Monday, May 31, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox THREE, page 3 (of 6)

A minimalist page ...


Opp: Your plan is that you have a rose bush?!?

Knox: Yup.

Opp: Are you insane?!!!?!!!?

To be continued soon ...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox THREE, page 2 (of 6)

The idea for this script came from an old Dragon magazine article on how to use magical items and spells in unexpected ways. However, for our heroes things don't always work out as they'd like them to.

Page TWO

Opp: So what is the great plan of yours, Knox?
Knox: It's simplicity itself really.

Knox: We know where the dragon's lair is ...

Knox ... and we know it will come put and fight us if it hears us.
Opp: Of course it will, and it will eat us whole.

Knox: It's okay. I've got a rose bush.

Continued tomorrow ...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox THREE, page 1 (of 6)

Finally, we got around to taking some more pics. So here's the first page of the third, and last for now, Opportunity & Knox story.

Page ONE
Our heroes walking out of town, heading into the hills toward some mountains.

Opp: "I can't believe you said we'd go and kill the marauding dragon."
Knox: "It seemed the right thing to do. Don't worry."

Opp: "Don't worry?!? Of course I'm worrying. It's a dragon. It's killed a dozen heroes of renown. We're just a dwarf who's a bit tall and giant who's a bit short. We don't stand a chance."

Knox: "I have a plan."

Opp: "You have a plan? That's meant to make me feel better?"
Knox: "Yes."

Full width title frame.
Knox: "I promise you this dragon will be but a little problem, easily defeated."
Little Problem

Continued tomorrow ...

Monday, May 24, 2010

History as a Second Language

Where do you go for your Egyptian history? Someone who has a degree in Teaching English as a Second Language of course. Dr Carmen Boulter's 5-part documentary, The Pyramid Code, is currently showing on the History Channel.

Her credentials are rather less than impressive. Oddly enough her university of Calgary website page avoids mentioning her award-winning documentary series (awards for Score, Motion Graphics and Design Package).

The basic premise is that we have all be told lies by 'traditional Egyptology' and we need to re-examine the evidence.

The conclusion Dr Boulter comes up with is that the pyramids are vast electrical machines, now broken, that were part of some sophisticated stellar worship/observation and harmonic healing system.

'Traditional Egyptology' is presented as a straw man, not only laughably wrong but actively trying to hide the real story by misrepresenting, hiding and destroying evidence. Conspiracy theories are wonderful things, as it's always impossible to refute them ... "You must be one of them!" the believers cry.

The arguments presented by Dr Boulter are done so without evidence, and are filled with mystical ramblings about what spiritual life must have been like for the invented star worshipers she posits.

The supporting experts are a motley collection of oddball Egyptian History re-interpreters, the half-baked ideas of which are manipulated to fit Dr Boulter's own claims.

It's simply rubbish. Easily refuted rubbish.

So how did she get a 5-part documentary series, and why is it being shown by the History Channel?

The series is available in bite-sized YouTube chunks, and on DVD, as well as the endless cycle of repeats it is sure to have, if you wish to go look. It's worth a laugh. But that's about it.

No wonder I generally avoid the History as a Second Language Channel.

(More 'almost comics' soon).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Opportunity & Knox TWO, an almost comic

All six pages in one post.

An 'almost comic' made by taking photos of various toys, mostly Playmobil, and then throwing them into the Mac's Comic Life software and manipulating the pics a little.

In this adventure our heroes, a tall dwarf and short giant, battle a cube of jelly, annoy a faerie, and look for a good pair of shoes.

We have started work on the third, and last for now, adventure of O&K. After that we are focused on making all 24 episodes of Utterly Rucked into an 'almost comic'.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox TWO, page 6 (of 6)

Spot the 'deliberate' mistake?

Hopefully we'll start shooting the next one tomorrow ... assuming nothing odd takes over the day.

