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MangaMagazine Community Manager

Hello everyone! The name's Rogo and apparently I'm witty and junk? I live in the UK and am a huge fan of anime and manga, and as such this of course means that I have decided to start my own manga - Gravston. 

I'm something of  a scatterbrain so if I don't reply to a comment right away please don't take offense, I'll get to it eventually I'm sure. I hope that people who check out Gravston enjoy it and keep coming back to more! I'm also open to constructive criticism so if I'm doing something wrong (like spelling mistakes *ahem*) then let me know :)

  • Kakapo Animation

    • Just for Fun
    • Rogo
    • Apr 12, 2014 8:02 AM

    So like, I posted this when I first joined the site but I realised that it's kinda worth reposting now as more people are likely to see it. This is my one and only animated short that I made during my final year of university. This is actually soemthing I'm incredibly proud of even to this day.

    Also the Kakapo is just adorable to me - I need to draw him more.


    I also have concept art for this that I could probably post... maybe :P


  • Frozen and Anxiety

    • Journal
    • Rogo
    • Apr 4, 2014 7:27 AM

    Originally posted this onTumblr a while back and forgot to mirror it on our here so enjoy some rambles!

    Okay I have to get this analysis of this damn movie out of my head and onto a blog post already because it keeps swimming around in there. Poking and prodding and nipping at my thoughts trying to get my attention. So fine, here is my analysis of that movie Frozen that you’re probably sick to death of hearing about by now.

    But screw it, I wanna talk about Frozen and it’s representation of people suffering from anxiety problems, and how near perfectly it does so. (Emphasis on near, we’ll get to that.)

    Now before I start my analysis, one thing to clarify. This is my interpretation of Frozen and the character of Elsa and you are free to disagree. I fully admit that being someone who suffers from some anxiety issues, I may full-well be projecting harder than Pavarotti in the Albert Hall (did that even make sense? Who knows?). So just take this with a grain of salt, rice, what have you.

    On with the analysis!

    Crap, also spoilers ahead.

    So Frozen starts out with one, devastating mistake. Elsa accidentally hurts her sister whilst using her ice powers, and as a result she and her parents repress the powers and hide them. The mistake she made becomes the definition of who she is, and despite all attempts to control her powers, the situation only seems to get worse as time goes by. To me this is a great representation of what happens when a person or a child makes one fairly large mistake, and then is constantly reminded of it. This only makes the problem worse as the person with the anxiety slowly can only see the mistake and how to avoid it.

    So when we see Elsa as an adult, she’s uncertain and doesn’t feel ready to be a Queen. She’s in a position of authority when her whole life she’s been terrified of repeating a mistake. She sees herself as a screw up and is constantly on guard. The only thing to bring down this guard is Anna’s rushed relationship with Hans, and as a result, that heavy guard she had up at all times comes down, and her powers are outed. The mistake she desperately was trying to prevent, happens once again, just as Elsa feared it always would.

    Which brings me to ‘Let it go’ a song that I actually find kind of heart-breaking. Here’s the thing about ‘Let it go’ - it’s all bullshit. Elsa isn’t letting go of anything, she’s just defining herself by her mistake in a different way. Too often when people are fretting over a mistake they made, they’re advised to just ‘forget it’ and that’s what Elsa is trying to do here. And it doesn’t work. Listen to the lyrics. She is *constantly* mentioning her mistake. She’s not forgetting it, she’s just approaching it with a ‘well that happened and I’m gonna not care what people think, nope, no siree’.

    It’s not a coincidence that the result of the ‘Let it go’ sequence is that Elsa seals herself in a huge fortress whilst the problem still exists outside and she is oblivious within. You can’t just ‘get over’ anxiety issues like this, they need to be addressed properly.

    This is why when Anna appears before Elsa, Elsa isn’t confident. She’s still nervous, unsure and trying to project confidence whilst failing miserably. Then comes the moment that rang truest for me personally, the moment Elsa learns of the endless winter and everything turns inward. Elsa starts ranting at herself, blaming herself for everything whilst Anna stands nearby desperately trying to make her calm down and listen.

    Take out the ice powers and spikes and that is a *extremely* accurate representation of some of my own anxiety driven break-downs. You attack everything you’ve done and can only see two things - yourself and the mistake.

    At this point Elsa ends up hurting Anna, completely unaware of what she’s done (err if I recall correctly… I saw this movie in December ^^a) and again this is accurate. Truth is that when you attack yourself in this way, you can end up hurting people you care about. It’s hard to see someone you love doing this to themselves over something so trivial in your mind.

