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Monday, August 5, 2019

Shot Reverse Shot.

Episode One Hundred Thirty Eight: Shot Reverse Shot.
In which we phase incompliment.

1 comment:

  1. I never really know how each week is going to turn out. Sometimes I struggle, and the ragged effort ends up looking like a dog's breakfast. Last week, for example, was a last minute scramble (I scrapped something I had been planning all week), and so was disappointing to me. Though it did earn praise from friend who felt it looked 'vulnerable,' I think it conveys a lack of control.

    Sometimes I struggle, and it satisfyingly comes together in a way I didn't foresee. Sometimes I breeze through and it ends up feeling wrong. Sometimes I breeze through, and it's great.

    This week wasn’t particularly a struggle, but it wasn’t a breeze either. It just kind of fell together. It progressed, step by step, and on every step it just kind of worked. Not amazing, but also not disappointing, and what I ended up with was awfully close to what I had imagined. This doesn’t happen all that often.

    I had an image of the whole strip being made up of those indecipherable 'out of phase' lines, but realized that this concept portrayed my own isolation more clearly. So, I had to figure out how to draw those lines (harder than I expected, but perfect when I figured it out), and I also had to be able to model the dialogue (conceptually speaking) in a way that was immediately evident. 

    I realized that the ‘shot/reverse shot’ convention from film was the visual cue that I was looking for, but looking for the right model on which to base this comic took an inordinate amount of time. After a couple of sketching attempts, I came across this scene from the Coen's "A Serious Man" (2009): the 'first rabbi' scene, where Larry Gopnik is seeking advice around his mid-life crisis, and is receiving useless crap in return. "Just look at the parking lot, Larry." 

    I hadn't intended this, but it turned out that, thematically, this scene is a perfect model for the point of the cartoon: there is no communication. There is no communication! This is my all-day, every day. I try to convey an idea, and what I get back is someone who has grossly, often deliberately, misinterpreted my intent. The simplest tasks require an exhaustive dance. 

    Professionally, I weigh the significance of this lack of communication against the systems we model to facilitate health care. It's all Babel. It's a problem. And it’s a problem that’s dangerous to our health.

    But more poignantly, this persistent feeling of being totally out of phase with those with whom I think I am communicating results in a lifetime of heartache for anyone who is close to me. I live under the growing conviction that I should be isolating myself as much as possible for everyone else's protection.

    People don't seem to be able to comprehend the level of disconnect I see, visually represented here. "What you're describing is just people not using good communication skills." "Everyone feels the way that you do." 

    I sometimes get buffed up for a short period, and walk around convinced that I'm simply being narcissistic, reveling in my own impulse to over-think, selfishly turning this experience into something about me ... and in this buffed-up state I feel for a bit that I *am* just like everyone else, and that perhaps I am capable of living a normal life.

    But then, inevitably, it comes back. I experience a moment in which I realize that I have no idea how to express myself in any way that might be constructive. And, again, it's driven home that, fundamentally, I am apart. 

    Anyway, this week represents one comic that all came together in a way that conceptually met the demands I was putting on it, and ended up looking gratifyingly clean. Complaints? The background may be a little too busy. But still, I really love the wavy-line effect.

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