An Author's Basic Directing Guide for Newcomers!

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#1

Greetings,

For the past months now, I have been reading much more user stories in which I spotted many common directing errors that can easily be fixed. Some of those stories I’ve been reading are so good, but the spot directing and zooms make me loose sight of the events and ambiance, which I think is sad because the stories are so good to the point of scenario, etc.

So, from a user writer to another, here’s a small guide of tips & tricks I want to share to help such creative minds get their underrated stories better and more complete!

Used Language
MC = Main Character
X Y = Specific Spot

Tricks

Spotting Characters

Characters Already Spotted in Scene Changes

INT. NEW BACKGROUND - DAY
@CHARACTER1 stands screen center in zone 2
@transition fade in black

When a scene change occurs, some background characters can already be in the scene before your MC walks in. Errors I often see here are characters facing the wrong direction, characters not doing the animation wanted or characters appearing and then the transition being made.

What you should do here could look like that:

INT. NEW BACKGROUND - DAY
&CHARACTER1 stands screen center AND CHARACTER1 faces left AND CHARACTER1 is read_book_loop
@transition fade in black 2

OR

INT. NEW BACKGROUND - DAY
&CHARACTER1 stands screen center
&CHARACTER1 faces left
&CHARACTER1 is read_book_loop
@transition fade in black 2

The tip here is to spot your characters with the command “&” instead of “@” so that they directly appear instead of popping after a second. Also, directly add the way they’re facing and the animation they are doing.

Entering from Specific Spots Characters

INT. BACKGROUND - DAY
@transition fade in black 2
@MC enters from right to screen right

When a character enters a zone, he might need to enter from a specific spot to another specific spot (which you need to use the “Directing Helper” for). What I see sometimes in that case is the MC enter from the side and then walk to the spot. In that case, what can be useful is to spot the character at the position to the side which he’ll enter from right in front of the specific spot. The script in that case should look like something around that:

INT. BACKGROUND - DAY
&MC spot X Y
@transition fade in black 2
@MC walks to X Y

The tip here is pretty simple to do.

Layers

Character Layers

INT. BACKGROUND - DAY
&MC stands screen X Y
&CHARACTER1 stands X Y
&CHARACTER2 stands X Y
@transition fade in black 2
&CHARACTER2 exits left

MC (talk_neutral_loop)
Wow, CHARACTER2 is now walking behind me and CHARACTER 1 while we’re talking!

When there are many characters in the same scene that are executing different actions or just walking by, I often see background characters walk “behind” the MC on the wrong layer. In that case, the background character, which is smaller than the MC, is walking in front of him, which doesn’t make sense! The script should look more like this:

INT. BACKGROUND - DAY
&MC stands screen X Y
&CHARACTER1 stands X Y
&CHARACTER2 stands X Y
&MC moves to layer 2
&CHARACTER1 moves to layer 3
&CHARACTER2 moves to layer 1
@transition fade in black 2
&CHARACTER2 exits left

MC (talk_neutral_loop)
Wow, CHARACTER2 is now walking behind me and CHARACTER 1 while we’re talking!

That way, CHARACTER2 is walking behind them, and not in front of them as if he was flying around!

For more about layers and overlays, visit this post by Dara.Amarie

Walking Characters

Characters Entering then Talking

INT. BACKGROUND - DAY
@MC enters from left to screen center

MC (talk_neutral)
Here I am, talking while I’m “walking” to screen center, looking like I’m sliding!

So, what I mean by that is that I see characters entering the scene, but directly talking while still walking to the spot written. In that case, the MC is looking like he’s sliding to the spot while talking. Now, you should know that when you make your character walk, you can decide how much time he will take to walk. Example:

@MC walks to screen center in 2

That command would make the MC walk from a spot to screen center in 2 seconds. And so, to make the character enter and talk after reaching the spot, instead of having him talk while he’s sliding to the spot, you should have something like this:

INT. BACKGROUND - DAY
@MC walks to screen center in 2

MC (talk_neutral_loop)
Here I am, simply talking after I’m done walking!

Another way you could do it is to simply use the pause command

INT. BACKGROUND - DAY
@MC walks to screen center in
@pause for 2

MC (talk_neutral_loop)
Here I am, simply talking after I’m done walking!

If you really mean to make your character talk while walking, just use the walk_talk animations!

Tips

I have read many stories that are really good when it comes to writing, but not directing. And so here are some tips to help make a story better!

Zooms

Yes, a story can have incredible spot directing, but advanced zooms can be great too! You can zoom on characters while they talk, and place the zoom on another one when he talks. To do that, you can simply use this command:

@zoom on MC to 100% in 0

Of course, you can change the % and the time. When you use that command, it’s pretty simple and zooms on the character you want it to, but it isn’t always focused right on the character.

Character Listening Animations

When a character stops talking and another one starts talking, the animation can be not finished or in loop. In that case, it gives a better result when you simply add something like the following:

MC (talk_neutral_loop)
Now I’m talking.
CHARACTER1 (talk_neutral)
And now I am.

&MC is idle

OR

MC (talk_neutral_loop)
Now I’m talking.

@MC starts idle

CHARACTER1 (talk_neutral)
And now I am.

That way, the talking animation that was unfinished or in loop will be replaced by idle, in which the character isn’t moving his mouth.

Scenes & Landmarks

This tip is to help you find yourself when you’re writing. I’ve never seen anyone use this, even though I’m pretty sure some people use it.

When you’re writing an episode (chapter) with 2000 lines in it or more, it can start to be difficult to find yourself in all the scenes you’ve written. I use the #; when writing you’re story, using a hashtag will make it appear in grey and whatever you write on the same line will not take place in the story. You can use it to take notes and more! I use it like the following:

#. Scene One - Phone Call {

MC (talk_phone_neutral_loop)
Here’s the scene.

#}

#. Scene Two - Drinking Coffee {

#}

That way, you can keep it simple and in order!

I am not an official Episode Team Author, and I am only doing this little guide to help newcomers on the Creator’s Corner.

I do hope this little guide helps others, even though it’s not much. I’ve learned all I just mentioned with time and research, and I’m so proud of sharing what I learned in the past years with others who might need it! :slight_smile:

Don’t forget to reply under this post if it helped you or if you have difficulties understanding one of the things I talked about! :wink:


:grin: Resources for Creators
#2

Wow, Tera! I didn’t know you were a director at heart! This is awesome, especially for people who just started! Do you mind if I feature you here:


#3

Not at all, I’d like that!


#4

hi i wanna ask a quick question how do i make my character talking thanks i’m so new at directing episode


#5

Simply use the following formatting:

CHARACTER1 (animation)
Here is what appears in the speech bubble

For think bubbles, use the following formatting:

CHARACTER1 (think or idle)
(Here is what appears in the think bubble. Don’t forget the parenthesis.)

Basically, you write the character you want to talk and add the animation used next to the name in parenthesis. If you want the narrator bubble, simply write NARR or NARRATOR instead of the CHARACTER1 and remove the animation next to it.

Hope I was helpful :slight_smile:


#6

tysm​:blush::heart: