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Thread: TPG: Week 23- Dayv Gerberding

  1. StevenForbes Guest

    TPG: Week 23- Dayv Gerberding

    Hello, everyone. Welcome back to The Proving Grounds.

    This week brings us Dayv Gerberding, aspiring writer/artist. Letís see what heís done!

    Meat

    Page 1.
    (4 panels; Top two thirds of page is 1 wide out panel; Bottom third is 3 panels.)

    Panel 1. A wide out shot of Malaika, a strong yet soft spoken African American woman sitting on the roof of a parking garage, over looking a chaotic scene full of fires, zombies and general carnage.) (Time of day? What else is on this roof? Are there cars on here as well? Is this not really a roof, but the last level of a parking garage? Be a little more specific for yourself.)

    Panel 2. Malaika is now standing up, hands on the wall, looking down at the street below more attentively. We only see Malaika and the background, not what she is specifically looking at. (Okay, hereís the thing: the roof of the parking garage has the retaining wall, as youíve put inókudos for that. However, because of that same wall, sheís not going to be able to see anything relatively close to her. The angle is wrong. Sheíll have to be very high in order to see anything close to the wall, so unless sheís high up (or unless this is really a roof and cars cannot park there), this panel isnít going to work.)

    Malaika: 'Oh shit.' (Get rid of all the quotation marks. Theyíre not needed, and are going to drive your letterer buggy because they have to get rid of them themselves. The only time you need a quotation mark in a script is if youíre doing a direct quote, or if itís a caption with someone speaking in another location, like a scene-changing voiceover.)

    Panel 3. Rashaad Jackson, a muscular yet aging African American man, big gun in hand, stands a ways behind Malaika. (Maybe. My first instinct is to say no, and call this magically delicious, but really, it depends on the angle of the first couple of panels. If weíre facing Malaika in the first panel, and itís wide-angle, then the answer is no, because we would have been able to see him. If weíre behind her, seeing what she sees, then this invalidates your previous panel. Make up your mind as to what you want, and do the necessary cleanup of panels.)

    Rashaad: 'What is it Mal?'

    Panel 4. Over the shoulder of Mal, looking down at what is holding her attention. In the distance Mark, an African American teenager / apparent wannabe gangster is standing in the middle of the street. (Eh. Iím not seeing this. Is he just standing there? What happened to the zombies and such? Theyíre not chasing him? Heís just standing nonchalantly in the middle of the road? And Iím not seeing this as a good page-turn. You havenít built up any drama.)

    Mal: 'It's Mark.'


    Page 2.
    (6 panels; Top third is 3 panels; Middle third is 2 panels; Bottom third is 1 panel.)

    Panel 1. Over the shoulder of Mark, off in the distance down the street is a dark figure, not yet recognizable. (Again, the time of day would really help with this. And why wasnít this figure seen in the last panel? From her vantage point, this figure is extremely easily seen. From the top of a roof of a house, during the day, you can see for miles. From the top of the roof of a building? Even further. This doesnít make any sense.)

    Panel 2. Same shot, but zoomed in a bit, Mark is more cropped out of the panel, only part of his head is seen. (What for? What are we actually seeing in this panel?)

    Panel 3. Again, zoomed in. Now the figure is recognizable and it is a white woman in her teens. For reference, she's Mark's wife who he lost contact with during the zombie infestation. (Okay, if we can recognize her, how does she look? Is she a zombie, too? And really, unless this is part of a larger story, no one's going to know that this is his wife, so that bit of information here is useless.)

    Woman: 'Mm...'

    Panel 4. Medium shot of Mark, who has a gun in his belt. His arms are outstretched, palms up.

    Mark: 'Baby girl, are you all right?'.

    Panel 5. Medium shot of the woman who's approaching (walking towards) Mark. (I think we all know what ďapproachingĒ meansÖ)

    Woman: 'Mark..'

    Panel 6. Wide out shot from the side, Mark standing on the left side of the panel, girl slowly walking towards him from the right. (No. This is bad storytelling. You want to draw the eyes ďinĒ, not ďout.Ē This is P2, and this will be on the left side of an open comic. Having the woman advance from right to left takes the readers eyes out of the comic, and thus, psychologically out of the story. You want to draw them in, having them go deeper, so you want to have the woman go from left to right on this page. You especially donít want them going right to left as the last panel on a page. Basically, youíre having the readers head the wrong way.)

