We have a question from formspring that is an actual question! Here we go with something I can sink my teeth into!
If you could teach a class on 'Captioning' what would the title be?Well, what an interesting and thoughtful question. Maybe "A Brief History of Time by Steven Hawking" as I could probably make a few bucks doing a captioning class if I called it that. "Do It Exactly like I Do It, or It'll Completely Suck" sounds too confrontational and egotistical. I think I'd probably go with "Ways to Not Fuck Up your TG Captioning Projects with Professor Dee"
LESSON ONE: Don't run your caption into the ground by over-thinking and over-writing it.
Captions should be proofed to the best of your ability, but that is not what I am talking about with over-thinking. Both the picture and the story should breathe, and work together to form a cohesive whole. HOWEVER, there is no reason to have to explain every little detail. If there is a red skirt and heels in the picture, you do not have to describe them as they are already seen, You can mention them getting caught in a street grate if it is imperative to the storyline, but not, "his shoes turned a bright red color, the heels lifting his now silk-stocking covered feet several inches higher than they were a moment ago, as his ankles felt restrained by the strap of the now-changed pumps." Guess what, the picture is already showing this. It would fit into a normal story, but you have pictures so don't bother!!! Use the picture(s) as a shortcut to establish what happened before, is happening at that moment, or is about to happen at the end of the caption. Often, you've got the whole background mapped out for you in picture form, and you just have to supply the action!
LESSON TWO: Stereotypes/Archetypes are your friends .. use them accordingly and with aplomb!
Once again, you've got instant back story. You can either go straight ahead with the standards of behavior, OR go for a twisted version. Either way, people will follow because what you are providing is expected. Guy with a white coat and a clipboard is obviously a doctor. Goths are obviously witches, and cheerleaders are ditzy! Ladies Rooms are where women go to contact the mother ship and enslave the men of this planet. A woman laying on a couch is obviously trying to get a psychiatrist to believe that she used to be a man. Use these to your advantage!
DISCUSSION QUESTION: Yes these are not exactly Post-graduate level topics, but some ideas on how to not fuck up a caption you are making. What words of wisdom would you impart on someone just starting to make captions? I will call this "Captioning 101" and ask that everyone think about something basic that SHOULD be done, but isn't always done. If you had a time machine, what advice would you tell the you that was just starting to make captions? The above lessons are things I think that would be a big help to someone just starting out.