belleandsebastian-cover.jpgA year ago this week, I did a little on-stage presentation for my first-ever published comics writing. Myself and my artistic collaborators Kalman Andrasofszky and Ramon Perez put together a ten-page story for an anthology that Image Comics was putting together, as a ‘tribute’ to the band Belle & Sebastian. The book was called Put The Book Back On The Shelf, and I was very proud of the work that my collaborators and I had done, and of the rest of the work in the book. The on-stage presentation was for Toronto’s “Nuit Blanche”, an arts festival where the whole city stays up all night and does… art things. We put the presentation together because it was a way to promote the work we did, and because I thought it all came together in an interesting way. I’ve been meaning for the better part of a year to actually share all of that with the blog, so seeing as our anniversary is only a few short days away, I feel like now’s the perfect time!

What follows is a short trip inside the creative process of someone writing their first comics story, and a short at that. It’s not the only way to do things, and probably not the best, but it worked for me (and the guys too). Oh, and I’m including the whole story here as jpegs, for you to read before I completely deconstruct it below. I hope you enjoy it.

(Oh, and though I get to it later, I want to thank Kalman and Ramon for doing a goddamned amazing job on my script, they knocked it out of the park and it was even better than I imagined.)

Expectations

PREFACE:

So I absolutely love the band Belle & Sebastian, love them. Their music is very inspiring to me, and especially when I had first discovered them, the alternatively mundane and fantastic qualities of their lyrics would inspire me to film little music videos for them in my mind… videos or comics, anyway. The song ‘Expectations’ from the album ‘Tigermilk’ was a particular favourite, and particularly evocative.

I also noticed that many of the songs seems to be about sad girls.

Granted, there are many haters who’d say the band themselves are nothing but a bunch of sad girls (touche!) but really, the band’s lead singer and lyricist would spend a few songs an album writing songs about girls that were sad and shit-on by society, but would one day overcome and be fabulous. If that isn’t the ultimate compliment to a sad, put-upon teenager (of any gender) I don’t know what is.

My friend [Oni Press EiC] James Lucas Jones and I were chatting one night about something or other when he mentioned that Image was putting together a Belle & Sebastian anthology, comics adapting and inspired by B&S’s music… and I became immediately and deeply depressed. James couldn’t figure it out as I’d never previously expressed much interest in creating comics, but I’d thought of doing B&S comics for years, only to be left out of the one project where that might be an actual possibility. “You makes your choices” and all that, being a comics retailer/support staff/critic/whatever instead of a creator, but every once in a while… I explain this to James. He text messages the project’s editor B. Clay Moore in another window. I’m in the book.

How do you break into comics? Just ask, apparently it’s quite easy. (hahahahahaha… sorry.)

So now I have to actually write a comic story.

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The discography of Belle & Sebastian, circa June 2005.
OUTLINE: 
I decided that the easiest way not to fuck this up was to work from an outline, and then sort of fill in the details as I went. There are a lot of ways to approach a story, but I figured creating a rigid structure for the work ahead of the time would let me off the hook when it came to the heavy lifting later… I was mostly right, once I had that structure it was really just a matter of getting inside the mind of the character and filling in the details, but it also required some creativity on my part to get out of a few tight spots.
To start, I went to a Belle & Sebastian fan-site, and just started reading everything about the band’s CDs that I could. Release schedules, methods, lyrics, all of it. It helped that I could probably karaoke 3/4 of their entire output, if necessary (not that it would ever be necessary?!), but I realised that it wasn’t just my imagination–the sad girl archetype character made an appearance on more-or-less every album or single, and then some! I had my lead character.
belleandsebastian-releasedates.jpgI thought: “Why not make her the ultimate sad Belle & Sebastian girl? Push her right down as far as she can go, only to let her claw her way back up and come through okay. The whole story can be told in narration–it can be the terrible, selfish, whiny livejournal posts of a disaffected girl in her teens and then maturing into her 20s, incorporating song lyrics along the way. I’ll even draw it (have it drawn) in a hazy sort of shoujo style. It’ll be based on the song EXPECTATIONS, the first and clearest of the sad-girl manifesto songs. It’ll be awesome!”

I was trying to figure out a way that we could tell the story, and it just clicked that if every album had a sad-girl song on it, why not make the points at which we visit our protagonist the release dates of the various albums and singles?

