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Thread: TPG: Week 26- Luke Noonan

  1. StevenForbes Guest

    TPG: Week 26- Luke Noonan

    Hello, everyone. Welcome back to The Proving Grounds. This week brings us Luke Noonan. Letís see what goodies heís brought!

    PAGE 1:
    Okay, here we go...
    Layout of four panels: a single page-wide one, then another one, then two square. (Hopefully, you keep this up throughout. If not, Iím going to call you on it.)

    PANEL 1: (Put spaces between each of your elements, so they donít butt up against each other. Makes reading it easier.)
    A view of a sparse desk set-up whelmed in shadow: just an old, rustic-looking wooden table with a black laptop on it, the main light-source being the screen-saver of Paris by night with the Eiffel Tower lit up, or perhaps the floodlit Arc de Triomphe, in fact put fireworks in the background for New Years Day, maybe of the Millennium Celebrations or of Bastille Day- or maybe of livid lightning-strikes perhaps hitting the top of the Eiffel itself with flags, streamers and so on from the previous night still strewn all around in the day-time or moody Monday morning- the precise details are up to yourself.
    There is a little pop-up box visible in the lower quarters of the screen, with text in (maybe an old fashioned black screen with green lettering, it would look old, low-budget, just the right look for this sequence I'm thinking) That's the screensaver providing the main light and focus for this panel, except maybe for a small candle or two in a mug or an upturned jar-lid to suggest this isn't a proper office but just an improvised work-station set up on a table in an abandoned stable (I rhymed) and also with a few other items in view:
    an improvised ashtray much like the candleholder (if you put one in);
    a pair of handcuffs;
    a 500 ML can of Russian beer with a large orange or red star-shaped sticker over the front which displays the letters RUR with the first R reversed, and with a strike or two through them, thus denoting 'discount' (the ruble abbreviation and signage is off, but its a slightly tenuous reference to Rossum's Universal Robots, which has a little relevance to the story arcs ahead)- there may also be another sticker under the first, slightly overlapping (appropriate that it looks like a little cartoon explosion effect).
    The only other thing on the table apart from these is a large jar holding what looks an unpalatable root vegetable but is in fact the supposed severed and pickled penis of Grigori Rasputin stolen from an erotica museum- I'll send you a photo-link of the thing (no need to thank me, really) but the jar shouldn't be the main focus, nor does it have to be immediately clear what's inside it, as that will be revealed shortly.
    And also an unmarked plastic folder in the right-hand corner, in the shadows.
    That's the desk, and in the foreground, just in view to the right and facing left on a chair loading a double-barreled break-off sawn-off shotgun is a well-built figure whose face we can't yet see, but possibly in silhouette: MIKHAIL TARASOV; he's a good looking but forgettable face, and has a shaved or closely cropped hairstyle.
    That's how I picture this shot- if you have any other ideas or suggestions then great, but do please let me know first. (Youíre related to Calvin Camp, arenít you? First, you need to make up your mind as to what you want. You gave the artist four different things they could show on the screen, with variations[!], and then you got technical with a can of beeróa can of beer thatís not even the focus of the panel. That, Luke, is a terrible, terrible, terrible thing to do. I hear a lot of people complain about Stephen King, how he can go on and on describing a leaf, a leaf thatís neither important to the story nor to the scene its in. Sure, the can of beer may be important, which is why its in the panel, but if youíre going to go through the trouble of such a thorough description, at least let it be a focal point. That one panel description almost took up a full page, simply because you couldnít make up your mind. If you donít know what you see, how is the artist supposed to tell?)

    FX (small, from laptop): PUH-PING

    MIKHAIL TARASOV: Now I know how Joan of Arc felt...
    TARASOV: Now I know...

    PANEL 2:
    Closer view of that pop-up on the laptop screen, and maybe of the surrounds so we can see some of Tarasov as he looks over at it- maybe we can see his the reflection of some of his face in the screen, just his eyes or mouth. The text on the screen reads: (No. You canít have a reflection of a face in a screen thatís on. The screen has to be dark, and youíve already said that itís on. Now, unless heís moved, there is NO WAY you can get closer to the computer screen AND show more of the surrounding area and pull it off effectively. Whatís the focus of this panel? Make up your mind. Let the artist know. And know what can and cannot be drawn. If you donít know that, youíd better learn, or else you have no business trying to write for comics. And this is only the second panelÖ)

    16:34:26

    > HOUR DRAWS NEAR. ALL IS WELL. HERE ARE FINAL OUTER SECURITY CONFIGURATIONS:
    18384439-
    28347473-
    58883272-

    TARASOV: Is it true, what they are calling me? The Mad Monk..? (This dialogue will be off panel. Now, your job is to tell me why.)

