Saturday, August 25, 2012

Comic Book Story Telling Workshop

I have just returned home from London after working what seems to be becoming an annual workshop on comic book storytelling at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. Simon does the writing and I help the students with the art. This is the first time that Simon and I have directly collaborated on a task for the participants to do. The rest of this post comes directly from Simon's blog, but please go and read his other posts because he is an amazing writer!

Cheers, kel


Simon Guerrier writes:

This week, I helped Kel Winser with a comic-writing workshop for 17 year-olds, run at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. I've done events like this before, and am generally asked in to talk about being a jobbing writer and the sorts of things that come up when I'm writing comics. I also have original artwork from a strip I wrote (drawn by the amazing John Ross from Doctor Who Adventures), and it helps the kids to see the stages the work goes through before it goes to print.

This time we tried something different and I was more involved. Kel asked me to write a script for the attendees to draw. The idea was that each attendee would draw one or two panels each, telling the story between them. They'd have to work together to agree character designs, setting and so on.

The museum was also keen for me to include aspects of Egyptology (and the workshop included an exercise in drawing objects from life), something about modern Egypt, the practice of archaeology itself and the ancient culture of Egypt - which isn't exactly easy in three pages of six panels each. So here's what I wrote:

ANCIENT EGYPT SMASH!
Script © Simon Guerrier 2012

PAGE ONE (OF THREE) – SIX PANELS


PANEL ONE

Establishing shot: Egypt in the future. A mix of the ancient and the futuristic. Pyramids (not the ones at Giza – something more unusual), but with skyscrapers nearby, and flying cars. Small detail in this: an archaeological dig, with the entrance to an excavation.

CAPTION:

Egypt. 2212 AD.

PANEL TWO

A dark tomb being excavated. Closed doors with hieroglyphics (or your own strange writing) on them. In front of them kneels a figure, a silhouette, holding a torch as she reads. Though we don't know it yet, she's a woman – but we'll meet MAGGIE in the next panel. There are other archaeologists working nearby.

CAPTION:

Where incredible finds are still being made...

MAGGIE:

So it says... Oh.

MAGGIE 2:

“Death to men who enter here...”

PANEL THREE

MAGGIE lifts a torch to investigate what she's found. She's an accomplished archaeologist, but she's NOT River Song or Lara Croft or any other hero you already know. Her clothes are practical but futuristic. She wears glasses.

MAGGIE:

Good job I'm not a man.

MAGGIE 2:

But you lot best stay back...

PANEL FOUR

Same as PANEL TWO, but MAGGIE pushes the doors with her hand and the doors creak open. We can just see inside parts of the two giant ROBOTS inside.

CAPTION:

Creeeeeeeek!

PANEL FIVE

MAGGIE holds the torch up to examine two huge robots, their designs based on Egyptian gods (you pick which ones). ROBOT 1 and ROBOT 2 look brand new. We need to see their faces, and their blank, staring eyes (to make the next panel work).

MAGGIE:

They're amazing. So perfectly preserved!


Ancient Egypt Smash comic-strip panel by Ryan
Page one, panel six
by Ryan
PANEL SIX
Close on the robots' faces as their eyes light up. MAGGIE falls back in horror. The ROBOTS speech bubbles are in a different, more mechanical typeface and the bubbles are more square.

ROBOT 1:

That's real nice of you, puny human.

MAGGIE:

Oh!

PAGE TWO – SIX PANELS


PANEL ONE

ROBOT 1 and ROBOT 2 smash their way through the doors and out of the tomb. The archaeologists run away, but MAGGIE tries to keep up with the robots.

CAPTION:

Crash! Thunk!

ARCHAEOLOGIST:

Eeek!

MAGGIE:

But you're... You're alive.

ROBOT 2:

Well, d'uh. God's don't die.

PANEL TWO

The ROBOTS stand outside the dig, gazing off at the skyscrapers, the flying cars (as PAGE ONE, PANEL ONE). MAGGIE running after them, struggling to keep up.

ROBOT 1:

How long did we sleep?

ROBOT 2:

I'll check the position of stars...


Ancient Egypt Smash comic panel by Chantelle
Page two, panel three
by Chantelle
PANEL THREE
ROBOT 1 leaning over to look, in amazement, at the reading on ROBOT 2's wrist. MAGGIE tries to intercede.

ROBOT 1:

Woah! What?!?

ROBOT 2:

Must be a glitch.

MAGGIE:

The doors of your tomb were sealed more than 4,000 years ago.

PANEL FOUR

The robots, shocked, turn on MAGGIE.

ROBOT 2:

The humans tricked us!

MAGGIE:

What? We didn't do anything!

PANEL FIVE

ROBOT 2 gestures at the skyscrapers, the flying cars.

ROBOT 2:

They locked us away – and built a world of their own!

ROBOT 2 2:

So we'll smash it!

PANEL SIX

The ROBOTS take to their air, leaving MAGGIE behind.

MAGGIE:

Wait! Come back!

MAGGIE 2:

What have I done?

PAGE THREE – SIX PANELS


PANEL ONE

The two ROBOTS smash a famous landmark from somewhere round the world. The bigger, the madder, the more recognisable, the better.

CAPTION:

Smash!

ROBOT 2:

Ha ha!

PANEL TWO

The two ROBOTS destroy ANOTHER famous landmark somewhere round the world. It has to be from a different country than the one in PANEL ONE.

ROBOT 1:

Good to stretch after all that time asleep.

CAPTION:

Crunch!

PANEL THREE

The two ROBOTS in the air, one holding on to a warplane, the other smashing into one. Behind them, lots of warplanes attacking.

CAPTION:

The humans try to fight back, but...

ROBOT 1:

Is this the best they can do?

CAPTION:

Clunk! Crunk!

PANEL FOUR

The ROBOTS in the air, the ground below them littered with broken planes and tanks.

ROBOT 1:

Okay. What do we smash next?

PANEL FIVE

From behind the robots as they look down – at a children's playground, with swings and slides, kids playing.

ROBOT 1:

Oh wow!

ROBOT 2:

Perfect.


Ancient Egypt Smash comic panel by Kel Winser
Page three, panel six
by Kel
PANEL SIX
The giant ROBOTS... on the swings. Small children stare and point and laugh.

ROBOT 1:

This is amazing! Wheee!

ROBOT 2:

Yeah, okay, humans. You can keep your world.

END
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