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Thread: TPG: Week 29- Michael Gerberding

  1. StevenForbes Guest

    TPG: Week 29- Michael Gerberding

    Welcome back to the proving grounds! This week, we have Michael Gerberding, brother of Dayv. Letís see how he does!

    Manic # 1 Michael Gerberding

    Page 1
    (5 panels; Top third 1 panel; Middle third is 2 panels; Bottom third is 3 panels.) (I thought math was taught in school. 1+2+3= 5? Does this have anything to do with Catholicism, where 1+1+1=1?)

    Panel 1- A dark bedroom scene. ĺ View from top. Manicís eyes are open and thereís a beautiful nude woman lying next to him in bedĖ to his right, higher up in the frame - partially covered by a sheet. Their heads are at the right. They both have long black hair. His right arm is beneath her head. (The main character, Manic, should be already designed by the time the artist gets the script, so saying he has long hair isnít really necessary unless itís doing something. Itís not. How close are we to them is the first question. That will answer what, if anything, can also be seenólike the rest of the room, how itís decorated, whether or not their clothes are scattered, giving an air of a wild night, stuff like that.)

    Panel 2 Ė He gently pulls his arm back out of the pillow. (Iím not enamored too much of this panel description. The artist may have some difficulty showing ďgentle.Ē And depending on how they were positioned in the first panelówhich wasnít described, mind youóthis panel might not fly.)

    Panel 3 Ė Manic carefully pulls on his pants in the dark. Full shot of Manic at the foot of the bed. (No. How are you going to show Ďcarefullyí? Why would he need to be careful? And youíre showing him at the foot of the bed, which is fineÖuntil the question is asked, is this from the womanís pov, or from in front or the side, with the bed behind him?)

    Narration: Must get out peacefully. (No. First, put a space between every element of your format. It makes it easier to read. Second, learn scripting terms. If youíre doing anything in a caption, itís called a caption, not narration. Speaking could be narration. Telling a bedtime story to a child is narration. This is a caption. Learn it. [Formatting and terms are the easiest things to learn in comics scriptwriting.] Third, this line is horrible. Why must he get out, and why must he do it peacefully? The first line that someone reads in your script, and it is absolutely dead and awkward.)
    Woman: Goodnight Nick. See you again soon. (See how difficult not putting spaces in makes reading? Now, how about some commas? Separate the names. That, and her balloon has to come from off panel since sheís not shown. This is scriptwriting 101.)
    Manic: Goodnight Marjorie. (Comma.)

    Panel 4 Ė He walks out the balcony door. He wears a black leather cut-off at the shoulder jacket, blue jeans, and a pair of black leather boots. (This is what happens when you donít do a proper establishing shot. The balcony came out of nowhere. And Iím not getting your description of what heís wearing. Heís wearing a jacket thatís cut off at the shoulder? No idea what that means.)
    Narration: A small jump. (This line would work better in a later panel. Have him walk out onto the balcony first, and then have a panel either from a wormís eye view looking up from the ground, or from a birdís eye view looking down on him and still able to see the ground. And itís even better if itís really a large jump, which could give an idea of his power level.)

    Panel 5Ė He is walking on the lit street. Back shot. (And all of a sudden heís down on the street? No good. WAY too fast. At least show the jump in some way. Either beginning or landing.)
    Narration: Itís after two. That was momentarily gratifying. (Is the time really important? And have I mentioned that Iím not overly fond of internal monologues? Theyíre difficult to do well. No, this isnít done well. Do we care that his interlude was momentarily gratifying? Itís panel 5, and Iím not seeing any reason whatsoever to turn the page.)

    Panel 6- He crosses a lifeless intersection kiddy corner, shot from the side. (So? What does this do, as the last panel, to make the reader want to turn the page? Nothing whatsoever. Theyíll put it back on the shelf.)
    Narration: Quickly, the emptiness will take its old shape. I know it. (This is horrid. Absolutely and truly. This first page does absolutely nothing to interest the reader, and youíre trying WAAAAAAY too hard to be cryptic. This dialogue is no good. Every line so far has to be gutted and rebuilt.)