The problem became immediately obvious, with Tigermilk released in 1994, we’ve sort-of predated much of contemporary internet culture, LiveJournal included. I dropped the LJ thing in favour of a diary (because who wants to read whiny emo LJ posts anyway?) but the structure of visiting her on those dates seemed perfect… We’d get a span of her life from early highschool through to being a professional woman, a ‘success’.
Then, a flash! The dates that were full albums, those could be full-page installments of her story, to better pace the huge duration of years that the story would need to encompass. And each page would also in some way relate to the sad-girl song on the album it represents. The EPs could be one panel on a page, one song as well, staccato bursts of time showing window into her world, a snapshot of her depression and loneliness.

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How the albums fit together as comics pages. 1-1-3-1-2-1-3-1.
Yeah, Tigermilk would be our introduction, a full page of cooperative but distinct narration and action. The song? Expectations of course, and that’s the song that our story ended up representing in the book, and setting the tone for the story. Then Seeing Other People from the second album, Belle & Sebastian from the next EP, etc.
Artistically, I think the most amazing thing I thought up was the thing about the album covers. I wanted the art to relate to and evoke the band’s music as much as the story would, and I figured a good way to convey the mood and tone of the albums would be to steal the palette for the colouring on the pages from the albums. Originally, when the story was going to be shoujo-y and a straight adaptation, I was going to colour it using the cover of Tigermilk as a guide. The hazy silver-grey would play nicely to the strengths of shoujo art… But now that the story was encompassing the band’s entire output to that time, with a page or panel relating to a specific album, why not use all of the cds as visual inspiration? Silver Tigermilk, Angry Red If You’re Feeling Sinister, a sepia-toned Belle & Sebastian EP, etc.

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Some examples of the albums and the colour design. Good job, Kalman and Ramon!

So now I knew exactly what I wanted. I wrote myself an outline of everything I’d been thinking. All of the info and research on the band, all of the important songs and lyrics, all of my ideas on colour, on structure, on everything. And once I had this and it seemed like it could actually happen, I decided I better find someone to draw it.

FINDING AN ARTIST:

Me: “Hey, Kalman Adrasofszky, artist of iCandy for DC Comics, amongst other things. I’m writing this story. Do you want to draw it? There’s probably no money.”

Kalman: “Sure, let’s do it!”

Me: “Great. Let me ask Ramon Perez also. Ramon, artist of Butternut Squash, I know you’re incredibly busy, but do you maybe wanna work with Kalman on this for me? Maybe like an pencil/ink/colour sort of split thing?”

Ramon: “Why not? Have you got a script?”

Me: “No, no. But I’ve got an outline and Eric Stephenson says he’ll publish it if I don’t suck. So all of the free work you do will likely at least get published, probably.”

Ramon and Kalman: “Well alright then, let’s get to work!”

(Don’t try this at home.)

ACTUALLY WRITING A STORY:

Despite having a cohesive structure and a ton of notes and knowing in my head exactly what I wanted… I had a really hard time putting pen to paper. I had never written a comic script before, though I’d read tons as well as read (and conducted) lots of interviews on craft and creation and all that. I knew what to do, I just wasn’t sure I knew how. So I procrastinated a lot, and didn’t do the work, and just convinced myself I could do it any time, when I needed to.

Then, I really, really fucking needed to get it done in a hurry because the deadline was here and I hadn’t written a fucking word and Kalman was like Get The Lead Out, Butcher. So I sort of freaked out and just started writing the script after Kalman’s “motivational” e-mail while I was at work one day. Surprise! The outline and all the research basically let the story write itself. I think I only made two or three changes from what I sent Kalman (below) on that first draft.

PAGE 1
3 roughly equal tiers of panels, with a large establishing character shot on the right hand side. Colour is sort of a bleached blue-grey like the cover of TIGERMILK. The over-all setting is in Toronto, in 1996. Our lead character is in grade 9. Feel free to use remembrances of your past freely. The beginning of the story especially should have a dream-like quality. Song: Expectations.

Character shot: 14 year old girl in a catholic school uniform. Skirt is longer than her friends, and she’s got a few little badges/buttons on her sweater. He shoes are big clunky things. Her hair just sort of hangs off her. She’s not unattractive, but she’s got lousy posture and a horrible look on her face. Who can blame her?