Page SIX

Okay, this last page is a visual joke. We start with two frames at the top that show the two heroes walking together into the sunset. However, we only see half of each of them. Knox is short, and Opp is tall, as they both have one boot each on.
Knox: "So it wasn't what the text said, it was more about what language it was written in. High-elven ... low human."
Opp: "Those blades would have really altered our size."

Knox looking up at his tall companion. We still only see half (or less) of each of them as they walk side-by-side.
Knox: "You know something my friend?"
Opp: "What?"

Large frame that shows that each one of them is a distorted 'mutant' creature with one boot of Size Alteration on each. Opp is tall only on one side, his body a strange distortion in the middle. Knox is short on one side, but normal on the other. Multiple speech bubbles to finish with, as they limp off into the sunset.
Knox: "This isn't really going to work out is it?"
Opp: "Nope."
Knox: "There's no way you'd consider giving both of them to me?"
Opp: "We always split everything evenly. That's our deal."
Knox: "So what do we do?"
Opp: "We could give them to Bertha. She might let us live that way."
Knox: "She might at that."


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox TWO, page 5 (of 6)

This page has me holding a kitchen knife ... the ultimate in special effects.

The boots our heroes seek are actually from a Xena warrior princess toy that was found at the $2 shop with some other assorted warriors. Xena gave her life for this page, as we snipped the boots off her with a pair of scissors.


One more frame of them making their way through the temple dungeon.
Knox: "Why was it is High-elven? Everything else was in the human low-tongue."

The see the boots on a dais/pedestal thing.
Opp: There they are. The Boots of Size Alteration. Just think what we can do with those.

Opp and Knox prodding the floor and checking for traps.
Opp: "It all looks safe enough.
Knox: "Hmm, I wonder if ... "

They creep forward, but step on something, a pressure plate, that makes a click
FX: (click)

They jump up just as a blade sweeps under them.
Knox: "Jump!"
FX: Swish!

They duck as another blade goes over their heads.
Knox: "Duck!"
FX: "Swish!"

Concluded tomorrow ...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox TWO, page 4 (of 6)

Epic photo-shoot today to get the last three pages done. We are a bit time-poor, as they say, just at the moment. However, we've started laying out the next episode already. There's work being done on Utterly Rucked. Some Playmobil has been acquired from various and cheap sources. Little rugby jerseys are being made ...

On top of all this we (well, mainly my wife) are also restoring an old guitar (a beat up Suzuki No.6), as well as all the day-to-day business that life brings.


Large frame of some evil temple in the mid-distance with our two heroes standing looking at it. Multiple speech bubbles.

Opp: "So that's a temple?"
Knox: "Yup."
Opp: "What god is that for?"
Knox: "A bad one."
Opp: "They're all bad in some way."
Knox: "True enough."

The two heroes making their way past traps and skeletons and dungeon trash.
Knox: "I just wish we'd gotten that bit of text translated."

More of the same, they avoid some pit or something.
Knox: "I'm sure it's important."

Continued tomorrow ...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox TWO, page 3 (of 6)


Okay, so the script calls for multiple monsters in various environments to illustrate the 'epic' nature of the journey. But my wife went to the trouble of making a gelatinous cube out of lime jelly and Playmobil parts ... so we just used that for six frames.

We had gone as far as painting background and finding suitable toys for 4 other monsters (the badger was giving us problems), but I just liked playing with jelly.

We didn't manage a photo-shoot yesterday, so the next page may be slightly delayed. We did, however, get a background done and gather together the parts, so it won't take too long.

This page show various action fighting frames of them dealing with random monsters as they travel, contrasted with bits of a simple conversation. There's a geek 'joke' in that all the monsters are from the first edition AD&D Dungeon Master Guide random encounter tables.

The two heroes fighting a giant toad.
Opp: "How long do sylphs keep grudges for anyway?"
Knox: "For as long as they live."

The two heroes fighting a giant Badger.
Opp: "How long do sylphs live?"
Knox: "They're immortal."

