Episode 527: Don’t Worry About Me

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Stealth Mission

In most zombie fiction, zombies are attracted to their prey with the same senses that we have. They see us. They smell us. They hear us. Knowing this, survivors can come up with various strategies to avoid the zombies. In The Walking Dead, for instance, characters camouflage their smell by covering themselves in gore and rotten meat. There are simpler, less gross things people can do as well. Simply keeping out of sight and trying not to make noise is an excellent basic strategy that all survivors should try to master.

Like most things, that basic strategy can be expanded to fit various situations. People trying to cross a zombie filled metropolis, for instance, might wear all black, move only at night, and carefully scout areas where they’re less likely to be noticed. Or let’s say that a few people need to infiltrate a building with several zombies outside. They might try to sneak past, or perhaps it would be easier or safer to simply quietly kill them all and be able to explore the building at their leisure.

About this Episode:

This set is really, really long. It actually spans the full width of the table that I shoot on. Because of that, I’m fairly limited when it comes to the angles I can shoot at. This occasionally causes issues, such as in today’s episode, when I had originally written Murphy to say the first two panels. I shot it this way, but looking at the back of a speaker’s head for three-quarters of a comic is just weird, so I decided that Inez would inherit the dialog instead.

Discussion Question: First Person Horror

I read a lot of zombie fiction. A whole lot. Because of this, I notice a lot of trends, and pay a lot of attention to different choices that writers make. One thing that always interests me is the choice of point of view. It seems like most of the books I read are a pretty even split between a first and third-person perspective. I find it really interesting that so many writers chose a first-person perspective for two reasons. First, I think there are some problems with that perspective, because the audience can safely assume that in the vast majority of cases, that character is going to survive until the end. That said, first-person narratives also give an increased sense of immediacy to a story, which is especially effective in horror.

So the question is, what do you guys think of first-person perspectives in zombie and horror fiction? Does it work? Is it effective? Is it harder to get into knowing the character is likely to survive?

15 thoughts on “Episode 527: Don’t Worry About Me”

  1. Typo alert, About This Episode, third sentence, after the first comma: look–>looking 😀

    Discussion Question, first paragraph, third sentence, writers’–>writers (remove apostrophe, you want the plural not possessive case here) 😉

    Same section, first paragraph, last sentence: increases–>increased or increasing – I’m not sure which fits better here, it depends on whether Dave was writing in current or past tenses. 😀

    Same section, second paragraph, first sentence: thing–>think 😀

    Same section, second paragraph, last sentence: “it likely to” it–>is 😉

    • Man, that was a rough one. Fixed all.

  2. Regarding today;s comic, I think one of the group should stay with Murphy. Having a gun and being alone is not helpful if it chooses to jam up for no apparent reason. Also, Murphy being against the crate will provide him some cover, but not very much, and zombies are known to just walk or stumble over obstacles that aren’t very high and in the way of their path to a meal! 😀

    • Unless Murphy hides in the crate. (Daryl and Beth / car trunk)

      • I’d say there’s little room in the crate, because from the size of it I’d say Brent has put a lot of supplies into it! 😉

      • Hah, I just can’t see that happening.

    • It’s a tough call. There are more zombies there than there will be attackers, so having more people stay behind makes the operation more risky.

  3. An interesting scene in movies is often that one of the group will have be be left alone temporarily, and usually they discuss whether to leave him alone or have one of their number stay behind. Usually, someone will come up with the suggestion that it’s better by far to stay in pairs, and they’ll usually agree to one of them staying with the injured person. This would be excellent mileage for next week’s episodes! 😉

    Besides, is there any real rush to deal with the zombies, story wise? 😉

    • Discussion of leaving the group member behind is a good call, BV.

      As far as whether there’s really a rush, I guess that depends on how quickly they want to get into the cabin, and how safe they think the people inside are.

  4. Concerning the angles at which you can shoot. What I do in these situations is that I put a shot in from above. In that way you can point the camera at Murphy’s face without having to set up a lot of background. Another option would be to just point the camera at Murphy’s face (maybe with a Blurry Inez in the front of the photo) and then put some heavy tree’s) with a green background behind these trees) behind Murphy. Sometimes all this combined with a shallow depth of field. So you don’t need a very long background. Or a close-up can do the trick of course. A lot of my scenery is very, very small and I hear it works fairly well. (examples ep. 85, 87 and 88 (of the Foolish Lego comic) among others). There are enough possibilities I guess.

    BTW. that long set is very cool! Never did that before (mainly because I don’t have a fixed place for shooting my comic around the house). Love it!

    • Yeah, I really don’t shoot from above terribly often, I should try to work it in more often.

  5. As far as the angles go you could just move Murphy to have him with his back to the crate and trees in the background. Shoot him from the torso up (close up shot) so you don’t see that he actually isn’t on the path.

    Now the story perspectives are never very pleasing to me. I would love to see a first person and Kill off that character midway through the storyline. because to me as soon as the story addresses the hero my brain no longer sees them as “in danger”. Them and/or their significant other always end up safe and in my mind there is no place for safe characters in a Horror story. Keep me guessing and prove me wrong is what I enjoy.

    • I like what you say about there not being a place for safe characters. I couldn’t agree more.

  6. I guess I see your point about stories written in FP giving away the ending as far as the main characters survival is concerned. But I find that the increased perspective into the inner thoughts of the character make it worthwhile. Some stories just need to be told this way. I have seen some authors compensate by writing a story that is narrated by 2-3 characters alternating but each of them using first person perspective. This was really cool because they could each express their differing points of view and even laid out the miscommunication between them

    • Yeah, that seems like a good compromise (it works for George RR Martin) to me. Any of those POV characters can be killed.