    Mark: 'Girl, tell me you're okay. Tell me you ain't one of them.

    Woman: 'Mark, I love you.'


    Page 3.
    (6 panels; Top third is 2 panels; Middle third is 1 panel; Bottom third is 3 panels.)

    Panel 1. Medium shot of Mark and the girl now close to eachother, staring into eachother's eyes.

    Mark: I knew it was you girl.

    Panel 2. Close up shot of the girl taking Mark's hands into hers.

    Woman: 'Shh..'

    Panel 3. Wide out shot. The two embrace with a passionate hug.

    Panel 4. Close up shot of Mark's right hand caressing the left side of the woman's face.

    Panel 5. Close up shot of Mark's left hand holding the back of the woman's kneck.

    Panel 6. Close up shot of the girl's hand stroking the right side of Mark's face. (Too much of this. An entire page of two people being reunited? Six whole panels of it? No. Three panels, and then move to something else.)


    Page 4.
    (9 panels; Simple 9 panel grid.)

    Panel 1. Close up shot of the woman's fingers stroking Mark's chin.

    Narration: Her finger tips against my skin made me feel alive again. (OH MY GOD!!!!! NO! No, Dayv. No. No. No. This is P4, and all of a sudden, you want to have an internal monologue? An internal monologue that comes out of nowhere?)

    Panel 2. Mark's imagination. A shot of a hurricane, palm trees snapping in the wind. (How do we know this is his imagination? How is the reader supposed to know?)

    Narration: Every tiny whisker bent back and snapped like palm trees in a storm. (An internal monologue that has a black guy dressed as a gangster, suddenly going poetic.)

    Panel 3. Close up shot of the woman's fingers stroking Mark's chin.

    Narration: No palm trees. No storm. I am here. Whiskers, my chin, her fingertips. No palm trees. (Have you ever even spoken to a gangster, wannnabe or not? There are few black men that I know of that would call facial hair ďwhiskers.Ē And really, reading this, which is apropos of nothing, is making my brain hurt a little.)

    Panel 4. The tropical scene once again, this time it's palm trees against a sunset off in the distance. (Why? You go from zombie-town to imaginary tropical scenes with internal monologues. You know what this is? This is a bad movie where people go into dream states despite all the danger theyíre in, and the viewer is rolling their eyes and saying ďwhy is that person doing that? He should just shoot her and be done with it. He knows sheís a zombie. Instead, heís gonna get bitten and die, and then have his head chopped off by his friends.Ē The worst part is that youíre doing this on purpose.)

    Narration: Yes it could be palm trees. I can escape this place, this ****ed up world. I can taste the ocean, smell the salty air. (Yep, Iím throwing up a little in my mouth reading this. This is horrible and needs to be totally excised. If youíre going to start something like an internal monologue for a character, start it as soon as possible. You could have started this on P1, and then I wouldnít have screamed in agony. I instead would have been watching to make sure you kept it up through the script.)

    Panel 5. A shot similar to the previous panel, however instead of palm trees against a sunset they're twisted hunks of metal, the ruins of sky scrapers, with a bright red sky in the background. (Is this reality or is this still the dream world? And really, why is the reader going to care?)

    Narration: I cannot escape this place. I cannot fly away to some other world.

    Narration: No palm trees. Instead twisted heaps of metal in front of the red sky lit by fires. Depressing. (Redundant much? Meaning, we can see what he sees. You're showing AND telling. Do one or the other, but not both.)

    Panel 6. The tropical beach once again, Mark laying on a towell, next to him the blackness of a shadow cast by one of the palm trees against the bright sunset.

    Narration: She was laying next to me. I couldn't see her, devoured by the shadow. But I could feel her presence. Beauty, perfection. (I have words, but none of them are kind. So far, all dialogue after P3 needs to be cut. P2ís dialogue needs a lot of work, too, but everything after that is going to make someone come to your house and slap you in the face for forcing them to read this.)

    Panel 7. Medium shot of Mark standing in the street, a black shadow cast by the nearby building. (Again, where are we? Dream or reality? If itís reality, where did the woman go?)

    Narration: Hell, for all I knew she was still laying there in that shadow next to me. (Lying, not laying. And no, no one cares.)

    Panel 8. Tropical scene again; Girl's hand reaching from the shadow, touching Marks' fingers.

    Narration: Scary shit comes from the shadows..