    Page 2 (Page break.)
    (7 Panels; Top third is 3 panels; Middle third is 2 panels; Bottom third is 2
    panels.)

    Panel 1 Ė Side view of his face close-up, as he turns right onto a seedier busier avenue. (No. The sad part of this is that this is P2, and already, Iíve written more notes on this script than youíve written in the script itself. Hereís whatís wrong with this panel description: youíre saying heís in profile, and that itís a close-up. Thatís fine. Thatís the base of your panel description. You fail to describe what emotion is showing on his face. If youíre calling for a close-up of his face, it needs to show some sort of emotion. What is it? Now, the rest is where you fail, as well. It doesnít matter that heís turned left, right, did a pirouette, or did a backflip that sidetwisted underhanded into a different quantum spaceóitís a close-up of his face, so direction isnít going to matter. As for the seediness of the spaceóthatís not going to be en either. Why? Because itís a close-up. Mike, know what can and cannot be drawn.)
    Narration: In depression, I lose my identity, my soul, and all I feel is guilt. Guilt for the unnecessary damage Iíve caused; the bad hits, the disintegration of relationships. (This, my friend, is drivel. Dialogue is the hardest, most subjective part of scriptwriting, but this is not good in the least. Would you really want to read this in a comic? No. And neither would I.)

    Panel 2ĖFrontal shot of his whole body. (What for? Whatís he doing? Whatís the purpose of showing his whole body? Whereís the drama in this panel? The artist is going to ask what heís doing, or heís going to do it himself, and give you something you didnít want. Sucks, right? Then give them what they need.)
    Narration: Guilt for what I am, my lacks. At the mercy of this cycle of highs and lows.
    Drink intensifies it, but I canít quit. (Whoís he talking to? Why is he telling himself things he already knows? This is why I hate internal monologues. When theyíre bad, theyíre very bad, like this.)

    Panel 3 - Manic, shot walking from the front, hands in pockets, hears a commotion off to his right. (What does he look like as he hears this commotion? How do we know itís off to his right? There isnít even a sound effect to indicate anything.)

    Panel 4Ė He looks. A pimp wearing a brown suit, white shirt and hat hits a prostitute in a vacant lot right off the main street. His big bald thug stands next to him wearing a light blue sweat suit and jersey. The thug is a good 75 pounds heavier than Manic. (Where are the characters in relation to one another?)



    Panel 5 Ė Manic approaches them from the side. Shot of the three from Manicís perspective. (This is a bad panel description. Someone tell me why. Were-lock? Calvin?)
    Narration: Hereís my remedy for all that. (Finally, a line that doesnít make me cringe.)

    Panel 6Ė Manic stands there, the pimp, girl and thug are seen over his shoulder. (Thereís no drama in this panel description.)
    Pimp: Who the hell are you? (Iím not often one who advocates stressing words in a script, but I suggest stressing a word or two here. Someone tell me where theyíd stress.)
    Manic: Lay your hands off the woman. (And you go right back to being awkward and making me want to claw my eyes out.)

    Panel 7 Ė The thug approaches Manic. (No. Moving panel. I probably need to come up with an abbreviation for that, it happens so often. At least this could be a semi-decent place to end the page.)
    Pimp: What ours is our concern. Go back to your biker bar, Mr. Adventure. (Huh? The first line makes no sense.)
    Thug: Yeah, Whatcha gonna do about it? (Is the pimp in this shot? I donít know. You donít say, so I can easily say heís OP and not be wrong.)

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

    Panel 1 Ė Manic gets into a fighters stance. The thug has approached Manic. (What kind of fighterís stance? There are SO many kinds. This panel description is almost meaningless.)
    Manic: Iím going to end this role-playing game. (Can someone please tell me what this means, because this makes no sense to me.)
    Thug: Start with yourself, thug. (Nor this. Really, it seems like dialogue is not your strong suit, which is a shame, because thatís what the reader is going to see. This is crap. Why is the thug calling someone else a thug?)

    Panel 2 ĖManic swings at the thug, just grazing him.

    Panel 3Ė The thug kicks Manic in the left knee, catching him off guard. (How is someone going to know that the blow caught him off guard?)

    Panel 4Ė The thug then uppercuts Manic to the chin. (Thatís usually where uppercuts go.)

    Panel 5 Ė Manic punches him with his right in the solar plexus.

    Panel 6Ė Both men back up. (Both men back up, after oneís punched in the solar plexus? Do you know anything about anatomy? Go have someone punch you in the solar plexus, then see if youíre able to do anything else for a while afterwards. If this fight were more realistic, Iíd say this would be a better place to turn the page. Just goes to show, you can jump off a balcony and survive it, but it doesnít mean you know how to fight.)

    Page 4 (Page break.)
    (6 Panels; Top third is 3 panels; Middle third is 2 Panels; Bottom third is one panel.)

    Panel 1 Ė The thug then bull rushes Manic, arms out, prepared to tackle him.

    Panel 2Ė Manic grabs the thug by the collar and uses his momentum to pull him forward and toward the ground. (Iím not seeing this move. Where does your hero move to? And no, Iím not going to call this a moving panel, although I could.)

    Panel 3 Ė He also twists him, so he lands with his face up. (RightÖ This panel is crap.)

    Panel 4 - He quickly stomps on his face and jaw with his right leg. (How do we know itís quickly? This makes it a moving panel. Well, I guess "quickly" could be shown by blurring the leg doing the stomping. However, that's my recommendation, and not what you called for.)
    SFX: Thump, Thump (And we finally get a sound effect. Too little, too late.)

    Panel 5 Ė And again until the thug appears to lose consciousness. (I want you to be able to show this in a panel. What does this panel description mean? Whatís happening in this panel? This is crap, too.)
    SFX: Thump

    Panel 6 Ė A wide-out shot of the vacant lot from tree height: The thug is on the ground. The pimp has drawn a gun and pointed it at Manic. The girl is seen running off out of the shot. (At least this is another decent page turn.)


    Page 5 (Page break)
    (6 Panels; Top third is 3 panels; Middle third is 1 panel; Bottom third is 2 panels.)

    Panel 1Ė Manic stands far from the pimp (the pimp seen through Manicís eyes.)
    Manic: Put that away and I wonít hurt you.
    Pimp: That sounds like a contradiction to me. (Sounds more like a bald-faced lie to me.)

    Panel 2 Ė Shot of Manic getting closer to the pimp.
    Manic: Are you afraid of the police?
    Pimp: What are you, stupid? (Nice! Correct comma placement!)
    Manic: Theyíre coming.
    SFX: Brrrrrrrr (This sounds like someone being cold, rather than a siren.)

    Panel 3 Ė Manic within arms reach of the pimp.
    Pimp: Quit playiní games ass hole. Iíll use it. (Asshole is one word. And you need a comma.)

    Panel 4Ė Manic surged forward with his hips and kicks the gun-holding hand of the pimp into the air. It fires into nowhere. (Le sigh. Moving panel.)
    SFX: Bang!

    Panel 5 Ė Manic grabs that hand with his right. And he has his own gun in his left. (Magically delicious! Where did the second gun appear from?)

    Panel 6ĖHe shoots the pimp in the gut. (This is not a good page-turn.)
    SFX: Bang!

    And thatís where Iím going to stop.

    This, Michael, was not good. Not good at all. Letís run it down.

    Your panel descriptions leave a lot to be desired. No establishing shots, moving panels, and too vague.

    Your panel descriptions have to show a single movement in a panel. You have to think in still images. If you donít, thereís really no point in trying to write this as a comic script.

    Your panel descriptions also have to answer Who, What, Where, and When. You answered most of these, but not all of them.

    Youíd be better served reading the first half of my Bolts & Nuts columns. They deal with storytelling and scriptwriting.

    And the sad part? The panel descriptions are the best part of the script.

