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Thread: TPG: Week 22- Barri Lang

  1. StevenForbes Guest

    TPG: Week 22- Barri Lang

    Blood and Honour – Written by Barri Lang

    Page 1

    Panel 1
    Wide panel. It’s a bright clear winters day. Crisp white snow, covers the ground. We’re low down and close to the snow, in the B/G roots of trees line what is a natural avenue through the woods. There is a slight upward angle to the shot fitting the lower branches of some cherry blossom trees into the scene.

    Caption
    Tokyujumaru, that was my Samurai name…before my disgrace, before I chose love over the service of the Shogun. (While I don’t well and truly despise voiceover captions, I’m not a fan of them. When done well, they’re very effective. This is not done well. Pretty clumsy. Makes me cringe just a little. This could have been put into separate captions at each bit of punctuation, which would have heightened the drama a little. Made them into separate thoughts, and thus, more powerful. But even still, the last part of the sentence…not good.)

    Panel 2
    As above except that a foot (and the person it’s attached to), wearing a traditional soft Japaneese shoe, slams into the snow. A small amount of the soft fresh powder is kicked up. Basically were capturing the 1st footfall in the snow (just the foot in extreme FG (up to about the ankle). (What’s important about this panel?)

    Caption
    Now I am known as Kobayakawa Takakage and I am nothing, a Ronin, a Widow. (Again, the dialogue here is killing you. Well, it’s killing me, as well. Again, clumsy, and could have been spaced out over different captions. That feel, almost staccato, would work well in the telling of the story here.)

    Panel 3
    We’ve pulled out from panel 2. Medium shot of the samurai “Takakage” sprinting through the snow. Light flakes drifting through the shot. As per character sheet. His trousers are muddied from his journey so far. His clothes are blood stained with blood of his wife. (Blood stained with the blood…I’m not going to bag you too much on that, since this is the panel description. However, your previous panel description gave the air of a leisurely walk through the snow-covered woods, and this has him running. Above, the artist is going to flat-foot the character, and here, he’s going to be running. People run in one of two ways: heel-toe or on their toes. Sprinting, bent over, the person’s more likely to be on their toes as they run. That’s a much different step and pace than a person just walking. I suggest you change your previous panel description appropriately. On the other hand, this is a decent place to turn the page. Not the best, but it sets up a minor mystery as to why he’s running.)

    Caption
    A screaming void of despair craving vengeance and death. (I just threw up a little in my mouth. This is the most horrible line I’ve ever seen you write, Barri. This line needs to be cut in its entirety, and never spoken of again. Put something that actually has something to do with the story here.)


    Page 2

    Panel 1
    High angle (no more than 45 degrees) showing a small clearing in the woodland. On the far left of the panel Takakage has halted his sprint. A small track mark in the snow behind Takakage shows he stopped suddenly, having slid to a halt. A lone samurai stands at the other side of the clearing. (See this, Barri? This is what I call improvement over your previous efforts. This is a good panel description. However, here’s what you need to do: you need to watch where your characters are. Here, you’ve placed him on the left, so that he’s run “into” the page, which is great! However, where are you really placing the camera? You’re saying high up, but is it directly overhead, or angled behind the running samurai, or behind the guy waiting? Choose carefully, because the impression of P1 panel 3 was that the guy was running somehow “into” the comic, his back to us. If he’s running across it one way or the other, that’s going to be wrong from a storytelling pov, because that doesn’t correctly set up this panel. Good description, better than your previous attempts, but because you’re getting better, you have other things to worry about. Welcome to the land of more responsibility.)

    Caption
    They have waited. (Almost apropos of nothing. I’m hoping it makes better sense within the next few panels.)

    Panel 2
    Close on Takagage in the F/G (profile from the right side) as 2 samurai drop from the trees on his left. (in the B/G). As they fall the snow heavy branches are shaken releasing the collected snow to cascade to the ground with them. (Nice. Just remember it’s not film. Now, hopefully, the snow-laden trees were able to hide them from the angle of the previous panel. Samurai aren’t ninja.)

    Caption
    They have one more life to collect.

    Panel 3
    As above but flipped (Takakage’s left side in shot), two more samurai drop from the trees on his right. Takakage has unsheathes his Kitanna.

    SFX – SHTIIING!

    Caption
    These are soldiers, not the killers I seek but in service to them. (Again, this could be broken up at the comma. You should put in another comma after the word seek.)

