Monday, May 23, 2011

Thoughtballoons – A Comic Scripting Experience Turns One

I’ve previously turned your attention to thoughtballoons, the comic scripting site I started last year where we choose a different character each week and churn out one page of script around that character each. It’s been an amazing experience to write 52 one page scripts on a variety of characters and settings over the past year so I wanted to share with you some of the highlights and also look a little towards the future. Hit the jump to see why thoughtballoons still excites me to write.

The premise was always about writing. Comic Twart set up a decent model to steal but no one else out there, to my knowledge, had done it with writing. I can’t draw, my ability to write might even be debatable in some circles, but my passion for the written word cannot be denied. I spend a lot of my time writing anyway, thoughtballoons just gave me more purpose and a deadline to hit every week.

We pick a character each week and with that theme in place we set about each writing a one page script. The Rules are pretty wide in that it can be any sort of page; done in one, final moment, teaser. We can use as many, or as few, panels as we like and basically the experience is to explore our writing styles. And that’s exactly what we’ve done.
Over the past year, we have chosen the following focus characters, and later expanded into concepts, teams, and places:
  1. Iron Man
  2. Molecule Man
  3. Mephisto
  4. Dr Doom
  5. Superman
  6. Blonde Phantom
  7. Spider-Man
  8. Aquaman
  9. The Penguin
  10. The Punisher
  11. Gamora
  12. The Question – Renee Montoya
  13. Scott Pilgrim
  14. Jubilee
  15. John Constantine
  16. Daredevil
  17. Mr Mxyzptlk
  18. Lara Croft
  19. Buffy
  20. Silver Surfer
  21. Machine Man
  22. Arana
  23. Ben Grimm
  24. Casanova Quinn
  25. Superboy
  26. Ash
  27. Rick Grimes
  28. The Profile
  29. Faiza Hussein
  30. Gambit
  31. Santa Claus
  32. The Joker
  33. Reed Richards
  34. Lois Lane
  35. Ben Reilly
  36. Dr Strange
  37. Batman Inc
  38. Batgirl – Stephanie Brown
  39. Dracula
  40. Power Man & iron Fist
  41. Venom
  42. Nextwave
  43. Moon Knight
  44. Blue Beetle
  45. The Artifacts
  46. Emma Frost
  47. Green Wake
  48. Martian Manhunter
  49. Thor
  50. TMNT
  51. Omega Red
  52. Ms Marvel
It’s been so very eye opening to have to write characters you don’t always know a lot about, or don’t actually like. Writing men, women, kids, Martians, gods, anthropomorphic skaters, concepts, and towns. It’s not a mammoth amount of script but it is quite a feat. We only get so much lead time on each week’s choice so we’re operating on the clock and trying to marry quality with inspiration all on a deadline. The results can be very fun.
The site has been Tweeted by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kieron Gillen, and Paul Cornell, to name a few. When we featured Green Wake as our choice, Image scribe Kurtis Wiebe logged onto the site and dropped his own one page script into the mess. These interactions with big time creators have just been one reason why the site is fun.
Each week, Play At Home scripters turn up on Sunday to see the new week’s choice and then submit their scripts for us to see. And these guys are all really good as well. The site has gained a great community that come along for the ride of having fun writing and getting better at the process. If you feel you want to add your own script for some new eyes and a bit of feedback them throw it into that week’s Why…? post and we are all always happy to have a look.
The men of thoughtballoons as drawn by Danial Carroll

In a year, the site has produced over 300 one page scripts on these various characters and if there are any artists who ever want some material to draw but don’t have the time or ability to write something themselves there would surely be something of interest to be found on the site.
To have this site last a year and only have grown in that time has been a pleasure and an honour. Writers don’t have many places to upload their work without the aid of the visuals and still have it appreciated. There are certain threads on message boards, and DeviantArt, but your words get lost amidst a sea of letter and clauses. I’m not sure where the site will head over the next year but it will definitely stick around.

If you are interested in comic scripting, through either writing or just reading, then head on over to the site. The Play At Home scripters put their scripts up each week and it's a great place to get some feedback, and give it, too. The site is continually expanding and rumour has it will only be gorwing in the next year. We've also noticed a paucity of female writers so if you can fix that up we'd be just as happy to have you around.
If you like scripting then head on over, the water’s always warm and we love company. Hit up the site or follow us on Twitter with the hashtag #thoughtballoons or the Twitter account @Thought_Balloon This week is all about writing one page with characters we have created and the week after that we’ll be back to the usual big player schedule with a young lass from DC. Have you been over to thoughtballoons, what do you think of it as a site?

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Ivan said...

Man, I haven't check TB in ages. :(

I'm devouring books on writing, I'll have to hone my skills eventually. And don't think I forgot my promise to illustrate some scripts, Ryan. I'll make good on that eventually. :)

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