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Thread: TPG: Week 30- Aaron Thompson

  1. StevenForbes Guest

    TPG: Week 30- Aaron Thompson

    Hello, all! Once again, a Brave One steps onto the Proving Grounds! Aaron sent me this script almost out of the blue. He'd been lurking, and finally decided to step out of the shadows. Let's see how he does.


    Art Notes: The year is 1955, roughly early June. The main city that this story takes place is New York City, though it will never be referred to being New York as Iíd like NYC landmarks, such as Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building, and even the Statue of Liberty to be shown, but there will also be other fictional landmarks that will be shown later in the story, such as Heroes Plaza, a memorial for the WWII Super Heroes who died in war. This is a city that needs to look very ďHappy DaysĒ clean cut, bright and cheery. As the story progresses though, the city needs to slowly start to revert into a darker version of the 1950ís ideals. Anything that can be added to the background to show the times is fine, for instance, posters for Disneyís ďLady and the TrampĒ and ďDamn YankeesĒ is playing on Broadway. Also, remember, the Cold War is going on, McCarthyism, and the beginning of the Civil Rights movement are all taking place. The panels and pacing need to somewhat emulate the layout styles of the 1950ís comic books, but with a modern art style. I have thumbnails to go along with the script for what Iím visualizing, but if there is something else you see that would work better, by all means, go with it. Character Designs and descriptions will be provided for the main characters and sub-characters, all other background characters such as police, bystanders, and reporters can be designed at the artistís discretion, just make sure they stay within the parameters of the era.

    Lettering Note: Most of the speakers in the script will be represented by abbreviations. For the most part these should be easy to understand, others will be spelled out first then abbreviated. Also, most of the dialogue wonít be broken up since it breaks up the flow of writing for me, but feel free to break up sentences into new word balloons at your discretion. (This is both good and bad. You need to learn how to write for comics, which means you need to learn to stay in your flow even though you break up balloons. Otherwise, you run the risk of being too wordy.)

    Page 1:

    Panel 1: Splash page, mid-day, June, mostly sunny skies. Mr. Supreme is flying up at an angle by a DC-6 propeller style airplane with a villain flung over his right shoulder. A little kid is staring back out the window at Mr. Supreme waving and smiling as he sees his favorite hero fly by.

    Caption: 1955.
    Caption: 30,000 feet above the earth, the Earthís greatest hero once again saves the day from the vile tyranny ofó
    Caption: THE RED ROCKET!
    Caption: Unfortunately for THE RED ROCKET, he did not count on the interference of Americaís First Son!
    Caption: But itís just another day foró
    Caption: MR. SUPREME!
    Caption: Endorsed by Eisenhower himself as the poster boy for America in its fight against the Red Scare, MR. SUPREME emerged shortly before World War 2.
    Caption: Taking the fight to the Nazis, MR. SUPREME fought alongside many great heroes of the war before becoming the icon of America.
    Caption: Now, older, wiser, more powerful, MR. SUPREME protects the virtues of Democracy, Capitalism, and everything that is America! (Iím going to reserve judgment just as yet on the tone, but itís sticking in my craw a little. Besides that, I want you to put a space between every element in your script. This is simple Scripting 101.)

    Page 2: (page break)

    Panel 1: Mr. Supreme lands with the villain on his shoulders in front of the authorities. (No. Where is this? Just because you think you did your job up top doesnít mean you can skimp here in the actual script itself. Do your job, or else the artist is going to either ask you a ton of questions that youíre going to have to answer, or theyíll take it upon themselves to fill in the blanks, and you wonít get what youíre looking for. Do a proper panel description. Donít be lazy.)

    Mr. S: Here is the Red Rocket gentlemen! He was the one causing all the ruckus downtown, but never fear, for I; MR. SUPREME was here to save the day! (28 words. Youíre pushing it already. Watch your punctuation. You need a comma in the first sentence, and you have a semicolon where you need a comma. As for the toneÖthis sounds very overblown. Did you study how comics ďspokeĒ at the time? This isnít it. They were overblown, but nothing like the crap you wrote here.)

    Panel 2: The police captain shakes Mr. Supremeís hand as he takes the villain. (Sparse. Could use some beefing up.)

    Captain: Thanks Mr. Supreme, we wouldíve never caught him had it not been for YOU! Youíve done your city proud once again! (21/49.)

    Panel 3: Two police officers are joking around in the background about Mr. Supreme. (Just a little sparse. Just a skotch.)

    Police 1: What a PRICK! Captain Goody-two-Shoes strikes again! (7/56.)

