I've been asked a couple of questions about designing comics with the 'motion book' mentality in mind. Because motion books are dynamic and not static, you can create stories in a format that incorporates a motion book foundation. Where traditional comics deal with page layout, motion books deal with how that layout flows and evolves over time (Treatment: Tokyo is a great example of this).
I have an animation background, so the writing I've done in the past reflects this. Below is a script for a property I'm developing that I wrote as a motion book- so the format is taking into account how it would be interpreted at the art stage and motion book creation stage (and for that reason the format sort of bridges the 'animation/cinema' and 'comic book' formats). You'll notice I reference where a 'parallax' or 'panorama' may help to enhance the story- and each number represents a single panel rather than a page full of panels- in order to give both the artist and the motion book builder more freedom.
NOTE: This is my own property and NOT a Madefire property, nor is it in development at Madefire, it's just a property I've been developing on my own time. I'm putting it here for demonstration purposes- so you can get an idea of how a motion book script can work (and I will probably post more from this story as I develop it).
Story aside, this is one example of how a script can be formatted for a motion book- and it is not the only way it can be done by any means, just my interpretation. I hope this helps!
EPISODE 001: 'DR. KINKAID'
BY JOE "OTIS" COSTELLO
2ND REVISION, OCTOBER 20, 2012
CAPTION IN WHITE
San Francisco, California. October 20, 2119
1. SAN FRANCISCO; DUSK; LOMBARD STREET EAST OF RUSSIAN HILL
A brand new Aston Martin DB10 is speeding west on Lombard street (up the hill) heading toward Russian Hill. Behind the car two augmented Yamaha all-terrain super-turbo motorcycles are in hot pursuit. Far in the distance is one police vehicle failing to keep up.
NOTE: There are no flying cars in this futuristic world.
We are 100 years in the future. The motorcycle riders are in black with futuristic helmets. THE CITY is dirty but with updated modern paraphernalia and buildings peppered around. The city skyline of downtown in the distance is a bank of massive buildings. Pedestrians, autos and other futuristic motor devices struggle to get out of the way of the oncoming cars.
This chase is occurring on the famous 'San Francisco hills'- known to be steep with plateaus for intersecting roads that the car and motorcycles leap from as the chase progresses.
…the science that deals with human beings that have been genetically engineered to consume goods and services they neither want nor require for survival.
2. INTERIOR; ASTON MARTIN DB10
MAXWELL RAWLS, a man in his early twenties is driving. He has a shaved head, and his skin is tinged green. His eyes are also tinged green. He is struggling to open a package as he manipulates the car up and down and around the obstacle course that is San Francisco. Next to him sits WILLOMINA KINKAID (called Willow) a woman in her late 50's. She is limp, foaming at the mouth, and her eyes are open but rolled up into her head. She is in shock.
Doc!? DOC!!?? Doctor Kinkaid! Wake up Doc! Stay with me Goddammit!!
3. EXTERIOR; LOMBARD STREET APPROACHING RUSSIAN HILL
The Aston Martin is speeding up the hill toward the plateau of another street crossing Lombard. As the car approaches the intersection an old man crossing the street is seen.
4. INTERIOR; ASTON MARTIN FROM BEHIND MAX AND WILLOW
The car is almost on top of the old man. Through the front windshield we can see the terror on his face.
5. EXTERIOR; INTERSECTION
The Aston Martin plows into the old man sending him flying over the roof of the car. The car then leaps off the road sailing over the cross street and crash landing on the next part of Lombard Street that is a hill again, hitting several parked cars.
6. EXTERIOR; LOMBARD STREET
The Aston Martin, now with a smashed front end, continues speeding up the hill
7. EXTERIOR; CLOSE UP, DRIVER SIDE WINDOW; ASTON MARTIN
Max is looking back out the window at the man he just hit. He has a look of regret on his face.
SHIT! Sorry dude!
8. EXTERIOR; LOMBARD STREET INTERSECTION
The motorcycles take the 'jump' and land flawlessly almost next to the car. They've gained an advantage.
The Free Market Geneconomy:
9. EXTERIOR; LOMBARD STREET
One of the motorcycles goes out of his way to take out an innocent pedestrian.
… a market where prices are determined by the population distribution of humans sharing a similar genetic predisposition for particular goods and services they are genetically compelled to consume.
10. INTERIOR; ASTON MARTIN
Max now drops in his lap the package he's been trying to open as his eyes widen at the sight of his next obstacle. (This could be a panorama from the center of the vehicle interior.)
11. EXTERIOR; LOMBARD STREET AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BLOCK WHERE THE ROAD IS A ONE LANE WINDY BRICK PATH- ONE OF THE SIGNATURE TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN THE CITY
The windy brick block of Lombard Street is a one way, one lane road going east. The Aston Martin is going in the wrong direction. It swerves to miss an oncoming car and sideswipes the next car on its way up the windy road. This gives the car a lead and slight advantage over the pursuing MOTORCYCLE ASSASSINS.
'The road to hell is paved with good intentions.'
12. EXTERIOR; LOMBARD STREET
As the Aston Martin climbs the windy brick road, one of the motorcycles jumps from a pedestrian stair ramp at the base of the hill, shooting a hand held machine gun at the car while in the air. (This could be a parallax panel).
It was certainly the intentions of the world governments in the late twenty-first century to administer 'good'.
