What comic script format should I choose for my comic? (Marvel vs. DC vs. movie style)

If you are working as a writer for a publisher, they probably have guidelines to follow, so you will want to match whatever they request. *cough* *cough* (They are paying you.) There is even a book on writing DC type scripts if you really want to master that format.

However, for creator owned comics, the choice is more personal. Write whatever format fits you best.

For me, I started off writing movie scripts in Final Draft after reading a ton of books on writing. My main goal was to improve my writing while getting some of the ideas in my head out on paper. After all, I needed to write 10 throwaway scripts before I tried to make something.

While I did this, I figured out the best movie style script format for me which was loosely based on William Goldman's style. I talk more about him in another post if you are interested.

By the time I was at about 10 scripts, I felt I had one that I could turn into a comic (halfwing). Now, mind you, the first major arc of halfwing was 280 pages of a movie style script... no page numbers, no panel numbers, no SFXs (sound effects)... nothing like that.

I actually didn't even think about that I hadn't converted it, I just jumped into hiring an artist. I sent the artist, Matias, the script, he liked it, and we jumped right into the concept phase.

After that, Matias started producing the issues by storyboarding them out himself (which made it much better than any page/panels I could come up with).

I didn't even think about comic script format until I sent my script and Matias's pages to the letterer to add dialogue, etc, and he was like... "uh... what's this?" "Where are the page and panel numbers for where you want the dialogue?"

Whoops, that is when I went back and had to edit my movie style script. I also had to make some adjustments based on Matias's storyboards. He made the flow better, so I needed to tweak the dialogue while I added page and panel numbers.

So, there you have it. Write whatever works best and you will figure out your style while you get experience.

You may start with comic book format because you want complete control of the panel layout. I didn't, so I did the opposite.

For me, that means I write out a movie style script first. I give it to my artist (Matias) and let him run with the storyboarding, so he has more input. After he is done, I go back and revise the script to better match his pages and add page/panel numbers so it is in comic book format for the letterer.

Good luck, I hope that helps!

-Jeremy

P.S. - If this helped, please support me by reading my free webcomic halfwing, thanks!

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