Monday, September 11, 2006

Lessons from a Fell


FELL is a comic book by Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith that is pretty radical in today's comic marketplace:

- It has a $1.99 cover price (a buck cheaper than other comics)
- It's printed on 16 pages of glossy paper showcasing Ben's wild artwork.
- The stories are packed with art and story and are each self-contained. The format is very tight - nine panels or so to a page. You don't have to have read the entire run prior in order to understand the relationships and storyline. You hop on and go.
- The back pages have insights into the creation of the series...
- It's also turning the comic book world on its ear. Some people hate it. Some love it. (Most do as it's gone back for several printing on multiple issues).

You guys can see where I'm going with this right? FELL is a hell of a lot like a pulp DVD.

- Most movies from the indies are sold around $14.99-19.99 retail. About $9.00 cheaper than their studio counterparts.
- Pulp movies for the most part hit the 90 minute mark. Enough room to put the movie, an interview (Insights), and a few trailers on it. It's tight. Focused.
- and if we are to believe the Video Buyers Group, pulp movies are making people money.

Both FELL and Pulp movies are born out of an economic necessity - to pack as much story into as little space as possible - and make it affordable for the purchaser. The restrictions to the story and the artwork actually work in its favor....

So the thought is this - deconstruct what you are trying to do in film and look at the restrictions brought about by the:

Format (film or video? Full Frame or widescreen)
Length
Budget
Actors
Design
Lighting

and make that work FOR you. By rethinking the approach, you can come up with new stories, characters and looks. But before you do that - have a solid grounding in the conventions of the medium you're working in. If you know the rules it doesn't "show" when you break them. One can always spot someone who doesn't get it.

Remember: restrictions are the squeeze that brings out the juicy pulp.

4 comments:

Jutratest said...

Yes, Radiohead used to say their sound came about due to the fact that they couldn't play their instruments very well, so had to get creative with what they knew.

Resevoir Dogs is a great example of being creative with limited location and budget.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

squeeze that brings out the juicy pulp -- never heard that before -- clever in a "make me think of a toothpaste tube" sort of way. But same premise.

RogerRmjet said...

Looks like the guys behind Lonelygirl15 did just what you've suggested:
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-me-lonelygir13sep13,0,347594.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Bill Cunningham said...

Yeah, but exactly WHAT are they going to do with it?