    Not to beat around the bush, your dialogue is crap. WAY too blunt, not nuanced at all, and totally dead and lifeless. Not to mention, extremely hard on the ears when read aloud. Also, there isnít a lot of it. You start an internal monologue, then it stops, then it starts, and then it stops, and then you go off to start having the characters talk. Most of the dialogue is awkward sounding and hardly a word of it was believable. Again, as I said, dialogue is not your strong suit. How do you get better? I wrote a whole article on Dialogue. I suggest you pay special attention to that, as well.

    You have a LOT of work ahead of you, Michael. I suggest you hop to it.


    Check the list to see who's next, and letís discuss this.



  2. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    Panel 5 – Manic approaches them from the side. Shot of the three from Manic’s perspective. (This is a bad panel description. Someone tell me why. Were-lock? Calvin?)
    If the shot is from Manic's perspective, then we can't see him. All we would see is what he sees. I assume the viewpoint was intended to be from behind Manic, but even that could make it tough to get across the idea that he's approaching the others. I think you'd need either a sideview or a shot from behind the pimp & thug, looking toward Manic.

    [/COLOR]Pimp: Who the hell are you? (I’m not often one who advocates stressing words in a script, but I suggest stressing a word or two here. Someone tell me where they’d stress.)
    I probably wouldn't, personally. But stressing either "hell" or "you" (or both) would work. Even stressing "who" might work. That's pretty subjective stuff.

    Manic: I’m going to end this role-playing game. (Can someone please tell me what this means, because this makes no sense to me.)
    Sorry, boss. Can't help with that one. I'm as stumped as you are.

    Panel 5 – Manic grabs that hand with his right. And he has his own gun in his left. (Magically delicious! Where did the second gun appear from?)
    Ideally... the character design notes that should accompany the script. At least that's where you told me to keep it when I described Talia having a holstered gun, in my script, and caught hell for it.

    I don't know, Steven... you're not leaving me much to bust your chops on lately. I don't know what I'll do with all the extra time on Fridays.



  3. StevenForbes Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by madelf View Post
    If the shot is from Manic's perspective, then we can't see him. All we would see is what he sees. I assume the viewpoint was intended to be from behind Manic, but even that could make it tough to get across the idea that he's approaching the others. I think you'd need either a sideview or a shot from behind the pimp & thug, looking toward Manic.
    Good! Exactly what I was looking for.

    Quote Originally Posted by madelf View Post
    I probably wouldn't, personally. But stressing either "hell" or "you" (or both) would work. Even stressing "who" might work. That's pretty subjective stuff.
    Yes, it is. Like I said, I usually don't advocate putting in stressors, and leaving it to the reader. However, this needs some punch, and is one of the few places where the dialogue rang true. (One of two places, maybe?) Anyway, those were good suggestions.

    Quote Originally Posted by madelf View Post
    Ideally... the character design notes that should accompany the script. At least that's where you told me to keep it when I described Talia having a holstered gun, in my script, and caught hell for it.
    Aw, you love catching helll, and you know it! And ideally, yes, it would have been in the character design notes in a separate doc. However, we saw him get dressed, with no mention of a gun. He's in a fight with a thug,whom he literally stomps, and then decides to pull a gun? It doesn't work.

    Quote Originally Posted by madelf View Post
    I don't know, Steven... you're not leaving me much to bust your chops on lately. I don't know what I'll do with all the extra time on Fridays.
    Don't blame me! Blame the writers! You all need to give me things to climb out on limbs for Calvin to shake! Otherwise, his Fridays are dull! (Because we ALL know we're here for his amusement.)



  4. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    Aw, you love catching helll, and you know it! And ideally, yes, it would have been in the character design notes in a separate doc. However, we saw him get dressed, with no mention of a gun. He's in a fight with a thug,whom he literally stomps, and then decides to pull a gun? It doesn't work.
    You're right. In this case it doesn't work. But I had to come up with something to give you a hard time on.

    Don't blame me! Blame the writers! You all need to give me things to climb out on limbs for Calvin to shake! Otherwise, his Fridays are dull! (Because we ALL know we're here for his amusement.)
    Nah, you can't blame the writers. Beating up on the writers is your job. I'm supposed to be your nemesis. Seb said I could be.