PANEL 1
Our girl, dead-and-centre sitting in class, people sitting behind her (a row of faces from edge-to-edge of the panel) chuckling, but not laughing out loud or anything as they don’t want to get caught. Our girl has her eyes closed, and is trying to keep expressionless.

CAPTION: APRIL 1, 1996

NARRATION: I’m a freak. I’m weird and I’m alone and my mom sends me to Catholic School and I hate it. I hate her.

PANEL 2
120 degree camera turn. We’re just behind-and-to-the-right of the girl sitting behind our protagonist, so that we can see the sign taped to her back. “CUNT”. People are still chuckling, except for the antagonist who just looks smug.

NARRATION: My teachers are bastards and perverts, and usually both. My peers are assholes. My day means getting shit on from the alarm buzzer until I fall asleep. I cry sometimes.

PROTAGONIST: (small) Bitch.

PANEL 3
Roughly the same scene, maybe pull back a little. Protagonist is freaking out, and has quickly turned and is moving towards the smug bitch, who looks quite a bit more surprised now. The background is mostly faded out at this point.

NARRATION: And when I lash out, suddenly it’s all my fault. Grade 9 can’t end soon enough.

PROTAGONIST: BITCH!

I was just writing and writing and sending it a page at a time to Kalman as I was going. And that’s what he worked from, and I got a bit of a deadline extension from Eric Stephenson after we sent the first finished page in, and that gave us enough breathing room to get it done, despite my fucking around. Lesson learned: Don’t fuck the deadline.

MAKING ALL OF THE ART AND STUFF

At the onset, Kalman was pencilling/inking with Ramon doing colours, but Ramon hit a wall time-wise and so Kalman ended up colouring the last of it. Oh, also, Kalman used his lovely girlfriend Cristina as the photo reference for the lead character, which was shocking when I met her later. Other than that, I have no idea how they did what they did, but it looked great, seriously. I was so incredibly pleased when I saw the pages come in, utterly unlike what I had imagined and much better… Again, I can’t say enough about how talented and professional Kalman and Ramon are. Hire these guys.

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Here we see Cristina next to her in-book counterpart.
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The first page of art, sans colouring. 
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Here we see Cristina and Kalman, posing as characters on the second page of the story.

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On the left are Kalman’s ‘pencils’, which are actually done via graphics tablet on the computer. Kalman integrates his photo ref and then “inks” the whole think tighter on another layer.
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And, the final result. A sinister, angry series of reds.
After that I lettered it myself (I am occasionally a professional letterer). You know what they say about all writers being forced to letter their own work? I completely agree. I actually did a good solid edit during the lettering stage, and made the text flow a little better in spots (and fit in the balloon). I ran it by some friends for corrections, and we were good to go. It turns out in the end, that we weren’t even the latest story in the book! :)
TWO YEARS LATER

It’s a little over two years since I first roped Kalman and Ramon in, and two years on I’ve got a number of observations on the piece. For one, it reads a hell of a lot better if you linger on each panel… if you read comics the way I do (which is very, very quickly) then the whole thing comes off as really disjointed. I tried to make a point of showing a significant time jump between panels, but it’s up to the reader to notice and pause, despite the visual clues. I just read the story for the first time in at least 7 months, and I just zoomed through it, and it didn’t work. A slower read works better, I think. Ah well.

The other thing I’m noticing is that the narration for the first few pages is sloppy. I wrote it sloppy on purpose–it’s supposed to be a sort of a dramatic diary entry from a young person–but… yeah. I was trying to show a clear progression from angry adolescent to a smart woman with her shit together, and I think that’s there, but some of that is painful to read. Probably not as painful as livejournal entries though…

I think the art is still excellent though, all the way through. I really rushed these guys and it doesn’t show anywhere. Both Kalman and Ramon have gone on to better things, but I’m still happy every time I see these pages. If you want to see more of their work, you can find Kalman online at http://www.horhaus.com/weblogs/kalmangallery/, and more on Ramon at http://www.ramon-perez.com/.
As for reaction to the story? Critically it has been mixed, some good, some bad. Eric Stephenson mentioned to me that it was one of the favourites of the folks in the Image offices, which was heartening to hear. Doug Wolk tore the book (and my story in particular) apart on Salon.com. The first reviewer at Amazon.com ‘got it’ and liked it… But the best story? Two or three weeks after the book’s release I’m at a party, and someone asks me about the book and we’re talking about my story, and another woman turns around and says “wait, ‘Expectations’ in that new Belle and Sebastian comic? You wrote that? I LOVED that.” and she just sort of stares at me. That was weird, and great. I think I said thank you, and blushed. It was really great that a woman, about my age, who probably went through school at about the same time I did and listened to all this music as well… that she liked it, and that it spoke to her.