    PANEL 3:
    Closer view of the text, as Tarasov single-handedly types a response that reads: (if weíre now even closer to the text, how are we going to know anything about your unnamed figure typing single-handedly? In order to read it clearly, this will have to be a close-up of the screen. No oneís going to see if heís typing single-handedly, with his toes, or with his tongue.)

    >ACKNOWLEDGED. ALL IS WELL. BE WITH YOU SHORTLY. MERRY CHRISTMAS, BISHOP.

    TARASOV: I like that. (Again, this will be off panel.)
    TARASOV: I might use it. (As will this.)

    FX (small): taktak-taktaktak-tak

    PANEL 4:
    View from same angle, but Tarasov is visible in extreme close-up in the shot, just his grey eye, temple and bridge of nose as he gazes to the left. We need to see the text as well, so try and fit it but lose Tarasov if necessary. (NO! No no no no no. No. You cannot have them both. You cannot have your characterís face at all in this. Iíve already said why, but please, I want someone else to tell me why Iím going crazy over here. Were-lock? Tyler?)

    >GODSPEED, ROOK.

    TARASOV: Cihanov? (OP)
    TARASOV: Are you still alive..? (OP)


    (Okay, technical difficulties aside, this first page is semi-interesting. Letís see if you can keep that up.)


    PAGE 2: (insert a page break on every new page. If youíre going to be typing Page X, you need to insert a page break just before it.)
    Overleaf- layout of seven: two square panels, then two more panels, then three -and we turn to see... (I have no idea what this means.)
    PANEL 1:
    Front shot of ANTON CIHANOV, formerly successful operative of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki) or SVR, a hard-bitten man in his late thirties dressed in outdoors-ish gear, now tied to a chair having been overpowered, disarmed and severely beaten up several hours before. He's as much angry at this as he is frightened, and he needs a doctor. He is illuminated by candles, but its very dim. (Most of this is crap. The unimportant parts are in green.)

    ANTON CIHANOV: You want to know... what they call you?
    CIHANOV: You son of a bitch..? (Your dialogue needs a polish.)

    PANEL 2:
    View of the scene from further back, and Cihanov is in the center of a modest disused stable with about six or seven stalls, lit mainly by a few candles on top of a stack of old empty crates, and the light from the laptop. There is also a smaller stack of two or three crates beside the deks with a large tub like for coleslaw or mayonnaise in a professional kitchen on top of it, next to the desk. Tarasov is sat before the laptop and is just mainly a silhouette against the light- remember we haven't quite seen his face yet -and he is closing the breech of the sawn-off shotgun. (SpellingÖ Now, have you thumbnailed this page layout out for yourself? If so, Iíd like to see it, because Iím not seeing what youíre going after here.)

    FX (from shotgun stock): k'n'k

    CIHANOV: You're a dead man...
    CIHANOV: You are dead, don't you understand that? By your very actions now- dead! (This dialogue is pretty boring.)

    PANEL 3:
    View of Tarasov as he turns away towards the wall facing Cihanov where a dartboard hangs, its face chipped and scored by many knife-point blows and with a double-edged knife like a basic dagger embedded in the bullseye. We should only be able to see this in the prevailing shadow but illumined by the light of the laptop screen, and the knife is visible by its shadow cast across the board like a sundial; Tarasov likewise is in silhouette as he reaches for the knife, but maybe he is partly highlighted by the fuzzy light. He is dressed casually but formidably in a tight sleeveless T-shirt, trousers/pants, and boots- all his clothes in shades of black, grey or charcoal. Also pinned up on the bare wooden wall, not right next to the dartboard but spaced around a bit, are a few small cuttings from documents and scientific journals, no larger than A4 in size, with one journal cutting visible as reading: SKAI Activť (Know what you want to show up in the panel. Make up your mind. Make a decision. Write what you see. I can see this is going to be a mantra for this script.)

    TARASOV: So I'm told.
    TARASOV: One of the first things I learned, working for the Bezopasnosti, was never to believe your own press.

    PANEL 4:
    Cihanov looking grimly anxious as Tarasov stands before him with the knife, though Tarasov should be looking away from or over Cihanov to suggest he is thinking of something other than killing him with it, which he is. (How can someone look grimly anxious? Thatís an emotion that cannot be drawn.)