At least, that was the narrative which was woven into the cultural fabric of the great societies living in the first world countries at the time.
13. INTERIOR; ASTON MARTIN
Bullets fly into the cab of the car, one grazing Max in the shoulder spattering blood on the windshield.
14. INTERIOR; ASTON MARTIN
Max reaches in a side panel of the car and pulls out a three metal balls, each about the size of a golf ball. He yells at them in his had
Initiate and ARM!
15. EXTERIOR; LOMBARD BRICK ROAD, APPROACHING THE TOP
The Motorcycle lands near the Aston Martin. As Max cranks the wheel to avoid another tourist coming down Lombard he lobs the three balls straight up out of the window.
'Let's End World Hunger'
That was the slogan that was marketed to the masses.
16. EXTERIOR; LOMBARD BRICK ROAD
The three balls tossed up explode, knocking the closest motorcyclist off his bike and into the buildings behind him. The second bike now picks up the pace.
Well, it sounds good, doesn't it?
17. EXTERIOR; THE TOP OF THE WINDY BRICK ROAD PORTION OF LOMBARD STREET
The Aston Martin leaps slightly off the road as it makes its last turn off of the brick part of Lombard and accelerates forward. The next block is relatively flat, at the peak of the hill, and the block after that begins the tip down the hill at a steep angle.
The second motorcycle is in hot pursuit, now firing from a handheld machine gun.
By the end of the 21st century poverty and hunger had risen forty three percent over a course of thirty years.
18. INTERIOR; ASTON MARTIN
Willow Kinkaid is beginning to suffer from convulsions. Max grabs the package in his lap he was trying to open earlier while zig-zagging the steering wheel with his knees to make the Aston Martin less of a target. Bullets fly in from the back window.
Goddammit Doc, not now!
Part of this problem was attributed to exponential population growth that had plumped to over fifteen billion human beings.
19. EXTERIOR; TOP OF RUSSIAN HILL ON LOMBARD STREET
The Aston Martin suddenly slams on its breaks and the motorcycle goes whizzing by.
Our world was swelling and bulging biggest where resources and wealth seemed to be the scarcest.
20. INTERIOR; ASTON MARTIN
Max now furiously tears open the package with his teeth and pulls out a syringe with a long needle.
One thousand one…one thousand two…
With only a finite amount of land to cultivate food…
21. EXTERIOR; LOMBARD STREET
The motorcycle turns rapidly and stops; facing the Aston Martin from a distance of about twenty yards.
22. INTERIOR; ASTON MARTIN
Max has ripped open the left portion of Willow's shirt and is poking around her chest, looking for her heart.
…one thousand three…one thousand four…
… and finite resources to procure clean water…
23. EXTERIOR; LOMBARD STREET
The assassin on the motorcycle pauses to shoot all the pedestrians in between him and the car, causing pandemonium.
…and the expense to get the food and drink to the people who were most in need…
24. INTERIOR; ASTON MARTIN
Max plunges the long syringe needle into Willow's heart and empties its contents. Willow gasps and coughs.
…one thousand five…one thousand six…
… innovation was required to address the problem.
25. EXTERIOR; LOMBARD STREET
Max has opened the door and leapt from the Aston Martin, doing a roll on the ground. The motorcycle assassin continues to fire, but finds he now needs to re-load.
…one thousand seven…one thousand eight…
26. EXTERIOR; LOMBARD STREET
The assassin ejects the clip from his gun and has the next clip ready to re-load. Max has pulled from his boot a small rod-like device.
27. CLOSE UP ON THE DEVICE IN MAX'S HAND
Max has a futuristic switch blade knife. The blade pops out. The blade is top-heavy designed to be a throwing blade. The blade itself becomes thick at the base of the handle as it is activated (almost like a small, sharp pyramid).
MAX (to knife)
Initiate and ARM!
It was around this time that the slogan evolved to: 'Let's End World Hunger by the Year 2100!'
28. EXTERIOR; LOMBARD STREET
The assassin has just clipped in his ammunition. Max throws the knife in the blink of an eye.
29. MEDIUM CLOSE UP ON ASSASSIN
Before the assassin can get off a shot the knife slams into his upper thigh.
"A solution to World Hunger is at hand!"
30. MATCH SHOT
The assassin, in shock, pulls off his helmet. He is laughing.
31. CLOSE UP
Max is looking strained, and disappointed; biting his lower lip. He closes his eyes, waiting in anticipation for the bullets to destroy him.
…one thousand twenty three...one thousand twenty four…
32. MEDIUM CLOSE UP ON ASSASSIN
The assassin is laughing, raising his gun, about to shoot.
MAX (OFF SCREEN)
…one thousand twenty five…
33. EXTERIOR; LOMBARD STREET
The throwing knife explodes, blowing the assassin to bits.
But no one…
34. MEDIUM SHOT ON MAX
Max is looking back toward the car. He is bleeding from where he had been previously shot and looks strained. Behind him, another motorcycle assassin is jumping from the brick part of Lombard Street onto the plateau on top of Russian Hill.
…especially those involved in the 'solution'…
35. INTERIOR; ASTON MARTIN
Willow is pulling the syringe from her chest. She looks pretty rough.
…could have predicted the consequences of their actions.
FADE TO BLACK
CAPTION IN WHITE
To Be Continued…