I’ve been pondering this question since I started making little photostories with the characters in my head. Specifically, I have been wondering if the skills I develop in my digital photostories can transfer to my doll photostories.
At first, I thought my digital skills nontransferrable because digital and doll photostory formats differ significantly. My digital photostories feature landscape photos with speech bubbles applied, so there’s no multipanel page layout to consider. By contrast, my doll photostories feature photos of various shapes and sizes, several to a page, with speech bubbles applied.
As I have quickly learned, much, much, much less happens in a single digital landscape photo than happens in a single doll photostory page. This makes sense, as a digital landscape photo is not really equivalent to a doll photostory page. A digital landscape photo is more properly comparable to a single panel on a doll photostory page.
Even comparing a digital landscape photo to a single doll photostory panel, I still find that much less happens in the photo than in the panel. I have always tended to cram one person’s entire set of lines in a single panel, but digital photos don’t conduce that. I’m much more likely to separate a single person’s lines into multiple photos at natural speech breaks.
For example, here’s some dialogue from the latest digital drama between me and Jareth:
Me: Hi, Jareth!
Jareth: Is it merry-go-round time? I have the best outfit —
Me: Pas encore. J’ai une question. Why do you always… [etc., etc., etc.]
In a doll photostory, I would be very likely to stick a photo of me in the left panel and a photo of Jareth in the right panel and put this entire exchange in between the panels. In a digital photostory, my first line is a single photo, as is Jareth’s line. " Pas encore. J’ai une question"
has its own separate photo, as does the question in question [har har]. In summary, digital photostories at least double the number of pictures involved, which means that they require more time and more work for less narrative movement.
The comparatively slow pace of digital photostories drives me up the freakin’ wall! The kinky carnival [which I will do one of these days, I promise], which would be just a single, exceptionally long written scene, now stretches into multiple vignettes of God knows how many photos [because I haven’t taken them yet]. It will take me days to do. Meanwhile, my mind already skips onto the next project, waiting impatiently for my execution to catch up.
Though I find the slow pace of digital photostories exasperating, I realize that it is precisely this deliberate progress that I seek to emulate in Zombieville. I have put so much effort into backstory, characters, dolls, sets, props and everything that I want to linger in this world for a while. I want to take sharp, detailed close-ups and set panoramas so that people can appreciate my customization and construction. I want to slow down the conversation so that people can really absorb some of the detail that I worked so hard to give the characters. My impatience doesn’t want me to tell the story so slowly, but everything else about me does so that I can enjoy my creation along with my readers.
To answer the subject line’s question, why yes, I am learning from my latest digital foray. I’m learning how to tell a story slowly.