Because there are a lot of sad girls out there, and in the end they can overcome and be fabulous. :)

(Thanks for reading.)

(Also, I put the whole script below behind the “cut”. Just click on “continue reading this entry” to read the script.)

- Christopher

Expectations, written by Christopher Butcher
Inspired by the music of Belle & Sebastian
PAGE 1
3 roughly equal tiers of panels, with a large establishing character shot on the right hand side. Colour is sort of a bleached blue-grey like the cover of TIGERMILK. The over-all setting is in Toronto, in 1996. Our lead character is in grade 9. Feel free to use remembrances of your past freely. The beginning of the story especially should have a dream-like quality. Song: Expectations.

Character shot: 14 year old girl in a catholic school uniform. Skirt is longer than her friends, and she’s got a few little badges/buttons on her sweater. He shoes are big clunky things. Her hair just sort of hangs off her. She’s not unattractive, but she’s got lousy posture and a horrible look on her face. Who can blame her?

PANEL 1
Our girl, dead-and-centre sitting in class, people sitting behind her (a row of faces from edge-to-edge of the panel) chuckling, but not laughing out loud or anything as they don’t want to get caught. Our girl has her eyes closed, and is trying to keep expressionless.

CAPTION: APRIL 1, 1996

NARRATION: I’m a freak. I’m weird and I’m alone and my mom sends me to Catholic School and I hate it. I hate her.

PANEL 2
120 degree camera turn. We’re just behind-and-to-the-right of the girl sitting behind our protagonist, so that we can see the sign taped to her back. “CUNT”. People are still chuckling, except for the antagonist who just looks smug.

NARRATION: My teachers are bastards and perverts, and usually both. My peers are assholes. My day means getting shit on from the alarm buzzer until I fall asleep. I cry sometimes.

PROTAGONIST: (small) Bitch.

PANEL 3
Roughly the same scene, maybe pull back a little. Protagonist is freaking out, and has quickly turned and is moving towards the smug bitch, who looks quite a bit more surprised now. The background is mostly faded out at this point.

NARRATION: And when I lash out, suddenly it’s all my fault. Grade 9 can’t end soon enough.

PROTAGONIST: BITCH!

PAGE 2
We’re 3 months into grade 10. 3 long panels, same as page 1. Setting is the interior of a school bus. Steel grey and dark green seats. Our girl looks unchanged, except her hair’s a bit more mussed up now maybe? A few lines under the eyes? The dominant colour here is the “Sinister” red. It should start out very faint in the first panel, and then grow in intensity by the last strip. Song: Seeing Other People.

PANEL 1
Close on our girl, sitting on the bus and writing in a notebook. We can’t see what she’s writing. She’s probably wearing a medium jacket or a heavy sweater (November in Toronto after-all).

CAPTION: NOVEMBER 18, 1996

NARRATION: I started writing to try to figure things out. Everything I write says the same thing. I hate it here. I haven’t managed to narrow down “here”, either. I want to go away. Except…

PANEL 2
Medium shot of our girl, standing outside of the bus (door open). She’s at the right of the panel. On the left, a boy (short red hair, a few freckles, a little shorter than her) is moving towards her. She notices him and starts to smile.

NARRATION: I started seeing this boy, it’s a secret though. We make out a little and I let him feel me up Saturday. Our secret is the best thing about every day, knowing he really loves me in the back of my head, I don’t care what anyone else says.

PANEL 3
Apparently he does not feel the same way. She is one the verge of freaking out, sort of blank and dead inside.

BOY: Slut.

PAGE 3:
This is three tiers again. This is the first page with a colour theme for each panel. Three different scenes, quick cuts.

PANEL 1
Based on Dog On Wheels. Colour is sort of a faded yellow, light streaming through windows on a sunny day. Classroom setting again, third-person perspective just behind our protagonist looking to the end of her row (she moved desks, obviously!) to see the boy from the previous page making puppy-dog eyes, maybe making a little wave. We can see the following note in the bottom right-corner, maybe in her hand or on her desk: ” I’m really sorry. The other guys saw us and I just told them so they’d leave us both alone. I figured it was better me telling you off than everyone right? Please come behind “our” dumpsters at 4:15 if you forgive me.” The other people are blurry, not paying attention either of them. Song: Belle & Sebastian.

CAPTION: May 12, 1997.

NARRATION: He didn’t mean it. I knew he loved me.

PANEL 2
This is a medium close-up of our character, behind the counter at a McDonalds in an ill-fitting uniform. Hair pulled back. She’s crying a little, but has been crying a lot. She’s looking down a little, not right at the person she’s talking too. It’s busy around her, maybe even a blur or whir of activity? The colour is purple, uneasy and sick. Fairly prominent. Song: Lazy Line Painter Jane

CAPTION: July 28, 1997

NARRATION: I told him my mom got a new job and we have to move next week. He came into work to see me and I wasn’t thinking and he called me a slut. I was on break at work. He called me a slut and my manager is a total asshole and wouldn’t let me leave and I want to throw up I don’t want to go away…

PROTAGONIST: (Small) M-may I take your order…?

NARRATION: At least I won’t have to wear a uniform at the new school.

PANEL 3
We’re at the new school. Shot from above, showing our girl at a table alone. She’s dressed plainly. The colour is bleeding from this scene, out the bottom-right panel basically. Fading to white. Very geometric panel. She’s writing in her journal, and she’s writing “I hate it here.” Song: Beautiful

CAPTION: November 13, 1997

NARRATION: I don’t know how to make friends here. I don’t know how to fit in. It’s worse here. Nobody sees me at all.

PAGE 4
It’s another journal entry, on the first day of the second week of school in grade 12. Things got better last year. She switched to an alternative school after Christmas, and she started to get into art and music, drama at school. But mostly writing. The year will be okay. A girl comes up and kisses her on the cheek. Oh. It’s the most popular girl in school, and she’s happy and everything’s great. Song: “Summer wasting”. Colour is a vibrant green.

PANEL 1
Wide shot on a school yard in an ‘alternative’ school. Typical school yard but the kids are dressed more arty/fucked-up. We should see a wall, in the distant background, with some kids sitting against it. Two girls and a boy. Some other kids standing in the foreground, smoking in groups of 3, or walking in a pair. Casual, don’t go nuts with detail but this should definitely be more grounded in reality than some of the earlier bits. This is the establishing shot, and the next two panels will zoom in on the kids sitting against the wall.

CAPTION: September 7, 1998

NARRATION: I haven’t written for a little while, I’m sorry. Things got bad at Christmas. They let me out of the hospital in February, and I went to another school. It’s cool. I made a really good friend. The second year is going to be great.

PANEL 2
Zoom on the kids sitting against the wall. We can see that the two girls are sitting a closer together, with the boy giving them a skootch of personal space. The narration might lead the viewer to think that the boy and girl are together, but they are not (obviously) so try not to give it away until the last panel. The boy is straight-laced, neat. GAY. Try not to stereotype him up or anything, but make it clear? If you can? Our girl looks like herself, but maybe give her something approaching Roxy’s haircut from Gen 13, only with green at the front (tying into the theme of the page). She should also be wearing a green James jacket. The other girl is our protagonist’s girlfriend. I see her looking…? I dunno. A little punk, a little rougher, a little heavier than the protagonist. She needs to be wearing a corduroy jacket, or pants. Your choice. All three characters are laughing at a private joke.

NARRATION: We spent the summer together. I felt totally free, it was amazing. We stayed up all night. We stayed out all night too. We talked for days. We took pictures and wrote stories about each other.

PANEL 3
Close up on the two girls. Our girl is smiling, head slightly bowed, having just finished laughing. Her girlfriend is giving her a little kiss on the cheek.

NARRATION: I think I’m in love.

PAGE 5
Okay, we’re going to break format a little bit with this one. Three panels, but the last one is going to be empty. Sort of. It’ll be a colour-fade thing, with the panel borders disappearing at the bottom.

