…and the continual search to balance both perfectly.
The second installment of INSUFFERABLE went up a half-hour ago at Thrillbent, and as I look over it, in the midst of marveling at the craftsmanship of Pete, Nolan and Troy, I’m reminded of all the stuff we didn’t know months ago when we produced it, and now I’m nervous.
Originally, my idea for the middle sequence–the hidden-traincar-ride back to Nocturnus’ HQ–was that it be all one long, four-screens-wide panorama panel, where as the reader scrolls across, those flashback/memory panels gradually drop into place. There were two things that I didn’t take into consideration that I do now.
One was technical–at that time, the software we’re using as a viewer didn’t have the capacity to scroll right and left. (I’ll get Lori to explain soon exactly what it is we use and how it works.) So much for the “infinite canvas” idea. We’re still trying to crack that, and I hope we do by installment five or else I’m gonna have to do some serious rewriting. Pete tried at first to compensate by doing a layout showing the traincar gradually moving across the page at a static camera angle, but while it was closer to what I’d envisioned than what we have now, it was dull to look at. Pete and Nolan worked together to come up with what we have now, which is a nice compromise.
Second thing was…and this sounds so stupid in retrospect because it’s so elementary now but it wasn’t then…I forgot to ask Pete to draw the inset/flashback panels separate from the main art so we could gradually layer them in. Instead, Pete just drew them together with the subway background as one piece of art, not quite understanding what I was going for (because I failed to communicate–this is on me, not on him). Hard lesson learned. Now…NOW…when we do that “panels dropping gradually in” effect (which comes into play nicely in installment six), Pete draws the full screen and then goes back and does the inset panels separately so we can layer them in on the page-turns.
It’s a cool device. I wish we’d used it here, but again, that’s on me. We may re-do it if Pete and Nolan get a free day soon, but that’s an extra expense that I’m not sure is worth the time and expense. (Even though I’m paying both gentlemen in nylons and chocolate bars, they still need to be compensated fairly, and drawing/coloring an entire page and THEN on top of that adding inset panels is like drawing/coloring a page and a half, at least. And the production work is simple but time-consuming–I’ll do a blog post on that later this week.)
So I guess where I’m nervous is that this installment, even moreso than the previous one, uses hardly any of the “bells and whistles” digital affords, and instead it’s more an example of the craft of doling out as much information using as little real estate as possible. Is that enough, in and of itself, not to lose the audience? This is what I’m talking about, what keeps me up nights–the struggle of finding the right balance of story and technique. Think we found it with installment three, definitely with four. Let me know your thoughts.