    TARASOV: Surely they taught you the same thing, working for 'Foreign Intelligence'? What would you call that- a 'misnomer' is the word, no? (You want an em-dash here, not just a hyphen. Two dashes, with no space between the wordsólike this.)
    TARASOV: I know a better one...

    PANEL 5:
    Cihanov looks more serious and anxious, almost desperate but not quite, as Tarasov stands by the food tub on the smaller crate stack beside the desk- he is opening the lid and fishing something out with the knife, but we may or may not see that's what he's doing, however you want to show it.(Like I asked before, have you thumbed this out? Do you even really understand where these people are positioned in the panel? Or are you just putting words down and hoping they make sense. Iím getting a Charlie Brown feeling here, as he listens to an adult.)

    CIHANOV: Listen to me- I can help you now, I alone. Whatever you're going to do... its not too late-...

    PANEL 6:
    Close view of Tarasov as he holds up a piece of raw bloody liver from the tub on the point of the knife.

    TARASOV: I'm afraid...
    TARASOV: Things are rather out of your hands now.

    PANEL 7:
    Close, close up view of the bottom of the door of the nearest stall, worn and chipped, and through the wide drafty gap we can see the nose of a brown dog, a German Shepherd, pressed close to the gap and its teeth bared angrily, maybe drooling slightly. (Nope. You were unable to keep my interest. This page was boring. And this is not a good place to turn the page. A better place was the previous panel.)

    ALSATION: ...hhhrrrrr...




    PAGE 3: (page break)
    Layout of seven panels: two, followed by three, followed by two.
    PANEL 1:
    Tarasov is in the act of flinging the meat from the tip of the knife through the air and into the closest stall, where the dog is penned. (See this? This could have easily been described as a moving panel, but it isnít. Good job. Now, I just wish the panel was interesting.)

    TARASOV: While I appreciate the offer...
    TARASOV: I've placed my faith in something a little higher than you. (Personally, I think youíre trying too hard to be cryptic.)

    PANEL 2:
    Close up view on/from the table, the corner in particular, where Tarasov has just embedded the knife point down in the wooden table-top- his hand, arm and most of all the knife in view all in silhouette, so the knife looks rather like a crucifix in shadow -and we can see Cihanov directly beyond it, looking intense and perhaps even more grim. (Whatís the focus of the panel? The knife, or the guy in the background?)

    TARASOV: My sights - likewise.

    PANEL 3:
    Tarasov is walking away slowly towards the wall with the journal cuttings and dartboard. (No. Tell me why, Calvin.)

    TARASOV: As for what I'm going to do, its... rather complicated- I suggest you make yourself comfortable. (I have trouble with its and itís, myself. Em-dash.)
    TARASOV: Read much, Cihanov?

    PANEL 4:
    View of Tarasov, or ostensibly his hand as he pulls out the plastic file-folder we saw earlier in the right-hand corner of the desk. (No, we didnít see it earlier. It was in shadow.)

    TARASOV: And I'm not talking about Police files and dossiers...(why is Police capitalized?)

    PANEL 5:
    View of Cihanov looking a little calmer, maybe morose and tight-lipped and sweating visibly perhaps and gazing at the floor or toward the desk as Tarasov stands before him with the opened folder. (Know what can and cannot be drawn. How can you look morose? Make up your mind as to where your characters are looking and what theyíre doing. You want the greatest dramatic effect. Tell what you see. If you tell what you see, you wonít seem so unsure of yourself in your panel descriptions.)

    CIHANOV: Please..!

    TARASOV: No? You're missing out. Let's make up for lost time...