    Panel 9. Mark standing in the road, zombie girl nearing. (If this is reality, this is bad storytelling.)

    Zombie girl: 'Mm...'


    Page 5.
    (9 panels.)

    Panel 1. Tropical scene; Girl and Mark laying on the beach, serious expression on girl's face.

    Mark: 'What is it?'

    Panel 2. Mark standing in the road, zombie girl closer.

    Panel 3. Tropical scene; Closeup of Mark's face, concerned expression.

    Girl: 'I'm pregnant.'

    Panel 4. Close up of Mark's hand on the pistol.

    Panel 5. Tropical scene; closeup of Mark holding the girl's hand.

    Mark: 'Damn, I love you girl.'

    Panel 6. Close up of Mark pulling out the gun.

    Panel 7. Tropical scene; Girl caresses Mark's cheek, towards his lips.

    Panel 8. Close up of the zombie girl running towards Mark.

    Mark: 'I love you.'

    Panel 9. Tropical scene; Closeup shot of Mark's mouth sucking on the woman's fingers.

    Narration: They're cold, frozen... Why? (Iím asking myself that same question. ďWhy?Ē Why are you subjecting me to this? Right now, Iím lost because you left me behind somewhere in the story, and worse, Iím apathetic because of the horrible dialogue, let alone the story. Really, Iíd stop right here, but there are only a few pages left. I believe I can keep my sanity until the end.)


    Page 6.
    (6 panels; Top third is 3 panels; Middle third is 1 panel; Bottom third is 2 panels.)

    Panel 1. Medium shot of Mark who has the barrel of his gun in his mouth.

    Narration: No fingers. Just a gun. (Really, all I can do is shake my head.)

    Panel 2. Wide out show of the woman who's now running at Mark.

    Woman: 'Meat...'

    Narration: Forgive me girl.

    Panel 3. Closeup of Mark's finger pulling the trigger. (No sound effects? Nothing talking about the effects of the shot to his head?)

    Narration: Forgive me God.

    Panel 4. Zombie woman on her knees next to Mark, looking down at him. (Do we see his head? Do we know heís dead?)

    Panel 5. Medium shot of girl holding up the remains of Mark's head. (Is it still connected to his body? If she's a zombie, why is she not eating him? She did call him meat, after all.)

    Panel 6. Closer shot of girl holding up Mark's head, looking into his eyes, though now we see the cross hairs of a gun staring right at her head.


    Page 7.
    (6 panels; Top third is 1 panel; Middle third is 2 panels; Bottom third is 3 panels.)

    Panel 1. Wide out shot of Rashaad looking down the scope of his gun over the ledge, Mal standing behind him.

    Mal: 'Rashaad, no.'

    Panel 2. Medium shot of Rashaad, looking straight at him as the gun is pointed directly at the reader. (In another, well told story, this could have been a powerful panel. Instead, no oneís going to care.)

    Rashaad: 'Bitch. You killed the only person who reminded me of my son.'

    Panel 3. Closer shot of Rashaad's eyes. (No. You canít have a closeup of his eyes. One eye is looking through the scope, the other eye is closed. Let me guessóyouíve never fired a gun, or watched a movie where one was fired, either. Thatís the only reason I can think of for you to write the panel this way.)

    Mal: 'Rashaad, we don't know if she's really--' (If this is a close-up, her dialogue comes from off panel.)

    Rashaad: 'I'll see you in Hell, bitch.'

    Panel 4. Close up of Rashaad's finger pulling the trigger.

    Mal: 'She wasn't an immediate threat!' (Again, her dialogue would come from off-panel. And really, didnít she just see what happened? Didnít she see Mark blow his own head off? Think he did it for no reason? This is stupid.)

    Panel 5. Medium shot of the girl being shot in the head, Mark's head slipping from her finger tips.

    Panel 6. Mark's head falls to the ground, surrounded by blood. (Really, no one cares by now. Weíre all searching for the meaning to this story.)


    Page 8.
    (4 panels; Top third of page is 3 panels; Bottom two thirds of page is 1 wide out panel; Opposite from page 1.)

    Panel 1. Close shot of Mark's and the girl's remains, splattered in the middle of the street to form the shape of a heart. (Aw. How sweet. How abso-smurfly craptacular.)

    Panel 2. Zoomed out shot of the same scene.

    Panel 3. Further again, as if we're standing up on a ledge looking down on the blood splattered heart.

