Page 1 of 2
1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

Thread: TPG: Week 35- Adam Hudson

  1. StevenForbes Guest

    TPG: Week 35- Adam Hudson

    Welcome back, all and sundry, to another installment of The Proving Grounds. This week, our Brave One is Adam Hudson. Let's see how he does!

    Hank Aron: IT guy for the Undead
    Issue 1
    New Vessel
    24 Pages

    Adam Hudson
    Draft 9
    7-20-09

    General script notes: All “camera” angles are suggested, if you think you have better ones, let me know, we can discuss it. This goes for the few page layouts I have too. More detailed character descriptions can be found in the character bible.

    PAGE 1 (5 panels)

    P1: We open up on a classic picture of a vampire against an old castle backdrop. Think old Universal monster movie style: Bela Legosi as Dracula. He has a black cape, white dress shirt underneath, maybe a medal from some centuries old battle. His arms are spread and raised, ending in pale hands with long fingers and sharp nails. The cape is spread open too, showing off the red interior. Last but not least, he has his teeth barred like he’s going to attack. (Photo reference: Kind of a cross between these two pictures, cropped at the waist, facing the camera: http://www.soundonsight.org/wp-conte...c10104353.jpeg and http://www.dailypress.com/media/phot...1/43509690.jpg )

    Abraham (OP): VAMPIRES! In centuries past these creatures were only found in myths and legends. Now they can be found in the boardroom, in the courtroom, and even at the beach...at night that is. (No. If he’s off panel, then there needs to be some sort of border around the frame of the vampire. Otherwise, it’ll look strange. If not a border [which will tell the reader they’re looking at a picture/poster/something], then this piece of dialogue needs to be in a caption, with quotation marks to show it is someone speaking.)

    Panel 2: We’re watching a news broadcast on a computer monitor. We see a cursor has moved in the lower right corner, bringing up the video player around the picture. The screen now displays a smiling, older man with salt and pepper hair in a suit is reporting from a typical news studio behind a desk. The name “Abraham Van Ellsing” flashes beneath him. A news story box sits in the upper right hand corner with “Vampires: Where are they now?” in it. In the bottom right corner we have CNNish logo for our news station VNN. (I’m thinking you’re being just a bit too convoluted here. Something of a moving panel with the cursor explanation. You can cut this down, and still get all the information across.)

    Abraham: Hello America, I’m Abraham Van Ellsing reporting for VNN. Tonight, our hour long special report, “Vampires: Where are they now?”. But first, let’s take a short look back on how vampires got to where they are today. (Punctuation. There shouldn’t be a period after the question mark. And this seems too long. You’re going to squeeze him out, methinks. You have to deal with the current type of newscast presentations: you have the crawl on the bottom; you have the smallish head and shoulders of the newscaster, who’s going to be off to the side; you have the graphic that will be on the side of the newscaster touting the Vampires thing, and you’re enclosing that in three frames: the panel border itself, the computer monitor, and the frame of the video player. You’re not going to have the space for all that text. Also, this needs to be electric, in order to show it’s a broadcast. You might even want to go with a squared off balloon in order to help bring it across.)

    Panel 3: Now we’re shown a press conference held at night. A pale man in a modern suit is speaking at a podium. A shorter man also in a business suit and a taller woman in conservative business dress flank him. They’re illuminated by several large flood lamps, the kind seen at outdoor concerts at night. (No. This is still the computer screen, yes? We’re not actually there. So, this has to be framed by the computer.)

    Abraham (OP): The tale of modern homo-noctornous starts back in 1995, when the first vampires went public. (This has to be in a caption. And I remember reading this, possibly on DW. So far, this is going to be a first page of nothing but exposition. How long is it going to go on? Possibly two pages. That’s a prediction, and that’s if you’re FAST. If you get to a 3rd page of exposition, you’ve lost.)

    Panel 4: Next screen: protests at night! People and vampires with signs are striking, we can make out a fence behind them, and an out of focus White House in the far background. They’re calling for vampire equality. Signage includes: “THE LIVING UNDEAD ARE PEOPLE TOO” and “EQUAL VAMPIRE RIGHTS”.
    (Artist note: If you come up with someone else clever, use it.)

    Abraham (OP): For the next 10 years it was an uphill struggle for equal rights. (While you may think this is interesting, I can assure you, I’m on the first page and ready to go to sleep. If you’re going to do exposition, at least have it be interesting. This isn’t. And this isn’t off panel. Learn your terms. Comic terms aren’t hard at all. Off panel means that the person is near but cannot be seen. Is your narrator in the same space? Not at all. Caption, with quotation marks.)

    Panel 5: Jump to a side view, watching Hank who’s watching the news on his computer. He’s in the dark. Glare from a computer monitor in front of his face reflects off of his glasses. Behind and above Hank, narrowed red eyes watch. (This is the first semi-interesting panel here. However, I don’t think it’s strong enough to carry a decent page-turn.)

    Abraham (OP, small text indicating the volume is turned down): In 2005 the movement ended when the Vampire Rights bill passed. (THIS is where you go off panel. The first time it’s used correctly. Again, electric. Especially for this panel. And the text doesn’t help your page-turn cause.)

    PAGE 2 (1 panel)

    P1: Full page spread. We’re expanding what was on Page 1 Panel 6. Hank is bending over in his chair to fiddle with the computer below his desk. Behind him lurking in the darkness is his boss, Mr. Bungle. With Hank bent over the light from the monitor hits Mr. Bungle, showing him posed like our classic vampire from Page 1 Panel 1. Arms raised, fangs bared, and red eyes. The only thing off with Mr. Bungle is his khaki’s, tucked in dress shirt, and slim suspenders. (This is padding. I’m not seeing why this needs a full page. Possibly a larger panel, but after that, it should have another three panels or so on it.)

    Abraham (OP): Now it’s 2009, 4 years later, and vampires still… (THIS is a piece of horrible, horrible dialogue. You should be ashamed. I’m ashamed for you. Are you ashamed for him, Were-Lock?)

    PAGE 3 (7 panels)

    P1: Mr. Bungle moves closer. His expression is focused, eyes fixed on Hank like a predator tracking prey. (This isn’t really much of a panel description. What are we seeing here? This is because spatial relationships weren’t set down well in the previous panels. Describe what you see.)

    Mr. Bungle: Hi, Hank. (Comma. And I like how you put his name in there organically at the extreme first opportunity. Very nice.)

    P2: Hank’s just had the piss scared out of him (not literally). He’s yelling, at the same time he’s pushed himself back from his desk in a comical overreaction.

    Hank: GAAAAHHHH!!!

    P3: Mr. Bungle has just clicked on a light, low and behind himself, in Hank’s cubicle. He still has that focused expression on his face. We catch the back half of Hank’s head in this shot. (If you want this to be in an office, then you need to describe that on P1, when the focus shifts to Hank. If we can see him and something of what’s behind him, then we can also see something of his surroundings. And even here, you’re failing to set the scene properly. Where’s this happening? If it’s an office building, why not start out with an establishing shot of it? Is there any particular reason you don’t want to do that?)

    Mr. B: Sorry Hank. Didn’t mean to startle you, old habits just die hard I guess. (Wordy. This can be cut down and still get it across, while showing characterization. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle. Old habits…”)
    Mr. B: You ok?

    P4: Two fingers against his neck, Hank's checking his pulse. He's looking relieved. (This isn’t going to come off well. You’d need a particularly strong artist for it.)

    Hank: Right after I get done having my massive coronary, I’ll be fine.

    P5: Hank has spun around to face his boss. Mr. Bungle puts a forced smile on his face. (No. When you’re startled like that, you’re more than likely going to turn to face whatever it was that caused the reaction. Part of the fight or flight thing. Hank would have been turned around already.)

    Mr. B: Good, good. I just wanted to know if those new servers have been plugged in and secured.
    Hank: I put them on the rack earlier. I’m pushing the latest patches to them now.
    Mr. B: Good man.

    P6: Mr. Bungle has turned around, he's walking out of Hank’s cubicle.

    Mr. B: Have a good night…er, morning.
    Hank: You too sir!
    Hank (to himself, quietly): douchebag

    P7: Hank is caught, he has a pained look on his face, his shoulders are hunched. He's been caught, time to make something up. (Okay. I’ve been accused of not leaving much on the bone lately. Here’s a nice chunk. Someone, PLEASE tell me why I’m going crazy. Let’s pick on someone new. John Lees. You’re up.)

    Mr. B: What did you say?
    Hank: Do-rag! I said Do-rag! (trailing off, letters getting smaller) I’m cleaning my apartment tomorrow…gotta get that do-rag to cover my hair… (And while you’re at it, what’s wrong with this exchange as well?)




    PAGE 4 (5 panels)

    P1: Hank’s in the front lobby leaving work, large windows we can't see in this shot let in the sunrise. The dawn’s light plays over Hank’s front, he carries a beat up black briefcase. (How does he look? What does his body language say? And what happened in the last scene? It just ends, with no repercussions. Not good. No threats, no rolling of the eyes, no nothing. He’s just suddenly strolling out the door. This is either bad pacing or lazy writing. What are your thoughts, Calvin?)

    NO COPY

    P2: Hank’s in the parking lot. The rising sun is to the left of him. (Again, what does his body language say?)

    NO COPY

    P3: Hank’s at his car, it's a decent car, a few bumps and scratches here and there. Hank's opening the door with one hand, the other is still carrying his briefcase.

    Amy (OP): Excuse me… (You do like the off panel stuff. Thankfully, it is correct here.)

    P4: Hank has spun around. He has a stunned look on his face.

    Hank: Uhhh…

    P5: This panel should be the largest panel on the page, maybe a tall skinny panel to outline Amy, our red-haired love interest. She’s dressed business casual, but the skirt is a little high and the shirt is unbuttoned one button too low. Just enough skin to catch a dude’s attention. (I’m not a fan. Where is this a good page-turn? Sure, our eyes just have to slide over to the next page, but how is this a good panel to end a page on? I understand that they cannot all be winners, but you can do better than this.)

    Amy: Are you from Vessels?
    SFX: WHUMP! (I have no idea why there are sound effects here. There is nothing in any panel description that calls for it. [Not this panel, the panel before it, or the panel after it. I looked.] The only thing I can think of is as a mistake, and it wasn’t supposed to be here.)


    PAGE 5 (6 panels) (page break)

    P1: Spin back around to Hank, this shot is from the waist up. It’s pretty obvious he doesn’t know how to talk to women, let alone women dressed to catch a dude’s attention.

    Hank: Vessels?
    Amy (OP): The company you work for?
    Hank: Huh?

    P2: Pull back out. Hank’s briefcase has fallen open on the ground. What looks like a person-size snake skin is falling out of it. Hank doesn't notice the skin yet, he's stupefied this girl is talking to him. (Ah-HA! Here’s the sound effect. Bad pacing. Try to keep it on the same page, or if you NEED to have it on the next page, the payoff should be immediate. The very first panel. This is too long. And, I don’t think this should be a pulled out shot, as much as it should be something like a bird’s eye view, or even a close-up of the briefcase. Just some thoughts.)

    Amy (OP): What is that? (I’m not a fan of bolding. I’d rather have it underlined. It will stand out more to the letterer that something special needs to happen to this particular word.)
    Hank: Wha?
    Amy (OP): Your briefcase…
    Hank: Briefs?

    P3: Flip back around to Amy, she’s crouched down by Hank’s briefcase. She has a section of the skin in her hand, examining it closely.

    Amy: Briefcase. (Punctuation. And the second syllable should be stressed.)
    Amy: …
    Amy: Where did you get this at? (Delete the last word.)

    P4: Hank is crouched down, pulling the skin away from her. Hank looks panicked.

    Hank: My…my roommate…
    Amy: Your roommate?
    Hank: Yeah…

    P5: Flip to Amy’s confused face.

    Hank (OP): My roommate, he’s uh…a special effects guy …yeah…
    Amy: What?

    P6 Hank has wrestled the skin away from Amy and is cramming it back in his briefcase quickly. He’s clearly making this up as he goes along. He looks down so he doesn’t have to make eye contact. (Anyone else seeing what I’m seeing? Anyone else seeing what I’m NOT seeing?)

    Hank: Yeah! Special effects guy…for the movies! He puts this kind of stuff in my briefcase all the time!
    Hank: Last week it was a plastic severed head. That joker! (I’d rearrange the first line here. Personal preference, that.)
    Amy (OP): I see…


    Okay, that’s where I’m going to stop.

    Let’s go over this.

    I was bored, and we all know how I feel about writers being boring. You killed it, and not in a good way.

    Your formatting is only off a touch. Learn your terms, and put them to better use. Also, put a hard return for each script part. If two people are talking, put a space between each line of dialogue, instead of butting one right up underneath the other like you have it here. It will seem less cramped that way.

    The dialogue needs a polish, and there’s the small pacing problem, but there are deeper problems here.

    Your panel descriptions can be better. Like I said, if you do an establishing shot, you’re then in a better position to set up an expectation. When I read this, I was NOT seeing some guy at work, watching the news in his cubicle. I was seeing a guy at home, in the dark, watching the news. If you did an establishing shot of any kind, or did a better job in describing the scene, or better yet, if you did both, then the artist wouldn’t get lost when they go to start laying out the pages. They won’t think one thing, get into that mindset, and then think something else totally when they find out the real deal. That’s a waste of time, and it is easily avoided.

    What does VNN stand for? If it’s Vampire News Network, why is the newscaster speaking like he’s not one of them? Why is a news network dedicated to vampires going through the trial and tribulation of telling vampires things they already know? And then, the information just drops off when the unnamed vampire comes in. And if you tell me he’s not, I want you to show me a place where he’s named in a place a reader can see it.

    Like I said, this is boring, which is one of the worst sins you can commit. In five pages, you’ve succeeded in doing nothing: you start exposition but then don’t complete it; you start doing some character stuff, but don’t do the best job of bringing it across; you pad; and you do nothing at all to capture someone’s interest. Pique their curiosity, sure, but truly capture it? No.

    If you’re attempting humor with this, with your character being an obvious liar, then you’re falling flat there, as well. There was nothing that made me smile, let alone laugh. Didn’t even wince with sympathy over his obvious discomfort. I felt nothing. I wasn’t invested in the character or his situation.

    You have some work ahead of you: engage the reader faster with something that will hook them with the story. That wasn’t done here. You do that, and most of the battle is won.


    And that's it for this week. See the list for who's coming up next, and let's discuss this.



  2. JohnLees Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    P7: Hank is caught, he has a pained look on his face, his shoulders are hunched. He's been caught, time to make something up. (Okay. I’ve been accused of not leaving much on the bone lately. Here’s a nice chunk. Someone, PLEASE tell me why I’m going crazy. Let’s pick on someone new. John Lees. You’re up.)

    Mr. B: What did you say?
    Hank: Do-rag! I said Do-rag! (trailing off, letters getting smaller) I’m cleaning my apartment tomorrow…gotta get that do-rag to cover my hair… (And while you’re at it, what’s wrong with this exchange as well?)
    What did I do? :confused:

    Well, looking at the panel, one problem that jumps at me is how you would construct it. You talk about Hank having a pained expression and hunching his shoulders, creating the sense that he's terrified. Like you say, he's thinking "That's it, I'm caught." But the key thing you're missing in justifying this kind of reaction from Hank is Mr. Bungle.

    Where is he in this panel? Is he off-panel? If he's off-panel, then the line "What did you say?" loses all menace. For all we know, it's just an innocent question by someone who genuinely didn't hear what Hank said. Making it seem rather silly that he's so scared.

    What you'd really need, I think, is to have this as two seperate panels. One a close-up of Mr. Bungle as he has spun around, looking enraged (or eyes narrowed and sinister, if you're wanting to go with a more subtle menace), saying "What did you say!?" Then a seperate panel with sweaty, nervous Hank's pathetic response, which could also give you a pretty strong page turn mini-cliffhanger, if you saved Hank's comeback for Page 4.

    That would also solve the other main problem I spotted with the panel: too much is happening in it. With one single image, the artist is supposed to convey in Hank's expression the blind panic of being seemingly caught, his thought process as he tried to think a way out of the sticky situation, and his embarassment as he comes up with his lame "do-rag" excuse. If you put the focus on Bungle for "What did you say?", then by the time you cut back to Hank for his line, the only expression the artist needs to worry about is his nervous embarassment as he trails off about do-rags.

    I don't know if that's what you saw wrong with this, Steve, but that's what jumped out at me. I hope that helps, Adam.



  3. CalvinCamp Guest

    Abraham (OP): VAMPIRES! In centuries past these creatures were only found in myths and legends. Now they can be found in the boardroom, in the courtroom, and even at the beach...at night that is. (No. If he’s off panel, then there needs to be some sort of border around the frame of the vampire. Otherwise, it’ll look strange. If not a border [which will tell the reader they’re looking at a picture/poster/something], then this piece of dialogue needs to be in a caption, with quotation marks to show it is someone speaking.)
    This begins the ongoing problem with this whole section, up to Hank's reveal. The thing to do is establish this as a video playing on a computer screen right off the bat and stick with it. Personally, I'd go with a simple set of equal-sized panels with rounded borders (maybe doubled borders, with the outer squared off). That, combined with electric balloons, should be plenty to get the idea across. You don't need anything else until you pull out to reveal Hank, so I'd say keep it clear and simple.

    Abraham: Hello America, I’m Abraham Van Ellsing reporting for VNN. Tonight, our hour long special report, “Vampires: Where are they now?”. But first, let’s take a short look back on how vampires got to where they are today. (Punctuation. There shouldn’t be a period after the question mark. And this seems too long. You’re going to squeeze him out, methinks. You have to deal with the current type of newscast presentations: you have the crawl on the bottom; you have the smallish head and shoulders of the newscaster, who’s going to be off to the side; you have the graphic that will be on the side of the newscaster touting the Vampires thing, and you’re enclosing that in three frames: the panel border itself, the computer monitor, and the frame of the video player. You’re not going to have the space for all that text.
    Technically, only the image of the newscaster has to be inside the three frames - the balloon could break out of all but the panel frame. But I still think you're better off sticking with the screen borders as panel borders, just to give the image more room to breath.

    And I wouldn't worry about the curser, there's no point to it. The video player is already up and running. Don't complicate things you don't have to.

    And this isn’t off panel. Learn your terms. Comic terms aren’t hard at all. Off panel means that the person is near but cannot be seen. Is your narrator in the same space? Not at all. Caption, with quotation marks.)
    I'm... not sure I'd agree on the caption with quotes. Normally that would be dead right, but this is an odd case. While the narration may be from the newscaster, the sound of that narration is coming from the computer. I think an electric balloon pointing at the monitor screen would be more appropriate (maybe with one of those little starburst thingies at the point of the tail) or perhaps a tail-less electric balloon. I mean, if the sound of the narration was coming from a radio (where the narrator couldn't be seen), you wouldn't use a caption, right? I think, in this, as a reader, using a caption would throw me off a little.

    Abraham (OP): Now it’s 2009, 4 years later, and vampires still… (THIS is a piece of horrible, horrible dialogue. You should be ashamed. I’m ashamed for you. Are you ashamed for him, Were-Lock?)
    I don't know about Were-Lock, but I've definitely seen worse dialogue. My only problem with it is that, personally, I don't like locking down a fixed date like that - What if the reader is reading the comic in 2011? 2012? Suddenly it’s the past. Any work will become dated with time, as styles change, etc, but why force it? Why not just go with... "Now, four years later, vampires still..."

    Where’s this happening? If it’s an office building, why not start out with an establishing shot of it? Is there any particular reason you don’t want to do that?)
    This is a good time to bring up an old question again... I get that every scene should have an establishing shot, but does every scene really need an exterior establishing shot?

    Let's say the panel where Hank was revealed actually did establish that he was in an office - say a high angle shot showing him seated in his own little corner of the typical cubicle maze, something like that. Would that be adequate as an establishing shot? I ask because I find myself being all about cutting the fat these days (at least in my scripts ), and if I can do something like make an establishing shot and a reveal in the same panel, then it saves me a spare panel I can do something else with.

    Mr. B: Sorry Hank. Didn’t mean to startle you, old habits just die hard I guess. (Wordy. This can be cut down and still get it across, while showing characterization. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle. Old habits…”)
    Gah!:eek: Who are you, and what did you do with Steven Forbes?

    You can write better dialogue than that. That revised line is awful - abrupt, cut-off dialogue like that, especially trailing off, makes the character sound nervous and twitchy. Unless that's the kind of characterization you're looking for, it's really horrible. And the original line wasn't that bad - I'd probably drop the "just" and split it into two balloons (or maybe one of those two-part, interconnected balloons), but it isn't terribly clunky, or all that overly wordy that I can see (though it does need some punctuation help).

    P4: Two fingers against his neck, Hank's checking his pulse. He's looking relieved. (This isn’t going to come off well. You’d need a particularly strong artist for it.)
    Add in the compulsory checking-the-pulse-against-the-watch pose of his other hand, and you'd probably sell it.