    PANEL 6:
    Now we see inside the folder as Tarasov holds it open for Cihanov to see, specifically the right-hand page of its contents some way in, as the left one shows a creased blank A4, the back of some document or other; the right page is an A4 photo-reproduction of the title page of a 19th tome of supposed demonic philosophy/poetry/magical formulae called Somnio Procrustes [Dream of Procrustes]. (Whoís pov is this?)
    The page should look old and worn, quite plain in design, with just the single illustration of a broken sundial or clockface beneath the description below the title, this as its meant to be ambiguous, but if you think a border or more detail would look better, here is a description of the original book, please use this when doing the border or cartouche or something: this book is one of the only nine copies whispered to exist as obscure supposed heretical grimoires and philosophical tracts and known to have been translated from Latin into English in the form of hendecasyllabic verse (yep, it is inspired by Lovecraftean fictional literature like the Necronomicon, in particular the King In Yellow and the Book Of Azathoth) aside for a few rumours, but if want to illustrate the title page of this, it might have a somewhat Gothic, Romantic look to it, with a Rococo or similar styled cartouche around the title, a decorative border around the page etc, with kind of a Greek or Greco-Roman look to it, with stuff like leaves, ivy, and kind of ambiguous details of Tragic and Comic masks, Baroque-type faces etc; any figures shown might be robed and hooded, sinister, or curiously benign, and in the details may also be broken or shattered sundials and clockfaces, and cogs, pulleys and early mechanical, automaton-type details, which is all a slight clue as to the nature of the book. But it can draw on and reflect influences from any and all styles and sources mentioned above, the precise details I leave to you. And however much you can fit in the space as well. This is a product of the Hellenism movement in the 19th century, a strange and slightly macabre one written by a Lord Byronic-style occultist who we'll get to in just a moment.
    Anyway, the page should read as follows: (Yep. My eyes glazed over and my brain went numb. One would think that I hate reading. One would be wrong. I hate reading the boring, the technical. If you know what you want, draw it out, or try to find some sort of photo reference for the artist so they know what youíre going after. Donít torture them like this.)

    SOMNIO PROCRUSTES

    A Book of the Beginning
    And
    A Book of the End

    Written By

    Those Who Sleep Forever
    And Never

    Translated
    By

    JARVIS
    CONSTANTINE

    TARASOV: You are very privileged, from where I stand...

    TARASOV: To see even a facsimile... (One line instead of two, and that one line should be coming from off panel.)

    PANEL 7:
    View of Mikhail Tarasov from Cihanov's POV or thereabouts, his eye-level so we're looking up at Tarasov; perhaps Tarasovs' face is still partly in shadow, so his eyes glint or can't be seen at all, or he appears in profile in silhouette starkly against the light of the laptop, but he should be looking away into the distance as if remembering, is what I'm really going for here. He's still holding the book, but maybe less prominently since Cihanov's just read the page. (Really, Luke, I want you to make up your mind as to what you see. If you canít make up your mind, what makes you think the artist will be able to? Yours is the vision that drives the book. What if I couldnít make up my mind in editing this? Iíd be an ineffectual editor. Yes, Iím saying that this is ineffective writing. And you canít have everything you want in this panel. Make it a decent place to turn the page.)

    CIHANOV (off-panel): ...What is this about? A... A book..!?

    TARASOV: Not merely a book of verse, but a... mirror, that reflects ones' own mind back at them.
    TARASOV: They seldom like what they see...




    PAGE 4: (page break)
    Okay, this layout is of eight panels, two, followed by three, followed by three more. (At least you kept the page layouts. More than likely, though, the artist is going to do their own.)
    PANEL 1:
    View of a solitary hooded figure keeling on top of a hill beneath the stars- this is the 14th century French sorcerer Michel Mauvais in Tarquinia, Italy; there should be a large bowl looking a lot like the Gundestrup cauldron (see below) sat before him, a goblet, and with seven ampoules placed around him shaped like bones (which they are) with skull-shaped tops. On the bowl/cauldron: though you don't see much of it in this Panel, I'll send you a picture of the Gundestrup but its on Wikipedia, and just that Celtic/Norwegian or Icelandic look to it- but could you vary the detailing so it depicts scenes of chaos and bloodshed and the benign blank celtic faces are upside down to signify this and also, I'd like a striking Cthulhu Mythos image, I'm thinking zig-zag lightning strikes and a prominent depiction of Nyarlathotep (the weirdly distinctive tentacle-headed image of him- I'll send you a picture) just visible on the bowl in Panel 3 below would be awesome, unless you have another idea?

    CAPTION (Voice-Over): According to most accounts, the original Dream of Procrustes was the final work of the fourteenth-century black magician, Michel Mauvais. (All voiceovers need quotation marks.)
    CAP (VO): In fear of death, he sought knowledge of the future...

