Intro to Poetry

Example Scripts

It might be helpful to you to look at some example scripts as you work on yours. The scripts I’m posting here are not specifically about poetry, but they will give you an idea of what it looks like when people do this kind of work.

Here is a great database of comics scripts. It’s actually got some big-name books and writers in there, including an issue Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and an issue or two of Batman, so if you into comics, it might be fun to peruse some of these.

I haven’t found a comparable database of video scripts, but here is one example that you may find helpful. You don’t have to follow this format specifically, but this writer’s attention to detail for each shot might help you out.

Tips and Tricks for Your Video Script

This post will be shorter than the previous one because there’s a lot of overlap. In both cases, you need to think about things like color, how you’re going to represent the poem’s images, how you’re going to incorporate the text of the poem, etc.

For the video, though, you also need to think about sound. Of course, your video isn’t required to have sound–that’s a choice you make–but it’s an option that isn’t available in comics. Also with your video, you need to think about how long shots will take. Just as the comics scripts need information about how many panels will be on a page, your video script will need to indicate timing and framing for each shot you propose. Be specific about what your vision is.

You’ll also need to consider what kinds of images your video will use. Will it be animation or live action? A series of still images? How will you transition between scenes?

Here’s a link to a Wikipedia article on cinematic terms that might help you find the right language for your vision.

Tips and tricks for your Comics Script

If you’re writing a comic script for your poem, here are some terms and resources that might help you out.

One of the things you’ll need to describe in your script is how your pages will be laid out. How many panels will there be on the page? How will those panels be shaped? Think about what kind of effect you’re trying to evoke through the visuals. Think also about how the form of the comic your creating might contribute to the content of the poem. For example, the more panels you have on a page, the more frantic or hectic it will feel to the reader–not unlike very short lines in poems. On the other hand, large panels on a page with a lot of detail in each has the effect of slowing the reader down and inviting them to linger, similar to poems with long lines and lots of enjambment. A splash page (on which the image takes up more than half of a page and up to two facing pages) make the content on that page feel extremely important. Think about what kind of reading experience your want your reader to have, but also think about how best to communicate something about the poem’s form and meaning through the layout of the page.

There are loads of good resources available to help you think about page layout and other other visual choices related to comics. Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics is a classic text both for people who study and write comics, and there are plenty of other books you can look at. There are also websites that can help. Wikipedia has a pretty good page on comics terminology and this blog and this one aimed at artists have some great tips as well.

You’ll also need to think about what kinds of images you want to include. Cartoonish? Realistic? More abstract? Along with that, what will the coloration be? Do you want your comic to be black-and-white, or do you want to use color? Perhaps a combination? If you’re using color, will the colors be bright, primary colors, or do you want more subdued colors? Again, you want to think specifically about how the color choices you make reflect the content of the poem.

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