    Panel 4. Similar shot as the very first panel of the comic; Wide out shot of a chaotic scene full of fires, zombies, and a heart in blood, though this time Rashaad joins Mal in looking over the edge of the wall.


    Finally! Honestly, for a while, I didnít think I was going to make it. Letís see what weíve got.

    This, Dayv, is crap.

    Taking it from the top, you donít establish a time of day, and you donít do the best of jobs setting the stage. I know that youíd be the one drawing this, but you still need a frame of reference for yourself. As an editor reading this, I have no qualms in saying I was completely lost after a certain point, which Iíll come to next.

    So, you have Mark in the middle of the street. Where the zombies are, I have no idea. You mentioned them in the first panel, but they seem to be conveniently not gathered around an easy kill. But thatís not where Iím lost.

    His wife comes out from nowhere, and they come together, holding and caressing. Thatís fine. Too much, but fine. Then he goes off into a dream sequence? A tropical scene? What do wannabe gangsters know about the tropics? But thatís neither here nor there. Thatís not where I get lost.

    So, heís holding his girl, and then suddenly, heís standing in the street again, alone. THIS is where I get lost. Not only is he standing in the middle of the street by himself, but thereís a woman coming out to attack him. Sheís not described as being his wife until the last possible moment, which really does nothing for anyone reading the script because we canít tell if itís his wife or not until the last possible instant. And by then, we donít care. We stopped caring on P4, as soon as we hit that internal monologue.

    All of the dialogue for that monologue has to be cut out and burned. No, really. All of it. The only purpose I can see for it is to make the reader put the book down.

    I know you have a thing for telling stories that are bent, but thereís a knack to them that you havenít learned yet. What you tried to do was to set up a status quo, and then turn it on its ear, while still having it be balanced. Instead, what you did was set up a status quo, and while trying to turn it on its ear, you broke its neck. You did that with the last story, as well.

    Hereís your first reality: zombiepocalypse.

    Hereís your second: man standing in street holding his woman.

    Hereís your third: man alone in street, dreaming a little dream.

    See how the second and third donít go together? They donít fit in any way, shape, or form because theyíre diametrically opposed. Go hold a pencil in your left hand. Now, I donít want you to move, but I want the pencil on the couch across the room. Donít throw it, donít walk over there and place it. Donít move. I just want it to be across the room, on the couch. When you say that you canít do it, then realize that you canít do this, as well.

    You have to work within the parameters of the realities youíve set up, and you havenít learned that yet. Youíre confusing the reader because they donít know whatís real and whatís not, and when that happens, theyíre no longer going to care. What theyíre going to say is that you donít know how to tell a story, and I would have to agree with them.

    If you want to tell mind-bending stories, the first thing you as the writer need to know is whatís real and what isnít, and just how the bend is going to come. If you donít want to lose the reader, you have to establish the base, how it bends, and HOW THE READER CAN TELL WHAT IS AND IS NOT REAL. If the reader canít tell that, thereís no use in telling the story. Theyíll end up scratching their heads, and not picking up anything by you again. Now, while it would be nice if the story got back to the established base by the end, itís not necessary, just as long as you let the reader know what is what by the end, so they can understand it.

    Whatís real in this story? Him standing alone in the street, or him being with his girl? How is the reader supposed to tell? If theyíre not supposed to tell, why arenít they? If they are supposed to tell, whatís the mechanism that Iíve missed that supports it?

    You have a long way to go in terms of storytelling. Get those mechanics down first, and then we can talk about dialogue and punctuation.


    Next week, we have Calvin Camp, and followed by Mark McMurtrey and Joe Webb.

    Letís discuss this.



  2. drgerb Guest

    First off, thanks Steven for the edit. I'm not going to argue anything until I'm more awake to do so. But I will agree with your whole opinion of me as a writer. I've written maybe 15-20 total pages of comic books, and I want to jump in, do something unique, something nobody's ever heard of before, but I'm biting off more than I can chew. I'm standing on the edge of the deep end of the pool, ready to jump in and see if I can make it to the surface when I've never taken swimming lessons.. And now, thanks to this edit, I can see that I'm not.

    When I see things in my head, I feel they all make complete sense. But the grammar may be all off, it might all be too confusing, I might name one character by two different terms, etc. But I don't even realize that. I can't even open my eyes and notice these little issues, because to me they all still flow together and make sense. But yeah... Instead of jumping off in the deep end I gotta focus, relax, and try holding onto the side of the pool for a bit.