    And I come here for the education. The amusement is just a nice bonus.



  5. MartinBrandt Guest

    Calvin beat me too it and frankly you didn't leave much in the way of scraps this time Forbes.

    That was a hard painful read. Dialog, PEOPLE PLEASE, say it out loud. Get a friend to read back and forth with you. Watch moon lighting (okay some people will strangle me for this one.)

    SERIOUSLY, dialog should be organic.



  6. AdamH Guest

    Martin/Were-lock said it best...scraps. So let's emphasize what he said again, read your dialog out loud, pretend like it's a play and have your friends read your scripts with you.

    I know I've mentioned this before but it doesn't hurt to act out some of your panel descriptions to find out if what your describing can be drawn.



  7. StevenForbes Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinBrandt View Post
    Calvin beat me too it and frankly you didn't leave much in the way of scraps this time Forbes.

    That was a hard painful read. Dialog, PEOPLE PLEASE, say it out loud. Get a friend to read back and forth with you. Watch moon lighting (okay some people will strangle me for this one.)

    SERIOUSLY, dialog should be organic.
    Talk about not leaving any scraps...know why my endnotes were so sparse? Because there wasn't anything new I could say and not be of the "I'm so happy it's over!" variety. Usually, I take a peek past what I paste up here. Usually. This time? No. It wasn't necessary.

    The dialogue was obviously the worst part. One of the few times I can think of where I can say it was wretchedly bad, and not only mean it, but feel bad for saying it. Besides the bad pacing, panel descriptions, and camera angles--all of which can be learned--the dialogue is what really broke this script. Everything else was exacerbated because of it. Yes, I did go back and change a couple of things I said before I posted it up, because they weren't helpful. Let's call it unnecessarily mean on my part, and I never try to be mean, let alone unnecessarily so.

    There are times, however, when I feel like I could channel Warren Ellis when I do these. Mentioning anal squirrel rape within the same breath as dialogue would not be so far over the top. Brain bukkake and face ripping, or drooling out of the ears...I could go on.

    HEY! Who wants to do a turnabout? Who wants the chance to rip me a new one? Hmm. Maybe Calvin, since Seb said he could be my nemesis. What do you say? I send you a script, and you edit it up, and post it on a Friday. You up for it?



  8. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    HEY! Who wants to do a turnabout? Who wants the chance to rip me a new one? Hmm. Maybe Calvin, since Seb said he could be my nemesis. What do you say? I send you a script, and you edit it up, and post it on a Friday. You up for it?
    I would be honored.

    Not remotely qualified, mind you, but definitely honored.



  9. mgerber Guest

    Thanks everyone for you suggestions, and thanks Steve for reviewing my script.

    First I'll answer most of Steve's questions about the script.

    "Why would he need to be careful (exiting the room)?
    Why must he do it peacefully?
    So as not to wake her.

    He's wearing a jacket that's cut off at the shoulder?
    Yes, a sleveless leather jacket.

    "What's ours is our concern." The pimp means the prostitute is his property so he can do with her as he pleases.

    "I'm going to end this role-playing game" I meant that Manic saw that the pimp and the thug were dressed as and playing their roles.

    We didn't get that far, but Manic is bi-polar, and that's a major element to my story. So his inner states are important, along with his thoughts about morality, and I am wondering how these can be conveyed if not through internal monologues.

    "Cryptic" is partly what I was going for, for the reasons above.

    Are establishing shots general overviews?

    And are character design notes separate character descriptions?

    Thanks for that comment about dialogue being organic. I sort of get it. I just hope it's learnable.

    Thanks again everyone.



  10. Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgerber View Post
    "I'm going to end this role-playing game" I meant that Manic saw that the pimp and the thug were dressed as and playing their roles.

    I see what you were going for (well, NOW I do) but it really wasn't that clear,

    Maybe you should consider something like,

    "God, could you two be any more cliche?"

    or

    "That's right boys, BE those stereotypes!"

    or something of that nature.
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



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