The two heroes fighting a giant Centipede.
Opp: "So where is this temple?"
Knox: "Other side of the Swamp of Slaughter."

The two heroes fighting a Gelatinous Cube (a large semi-opaque cube of stuff that sucks things into it, and has odd bits suspended inside like a jelly with fruit would).
Opp: "Is that close to the Desert of Fiery Rain?"
Knox: "No ... it's nearer to the Lake of Unsettled Souls."

The two heroes fighting a giant lizard.
Opp: "There's a good inn in those parts ... what's its name? The Something's Something?"
Knox: "The Unicorn's Horn? They do a great vegetable stew."

The two heroes fighting a giant beetle.
Opp: "Nah. I was thinking of the Gorgon's Head."
Knox: "Oh right. Great pub. I wonder if they still sell ale by the bucket?"

Continued soon ...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox TWO, page 2 (of 6)

Page TWO

Large frame of the two heroes running down a street in panic.
Knox: "You fool! I told you not to comment on her size."

A large fiery explosion goes off near them.
Opp: "But she seemed so .... thin."
Knox: "For a human, maybe. But she's a slyph fairie you idiot ...

Our heroes running in the distance while a pissed off Big Bertha casts another spell at them.
Knox: "... and for a slyph she's huge!

Continued tomorrow ...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox TWO, page 1 (of 6)

The start of a second O&K 'almost comic' ... featuring jelly. You'll have to wait for page three to see the jelly.

If you bother to read the script you'll notice that even I don't stick to my own layout suggestions.

The overall plan is for this O&K story, then one more, then possibly a wee break while we get ready to do UTTERLY RUCKED as an 'almost comic' -- Rugby, Playmobil, Blood and Guts. If UR is looking like it might take a while to do (there's a demand for higher production values from those involved) I'll see if I can fill in with something else I've been working on, a police drama story with a Lovecraftian twist.

Size Tens ... or The Epic Quest for the Boots of Size Alteration

Story: David Tulloch

Page ONE

Opportunity and Knox are in the house of Big Bertha to get a map translated. Bertha is a very skinny woman.
TITLES at the top (or bottom) of the page.
Opportunity & Knox
Two: Size Tens ... or The Epic Quest for the Boots of Size Alteration

Knox showing the very skinny Big Bertha a strange map with odd writing.
Knox: "Can you help us out, Big Bertha? We know the location is a temple but we need a translation of this bit of the map."

Knox and Bertha talking while Opportunity watches with a somewhat bemused and quizzical look.
Big Bertha: "Hmm, it's in High-elven."
Knox: "What's the difference from normal elven?"

Bertha makes a joke, Knox takes it all seriously. Opp looks on with confusion.
Big Bertha: "It's much more complex and long-winded ... I think elves write High-elven after taking lots of drugs.
Knox: "I see."

Opportunity has been watching this and now finally speaks up. Knox looks worried, and is trying to make that 'please stop' motion people make when they want someone to shut up.
Opp: "I don't get it? Why do they call you Big Bertha? You're as skinny as a rake."

Continued tomorrow ...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Opportunity & Knox ONE, an almost comic

Here are all the pages of O&K Story One in a single post. We applied a 'drawn' filter to these ones to make it look just that little bit more comic-like, and I played with the brightness and contrast of some panels.

You may notice that Opportunity's spoon changes to a hammer halfway through the story. That's simply because we only found the hammer halfway through shooting it.

The jelly is set, so we're about to start shooting the next episode ...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox ONE, page 6 (of 6)

Final page. Tomorrow I'll put up a click-through summary version, if I can work out how to do that.

The 'explosion' panel is rather lame when compared to the script directions, but laying out a whole townscape just for one picture seemed like a bad idea.

The photo-shoot for the next episode of O&K starts tomorrow, assuming the jelly sets in time.