    After this, Elsa is now on the full defensive. She couldn’t control her mistakes, she couldn’t forget them, now she’ll just lash out at everyone who tries to help. She’s a screw up so why fight it anymore. She views all help as further attempts to control or criticize her, and as a result everyone around her views her as a screw up further. When she ends up in the prison cell, she’s defeated, lost and at the very bottom of the anxiety ladder - she has no idea what to do anymore.

    So why does Anna’s sacrifice snap her out of it and suddenly she realises that ‘love’ was the key? Um… rushed writing to be honest and this is where the movie kinda slips up a little, but there’s still a nugget of truth to what happens.

    Anxiety is caused by being trapped in your own head. That’s my experience of it anyway. So when something shocking like that happens to tear you out of that cycle, then it can help. Sometimes all it takes is something to change your pespective and help you realize that the mistakes you made weren’t the end of the world. The movie’s wrap up is a little simplistic but I’ll note that Elsa doesn’t become Madam Confidence after this. She’s still a little guarded and you can tell that while things are better, she’s still going to be that anxious person she always was.

    So after that long ramble, I guess I’m trying to say that this is a story I don’t see represented often. Anxiety doesn’t usually get treated this well - the ‘get over it’ idea is the one most often presented. Frozen doesn’t do that and I really respect that.

    And now I promise I’m done talking about friggin’ Frozen.

  • Let's Talk Dialogue

    • Journal
    • Rogo
    • Apr 4, 2014 3:49 AM

    You see what I did there? You see? You see. It's funny cause like 'talk' and 'dialogue' and... nevermind.

    So dialogue, one of the most vital parts of writing a good story and - in my opinion - the one that I see fudged up the most. And I don't just mean by amateurs. I've seen awful dialogue in lots of professional works as well so if you're sat worrying about how to make your dialogue sound believable then CONGRATULATIONS - you already give a damn more than the majority of people it seems.

    So what makes good dialogue?

    Well I don't have a 'guaranteed guide' to making your dialogue believable but I can offer a few observations I've made about good and bad dialogue and you can either follow them, or call me a moron in the comments.


    1. Make each character sound distinct.

    Ever gotten a text or an instant message from a friend that you instantly knew was someone else typing? This is likely due to the fact that what was said wasn't in the person's 'voice'. You see a persons voice is more than just their literal voice, but every single person on the planet has a distinct way of saying things that's all their own. Perhaps it's the way they laugh, perhaps it's how they phrase things, perhaps it's that they don't swear like a sailor, either way you all know what your friend's would say and what they would never say, and the same thing should apply when writing character dialogue.

    This is known as 'character voice' and it's something that a lot of writrs fail at miserably. Essentially the rule should follow that one characters dialogue should not be easily planted in another character's mouth and cause no confusion at all.

    I'm going to use Avengers as an example here as the three main's are good examples of what I'm talking about. Now if you've seen the movie you know there's that great scene where Tony says;

    "Does your mother know thoust wearest her drapes?"

    Now imagine if Thor had retorted back;

    "Does your father know thoust wearest his comic con outfit?"

    Doesn't fit does it? But it'd make sense coming from Tony, right? Similarly, imagine if it hadn't been Tony who'd said that original line, it'd been Captain America. Again, you'd have questioned what the hell was going on with Cap. The same thing works in reverse; if Tony's dialogue had been naive and bright-eyed like Cap's through-out the movie, you'd have wondered if the man was on drugs or something.

    Character voice can tell you a lot about the character and comes from understanding who that person is and what they would and would never say. Are they snarker? Do they love pop culture? Are they restrained? Are they shy? Do they barely speak at all? These and many more things are important questions and you should consider them when writing your dialogue.

    ...also when writing your character in general but you know.

    2. Exposition is your friend, not your lover.

    .Exposition - if you don't know - is dialogue that essentially tells the audience important facts. This usually involves one character telling another character what's happening. For example, when Black Widow (yeah still using Avengers, get over it) tells Captain America who Thor and Loki are - that's exposition. It is a vital tool and when done believably it can sound just as natural as anything else.

    Just... don't use it all the time, 'kay?

    I have lost count of how many stories I have read or watched where 99% of the dialogue was exposition. This was one of the biggest criticisms of the Last Airbender movie, that it was almost nothing but exposition. Heavy exposition is unbelievable and just flat out boring. ,

    It comes back to the old 'show, don't tell'. If you have a lot of exposition in your story that needs to be given, then find interesting ways to convey it or do it in the most concise way possible.