    Police 2: Yeah, itíd be better if everyone realized this city would be better off without him! All the whack jobs in tights think they need to make a name for themselves in our city! That DAMN Eisenhower ainít gonna do anything about it either. Thinks heís just the type of Boy Scout our country needs. (54/110. And this is what I mean right here. Right here in this panel, you go over 35 words. While not a hard and fast rule, this is just a gross mismanagement of space, because you donít know how to write for your chosen medium. And this is only the second person talking in this panel.)

    Police 1: Yeah, just because he fought on the frontlines, Ike thinks he's some kinda hero! (14/124. However, for this panel, we have a grand total of 75 words! Congratulations! No art can be shown!)

    Panel 4: Another cop comes up to put a stop to the comments.

    Police 3: Hey, knock it off; he does have super sonic hearing after all.

    Police 1: Oh sorry, Iíd hate to hurt his feelings! (Learn proper punctuation.)

    Panel 5: Mr. Supreme prepares to take off as he finishes with the captain. (What does that mean? How can this be shown?)

    Mr. S: --Iím just doing my job sir!

    Captain: Well you keep doing your job Mr. Supreme and weíll keep doing ours. (Learn punctuation.)

    Panel 6: Mr. Supreme flies away. (How far up is he? Is he just taking off? Is he flying past the joking cops? Is he smiling? Is there no end to my questions? And this is a boring page turn. Not badly placed, just boring. Itís P2. Thereís no incentive to turn to P3.)

    Mr. S: Off to battle more ďwhack jobs in tightsĒ (Punctuation.)

    Page 3: (page break)

    Panel 1: Mr. Supreme is standing vigilant over the city as he hovers in the air. Itís becoming dusk as the sun begins to set and the cityís lights begin to turn on. (With a strong artist, this could be a very strong panel.)

    Panel 2: From behind Mr. Supreme comes flying up Miss Atom. (Me saying anything here would just be pissy. Iím not pissy. But there are clearer ways to say this.)

    M.A.: Well howdy there stranger! (Learn punctuation.)

    Panel 3: Full shot of Miss Atom in all her glory as she flies next to Mr. Supreme. (Again, there are clearer ways to say this, especially since it sounds similar to the last panel. And whatís Supreme doing there? Does he turn to face her? Keep his back to her? Give her any indication that heís heard her? Put it in the panel description.)

    M.A.: I heard about your battle with Red Rocket earlier today! Nicely done.

    Mr. S: It was nothing. All in a dayís work for me! (Is he really that much of an asshole? Hopefully, this is a plot development that comes into play later.)

    M.A.: So, whatís your plan for tonight, need any help patrolling the city? (Learn punctuation.)

    Mr. S: I can handle the city, after all, I am Mr. Supreme, and itís what I do best. But if youíd like to help me with other things, Iíll be more than glad to oblige. (Yep. Asshole. 34 words in this balloon, too.)

    Caption: One of the many other heroes of the city--- (No. First, this should be in the previous panel. Thatís first. At least this caption. The second one can stay in this panel. Secondly, when youíre writing, think about where you want things to appear, and write them in that order. Usually, captions will appear before word balloons. Usually. The way you have it here, itís talking, talking, talking, caption, caption. While itís not wrong, I just want you to be aware of the order things will appear when it gets to the letterer.)

    Caption: The vivacious MISS ATOM!

    Panel 4: Miss Atom looks troubled by Mr. Supremeís advances.

    M.A.: John, Iím a married woman now, I have a little girl now. (Learn punctuation.)

    Mr. S: That never stopped you before sweetheart. In fact, last time I checked, you enjoyed my company. Maybe more than whatever your ĎHUSBANDíSĒ name is. If I didnít know better Iíd think little Sally WAS mine. (Learn punctuation. And youíre too wordy. This is exactly what I was talking about at the very outset. Learn how to write for your medium.)

    M.A.: SARAH, my daughterís name is Sarah, and my HUSBANDíS name is Benjamin. And donít you dare for one second think Sarah is yours. You know this all JOHN, why do you have to be like this? (Too wordy.)

    Panel 5: Miss Atom flies off as Mr. Supreme taunts her. (This works as a page turn only because of the dialogue.)

    Mr. S: Donít worry sweet cheeks; Iíll be here when youíre ready for a real man again. We both know youíre husband canít fulfill your needs like I can. If you need me, look for the guy saving the day! (Too wordy. Learn punctuation. Noticing a trend here?)

    Page 4:

    Panel 1: It is now dark across the skies. A woman screams out in the night as a mugger attacks her. (How is the reader supposed to know itís a mugger?)

    Woman: (scream) (Which sounds like what?)

    Panel 2: The mugger takes off running with the womanís purse and her pearls. (Where is this at?)

    Panel 3: The mugger runs into the chest of Mr. Supreme.