    PANEL 2:
    View of Mauvais from above, and he is leaning or sprawling backwards and screaming or roaring as if in agony, sweat dripping off him in profusion, sleepless eyes bulging, veins just about ready to burst, possibly drooling or frothing a little- in appearance he is a guy of average stature with shoulder length black hair and thin beard; we can see he is kneeling in the centre of a heptagram drawn on the ground with chalk, the ampoules are each at one of the points of the heptagram, and the goblet knocked over spills red wine (if you can make it look clear or rose-coloured so as not to immediately suggest blood, that would be brilliant) while the bowl before him contains a little gritty grey powder (powered human bone and human ashes) and a spoon. What's happening is he thinks he is in communion with the souls of the dead, but really its just his own subconscious speaking to him. I am aiming for a slight realistic approach to the scene, rather than going overboard with SFX, but if you really think some fireworks would make this look better, then please try and keep 'em kind of subtle, kind of less-is-more, if you see what I mean. (No one sees what you mean, because you donít see what you mean. If you saw what you mean, youíd write that down, instead of all the ďperhapsĒ, ďmaybeísĒ and ďorísĒ you write. One panel, one description. This is your biggest fault. Now, which heptagram is it to be? You donít say, and the artist is going to ask (if they even know what a heptagram is). No oneís going to know what the gritty grey powder is, and no one especially is going to know that kneeling-boy is communing with his subconscious. SXF in comics means sound effects. You mean special effects, and I know that, but I donít want you to get in the habit of incorrect usage of terms. These two arenít interchangeable.)

    CAP (VO): He imbibed ground human bones taken from the Etruscan catacombs, blended with wine and with human ashes- and other substances... (Why is any of this important? This is needless exposition, explaining the panel.)
    CAP (VO): He invoked the dead... with one name in particular on his lips... (This line is important. The other, not so much.)

    PANEL 3:
    Close up view of Mauvais as he vomits forth a bubbly stream of greasy red liquid, his previous binge of wine and remains, into the bowl before him (plus the Nyarlathotep image in view) (Period. And a show of hands: how many people want to see a guy as he pukes?)

    CAP (VO): Titus... (Why not have kneeling boy actually say the name?)

    PANEL 4:
    Close up on the contents inside the bowl: the surface still save for a few bubbles and maybe some froth at the edge, and we can see Mauvais' reflection clearly, looking keenly concentrating- but also a multitude of other vague faces forming and reforming out of the bubbling liquid, and perhaps the violent inside designs of the bowl reflect on the liquid as well, giving it a bloody, tumultuous look. The stars above should also be visible amongst the visions he is perceiving, reflected on the surface of the liquid. (No. You cannot have all of this in this panel. Your second greatest fault is not knowing what can and cannot be drawn.)

    CAP (VO): Vestricius... (Why are you breaking this up? It makes no sense.)

    PANEL 5:
    Same view in reverse, and we are looking up out of the bowl at Mauvais, and beyond him to the stars above, as he looks up to the Heavens somewhat distantly or in quiet awe, possibly with a trickle of liquid on his chin or the side of his mouth- but this shouldn't really be a gross-out sequence exactly (despite the next panel) as his vomit is all fluid and looks pretty much the same coming up as it did when it went down. (Do I sound like a broken record? I feel like one. Write what you see.)

    CAP (VO): Spurinna...

    PANEL 6:
    View the same or roughly the same as Panel 1 of this page, and Mauvais is now lifting the entire bowl to his lips and downing it- carefully, so no dribbling or spillage. (Write what you see.)

    CAP (VO): Did he find what he was looking for then, on a moonlit hilltop in Tarquinia?
    CAP (VO): I doubt it- he was tried for heresy and burned a year later.

    PANEL 7:
    Back in the present, and close up view of Cihanov, his face looking downcast, facing the floor, probably sweating just as much as Mauvais was, faced with his own execution. (Write what you see.)

    CIHANOV: For Christs' sake..!
    CIHANOV: If you're going to kill me, then- then just do it..! (Em-dash, and if you want an ellipse, itís three dots, not two.)

    PANEL 8:
    View of Tarasov, face mainly in shadow, eyes dark, looking unhurried but also serious. (If heís mainly in the shadow, how are we supposed to see that heís looking unhurried but serious? Know what can and cannot be drawn. And this is an uninteresting page turn.)

    TARASOV: Patience.

    TARASOV: And don't add to your charges with blasphemy.

    Four pages is all I had, so thatís what Iím going with.

    As a script, overall, this is a failure.

    You fail to write what you see, giving so many different options that itís damn near paralysing. I start reading, and I see it one way, and then you go and offer another way, and sometimes a third. If you write from the foundation of what you see, changes can then be made from there. If you give the artist so many different choices, theyíll then think that they can put down anything, and you wonít be happy with the results. Either that, or theyíll end up asking so many questions that youíll be forced into making a decision.

    That is the biggest fault with this script. You seem unable to make a decision.

