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So You Want To Become A Pokemon, Er, Kamishibai Master?

Most people as they sit down to make a Kamishibai story, wonder: "How do I make a story that people will like?" (Well, some are probably thinking "I wonder if (...) will sue me if I use his/her KiSS dolls... Nah", or "Maybe I should make another pedophile joke", but I'm not talking about them.)

Well, I've seen quite a few stories and even made one of two (blushes, shuffles feet), so I guess I might be able to come up with some good advice.

1. First of all, never, *EVER* make a story just for the heck of it. If you don't have any good ideas, wait for them to come. Slapping some random thoughts together results in horrors like "A Sailor Moon Series".

Start from a story. A really good story you or your friend made up, and which you'd like to share with others.

2. Pick one idea and stick with it. When doing a parody, make it funny. When doing a tragic piece, make it serious. "It's Kinda Sorta Serious But There's Just These Moments When It Gets Vaguely Funny, Dunno Why" does NOT work.

Imagine what you want to show, and then think about how it could be done. Finally, try to make that work on the viewer.

3. Learn from mistakes. Preferably other people's. Visit Meagen's Kamishibai Ratings (shameless plug ^_^) and take notes.

4. The size of pictures for Kamishibai is 200 WIDTH and 112 HEIGHT. And don't you ever forget it.

5. Look at your own work. Again and again. Validate it. Run it through a spellchecker. Show it to one of two random victims, er, pre-readers.

6. There's various places for "Strong Points" in Kamishibai. If you can manage at least 1 point from the following list, you're off to a good start. If you're not too good in neither field, try working on one, to do it better, or on all at once, to improve the general quality.

Art. Perfect Anime style. Or wonderful, delicate design that just strikes down to the very soul. Or so cute you could hug it. Try drawing on computer, on paper and scanning, or a combination of both, and see which works out best for you. Evolve. Try new techniques. Develop your own style. Draw a lot, and I mean a LOT.

Story. Several plotlines, each independant, each equally interesting, all forming one beautiful, complete plot where everything turned out just the way it should. (That doesn't imply a happy ending, just a logical one.) Jokes that have you rolling on the floor. Stories that make you cry. (Of course, I'm not a good judge on the latter - even Disney films make me cry.) Read books and manga. Watch movies. Do it several times and look at how the story's told.

Special effects. Magic spells and stuff. Eyecatches. Sailor-like henshins. Get a quality image program and learn to use it. Open a blank image and try out everything to see what it does. Hunt for great music and interesting sound. But remember not to overdo it.

7. In the unlikely even that your SD drawings don't look so good, your jokes seem overused and you've been stuck on part 2 for a month, write an article for the Kamishibai Post. It may not help you, but at least they'll be happy. :)


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