    Panel 4
    Wide panel (width of the page) a panoramic view of the scene. Takakage in the B/G feet planted solidly in the snow, blade held ready. Across the M/G the 4 “tree” samurai sprint towards him, in the centre F/G (just off centre so as not to hide Takakage but maybe one of the “tree” samurai) is the first samurai we met. He does not move.

    Caption
    I will make this quick.


    Page 3
    One huge panel, centre of the page (possibly covering the entire page) Smack in the centre is Takakgae. He’s has just performed the incredible feat that inserts/panels below describe. In the North, East, South and Western portions of the page are the 4 samurai. They’re recoiling from him, blood spurting kill bill style from vicious killing blows received. (This is not a panel description. What’s he doing in the center panel?)

    Caption
    They get a warriors death.

    Caption (located below the above text in the panel)
    It’s more than they deserve

    North/West, North/East, South/East and South/West areas of the page should have panels of the blows being delivered.

    2 panels of downward slashes (on 2 different combatants)
    1 panel of a lunge driving the sword through one of the enemy
    1 panel of a skilful reverse strike with Takakage pushing the sword backwards, past his hip and up into the gut/abdomen of the final attacker who was approaching from behind him.

    Page 4 (4 horizontal panels)

    Panel 1, 2, 3, 4
    The left hand side of the page is taken up by Takakage.

    We’re behind him (his whole body in F/G, filling panel 1 and spilling into panel 2). Bloody bodies lie at his feet. To the right of the page (panel 4), in front of him (B/G) we see the last enemy. They both stand ready weapons drawn. The enemy samurai’s feet have created small drifts in the snow. Panels 2 & 3 should show some scenery, no sign of the battle, a contrast to the threatening violence of panels 1 & 2.

    This page could, theoretically; be just one giant panel but by dividing the page I hope to show that time a period of time is passing. (This is going to fail. If readers notice, they’re going to think it an artistic mistake, and not that time is passing. If you want to show time passing, then you have to have the dead samurai on the ground with no snow, and then a couple of panels showing them being slowly covered with it. Call it five panels: The two samurai as end pieces in tall panels, facing each other, and then stack the three panels in between. Pull out somewhat to show the dead guys. The first, top panel, they’re freshly dead. The second panel shows them lightly covered in snow. The third shows the snow even deeper on them. That shows the passage of time you want.)


    Page 5

    Panel 1
    Looking from the POV of the remaining enemy we see Takakage has kneeled on the floor. His eyes still red and raw from tears cried hours ago. (No. “Floors” are inside, “ground” is outside. A decent amount of you are doing that, and I don’t know why. Why he’d be kneeling now, though, is beyond me.)

    Takakage
    Was it you?

    Panel 2
    We see the eyes and nose of the enemy, they have narrowed, obvious creases around the eyes and nose that an aggressive face would cause. (Think of the old westerns where they showed their eyes just before the shoot out) (Sigh. Punctuation. Really, learn how to use it. Anyway, this is a nice panel.)

    Panel 3
    As with panel 1 except closer and tighter on Takakage.

    Takakage
    Was it your blade that slew her?

    Panel 4
    Again the eyes of the enemy, there is no aggression any more they’re softer, the hard creases softening showing remorse.
    (See this page? I’m bored with it. And really, you failed to capture me with this story, so I’m going to stop here.)

    Let’s go over this.

    Congratulations! I’m seeing marked improvement in your scripting, and really, I’m happy to see it. You’re not making the same mistakes, you’re correcting them, and making different ones, which is great! You’re on a good road, Barri. Keep this up!

    Punctuation is still your kryptonite. You’ve GOT to work on this.

    Your panel descriptions have gotten better, but now you have different things to watch for. You have to pay a little more attention to the things you want in the panel, and how you phrase what you want. P1 is a classic example of this. First he’s stepping, then he’s running, but he’s been running for a while, or so it seems. This is a different mistake than what you would have made before. I like different mistakes, because it means you're paying attention, improving, and that I'm not repeating myself to you like a broken record.

    I like P2, panel 1. You have him coming in from the left, going right. What you’ve done (hopefully on purpose) is to draw the reader’s eye from left to right on a left hand page. You’re taking them “in” the comic, and not “out” by going to right to left. Good job, especially if this is on purpose. If not, this is a happy accident that I want you to keep in mind for future use.