    But I want to be unique. I want to try to do something new, make people look at things differently. I love the idea of telling stories through the perspectives of certain people, or step inside their minds.. I guess having written close to 20 pages of comic, I better understand I'm not yet good enough for that.



  3. Dungbeetle Guest

    Hi Gerb.

    Firstly, let me clarify that A) I'm drunk and B) I've only written 200 or so pages of comic script but I'm still going to give my ten pence.

    The flashbacks would work better if they mirrored in some way what was going on in your zombie apocalypse. For instance, what if the flashbacks were a POV shot of the girl running towards her lover, jaxtaposed with the zombie version of her running. You contrast the beauty of both the girl and the tropical setting with the horrific image of a zombified bride running into her lover's gunsight, but the composition in both is the same. This, to me, would work a lot better. It would also make a lot more sense to me if you opened with scenes from the flashback rather than jumping into it later.

    There are ways to show the audience something is a flashback. I won't preach here, as I use a lot of hallucinations etc. myself. You can tell the artist to bleed the panel if you want, or to have it inset indicates that it might be seperate from what's going on in the present.

    I kind of like the gory heart thing, it's cheesy and stupid, but exactly the sort of thing that readers of the genre would probably enjoy. I'd bring the romance in right at the start and pan out from that into the zombieness. The beginning of The Boys part 1. where A-Train kills Little Hughie's partner is a great example of this. Setting the audience up to think "aaaw, shucks", and then blowing them away. The events in your story are all there, you just need to tweak them to make more sense and have more impact. Maybe even set page 1 up with the romantic imagery, end on the "running into Mark's arms" POV shot and have a page-turn into the same image but of the zombie bride in a ruined city.

    Also, you have to give me, as a reader, something that sets this apart from any other zombie thing. I've seen all the Romero films, I've seen 28 Days Later, I've read Walking Dead. What makes this special? Forbes has laid out the realities your dealing with. In this case, the only thing that's any different from any other zombie story is the characters involved. I appreciate that, it's always a noble cause, trying and write a human, character-driven massacre/disaster story. I would recommend you keep characters alive as long as possible, and meditate on really apt deaths for them. Why do we open with the death of a character who appears to be the protagonist? This doesn't make sense to me.

    The genre subversion you seem to be working with here is "what if there were zombies in the ghetto?" or something of the sort. that's a winning concept if you get it right, but right now, Mark comes across as some introverted pussyhole whiteboy. Keep in mind what was said about the monologues. The best advice I've ever had was to get rid of my captions. You have to really think about the character you're writing and if it's appropriate for them. A man of action doesn't have the mental process of Edgar Alan Poe. That's something to always keep in mind. You're a writer who thinks wordily. Your characters aren't.

    You can cut the entire page about the pregnancy by simply showing the zombie as pregnant. There are lot of sick things you could do with that element of the story. Capitalize on them. What about a baby born as a zombie, which becomes something stronger? We're going down the Blade route there, but a bit of intertextuality never hurt.

    Hope this has been of help. If not, blame the ale.



  4. CalvinCamp Guest

    But I want to be unique. I want to try to do something new, make people look at things differently. I love the idea of telling stories through the perspectives of certain people, or step inside their minds.. I guess having written close to 20 pages of comic, I better understand I'm not yet good enough for that.
    You won't get good enough by not writing those stories, either. If those are the kind of stories you want to write, then write those kinds of stories.

    What good is it going to do you, to try and write stories that you aren't interested in, just because they're easier? Write want you want to. Sure it probably won't work quite right the first try (or the first few tries), but that just means you have to beat the damn script until it does work. The only reason to walk away from a story, IMO, is if you're not interested in the story.

    This story isn't the problem here. The story you're trying to tell is fine, I think. The main problem is one of clarity. It needs to be reworked so it's more clear what's happening. Get that sorted out, follow Steven's other advice, work on the pacing, dialogue, etc, and it should be a good story. Just because this draft of the script got shredded doesn't mean the story is beyond saving. Break it down and try again.

    Just because Steven says the script is crap, that doesn't necessarily mean the story is actually crap. It just means there's a lot wrong with the script that needs fixing. I strongly suspect that if he really meant the story was utterly without value and unworthy of further effort... he'd say pretty much exactly that. And even if he said that, it would just mean that he didn't like the story. So don't let his melodramatic tendencies discourage you from trying to improve what you already have, or drive you to try and tell stories you don't care about.

    That's my advice.
    Last edited by CalvinCamp; Friday, June 26, 2009 at 09:09 PM.



  5. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    Panel 2. Malaika is now standing up, hands on the wall, looking down at the street below more attentively. We only see Malaika and the background, not what she is specifically looking at. (Okay, here’s the thing: the roof of the parking garage has the retaining wall, as you’ve put in—kudos for that. However, because of that same wall, she’s not going to be able to see anything relatively close to her. The angle is wrong. She’ll have to be very high in order to see anything close to the wall, so unless she’s high up (or unless this is really a roof and cars cannot park there), this panel isn’t going to work.)
    Huh? What do cars parking there have to do with viewing angles?

    Roof or parking level, either one, as long as she's standing at the parapet wall (which she is, because her hands are on it) all she'd need to do is lean forward a little and she should be able to see just about anything below her that she wants. The only thing that would prevent it would be an overhang below the parapet wall. Since she's looking at someone out in the middle of the street, I can't see why this panel doesn't work just fine.

    Panel 6. Wide out shot from the side, Mark standing on the left side of the panel, girl slowly walking towards him from the right. (No. This is bad storytelling. You want to draw the eyes “in”, not “out.” This is P2, and this will be on the left side of an open comic. Having the woman advance from right to left takes the readers eyes out of the comic, and thus, psychologically out of the story. You want to draw them in, having them go deeper, so you want to have the woman go from left to right on this page. You especially don’t want them going right to left as the last panel on a page. Basically, you’re having the readers head the wrong way.)
    I don't know... If it was just the girl in the panel, headed left, I'd say, yeah, it's leading the eye out. But he's got a guy on one side of the panel and a girl on the other, both facing into the middle of the page (it's not like we're seeing actual movement on the girl's side, it's still a static picture), so I don't think he's really sending the reader's eye much of anywhere. And there might be a way to play with the viewing angles, perspective and relative figure sizes to still lead the eye to the right.

    Flipping the locations of the characters is going to screw up the balloon placement for the dialogue - the person speaking first would be on the right. So that particular solution may be a bigger problem than the problem.

    And how come you didn't tell him it was a moving panel?

    A tropical scene? What do wannabe gangsters know about the tropics?
    Maybe he's a Miami gangster.
    Last edited by CalvinCamp; Friday, June 26, 2009 at 09:15 PM.



  6. AdamH Guest

    Gerb, I think you have an interesting idea here: Dudeís in the street (maybe looking for his wife). Wife comes out all zombified. Dude either canít handle it and makes up this hallucination about it to deal with it OR he canít believe he gets to see his wife again and makes up a little day dream about her being ok. Then he gets shook out of his daydream/hallucination and realizes sheís all zombified. Then he shoots himself in the face because he canít live without his wife.

    Good idea, but the way itís presented is too fast. The situation and the characters need to be fleshed out (flesh comment on a zombie story, HA!). We need some back story about Mark and his wife having a Ďlove for all the agesí or maybe heís just slowly losing it the more time heís separated from his wife. You need something that would set up this daydream/hallucination sequence.

    Another point Steven brought up I wanted to touch on was: The city is covered in zombie carnage but this dude is walking along the street by himself with no zombies around. A lot of your classic zombie movie/comic references are going to say, zombies infest/siege city, theyíre everywhere. And they travel in swarms. If they donít travel in swarms, and you only see 1, there are usually 20ÖRIGHT BEHIND YOU! So if youíre going to have your zombies act differently, there might need to be some set up there as well.

    Something else I wanted to bring up was the panel count and page layout. Word of warning: Iím by no means an illustrator, strictly a writer here.

    Page 1 panel 1: This almost works better as a splash page. As Steven already noted, itís a weak first page turn. You turn this into a splash panel, I think itís a better first page turn, because if I saw it I would say Ďwell, zombie apocalypse, worldís gone to shit, looks like this lady is still alive, whatís she doing?í

    Page 1 panel 4: This panel is a 3rd of a 3rd of a page. And youíre trying to set up looking over someoneís should down several stories (Iím assuming the parking structure is at least 2 stories high or itís a tiny parking structure). Try looking down at someone 2 stories up, all your going to see is skin color, not really any discernable details like them being a wannabe gangster.