There has been some pressure put upon me to do Utterly Rucked (see February's posts) as an 'Almost Comic'. That would be an epic undertaking, but seems to be gaining momentum. But that's for another month.

Page SIX
Three small panels at the top of the page to start with.

Our heroes sitting on the curb, dripping and slumped.
Opportunity: "So what's the plan now, Knox?"
Knox: '"First, my giant friend, we wait ... "

SImilar frame as before, but nothing happening.

As the previous frame.
Opportunity: "What are we waiting for?"

A large frame that shows the sewer manhole cover being blown sky high as some large explosion takes place in the sewers.
Knox: "Their torches to interact with ...
... the sewer gas I smelt down there."

Our heroes sitting on the curb again.
Knox: "... now we go and collect the dead rats."
Opportunity: "That's a really good plan."

Our two height-challenged heroes stand up and head towards the manhole opening.
Knox: "An' we're looting their bodies too. They should've known better than to laugh at a dwarf!"


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox ONE, page 5 (of 6)

Just got some Playmobil on TradeMe to help out with a planned story (next month?). Meanwhile, the green jelly has been acquired to make a prop for the next O&K story, the photo-shoot for that one will happen this weekend, we hope. A trip to the hardware store is planned to get some other props.

Are we taking this all a little too seriously? Nah ... we're having way too much fun.

A group of heroic (and cliched) adventurers push past our heroes to go into the sewers themselves.

A group of aristocratic knight adventurers are heading into the sewers. They have lit torches, and are well kitted out with armour, weapons, etc.
Hero: "Make way, smelly peasants."

Knox: "Going into the sewers after the rat bounty, are ye?
Hero: "Why yes, we are."

Knox: "I wouldn't take those torches in if I was you.
Hero: "Why ever not? They light the way and the rats are frightened by fire."

The 'heroes' looking at Knox in disbelief.
Knox: "Just trust me. I'm a dwarf."

They all laugh at Knox.

The heroes go down into the sewers, still chuckling at Knox. O&K watch them go.
Hero2: "A dwarf ... he's taller than me."
Hero1: "Absolute nonsense."

Concluded tomorrow ...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox ONE, page 4 (of 6)

Epic photo shoot today to do the last three pages of this strip. Having a one-year old in the mix made it a bit more epic than it should have been. My wonderful wife did most of the setup and photo-taking. I got to be artistic director and child-wrangler.

We modified some of the frames so they differ from the script directions, mostly for the sake of simplicity. We're going for something vaguely illustrative here, not exact.

We start with three small frames at the top of the page.

A street scene in a fantasy town. Coaches, horses, knights, men-at-arms, etc. Make sure there's a manhole cover somewhere in the scene.

A manhole cover being shifted out from below.

Climbing out of the sewers hole come our heroes, dripping and bedraggled.

Our two heroes in the street with other people around them so we can see they are normal sized in comparison.
Opportunity: "I can't believe you got lost in the sewers."

Knox: "It was hard to keep track when running that fast."
Opportunity: "Yeah, but you're a dwarf. You were raised underground."

Another panel whose point is to show visually that they are both normal-sized in comparison to everyone else around them. You could even put in small-people, such as halflings and dwarfs, or some large beast like an orge, to add to this.
Knox: "So? You're a giant, Opportunity, yet one little ol' rat frightens you off.
Opportunity: "Little? That was big enough for my father to ride on.

Continued tomorrow ...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox ONE, page 3 (of 6)

This page of 'almost comic' contains my lame attempt to get some movement into the picture without actually doing anything time-consuming. I used parentheses. Does it make the page come alive? No. But I'm too lazy to start getting into photoshopping the pictures at this point.

Opportunity (the short giant) is using a large wooden spoon as a club, simply because it was the closest thing to a club we had in our Playmobil arsenal. We tried drumsticks, the handle of a morning star, and a tribal stick. I liked the spoon. My wife didn't, so she got to choose the helmet he wears.