    Overall, I’m VERY pleased with your growing command of panel descriptions. Like I said before, keep this up.

    Now, the dialogue.

    For this story, I suggest short sentences, in separate captions. This can do a lot for the appearance of the page, and the reading experience of your audience when they get it in their hot, grubby hands. The sooner you start writing engaging dialogue, the sooner your readers will be more willing to go along with you for the ride.

    I’m not going to bag on you too much about the dialogue. Think of it as a new technique you’re learning. However, that one line that I reluctantly mention? That was terrible. Terrible, and you should be embarrassed that you wrote it. It nearly made me want to put off finishing working on this for something more pleasant, like gargling with strychnine. Only do that again if you want to make someone’s head explode—and not in a good way. (The only caveat to that being if you want to purposely be bad and over the top. Then, and only then, is something like that okay.)

    As for the story…I’m not impressed. We all know how difficult it is to impress me. I was only a little bored in reading this. Samurai aren’t my thing, and I know and understand that about myself. There are few things I find less interesting than samurai, so yes, I do have a prejudice against these types of stories. (Strangely enough, I LOVE kung-fu movies set in feudal times. Go figure.)

    That being said, an interesting story is an interesting story, and I didn’t find this interesting. The first three pages were good, and then you just killed it with the fourth and fifth. Any momentum you built up was lost for me with these two pages. It could have gotten interesting, and instead, you slowed it down a lot.

    Now, this could be a manga thing. I’m not much for manga. If this is a manga thing, then the slowdown may be totally acceptable. I’m not bagging you on the slowdown. I’m just saying that I found it to be boring on P4-P5.

    That’s really about it. You’re on a very good path here, Barri. You’re putting in the work. I like that. You keep this up, and your opus should be something to be proud of once you incorporate your growing skills into it.


    Next week, we have Dayv Gerberding, and after him, Calvin Camp.

    Let’s discuss this.



  2. BarriLang Guest

    Cheers Steve.

    New mistakes noted and I'll get to work on the 3rd draft and on looking at my other stuff.

    Captions will have revision and maybe instead of having the fight on page 3 be just a messy splash I could have a couple of pages and then the final 2 combatants have a quick chat then while fighting...Action and exposition? I wanted the last villain to feel remorse and for the hero to give him a chance at an honourable death by ritual suicide. Perhaps they fight/ exposition and the suicide for the last page (or penultimate)
    Last edited by BarriLang; Friday, June 19, 2009 at 03:55 PM.



  3. BarriLang Guest

    Ok, here's a quick edit of page 1. (Including THAT line)

    Page 1

    Panel 1

    Wide panel. It’s a bright clear winters day. Crisp white snow, covers the ground. We’re low down and close to the snow, in the B/G roots of trees line what is a natural avenue through the woods. There is a slight upward angle to the shot fitting the lower branches of some cherry blossom trees into the scene.

    Caption
    A year ago I was a Samurai. I gave up my title, for love. (I underlined it because I think it might be too much).

    Panel 2
    As above except that a foot (and the person it’s attached to), wearing a traditional soft Japanese shoe, slams into the snow (the heel high and the angle of the foot lets the reader know the person connected to the foot is running at speed. A small amount of the soft fresh powder is kicked up. (You question the importance of this panel. I wanted to have the peace of the fist panel shattered but not yet a full reveal of the scene. I was trying to create tension for the page, so we start of peaceful, wham, a running foot and then WHAM a bloodied and dirty samurai sprinting and then on to the page turn. )

    Caption
    An Hour ago I was a husband, an expectant father. (again underlined for possible omission)

    Panel 3
    We’ve pulled out from panel 2. Medium shot of the samurai “Takakage” sprinting through the snow. Light flakes drifting through the shot. As per character sheet. His trousers are muddied from his long run. His clothes are stained with blood of his wife.

    Caption
    Now, I am neither.
    Last edited by BarriLang; Saturday, June 20, 2009 at 11:39 AM. Reason: spelling mistake spotted



  4. AdamH Guest

    Another great edit Steven.

    (Strangely enough, I LOVE kung-fu movies set in feudal times. Go figure.)
    A fellow kung-fu movie fan, what's your favorite kung-fu movie?

    Barri, the only thing I want to add (if I may) is the word "Kitanna"

    Takakage has unsheathes his Kitanna.
    I'm anal about a few things when I read scripts and weapon names is one of them, unless his sword's name is Kitanna, I believe the word you're looking for is katana.