    Hank: Right after I get done having my massive coronary, I’ll be fine.
    Now that's wordy. How about…"Just a heart attack. I'll be fine."

    P7: Hank is caught, he has a pained look on his face, his shoulders are hunched. He's been caught, time to make something up. (Okay. I’ve been accused of not leaving much on the bone lately. Here’s a nice chunk. Someone, PLEASE tell me why I’m going crazy. Let’s pick on someone new. John Lees. You’re up.)
    :confused: Do you mean something other than not describing what Mr. B is doing, or even that he's in panel? If so, I’m lost.

    And John's comments didn't clear it up for me . I see no reason why Mr. B has to look enraged for Hank to freak that he might have heard. I didn't get the idea that Hank was supposed to look terrified, just guilty. Just looked like a typical, "Oh crap, please tell me he didn't hear that," moment to me. And I don't think it needs two panels either - just Hank in the foreground looking like he wants to crawl under a rock, and Mr. B in the background, glancing back at Hank with a curious expression (maybe a frown, if we’re supposed to think he actually heard something he didn't like - but if he did, it seemed to become a dropped subject awfully fast).

    Mr. B: What did you say?
    Hank: Do-rag! I said Do-rag! (trailing off, letters getting smaller) I’m cleaning my apartment tomorrow…gotta get that do-rag to cover my hair… (And while you’re at it, what’s wrong with this exchange as well?)
    Again I'm puzzled. I mean, it's goofy, but that seems to be the intent of the whole thing.

    PAGE 4 (5 panels)

    P1: Hank’s in the front lobby leaving work, large windows we can't see in this shot let in the sunrise. The dawn’s light plays over Hank’s front, he carries a beat up black briefcase. (How does he look? What does his body language say? And what happened in the last scene? It just ends, with no repercussions. Not good. No threats, no rolling of the eyes, no nothing. He’s just suddenly strolling out the door. This is either bad pacing or lazy writing. What are your thoughts, Calvin?)
    I don't know if it was intentionally lazy, but the ball was definitely dropped. So I'll go with bad pacing. The last scene needed at least another panel or two (and there will be plenty of room when that splash page goes away). There are really any number of ways that exchange could have played out (perhaps with just a "Whew" and some appropriately relieved body language, on Hank's part, as Mr. B leaves - assuming Mr. B bought that goofy excuse), but the scene needed to end with Hank leaving his desk, briefcase in hand (and where was that briefcase earlier, btw) - that way it wouldn't be a shock when he's suddenly somewhere else.

    And why can't we see the windows? The front door area is usually where most of the glass in an office building lobby is (there'll usually be other rooms to the sides). If we can see the front doors, we should see glass (especially since he has light playing on his front as walks toward the doors). And if we can't see the front doors (and a hint of stuff outside them so we know they are the front doors), we won't know he's leaving.

    P2: Hank’s in the parking lot. The rising sun is to the left of him. (Again, what does his body language say?)
    Heck, what does the panel say? What's the point? If you've got him leaving the building last panel (and if you did it right), and you've got him at his car in the next panel, then you can just move the rising sun to the next panel, and you don't need this one.

    P2: Pull back out. Hank’s briefcase has fallen open on the ground. What looks like a person-size snake skin is falling out of it. Hank doesn't notice the skin yet, he's stupefied this girl is talking to him. (Ah-HA! Here’s the sound effect. Bad pacing. Try to keep it on the same page, or if you NEED to have it on the next page, the payoff should be immediate. The very first panel. This is too long. And, I don’t think this should be a pulled out shot, as much as it should be something like a bird’s eye view, or even a close-up of the briefcase. Just some thoughts.)
    Yeah. The pulled out shot should have been when the briefcase hit the ground. I'm with Steven that this should be a close-up on the briefcase - and that snakeskin is going to be tough enough to sell even then.

