Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Housewife .. more of "Snippets vs Big Picture"

This is a follow-up to the discussion we had in the last post. Wanted to clarify, and expand upon things that were brought up in the comments. Mainly that there is no wrong way to go about in making captions.

Back when I started, I tended to make captions with the big picture in mind, but after making MANY captions, I figured that there was probably no way I was really going to make something that was truly ‘new and fresh’.

Once I hit that wall I wanted to focus on small, little things that seemed like a snapshot in time. Something that could illuminate a piece of the puzzle that might be skipped over if we’d rushed through the story to get to the end.

I liken it to marriage. When younger, a teenage girl often thinks about getting married, then getting a house, and having kids, even wondering about how many to have and what to name them. Within that, she has the church picked out, who will (and won’t) be part of the bridesmaid’s, the wedding dress she’d like to wear, and the song that she’ll dance to with her future husband.

The fun part about that is most of the time, the fiancé is meaningless. It is a fuzzy idea of masculinity / Prince Charming, not necessarily directed at an actual person. You could take a mannequin with a sperm-laden turkey baster, and she could technically live out her entire dream without anything else changing.

Also, there is no real idea as to what being in a committed relationship entails, or the drama involved with not only raising kids, but the whole realm of pregnancy.

Herein lies the problem with captioning … for me, its hard to have a big picture AND fill in all the details. Even if you go with a multi-panel set, you are still leaving out some things. That leaves either giving a broad overview and summation, or picking a specific idea/moment to elaborate upon.

I will still do both, and I have no problem doing either. Sometimes it HAS to be one way or the other, depending on someone’s preferences blocking the path to do it in a certain style. Our choices in how to present the caption can also dictate this as well. Often times, I try to make it a point in time, and elaborate with some sort of back story, but I am very selective in what I use to fill in the gaps.

Anyway, its too late to make this post short and sweet, but pretty much, in my instance, I think I’ve mostly moved on from doing whole and complete stories through captions, and gone towards focusing on a small aspect of whatever theme I happen to be working on. Those captions will be the ones I really enjoy making and reading, and is something I can sink my teeth into and feel like I’ve accomplished something. One of the reasons I wrote this post is to use the term “sperm-laden turkey baster” somewhere and have it in proper context. Yeah, I know, but it keeps things interesting for me, so bite me!

DISCUSSION QUESTION: What challenges would you like to tackle as a captioneer? Do you even HAVE challenges and goals that you’ve set out for yourselves? When READING a caption, do you prefer a story arc, or a “slice of life” moment in time?


  1. I definitely prefer the moment in time type of caption. Specifically, just enough to kick start my imagination to fill in the blanks.

    That should come as no surprise from me though since the vast majority of the captions I make are of the 'moment in time' variety.

  2. Very interesting I really like to listen to you describe captioning you are very creative and artistic definately someone who's work has had an influence on me. I often go to caption with an "idea" in mind either something I want to do or a theme driven by preferences of someone who I want to cap. I seldom have the whole story in mind before I find the right pictures and often have no story in mind just surf pictures and the story comes to me. There are certain aspects of pictures that are erotic (and it doesn't always have to be nudity though sometimes it is it can be a look or pose or clothes) and there are certain aspects of pictures that add detail to a story or TELL the story. That's what has to jump out at me I need both of those to make the cap interesting AND exciting. I want people to say "I want to look at that picture ... wow" AND "I want to read that again that was so cool or so interesting" Though I love series I also have grown fond of the one liners that capture a moment and the moment they capture is like watching a favorite scene in a movie and pausing it at THAT moment the picture the looks on their faces the dialogue you know is happening at THAT moment.... I like to slice out that minute and capture that in a one liner. When I do one line captions .... The picture comes first and the one liner comes to me when I see the picture ALWAYS... I NEVER have a one liner or moment in mind THEN go find the picture.

    OK I'm rambling and not even sure I am commenting on your post OR that I should post this blather about me here but hey... you inspired me to ramble... you make me think!

    Davewashere25 (If you don't want me to ramble like this again here just PM me at rachels and sorry)

  3. @ A Nony Mouse

    Its all good and I can understand why you'd want your imagination to wander. That is how I usually come up with captions, I see a picture and just write down what I see.

    @ Davewashere25

    I have no problem with you "rambling" as this is EXACTLY the reason I have this blog. To have discussions with people who make captions, to inspire people to make their captions better, and to hopefully pull down the curtain to show those who just read captions ways in which they can make their OWN captions!

    Everyone has their own procedure on making captions. When you discuss how/why you do what you do, and see what others do .. it can only make the captions better. Sometimes it isn't even learning what others do but explaining what YOU do that puts the process into focus.

  4. When it comes to challenges that I would like to tackle, I really only have one that I consciously think about. I want to make a very good 'slice of life' caption. I think I've come close a few times, but even then I have about 50-60% more text than I see in great 'slice of life' captions.

    Now when I say I consciously think about it, I don't mean that I intend my next cap to be that. But as I look at a subjects preferences, I wonder if I can sum up what I want to sum up in that style of cap. The standard response is no... the story that comes to mind almost always (to me) feels like a longer cap than that. I still hold out hope that I can do it, but I no longer start out trying to make one. A few posts back you recommended that we go back and find one of our older caps and cut everything out to practice editing down. I realized that some of my own favorite caps could be broken down into 5 or 7 separate 'slice of life' caps. The story's that I construct just naturally encompass several of those moments.


    Dee loves to hear us all ramble on, and in turn, we all like to hear each other ramble on. But watch yourself... you will find the self discovery that Dee's blog gives you is quite addicting. I started out by reading Dee'lusions of Grandeur once in a great while. I now check it out every day whether there is a new post or not. I just love coming here and seeing all of the other great caption artists commenting and discussion Dee's topic of the day.

    It didn't take me long to start up my own blogger account just so that I could post with my name instead of 'Anonymous. So I expect to see a 'Davewashere25 blog' very soon!