“The perfect is the enemy of the good.”
I don’t like the first panel of this page.
It’s flat. Both character’s pose silhouttes are weak. There is neither a clear line of action nor any urgency to the image. As Rob Withoff, my director of photography on Pray for Daylight, would say, it’s nothing but “…two talking heads.”
Talking heads are boring.
Knowing its flaws begs this question: Why hasn’t the panel been changed? It’s not like I don’t lack the tools to do so. Why accept it as is?
Frankly, if I wasn’t able to accept that not every shot would be perfect, or that not every moment would resonate, then this project would never be completed.
Creating fiction is a messy process. For every panel you see on the screen there are at least a dozen variations in tone, plot, intent, and composition that have been worked through and rejected. Every beat of the story has been mulled over, reviewed, tweaked, and re-worked again before the first character is posed for the opening page. Even then, as the shots move from storyboard to final post-work render, more tweaks are made. Though there is structure to both the story and the process — indeed, it would be impossible to proceed without either in place — it is nowhere near as rigid as one would believe. It has to be malleable in order for it to work. If it wasn’t, the end product would be utterly sterile.
So, I don’t like the first panel of this page. I do, however, like the layout of all of the panels together. In particular, I’m rather fond of the movement and drama of the last panel. There is a contrast between those first and last panels that, when seen together, pull the entire page together.
I wish I could say that the contrast of the first and last panels was my intention, but that would be a lie. The difference between the staid nature of panel one and the dynamic movement of panel seven was nothing more than a happy accident.
At my age, I’m willing to accept those sort of things when they happen without too much worry. It’s an attitude I have found has lowered the stress in my life quite a bit. I highly recommend it.
I still don’t like that first panel, though. Yuck.