Off Panel Bubble Direction – TIP

Something I’ve noticed a lot lately, folks delivering muddy bubble placement direction for characters off panel.

Usually, this comes on an exterior Establishing Shot.
For example, the panel description details the ground floor of a NYC brownstone, then goes on to say something like: “Joe’s dialogue balloon comes from inside the apartment to the sidewalk” OR “we see Joe’s speech balloon is outside the apartment, trailing through the open window.”

JOE I don’t care what he says, I want it done now!

Directing bubble placement is almost never necessary.

Simply establish where the characters are, what the panel is showing and flag the dialogue as off panel.

Unless the placement of the dialogue bubble is somehow relevant to the story, just let the letterer do his thing. If the rest of your panel is written well, the letterer will get the picture.

…Panel description detailing ground floor of a NYC brownstone… Somewhere inside Joe shouts into his phone.

JOE: (OP) I don’t care what he says, I want it done now!

Keep your script clean and smooth. ▪

About the Author —
Nick Macari is a full-time freelance story consultant, developmental editor and writer, working primarily in the independent gaming and comic markets. His first published comic appeared on shelves via Diamond in the late 90’s. Today you can find his comic work on comixology, amazon and in select stores around the U.S.  Visit for social media contacts and news on his latest releases.