    When you go to a restaurant and you see the menu, do you tell the waiter/waitress that youíd like your steak well done, or maybe medium rare, or perhaps youíd like a burger instead? Itís all in the same beefy family, right? Itís the same thing with this script. Make a decision. Things can always be hashed out later.

    The second biggest fault with this script is that you do not know what can and cannot be drawn. You routinely ask for things that either arenít going to fit, or donít make sense. Routinely. Part of it seems like youíre writing for film. I can see some of the things you ask for working in film, but comics arenít film. When you get something in shadow, that shadow is black, especially for your setting, which is badly lit to begin with. Know the limits of a still image.

    When youíre writing a script in something like Word, you can imbed links in the document, so that the artist can just click the link, and they can go right there. You call for certain things to be shown, and say youíll get reference for them later. You can put it right in the script itself. It saves the ďlaterĒ part.

    So, your panel descriptions need a lot of work. Make a decision and stick to it.

    Your dialogue needs a polish. There are times when I feel youíre trying too hard to be cryptic. Cryptic is good when its interesting. When you have a sense that the characters are going to catch you up eventually, and you want to be there when all of the pieces fit together and understanding dawns. I didnít get that feeling in reading this. Itís obvious that Mike is on a different, higher level, but I donít get the feeling heís going to come down to really explain whatís going on. At least youíre not overly wordy. Trust me, thatís a great thing.

    Now, for all of your decision-less storytelling, I was able to cull something of interest out of these four pages, which is also a great thing. Once I determined to pay little to no attention to your panel descriptions and just have a generic setting of a dark, decrepit warehouse with lots of shadows and a guy tied to a chair, I was able to start seeing something interesting in the story you were trying to tell. (On a personal note, I have a bias towards Mystery and magick, so that could easily be it.) I wasnít able to see a directionóitís only four pagesóbut depending on certain other factors (like a pitch or a blurb to give some inkling as to whatís going on), Iíd be at least intrigued enough to peruse the first few pages of this. Iíd probably end up putting it back on the shelf, but Iíd give it a look.

    The biggest things you need to work on, though, are making a decision, and know what can be drawn into a panel. Work on those two first, and everything else can be shored up later.


    And thatís it for this week. See the list for whoís coming up next.

    Also, next week, I won't be the one posting this column, because I'll be attending SDCC, trying to hobnob, find work, rub elbows with John Lees, and get my own set of groupies. Instead, our own Sebastian will be posting here, as soon as I get the script to him. Pray for heem!

    Okay, that's all. Letís discuss this.



  2. MartinBrandt Guest

    Were-Lock reporting in!

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    PANEL 4:
    View from same angle, but Tarasov is visible in extreme close-up in the shot, just his grey eye, temple and bridge of nose as he gazes to the left. We need to see the text as well, so try and fit it but lose Tarasov if necessary. (NO! No no no no no. No. You cannot have them both. You cannot have your character’s face at all in this. I’ve already said why, but please, I want someone else to tell me why I’m going crazy over here. Were-lock? Tyler?)
    Panel 3 told us you wanted a clear view of the text and the man's hand typing. Here you say you want the same angle, BUT the man is visible in an extreme close-up. At this point the artist has started to bleed from his nose in my opinion. Just trying to visualize the "static" scene and having it constantly changed with each sentence will drive a man mad. When you set out to write, KNOW what you want. A good writer has a strong voice. If you are not sure if the scene will work, get a camera, take a picture. You could even try drawing a stick figure scene. There is no way you could show a close up like you wanted and a clear view of the text. Then with the last sentence you dismiss the previous request. I call it a request too because that is what you turned it into. This isn't so much a script as much as a group of suggestions.


    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    PANEL 2:
    Closer view of that pop-up on the laptop screen, and maybe of the surrounds so we can see some of Tarasov as he looks over at it- maybe we can see his the reflection of some of his face in the screen, just his eyes or mouth. The text on the screen reads: (No. You can’t have a reflection of a face in a screen that’s on. The screen has to be dark, and you’ve already said that it’s on. Now, unless he’s moved, there is NO WAY you can get closer to the computer screen AND show more of the surrounding area and pull it off effectively. What’s the focus of this panel? Make up your mind. Let the artist know. And know what can and cannot be drawn. If you don’t know that, you’d better learn, or else you have no business trying to write for comics. And this is only the second panel…)

    16:34:26
    I'm going to disagree with Forbes for once. Depending on the screen, especially laptops, reflections are possible. They will be extremely faint, but they are possible. (By the way, I just tested this to make sure I wasn't talking out of my rear.)