    Mr. S: That bag doesnít really go with your outfit sir! Maybe you should give it back. (Learn punctuation. Itís looking like commas are your kryptonite.)

    Panel 4: The mugger pulls out his gun and fires off a couple of rounds into Mr. Supremeís chest.

    Mr. S: Really? Have you not read the papers simpleton? I am Mr. Supreme, the greatest hero this country has or ever will have! Itíll take MORE than a couple bullets to stop me! (Yeah. Heís a blowhard, and youíre wordy. Learn punctuation.)

    Panel 5: The Aryan comes flying down from above as he prepares to attack Mr. Supremes. (Pay attention to your character names. Whatís ďMr. SupremesĒ doing? And whereís Diana Ross? At least this is a decent page turn.)

    The Aryan: There you are pretty boy! Iíve been looking all over for you! (Learn punctuation.)

    Page 5:

    Panel 1: The Aryan is flying above Mr. Supreme taunting him.

    T.A.: Itís been 10 years since I last saw you in my motherland! Ten years since you invaded my mother Germany with your Allied Forces! My Fuhrer Hitler may be gone, but his dream is not forgotten! (I may need to scrub my brain when this is over.)

    Panel 2: Mr. Supreme flies up knocking back The Aryan with a lot of force. (How about an actual description here? What does ďa lot of forceĒ mean?)

    Mr. S: The Naziís lost Aryan! You lost! You should have stayed dead, along with your leash holder! (Learn punctuation.)

    Panel 3: Mr. Supreme knocks The Aryan back into the streets below where there are people who have gathered to see their hero battle another villain.

    Mr. S: Youíve made a grave mistake villain by trying to attack me in my home. (Learn punctuation.)

    Panel 4: Mr. Supreme drops down in front of the downed Aryan as he shouts out his catch phrase to the onlookers.

    Mr. S: STAND BACK CITIZENS! I have this under control! (Stand back citizens is a catchphrase? Learn punctuation.)

    And Iím done. Letís go over this.

    Iíll start with the panel descriptions, as I generally do.

    Your panel descriptions are very sparse in places, and generally need some beefing up. Putting a block of text at the beginning of the script isnít adequate. That only gives an overview of a single location, not the specifics of the locations where the actions are happening.

    Also, work on the clarity of your panel descriptions. If youíre having trouble getting your idea across, donít be afraid to use more words. Use as many words as you need to in order to get across the idea of the action, and when you get it, cut it down to a manageable size. Doing this a few times will help you to get to what youíre really trying to say. It will also help you to learn to self-edit, which every writer needs to learn to do.

    Basically, youíre a lazy writer when it comes to your panel descriptions, because you think the blurb at the top is all you needed to do in order to get your point across. This thinking is wrong. You still need to write adequate panel descriptions. Stop being lazy.

    And really, itís a trend that Iím seeing more and more here in TPG. I donít know why, and Iím not liking it. Itís like youíre (the group) becoming afraid of writing an actual panel description, or of doing an establishing shot, or of getting called out for moving panels. The blocks of text that you put up front DO NOT HELP YOU. You STILL need to talk to your artists about what you want on the page. Going back and forth from one page to another isnít going to be a good working condition for them. All of you need to stop being lazy. Learn to do your job.

    Another lazy point is your dialogue ďtechnique.Ē You may think that it works for you, but Iím telling you right now, itís lazy and itís leading you down a path of ďI donít know what the hell Iím doing,Ē as well as ďIím too damned wordy for my own good.Ē If youíve been lurking for a while, as you stated, youíve had no choice but to have seen some mention of my other column, Bolts & Nuts. You should have gone there to see some guidelines for scripting. If you come back and say that you have, then Iím going to say that you havenít taken the time to learn any of the lessons presented there.

    You can write a script any way you wish, but when you submit it for editing, it needs to fit the editorial mandates of the company youíre writing for, if you happen to be so lucky. That means writing large blocks of dialogue are out. If you handed this script to me as a working editor, Iíd look at the top paragraphs, and then hand it back to you and tell you to hand it in when youíve learned how to write for your medium.

    I donít care about you having to break your flow. Learn to write around it. Leaving it up to the letterer is just lazy. And for them to try to either fit all of your words in a balloon puts an unnecessary strain on them, or for them to edit your words down to a reasonable number is outside of their job description. Basically, Aaron, Iím saying you need to first learn your job, and then do it. Donít foist it off on others.

    You have a problem with commas. I suggest picking up a book on grammar, or going back to school, if not both.

    Your dialogue is craptacular. I know youíre trying to evoke the sound of the time, but youíre doing it wrong. I suggest getting some old comics and reading them in order to get a sense of how they spoke then.

