Previously we talked about the building blocks of our story:

1) Generating the idea
2) The elements of plot
3) Developing the characters
4) Writing the beat sheet

All of these helps us to create the next step, which is writing the script.

There are two types of scripts out there:

1) Plot First – which was utilized by Stan Lee back in the day when he was writing 90% of the titles coming out of MARVEL. This process involves the writer telling the artist what will happen in the issue without any real specifics, and letting the artist do most of the storytelling. Then the writer comes in and fills in the narration / dialogue.

2) Full Script – which is more common in professional comics today. This is where the writer sits down and goes through a process similar to what’s being described in this blog series.

There are many benefits to either of these methods, but since we don’t have an artist to collaborate with just yet, Full Script is going to be our method of choice.

So having selected full script as our format, we then go to translate the beat sheet into the script. Keep in mind the purpose of the script is really to translate your thoughts and ideas to the artist. Since the artist has to take this script and turn it into something visual, it helps to provide some visual direction – actions characters are doing, character placement, etc.

There’s no one “right” script format, but many of my professional friends like to number their dialogue and sound effects. Since we’ve been using page 3 as an example with the outline and beat sheet, we’ll continue to use here for the script example as well.

PAGE 3 panel 1: Horizontal panel with a large open space to the left. The dog stands on the edge of the cliff of scrap on the right of the panel, looking like he’s about to try to jump

1. ROBOT (off panel): Do not jump, you have so much to live for.

PAGE 3 panel 2: Horizontal panel. The robot lunges over the dog, who ducks without noticing the robot.
The robot is looking at the dog while he is moving over the top of him.

2. ROBOT: I will save you – or you can duck.

PAGE 3 panel 3: Vertical panel. The robot lingers in the air for a moment, looking at the reader.

3. ROBOT: Pause for dramatic effect. Gravity will resume in 3 – 2- 1 -

PAGE 3 panel 4: Same shot as previous panel. A cloud of smoke remains in the same spot that
the robot just was, as motion lines indicate that he has plummeted below.

4. SFX: Zwoop!

Upon writing this particular story, I knew I wanted it to be a shorter story – maybe 6 pages. Which is what came out in my outline and beat sheet, and ultimately translated into the final script.

Now that I had my script finished, it was time to start shopping for an artist.