    Last note:
    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    (Yep. My eyes glazed over and my brain went numb. One would think that I hate reading. One would be wrong. I hate reading the boring, the technical. If you know what you want, draw it out, or try to find some sort of photo reference for the artist so they know what you’re going after. Don’t torture them like this.)
    Technical specs are for manuals, not scripts or books. This is a visual medium, give us a photo reference as he says. Try to draw a loose version of it, you'd be surprised what you can do if you set your mind to it and are patient.

    In scripts we use photo reference or poor writer doodles. In manuscripts we take the item to its barest parts, leaving only the parts that keep it functional but interesting for the reader. Please keep that in mind.
    Last edited by MartinBrandt; Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 01:55 AM. Reason: Because nothing is ever good enough :)



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    Oh my...Martin has become the Watson to Forby's Holmes!

    Or at least the Andy Richter to his Conan O'Brien.

    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



  4. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    (You’re related to Calvin Camp, aren’t you?
    Hey, I know this is a gloves-off kind of place, but you don't have to insult the poor guy that badly.

    And I always put exactly what I want in my descriptions. You just don't like all the stuff I put in them.

    PANEL 3:
    Tarasov is walking away slowly towards the wall with the journal cuttings and dartboard. (No. Tell me why, Calvin.)
    It's a moving panel. The artist can show Tarasov walking, but not walking slowly.

    And you do realize that I've never argued with you over this type of moving panel, right?

    PANEL 4:
    View of Tarasov, or ostensibly his hand as he pulls out the plastic file-folder we saw earlier in the right-hand corner of the desk. (No, we didn’t see it earlier. It was in shadow.)
    I don't understand this. You seem to think that shadows have to be black and impenetrable. But, unless the artwork is in a black and white noir style, that's just not true. And even in a noir style, the folder could have been shown partly or even mostly in shadow while still being visible and identifiable as a folder. It was called for, it wasn't impossible (or even particularly difficult) to show, so IMO the artist should have applied the shadows/lighting properly to make it visible - otherwise he's not doing his job.

    PANEL 5:
    View of Cihanov looking a little calmer, maybe morose and tight-lipped and sweating visibly perhaps and gazing at the floor or toward the desk as Tarasov stands before him with the opened folder. (Know what can and cannot be drawn. How can you look morose?
    Huh? What's so hard about morose? Morose is basically just gloomy - who can't draw that?

    PANEL 8:
    View of Tarasov, face mainly in shadow, eyes dark, looking unhurried but also serious. (If he’s mainly in the shadow, how are we supposed to see that he’s looking unhurried but serious? Know what can and cannot be drawn. And this is an uninteresting page turn.)
    I don't think there's actually anything there that cannot be drawn (with the posssible exception of "unhurried" - I'm not entirely sure how I'd approach that). Again, a shadow doesn't require an all-obscuring blob, not even in noir-style inking. Using shadows and highlights properly, the expression could still be very visible. With grayscale or color providing the shadows, even moreso.

    However, all this talk about shadows brings me nicely to a point I think is kind of important, but wasn't mentioned in the critique...

    Luke,
    Now that Steven has finished beating you up (and I've finished beating him up ), I'm going to take a shot at you too. The sad thing is, we've already talked about this once.

    Just like I told you some time ago, when you posted this over on DW, you don't have enough of a light source for this scene. A laptop screensaver and a candle or two aren't going to cut it. Not even close. Before you worry about what Steven is telling you is lost in shadows, you need to realize that you don't have enough light to make those shadows. Without something providing more light (kerosene lanterns, battery lamps, full moon shining through a window, something), all you have is darkness with a few spots of dim glow.

    Tonight, you should turn on your laptop (or desktop, whatever you've got) and Google up a big picture of Paris by night, then draw the shades on the windows, cover up any appliance lights, light a candle, and shut off all the lights in your house. Then take a close look at what you can see (and realize that out in the country, in an old stable, you won't even have the dim glow of that streetlight that's probably filtering through your window shades). That's what your scene would realistically look like, based on your description. To show anything you've asked for, your artist would need to cheat by putting in some kind of nonexistant lightsource, and that will probably make your dark room look like it has overhead flood lights, rather than looking like a dark room. At best it will look off. So give your poor artist (and yourself) a break and just add a decent lightsource.
    Last edited by CalvinCamp; Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 12:12 AM.