    The only character that shows any true personality is Mr. Supreme, and heís an asshole. Totally unlikable. If that was the goal, congratulations, you got something right besides basic formatting. Almost. Now, learn to do it in less words.

    These five pages arenít that boring. Youíve got a hero being an asshole (because Ďjerkí isnít a strong enough word), youíve got a fight, but Iím not getting a sense of story. Granted, this is only five pages, but Iím just getting the sense that thereís nothing more. The shame is, Iím not willing to subject myself to more of the same to see if thereís any substance here.

    Learn to write for your medium, learn to use commas, and learn to get something of a sense of story within the first few pages.

    You have your work cut out for you.

    See the list for whoís next, and in the meantime, letís discuss this.

  2. AdamH Guest

    Words words everywhere, and not a good piece dialogue to read.

    The splash page was even a bit wordy for me. A lot of text in a dynamic splash can really deflate the impact the image has on the reader.

    Page 2 I felt like most of the dialogue from the police officers could've been cut/consolidated unless the individual police officers will figure into the story later.

    Page 3 kind of had a thin Watchmen vibe in the sense of these "gosh darn boy scout squeaky clean superheros of yesteryear really had a seedy side to them".

    I felt like page 4 and 5 could've been combined. We already get the Superman vibe, so you don't really need to show bullets bouncing off of him. And it was just a segue into introducing a villain.

    Also, Page 5, Holy Exposition Batman! I realize your trying to tell the background of the character, but it almost sounds to me like The Aryan's filling Mr. Supreme in on their history together just in case he forgot.

  3. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    And really, it’s a trend that I’m seeing more and more here in TPG. I don’t know why, and I’m not liking it. It’s like you’re (the group) becoming afraid of writing an actual panel description, or of doing an establishing shot, or of getting called out for moving panels.
    It's possible part of that could be all the prior emphasis you've put on keeping descriptions as brief as humanly possible and only including what is absolutely necessary. Or calling panels out as moving even when the action can be drawn. Or trying to turn someone's establishing shot of an apartment interior into a close-up of an exploding door, because it's more dramatic.

    Or maybe it's just coincidence. I don't know.

    I do know that, personally, I'd still be inclined to lean toward putting too much in the descriptions as opposed to too little (that last script I sent was downright painfully sparse, to me, so I'm really curious what your response will be on that). I can't help but think, if something gets included that could have been done without, what's the big deal? But if something is missing, that did need to be there, then that's a potential problem.

    I don’t care about you having to break your flow. Learn to write around it.
    As a suggestion to Aaron... If trying to break the dialogue into balloons as you go is really throwing you off, there's probably no reason the dialogue couldn't be written as single clumps in the first draft, to maintain your flow, then break the clumps into separate balloons afterwards. Just be careful you don't get too "in the flow" and write more than will fit in the panel.
    Last edited by CalvinCamp; Friday, August 14, 2009 at 10:21 PM.

  4. MartinBrandt Guest

    Honestly if breaking your dialog up is messing with your flow, my first instinct is that your dialog is not needed beyond the point where your flow breaks.

  5. adthompson Guest

    Yeah, I saw this coming. I sent in the script, and almost instantly regretted it as I saw a ton of things wrong with it that I'd like to change. I've since gone back and tweaked the script a bit more, cutting down dialogue, better panel descriptions, and commas! I've even changed the main character's name.

    I do appreciate Steven taking the time to edit my script, even though I knew what he was going to tear apart, I was still nervous and excited to have it seen. I really like the story that I have this all going into, but I can definitely see how these first 5 pages could distract from the overall story and force people to put the book down. The true heart of the story doesn't start up until the middle of the book, but getting there could be a challenge, so I'm already going back to the drawing board per se to jump start it quicker.

    Thanks again for looking at the script, and I do welcome all critiques from everyone here.

  6. Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Post Thanks / Like

    I really liked the concepts here, and I think I get what you're going for, it's just gonna take some trimming and a little work on your technique.

    Keep at it.
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5

  7. Dungbeetle Guest

    Concept-wise, this was kinda hard to get into for a fan of the Boys, as the whole alternate timeline/government Supes thing is being done so well by Ennis already at the moment. So you kinda lost me from the first paragraph in that respect.

    As for breaking up the dialogue, that time it takes for your readers eye to switch balloons is your little dramatic pause. It could also be used for a change of subject. It's just a case of studying what you do read with a more analytical eye as you would any medium you want to get involved in creating, be it film or topiary. (?)

    Don't skimp on those descriptions. They're where you can get in those nice little touches that evoke the period in which your story is set. They're also where you get to jimmy in cheeky little bits of symbolism or poigniant coincidence, like, say you've got an old, worn out character saying something in the street. Why not have the window behind them be to an antiques shop?

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