    It's a small nitpick and I'm certainly not trying to step on Steven's editor shoes here, just one of those things that makes my eye twitch when I see it so I point it out.

    - Adam



  5. Join Date
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    Now I am known as Kobayakawa Takakage and I am nothing, a Ronin, a Widow.
    I don't usually add my two sense, but shouldn't he be a widower, and not a widow?

    Or is this a gender confused samurai?

    Little detail. BIG difference.

    :cool:
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



  6. BarriLang Guest

    Well spotted Seb, it should have been widower. That being said, the recent edit has removed the line and the error :P

    And thanks for the heads up on Katana Adam. Noted and corrected from here on in.
    Last edited by BarriLang; Saturday, June 20, 2009 at 11:42 AM.



  7. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    and after him, Calvin Camp.
    I'm scared already.
    I can't shake this horrible feeling that I'm going to get my head handed to me for not having any story in my story again.
    Last edited by CalvinCamp; Sunday, June 21, 2009 at 08:39 PM.



  8. BarriLang Guest

    Thoughts on the edit would be great.

    From Steve and the rest of the gang.



  9. Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarriLang View Post
    Ok, here's a quick edit of page 1. (Including THAT line)

    Page 1

    Panel 1

    Wide panel. It’s a bright clear winters day. Crisp white snow, covers the ground. We’re low down and close to the snow, in the B/G roots of trees line what is a natural avenue through the woods. There is a slight upward angle to the shot fitting the lower branches of some cherry blossom trees into the scene.

    Caption
    A year ago I was a Samurai. I gave up my title, for love. (I underlined it because I think it might be too much).

    Panel 2
    As above except that a foot (and the person it’s attached to), wearing a traditional soft Japanese shoe, slams into the snow (the heel high and the angle of the foot lets the reader know the person connected to the foot is running at speed. A small amount of the soft fresh powder is kicked up. (You question the importance of this panel. I wanted to have the peace of the fist panel shattered but not yet a full reveal of the scene. I was trying to create tension for the page, so we start of peaceful, wham, a running foot and then WHAM a bloodied and dirty samurai sprinting and then on to the page turn. )

    Caption
    An Hour ago I was a husband, an expectant father. (again underlined for possible omission)

    Panel 3
    We’ve pulled out from panel 2. Medium shot of the samurai “Takakage” sprinting through the snow. Light flakes drifting through the shot. As per character sheet. His trousers are muddied from his long run. His clothes are stained with blood of his wife.

    Caption
    Now, I am neither.
    Panel 1
    I would omit the "I gave it up for love" part, as it takes away more than it adds.

    Panel 2.
    I'd make two changes here. One is go with Forby's suggestion of breaking the senteces into spearate smaller captions, and the other is slight semantics.

    Caption 2a
    An hour ago I was a husband.

    Caption 2b
    In x months I would have been a father.

    (you can fill in how many months.)

    Panel 3.
    to sum up all three loses, I'd go with something like,

    "Now I am nothing."

    or what have you.
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



  10. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by BarriLang View Post
    Thoughts on the edit would be great.
    My thoughts...

    I agree that shorter, punchier dialogue probably is the way to go - whether you cut the underlined parts, or just break them into their own lines. Alternately you could probably go with third person narration in a more poetic style (but only if you have a flair for that sort of writing), as I think that would be in keeping with the genre.

    I think your unbroken snow, crashing foot, running Ronin sequence is perfectly in keeping with the genre. The peace and beauty of nature is often contrasted with the violence of battle (which is usually depicted with a beauty of it's own). I liked that part, and thought it was possibly the most effective bit in there.

    You keep calling Takakage a Samurai, but he's actually a Ronin now, right?

    You mention that the blood on his clothing is his wife's, so I wonder who you want to know that information. The artist doesn't need to know where the blood came from, and the reader won't know. If you want the reader to know, or even guess, you're going to have to give them more to work with. As the artist I'd be more interested in the nature and pattern of the blood stains - Splatters? Smears? Is his clothing completely soaked with blood from holding her as she bled to death? What are you really looking for? What do you want to see?

    Going outside the edit a bit... the Samurai dropping out of trees in ambush seems odd. Feels more like a Ninja stunt to me. But I'm hardly a Samurai expert, so maybe it's in character. Probably not that big of a deal anyway.

    I can't really think of anything else that wasn't already covered.



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