PANEL 1
It’s three months later, and things are sliding again. Our girl got her heart broken. Left her for another girl. We see her from behind, head down at a desk crying at school. The room is otherwise empty. She’s cut her hair really short, but we can still tell it’s her (jacket from previous scene). Her desk is against a wall, and there’s a poster on the wall for a young authors contest. TEEN VOICES.  Song is “This is just a modern rock song.” Colour is a bright orange. Hazy almost.

CAPTION: December 7, 1998

NARRATION: Love never lasts. Bitch. I hope she’s happy with Laura, that fat cow. But I’m not petty. I’m better than her. I’m going to turn her cheating and lying into something great. I wrote our story and it’s called Corduroy. Everyone is going to read it and know what it’s really like, what she’s really like.

Poster Text: Hey you! Got something to say? Enter the TEEN VOICES contest and you could be published! (text becomes too small to read after that)

PANEL 2
Two years have passed. We enter on a medium close-up of our protagonist, dead-on. She’s grown her hair out and it’s in a Jennifer Aniston cut. She’s dressed ‘nice’, semi-upscale. Being alternative didn’t really agree with her, apparently? She’s sitting behind a table, in a skirt again (same length as the catholic school skirt, though not patterned). Behind her we see maybe 6-8 people, as she’s sitting at a table signing. Office environment. We don’t really see their faces, just a wall of power-suits and ladies in intimidating office-wear. The colour here is really, really grey, beginning a fade to white at the bottom of the panel. Song: LEGAL MAN.  Colour is a black-and-white wall? If you get that?

CAPTION: May 22, 2000

NARRATION: Where does the time go, it’s been 2 years since I wrote here. I only opened this journal up again because I signed the contract for my novel today! Yeah, after I got the excerpt published in “Teen Voices” there was this huge bidding war. I have a lawyer and an agent now, it’s crazy. Fuck off to school, fuck off to my parents, fuck off to everyone. My advance paid a year’s rent and they say the royalties will be huge on top of that! Hah!

PANEL 3
Stat of Panel 2, although almost entirely faded to white.

NARRATION: They say they don’t want my ex to sue us, so we’re going to keep my pen name from the contest. I don’t even feel like the same person anymore. I only went back to this journal to find out what I was thinking and feeling back then, so I can expand my short story into the full-length novel they want. They’re going to call my book “The Wrong Girl”. Everything is perfect.

PAGE 6
Easiest page you’ll do. Three stat repeating panels of panel1. Song is “The Wrong Girl”. Colour is a sickly grey-yellow.

PANEL 1
Close-up on an answering machine on a desk. By the front door. There’s a little bowl for keys. Some personal effects. Maybe a picture frame with just her picture in it?  . We can see the door in the background.

CAPTION: June 5, 2000

ANSWERING MACHINE: BEEP “Hey, it’s your editor. … Look, we have to talk about your second book… it’s been delayed. I guess you know why. Call me when you get this.

PANEL 2

ANSWERING MACHINE: BEEP “Hi honey. We saw they said about your book… We just want you to know, you’ll always have a home here. Your step-dad and I love you. Please call.”

PANEL 3
In this panel, we see her hand pressing a button on the machine, cutting off the message mid-way through. She has not slit her wrists, at least.

ANSWERING MACHINE: BEEP “Guess who? I just wanted to say that I’m glad people finally saw through the trash you wrote about me. I hope you’re cutting your wrists ri—”

NARRATION: What am I going to do?

PAGE 7
June sees her finishing up her first year of college, no longer confident that she knows everything. A formal education works wonders.  She’s in a relationship with a guy who’s actually a fan, which is weird but sort of what she needs right now, reassurance.

PANEL 1
Our girl is with some friends at a bar. Hanging out. Happy enough, all right. Doing something else. Figure 4-5 people sitting in a booth at a bar, chatting. More mature-looking, but not putting on airs. Think t-shirts with school logos and things. A bunch of kids getting together to toast the last day at college (yeah, I know this is a little late into summer but we’re fudging it a little). Song: Jonathan David. Colour should be a bit oversaturated, bit dark.

CAPTION: June 18, 2001

NARRATION: I finished my last exam today. I haven’t heard back from my publisher though. Dan says they’ll come crawling back when the world realizes what a triumph it was. I guess he’s right. He’s pretty great. I’m just worried that I didn’t remember the quote from Bell Jar right on the exam… It’s nice to have a fan. I think he’s my only fan in the world.