    And for the love of all that is well-written, don't do this next thing on my list...

    3. 'As you know...'

    There are very few things that will make me audibly groan when I'm reading a story or watching a movie, but hearing the phrase 'As you know...' is one of them.

    Simply put, if the person being told something already knows it why are they being told it again?!

    This could fall under the exposition thing but honestly this is such a prevelent problem that I *have* to make a thing out of it. I've seen this way too many times and it's almost always terrible. The only times this *sort* of works is when a character has a good reason for restating the thing that everyone in the room already knows. Like perhaps a teacher emphasising  a rule to a student or something, but those cases are rare and more often than not this will happen in the stupidest way possible.

    My personal pet peeve of this is mission briefings in movies that take place in the helicopter literally seconds before their about to land. Just... why?!

    4. Think about the Situation.

    One of the most mocked Shonen tropes is when a character will leap into the air and manage to reel off a big speech before he lands. It's goofy and unrealistic (but kinda awesome) and great example of a writer not considering the situation when he wrote the dialogue. I actually don't *mind* this too much in aciton, but for me the biggest offender is when a character is having an emotional conversation, but it's talking completely calmly and eloquently.

    Not to say that can't happen but try and recall last time you had an emotional conversation where you didn't fall silent or trip over your words. People are rarely eloquent during times of high stress and usually can only express these things in such a way after they have happened. 

    For example, let's go back to the Avengers.

    Would the scene of Tony and Captain America talking after SPOILERS have been effective if Tony had been talking normally? If he had been his usual snarky self? Of course not, and if you watch the scene Tony's dialogue has changed dramatically. It's short, to the point and heavily restrained. This is because he's going through something hard whilst trying to maintain his cool composure. I know I'm stating the obvious here but it's really important as here's the thing - when did Tony ever say he was feeling all those things?

    Never, but because his dialogue changed (as well as the acting performance obviously) we can tell what's happening.

    5. Swearing =/= Mature

    Have you ever read a story that was engaging and had a premise that would actually appeal to pretty much all ages and then BAM someone drops an f-bomb for no good reason? I have. A lot. 

    Now I'm not going to get into why this happens (I have theories) but it's honestly very frustrating. Now this isn't me being against swearing. I love swearing. I swear like a sailor in real life and I even use some curse words in my comic from time to time, but here's the thing about swearing. It's not chocolate, it doesn't taste fantastic on damn near everything. It really sounds unnatural when every character swears like a sailor and especially when the context doesn't work with that swearing. 

    A large part of this for me is about knowing your audience, as certain swearwords instantly make your comic into a Mature-rated series when your premise could appeal to Everybody. This means that you are essentially locking yourself out from an entire audience. This is especially worth keeping in mind if you want to do this kind of thing professionally as mature ratings on all forms of entertainment are kind of a big deal. They're there for a reason and the last thing you want is some angry parent e-mailing you because your Digimon Fan Comic contains a character talking like they walked out of a Tarantino flick. 

    Bottom line - think about the characters, the context and the audience of your comic before you think about what swear words you use and how you use them. This will actually end up being far more mature than just spreading them all over the place.

    6. Learn from real life.

    You know how artists will tell you NOT to learn to draw from looking at other people's work but instead to draw from real life? Same thing applies for dialogue. Essentially I am saying go out into the world and eavesdrop to your hearts content! 

    I'm joking (mostly) but there is some element of truth to that. The best way to learn how to write dialogue is to listen to people's real conversations and observe the way they interact. Honestly the best place to do this (in my experience) is a relaxed party where people are just stood around having conversations. You can see how different types of people interact, plus there's booze!

    Either way, you won't learn to write good dialogue by watching scripted TV or reading comics. You need to make real-life observations. I know that sucks if you're a bit of a shut in (I'm a lot of shut-in so I understand) but it will help you grow as a writer. It's only from real life and real experiences that you can create great art from those experiences. It'll help you bring truth to your dialogue and grow as a writer. It *really* sucks but it's sadly something I learnt to be true

    So there are a few observations I've made on what makes good or bad dialogue. Of course these are just my observations so you may or may not agree with what I've said here, but I hope I've helped a few people.

    Because seriously guys, the standard for good dialogue in most fictional media is pretty godawful - we really need to change that.

    This has been Rogo saying... uh... write good dialogue?

    I dunno.

    Peace out.


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