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Thursday, 11.11.04: Comics in Progress

I'm not sure whether I'm learning something fabulous or indulging in a complete waste of time.

I've been developing little scenes for my screenplay. "The Insider" (this week's title) is a dark comedy (maybe) about the corrosion and collapse of ideals in the corporate setting. Maddie -- the idealist -- is excited about being chosen as the leader of the Cause -- a project that will reform the way services are delivered to certain children who are now "pinballing" around from agency to agency with no good effect. A very focused scorecard has been set up to drive the organization toward its ambitious goal.

The second act involves a sequence of scenes in meetings, during which each focused measurement is degraded into something easier and more generalized. Genuine reform gives way to the trappings and rituals of reform.

My challenge for now is not getting into snappy dialogue -- that's for later. My challenge is to capture the "beats" -- the action/reactions that escalate the conflict and raise the stakes. I decided that an interesting way of trying to capture the essence of interactions would be to draw it out comic book style.

I drew heads. Scanned them into Photoshop and took off from there. I wish I had more of an "underground comix" style instead of my flat anybody-can-cartoon look. To mock my own words, genuine drive to master the comic form gives way to the trappings and rituals of comics -- I'm in love with the little boxes and drop my rubber stamp characters in them. I squeal with delight -- then try not to look at any real cartoon art, so as not to get depressed.

But I keep reminding myself that this is the means to an end. I am working on getting the story out, with a good rhythm. Subtleties of shading is for later. And this isn't supposed to be a comic book project. It's supposed to be a movie project.

Anyway, I've written more than I intended. Here is a sample of work in progress (PDF format):




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