    Page 2 panels 1-3: I donít think you need 2 zooms here. 1 is good. You can see this in several movies and TV shows. Thereís one unfocused shot of blurry figure in the distance, then BAM zoom in focus shot of the figure. Unless you have a POV shot of someone checking out a figure in the distance and they just woke up or there was something in their eyes OR theyíre using some futuristic binoculars that zoom in by levels of magnification, one zoom is good.

    Page 3: Steven said it, letís emphasize it, this is a waste of real estate, you can get all of your ďHoney Iím so glad to see, letís hug forever!Ē imagery into 3 panels or less.

    Page 4 and 5 bugged me the most. I stay away from the 9 panel grid unless I have something like flipping through TV channels and catching all news reports (Frank Miller Iím looking at you) or talking heads around a table at a meeting. These scenes have little in the way detail to them.

    Page 4 panels 2,4,5: You guys are guilty of having too much detail in you for a panel on a nine panel grid page I think. You donít have enough space to get across a tropical scene in a hurricane, or nightmarish urban scene. On top of that, you have captions you need to cram in there.

    Page 5: This is better, the only problem I have is with Panel 1. Youíre going to get a shot of someoneís face in there, thatís about it. If you can cram more in there and still get a good facial expression, my hatís off to you.

    Page 6: Judging from your panel layout, youíre giving panel 4 the most real estate and therefore the most emphasis. I think panel 3 deserves it, we have a character committing suicide in this panel, heavy stuff. Unless the wife zombie in panel 4 is doing something un-zombie like shedding a zombie tear for dead husband, I wouldnít put the emphasis here.

    Page 7: Same problem here, panel 1 gets the most real estate and doesnít deserve it. My moneyís on panel 5, at least we can get some good gore out of it.

    Steven, I have to say, every TPG there's at least 2 or 3 comments that give me a good laugh, this week is no different. Entertaining and insightful about the comic book editing process, it's a hard trick to pull off.

    On another note, I think I fell out of the rotation.

    Week 18:

    Now, the order goes like this:

    Dayv Gerberding
    Chris Longhurst
    Roddy Williams
    Barri Lang
    Dayv Gerberding
    Calvin Camp
    Adam Hudson

    Seven weeks, folks, unless you get them in now.
    Week 23:

    Next week, we have Calvin Camp, and followed by Mark McMurtrey and Joe Webb.

    Letís discuss this.
    - Adam Hudson



  7. Dungbeetle Guest

    Another quick comment on the romance scene... trying to cram feeling into those few panels is always going to be tough. Remember the parts of movies that made you go "aaw" (which is especially hard if you're writing for a predominantly male audience)... they're not necessarily the "you're going to be a daddy!", "let's get hitched!" moments but the random stuff... I mean, look at the romance in the movie Pulp Fiction between Butch and his girlfriend... the opening scene of them together is so trivial but it gets their closeness and relationship across so well... True Romance has a similar vibe. and it's about switching between that cuteness and the brutality for extra effect. I don't really feel the full effect of the contrast from just "I'm pregnant" and a few monologues. What you've already got (and I'm talking about the story and what is said more than the direction of panels etc. because I'm not really up on that yet) tells the story fine, it gets the relevant info and stuff in there. But finding a really cute moment, one of those quirks that makes a couple different from the other couples, their secret or whatever, would be what would put genuine feeling in there and give the whole scene more of a sledgehammer quality. Did I mention I'm still drunk?



  8. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamH View Post
    Try looking down at someone 2 stories up, all your going to see is skin color, not really any discernable details like them being a wannabe gangster.
    Are you serious?

    The top floor elevation of a three-level parking garage isn't going to be much more than 24 feet (think about it - first floor is at ground level, maybe 10 feet clear per floor, or less, with 2 feet of structure between floors). By the time you get to eye-level of a person standing there, you're still not over 30'. That's significantly less than the width of a two lane city street. Are you claiming you can't see anything but the skin color of a person standing across the street from you, at ground level? Because it amounts to the same thing.

    At two stories, you're talking about not much more than 18 feet (including the person's height). The length of a decent-sized living room. If you can't see what a person looks like at that distance, you seriously need your eyes checked.

    Should the panel be bigger than a third of a third of a page? Maybe. But, if you're worried about detail, the high angle is probably going to obscure more character detail than the distance, no matter how big you make the panel. (Though I'd also argue that a high level of detail isn't really necessary at this point - all that's needed is enough of a visual clue that the reader can connect the character revealed in detail on the next page to the person he saw down in the street on page 1)



  9. drgerb Guest

    Thanks for the replies everyone..

