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?