  5. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianPiccione View Post
    Oh my...Martin has become the Watson to Forby's Holmes!
    Oooh.... can I be Moriarty?



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    Yes, Calvin, you can. In fact, I can't think of anyone better suited!

    Now, gang, as for some of the above can/can't be drawn things

    Looking morose can be drawn. (English teacher mode)
    In my handy-dandy Webster's Dictionary that sits beside my computer, the SECOND definition for morose is:
    marked by or expressive of gloom

    That can certainly be drawn.


    And as for "unhurried" and "backing away slowly" I think while those can't be drawn per se, they are good notes to include with the panel descriptions.

    Why you ask?

    Sometimes it's just as important to describe what you want the artist NOT to draw as it is to tell them what TO draw. By describing the movement as "unhurried" or done "slowly" you're telling them not to draw the guy in a full-out exaggerated FLASH-running-pose, but a more subtle sense of movement. The feet would be closer together, he could be caught in awkward angel, or with little shuffle motion lines.

    The more the artist understands about what is happening, the better they can assess how to capture that image in a still shot.


    The Trash Heap has spoken....nyahh!

    (Not sure where the random Fraggle Rock quote came from. My brain just decided it was a suitable ending to my post. Go figure.)
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



  7. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianPiccione View Post
    Yes, Calvin, you can. In fact, I can't think of anyone better suited!
    Cool. I always wanted to be a nemesis when I grew up.

    By describing the movement as "unhurried" or done "slowly" you're telling them not to draw the guy in a full-out exaggerated FLASH-running-pose, but a more subtle sense of movement. The feet would be closer together, he could be caught in awkward angel, or with little shuffle motion lines.
    Oh...(SFX of flashbulb going off over Calvin's head)... somehow I thought Luke was calling for an unhurried expression, and my brain was just going, "Buh... wuh?" Momentary mental lapse I guess.

    I'll leave you to fight it out with Steven over whether "moving slowly" belongs in a panel description, Seb (though I don't entirely disagree with your point). But I will say that I don't believe motion lines are worth much for anything other than showing very fast movement. I suspect little shuffle motion lines would make him look more like he's dancing the soft-shoe, than like he's moving slowly.
    Last edited by CalvinCamp; Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 02:46 AM.



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    Quote Originally Posted by madelf View Post
    But I will say that I don't believe speed lines are worth much for anything other than showing very fast movement. I suspect little shuffle motion lines would make him look more like he's dancing the soft-shoe, than like he's moving slowly.

    Yeah, I agree that the shuffle lines aren't the greatest, (and these wouldn't be speedlines, just something to indicate a slow jerky motion) I was more trying to illustrate that by saying "slowly" and whatever that you were telling the artist "Look, I don't CARE what your copy of HOW TO DRAW COMICS THE MARVEL WAY says, I don't WANT the guy to bent forward in an exaggerrated motion, with his legs thrown dramatically apart, looking like he's taking off a full tilt, I want you draw him in a stance that just barely suggests he's trying to inch away."

    The shuffle lines were just an offeset to the speedlines, not a literal "draw this."

    But thanks for making me explain that before Forby got to me!
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



  9. CalvinCamp Guest

    Gah... "speed lines" was a typo, and I didn't get it changed in time.

    I get what you mean about saying "slowly" and such, and I think you're right in a way. But I think it's in much the same way that I think I'm right when I try and tell Steven that just because I said, "the zombie has mistepped and is falling", doesn't mean that I'm asking for both events to be shown at the same time - the "has mistepped" bit is just staging to set things up for the "is falling" that's actually happening in the frozen moment of the panel. But Steven still insists it's a moving panel. So... >Shrug<

    At this point, I'm more working on ways to write around the "moving panel" triggers than bucking the system.
    Last edited by CalvinCamp; Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 03:08 AM.



  10. Dungbeetle Guest

    To be fair, if I'm paying my own hard earnt money to an artist, they better be able to draw whatever damned expression I give them. If they can't identify what a morose expression would look like then, they obviously have an unfinished mental concept of the character they're being paid to draw and should reconsider their career if they can only do 3 expressions. Or, they could at least grab McCloud's book and steal directly from it.

    Surely "x has fallen over and is getting up" is different from "x is falling over and getting up". The first one is drawable (and perhaps necessary if we haven't already seen x fall over, in all the chaos) whereas the second one isn't...

    "Dungbeetle is falling over, rolling, and getting back up, lighing a cigarette with a morose look of tumultuous angst on his face"



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