to whomever needs to see it and gives its feedback back to us in the form of changes or approvals. The time the studio has to review the art will have been set during negotiations. Typically, changes are heaviest at the beginning of a project, as the artists and the studio feel each other out. Usually by the time the project is about a third of the way

On the color side, the palette of the project will be determined by the look of the particular film. So again, the more reference we have for the colorist to work from, the better it is. The only question that usually must be answered before coloring starts is how rendered the coloring should be… that is, how much of a 3D, airbrush style of coloring should be used as opposed to a flatter, more solid-colored approach.

Besides the lettering, the graphic design pages of the book–the credits page or chapter headings, for instance–must also be designed to fit the property. A dark, shadowy horror film would be ill-served by a credits page filled with bright, primary colors.

• • • • In short, each and every page, each and every panel, each and every step must be crafted with precision and dedication in order to realize a final product. When all the creative work has been completed, a PDF document is created for the last studio approval. The PDF is laid out in pages just like the comic will be, and is complete in every way… with cover, design pages, and lettered pages of final artwork. There are almost never changes at this point, as the studio has already seen and approved the individual steps. Upon receiving final approval, the files are prepared for printing by our production department and sent to our printer. The editor’s final task is to track the book through printing and shipping to ensure prompt delivery. And that, as they say, is a wrap!

222

Having completed balloon placement, the letterer can simulate sound through the use of specialized fonts or balloons. For instance, a jagged, scratchy font may be chosen for a monster to convey the creepiness of its voice, or a starburst-like balloon used for the chatter from a walkie-talkie. Then there are the sound effects, which present their own finebalancing act. Use too few sound effects, and a lot of the mood can be lost. But use too many, and the page becomes a garish mess of large fonts that ruin the flow of the artwork.

IDW

223


10yearbook-FULL.qxd:Layout 1

3/19/09

9:33 AM

Page 222

Step Six: The Soundstage Lettering and Graphic Design

through, a comfort level has set in on both sides and changes become rarer and rarer.

Besides motion itself, the other major difference between movies and comics lies in the realm of sound. As a medium that is read, comics lack the auditory cues, sound effects, differences in intonation, and mood music that is omnipresent in films. To a large extent, it is the job of the letterer to make up for this disadvantage as much as possible.

Books with likeness rights present a bigger challenge. Actors tend to have egos that can diplomatically be termed “healthy,” so they often are next to impossible to please when it comes to depictions of themselves. Often it is not reality they seek, but an idealized vision of themselves that they’d like to be true. What’s more, actors are not the easiest people to get in touch with for these approvals, so we enlist the help of the studio as much as possible. This speedbump means that we have to build in much more time for books with likeness approvals.

One of the least appreciated and hardest of all comic disciplines occurs before the letterer applies a single word to the art, which is in a final, colored stage at this point. This is the process of ballooning–adding the speech balloons to the page. The balloons must be presented in a logical order that will lead the reader’s eye from left to right, and it must be obvious at all times who is speaking. However, great care must also be taken to avoid covering any essential art with a speech balloon, and herein lies a good balloonist’s greatest skill.

Step Five: Getting Things Right Approvals The approval stage, as you may have noted, is not a stage that comes in strict chronological order… it is a constant back-and-forth flow between the movie studio and IDW. The individual project determines how heavy that back-and-forth is at each stage of the process. For instance, prequel and “world of ” books generally require more interaction during the scripting stage than straight adaptations, for the obvious reason that the writer of an adaptation is working from a more-or-less final template already. On the art side, IDW works the standard way by giving the studio approval rights at the pencil, color, and final (lettered) stage. The inked pencils are not subject to approval. The editor will typically have one or two contacts at the studio to whom all materials are submitted. The studio then routes the artwork internally to whomever needs to see it and gives its feedback back to us in the form of changes or approvals. The time the studio has to review the art will have been set during negotiations. Typically, changes are heaviest at the beginning of a project, as the artists and the studio feel each other out. Usually by the time the project is about a third of the way

On the color side, the palette of the project will be determined by the look of the particular film. So again, the more reference we have for the colorist to work from, the better it is. The only question that usually must be answered before coloring starts is how rendered the coloring should be… that is, how much of a 3D, airbrush style of coloring should be used as opposed to a flatter, more solid-colored approach.

Besides the lettering, the graphic design pages of the book–the credits page or chapter headings, for instance–must also be designed to fit the property. A dark, shadowy horror film would be ill-served by a credits page filled with bright, primary colors.

• • • • In short, each and every page, each and every panel, each and every step must be crafted with precision and dedication in order to realize a final product. When all the creative work has been completed, a PDF document is created for the last studio approval. The PDF is laid out in pages just like the comic will be, and is complete in every way… with cover, design pages, and lettered pages of final artwork. There are almost never changes at this point, as the studio has already seen and approved the individual steps. Upon receiving final approval, the files are prepared for printing by our production department and sent to our printer. The editor’s final task is to track the book through printing and shipping to ensure prompt delivery. And that, as they say, is a wrap!

222

Having completed balloon placement, the letterer can simulate sound through the use of specialized fonts or balloons. For instance, a jagged, scratchy font may be chosen for a monster to convey the creepiness of its voice, or a starburst-like balloon used for the chatter from a walkie-talkie. Then there are the sound effects, which present their own finebalancing act. Use too few sound effects, and a lot of the mood can be lost. But use too many, and the page becomes a garish mess of large fonts that ruin the flow of the artwork.

IDW

223

Idwx chap 16  

http://idwpublishing.com/stateoftheart/idwx_chap_16.pdf

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you