PANEL 2
Then in November, she’s beginning her second year of college (for creative writing/english of course). You can get rid of the backgrounds for the most part on this. It’s her and a boy, arguing. Outside, leaves changing colour. In sweaters and scarves on the University quad. She realizes that she’s always been a mess, carrying around all of the bullshit from highschool. Trying to grow up. Song is: ” I’m Waking Up To Us.” Colour: Moment of realization! Everything becomes clear, and bright!

CAPTION: November 26, 2001

DIALOGUE: “…I can’t date one of my fans! I can’t be with anyone right now! It’s not about you…”

NARRATION: And it wasn’t. It’s about me. It’s always about me, and that’s been the problem for too long. I think I really do need to be alone for a while. I really need to figure some things out. It’s like I never left highschool sometimes.

PANEL 3

8. A year and a half later, and she’s working her way up the ladder in publishing. Paenel should be a medium close-up on her, pencil behind-the-ear, stacks of paper. Not frantic, organized and with-it, though with plenty of work to do. Things are going okay
Colour is red, but this time happier. Warmer. Good red. Song: Storytelling.

CAPTION: June 3, 2002

NARRATION: Nose to the grindstone. Interning at my former publisher. No one knows who I am, except my boss and she hasn’t told anyone (even though she’s a total bitch). But whatever. I’m learning a lot from her. From just being here, doing all of this work. I… well I slipped something new to an editor yesterday, something I’ve been working on. I feel good about it. It’s what my first novel should have been. It’s the truth.

PAGE 8
October 6th, 2003 – DEAR CATASTROPHE WAITRESS is released. Another year and a half out, her sophmore book is the hit of the Fall Season. She’s up at a podium, talking about her work. She’s actually not getting an award, she’s presenting in front of a group of students from her old highschool, the catholic school. The novel is called “EXPECTATIONS”. Colour is a warm yellow, sort of a golden-hour-of-film-shoot kind of quality. Bright, good, warm. Song: Dear Catastrophe Waitress

PANEL 1
Medium close-up of our girl at a podium, people seated off to her left (panel right). Old guy, middle-aged woman. Maybe arty teacher-guy if he can fit in the panel.

CAPTION: October 6th, 2003

NARRATION: Expectations is my life from start to finish. From getting shit on in grade 9 to betraying the only person I ever loved with all my heart. From failure to success and here I am.

DIALOGUE: It’s a real honour to be here today, talking to all of you. I honestly thought I’d never get a second chance here.

PANEL 2
From behind now, a 180 degree turn. Our girl takes up a lot of the panel, on the right side so you have to draw less of the crowd. You can cheat too, no worries. We should be able to see a row or two of people though, including a depressed/fucked-up looking catholic school girl in the second row. There are maybe 50 people here to see her speak.

NARRATION: I told her once that I wanted to be on top of the world. I’m happy now, just to live in it.

DIALOGUE: School was never easy for me, and it’s really my art, my writing that got me through. Everyone has a tough time of it, but we all come through.

PANEL 3
Medium close-up on the girl from the previous panel. She’s not really watching or paying attention. She’s wearing an iPod (old version), listening to a song.

NARRATION: I realized that you never necessarily get what you expect out of life. No great secrets, no great expectations, just try to do the best that you can and treat people right.

DIALOGUE: My writing became my career and my life. I hope that whether it’s art or writing or music, all of you find something that means as much to you.

MUSIC FROM IPOD:

Hey, you’ve been used. Write a song, I’ll sing along,
Are you calm? Settle down. Soon you will know that you are sane,
You’re on top of the world again

THE END


3 Comments on “Great Expectations: My Little Tribute to Belle & Sebastian”

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  1. Mike says:

    Never read this before, good job! (expect for pages 1 – 9) DISS!

    Seriously, good job

    Mike

  2. Ed says:

    During the first season of (new improved) Galactica, I had a running joke that B&S could serve as a Cylon detector: if you thought “Dear Catastrophe Waitress” was too twee or whatever, then it was obvious that you were a stinking emotionless Cylon.

  3. Douglas Wolk says:

    I will confess to you: I TOTALLY missed the color design/release dates business. Which really is pretty clever.

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