    If anyone didn't follow it, the series of events in my head were Mark is standing in the street because he saw his old wife after days of a zombie outbreak. He didn't know if she was still alive or what. He can't tell if she's a zombie, and she says 'mm...' Mark assumes the 'mm...' is the beginning of 'Mark.' In that split second, Mark's head goes off on a spin, a day dream of them hugging, embracing, memories, day dreams.. I even though about going further, him taking her into the parking garage, introducing her to the other survivors, etc. Then it jumps back to the street where the girl instead says, 'Meeat...' and goes running at Mark. She reaches him, he shoots himself, and she falls to her knees, picking his head up in her hands. So here we can't tell if she's a zombie wishing she could've eaten him, or a woman realizing the man she loves is gone. Now Rashaad decides to kill her regardless, since her presence resulted in Mark's death. Mal says, no she's not a threat, we have to save bullets, we don't even know if she's one of them. At that level, maybe Rashaad and Mal couldn't even see a bite mark on the girl, or didn't even hear the, 'meat.' For all we know she wasn't a zombie, Mark imagined her saying 'meat' after days of encountering endless zombies.

    And for the record, the opening shot will be on the roof of the parking garage, so the road down below won't be seen. If anything, the zombies, the fires, the chaos is in the background.. Atleast a block away. Maybe it'll be hard with the detail (rather than "zombies" perse, more so "figures"), however at that height you won't even be able to see the near by street so there doesn't need to be zombies there. We've all seen zombie movies where the "mindless ones" are less than a block away and don't realize the survivors are there until they make a noise. So this scene with Mark and his wife could easily be just a block away from the nearest zombie and unfold as it does without any interference. Anyway..

    That said, I do understand why my stories suck. Which I think is a good first step. First off, the two stories I got edited by Steven have both been shorts that will end up being "pieces" to a bigger puzzle.. So while I tried to make them able to stand on their own, I failed in both cases. The zombie project will elaborate on all the characters a great deal. What I meant by Mark being a wannabe gangster, is growing up in the inner city with a father. I talked to a friend of mine from a city who said if he lived in an inner city and didn't have a dead, he wouldn't be a wannabe gangster. He would be a gangster. So if he has a family, he has a reason to attempt to steer clear of that road. However the other characters in the story don't realize that. They (Rashaad mainly) look at him as another black youth from the city destined to fail, to die young, to follow that wrong road. As the comic unfolds we realize there's more to him (and to everybody), that he's not just a wannabe gangster. He's actually a very intelligent and creative rapper who keeps journals / rap lyrics during this whole ordeal. Then in the end when he realizes (whether he's right or wrong, after going 48 hours without sleep, may or may not have some alcohol in him) the one person he was living for he can no longer live with... He realizes it's not worth living anymore. Obviously this particular scene won't be until the ending of the comic, or atleast towards the end. There'll be a lot of elaboration going on, and right in the beginning I want everyone to just shrug him off as "a wannabe gangster." Hence the "apparant" wannabe gangster.

    And that's also my problem.. I try to cram so much info, and morph and construe the *real* story in order to make 8 pages interesting.. I end up changing it too much. The actual miniseries won't be all crazy and chaotic, and hard to understand. I really dunno why I wanted to do all that. In the end he's just a young kid who couldn't take it.. Like so many other people. I don't have to throw around some day dream sequences, combined with reality, or a second wishful thinking or whatever.. I dunno. Anyway. Thanks for all the replies.



  10. AdamH Guest

    Should the panel be bigger than a third of a third of a page? Maybe. But, if you're worried about detail, the high angle is probably going to obscure more character detail than the distance, no matter how big you make the panel. (Though I'd also argue that a high level of detail isn't really necessary at this point - all that's needed is enough of a visual clue that the reader can connect the character revealed in detail on the next page to the person he saw down in the street on page 1)
    It looks like we're both in agreement about the panel needing to be bigger, that's essentially my point.

    The height, the angle, I'm making a case that it could be enough to obscure your level of detail to the point that you're not going to make out that the figure is dressed like a wannabe gangster.

    High level of detail, maybe not, enough detail to get inference/style of the clothes he's wearing, I'd argue yes.

    -Adam Hudson



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