It's also rather hard to make Playmobil look like they are running. Exit stage left chased by a toy rat.


The 'giant', Opportunity, wallops the giant rat square in the face with his over-sized club. Some suitable sound effect would be good here.

The rat snarling and foaming at the mouth, looking more vicious than ever.
Opportunity: "That just made it angry. What now?"

They flee. Maybe the two of them running, the rat behind them in all it's large, angry glory.
Knox: "Run!"

continued tomorrow ...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox ONE, page 2 (of 6)

This page shows the limitations of the 'taking photos of toys' approach to comic book visualization. This should be a dynamic action page with our heroes in mortal combat with a giant rat. Playmobil don't do dynamic that well. Nor does a crazy catnip-stuffed cat-toy mouse.

Still, it is odd and funny looking. Which is good enough for me.

Page TWO
A big fight page as 'dwarf' tries to block the rat and swing his axe, while the giant berates his companion. Make it action-packed, with them leaping and bits of the sewer being demolished by the rat, etc.

Opportunity: "A simple bounty on rats, you said."

Opportunity: "Just a quick in an out, you said."

Opportunity: "Easy money, you said."
Knox: "Well now I'm saying hit the damn rat."

continued tomorrow ...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox ONE, page 1 (of 6)

Almost a comic page.

Below is the script for a new comic idea called Opportunity & Knox. Opportunity is a short giant. Knox is a tall dwarf. They fight monsters and stuff in a fantasy world. Hopefully some of it is funny.

Also included is the solution we have come up with to the absence of active drawing of any of my scripts. I may not have any artistic talent, but I do own a camera and a bunch of toys. My wonderful wife whipped up some backgrounds, dressed some Playmobil, found a toy rat, and helped orchestrate the photo-shoot.

So, this is the way forward, I hope. I'll still write and post scripts, but a page at a time, and with a silly photo-comic to illustrate it.

The photos are not meant to replace actual artwork, or even be accurate to the script. However, they are 'almost' a comic, so I can feel I'm almost a comic book writer.

We are already planning a shopping trip to get some specific Playmobil for the next story ...

Opportunity & Knox ONE
Big Rat

This is a swords and fantasy parody (yes, there are already too many of them) about the tallest dwarf and shortest giant. As such there is plenty of room in the artwork for visual jokes and small silly details. Such as half-visable graffiti proclaiming 'Groo is a mendicant", or a shop sign proclaiming to sell the One Ring. I can add in details if you like, or leave it up to your own sense of humour.

Disclaimer: Like anything I write, the panel breakdowns are just suggestions. The photo panels are really there as a bit of fun, they are not to be taken seriously. If you want to group some panels together so there are multiple speech bubbles, or break them apart so there are more panels with less words, feel free. Layout suggestions are just that. You're the artist, feel free to play with the layout.

Page ONE
Three smallish frames at the top, then a large title frame.

[ It begins with rats. It almost always begins with rats. ]
A rat with some stolen food in its mouth running into a sewer grate.

[ Rats are simple. ]
The rat running down a wide, tiled underground sewer

[ Rats are small. ]
The rat coming up to an archway that opens into something larger ...

[ ... most of the time. ]
Large Title frame. The rat is a bystander to a fight between our two heroes and a giant rat. The rat should be huge. Fending off the rat with his shield is Knox.
Knox is a dwarf, but is tall for his race, so is human-sized. He has a thick beard, wears chain mail, uses a shield and axe, and does other things like a dwarf, it's just that he grew tall. He is a tall dwarf.
Behind Knox is Opportunity, a short giant. He is also human-sized, but carries a large over-sized club and likes to throw rocks at things.
Together they form a size-themed fantasy fighting duo ... so it is appropriate that their first adventure pits them against a big rat.
Opportunity: "I thought you said this was gonna be easy, Knox?"
Knox: "Shut up an' hit it!"
Opportunity & Knox
ONE: Big Rat
continued tomorrow ...