    Amy (OP): What is that? (I’m not a fan of bolding. I’d rather have it underlined. It will stand out more to the letterer that something special needs to happen to this particular word.)
    I've heard some letterers say that they prefer bolding. That way they can just cut & paste the text, without having to reformat it from underlined to bold. (Same reason they don't like dialogue in all capitals - they have to go through and change the case on everything to get rid of all the cross-bar "I"s)

    P6 Hank has wrestled the skin away from Amy and is cramming it back in his briefcase quickly. He’s clearly making this up as he goes along. He looks down so he doesn’t have to make eye contact. (Anyone else seeing what I’m seeing? Anyone else seeing what I’m NOT seeing?)
    What do you think you’re seeing? Let me guess… moving panel? That was my first thought, until I saw he had Hank pulling the skin away from her a couple panels back. So the “has wrestled” is a recap, I guess (not really needed). Then there’s “quickly,” which could be a moving panel, but could also be shown with motion lines (which I’m usually not a big fan of, but they seem like they’d be appropriate here). I think the biggest thing missing is Amy, and what she’s doing. If Hank is so pointedly not looking at her, she should be somewhere that the reader can see is not where Hank is looking.

    Those are my thoughts. Other than that… everything Steven said (that I didn’t give him crap over )
    Last edited by CalvinCamp; Friday, September 18, 2009 at 10:08 PM.



  4. brianaugostino Guest

    I'm going to start very slowly with my comments. I'm still a newb. However, after reading a bunch of these scripts, I find myself scrutinizing each panel description and line of dialogue. Steven makes us read like an editor.

    P4: Hank is crouched down, pulling the skin away from her. Hank looks panicked.

    Hank: My…my roommate…
    Amy: Your roommate?
    Hank: Yeah…

    P5: Flip to Amy’s confused face.

    Hank (OP): My roommate, he’s uh…a special effects guy …yeah…
    Amy: What?
    I'm thinking this could very easily be made into one panel. Edit some dialogue and presto...anyway, that's it from me this time.



  5. brianaugostino Guest

    Amy (OP): What is that? (I’m not a fan of bolding. I’d rather have it underlined. It will stand out more to the letterer that something special needs to happen to this particular word.)
    Hank: Wha?
    Amy (OP): Your briefcase…
    Hank: Briefs?

    P3: Flip back around to Amy, she’s crouched down by Hank’s briefcase. She has a section of the skin in her hand, examining it closely.

    Amy: Briefcase. (Punctuation. And the second syllable should be stressed.)
    Amy: …
    Amy: Where did you get this at? (Delete the last word.)
    I don't buy her actions here. She is a well-dressed business woman with some intelligence but immediately bends down and starts touching the icky contents of some stranger's briefcase? Asking personal questions like "What is that?" I would think most women would back away not wanting to be the next donor for this guy's human skin suit.



  6. AdamH Guest

    I sat down a few times to respond to all of the reviews and edits, only to stop myself a few sentences in each time. Each time I'd start out with civil statements, either conceding that something was wrong, or making my case against the suggested edit. Then my responses would start to get extremely defensive, bordering on offensive to other people. On top of that I'd get angrier with each edit I read.

    I don't consider myself someone who angers easily. A little background on me, I've been in tech support 10 years this July, I deal with hostile people and tense situations all day every day. Yet, I'd get angry just reading what somebody wrote on a webpage.

    After the last time I had to walk away I decided to do a little self examination. I took a look at all of the "tools" I have in my writing toolbox (a brilliant little metaphor I borrowed from an equally brilliant book On Writing by one Mr. Stephen King). The tool that was messing me up in this situation was passion, my passion for writing, my passion for my work. Don't get me wrong, I think you absolutely need to have passion, to have fire for your work. You just need to temper that passion with common sense, maybe a little patience.

    Long story short I realized I had another tool to work on crafting, and that's not talking criticism personally. It's common sense and you'd people would be able to separate themselves from something enough to realize critics and editors are talking about the art itself, and not you. But, if you have enough passion for something, it is a little bit a part of you, and it might be hard to distance yourself enough. Hopefully someday I can put that tool in my writing toolbox.

    Now that that's out of the way, on the edits:

    Panel 2: We’re watching a news broadcast on a computer monitor. We see a cursor has moved in the lower right corner, bringing up the video player around the picture. The screen now displays a smiling, older man with salt and pepper hair in a suit is reporting from a typical news studio behind a desk. The name “Abraham Van Ellsing” flashes beneath him. A news story box sits in the upper right hand corner with “Vampires: Where are they now?” in it. In the bottom right corner we have CNNish logo for our news station VNN. (I’m thinking you’re being just a bit too convoluted here. Something of a moving panel with the cursor explanation. You can cut this down, and still get all the information across.)
    I don't see convoluted, I'm trying to set scene of a news broadcast being viewed on a computer.

    I tried to stay away from the moving panel by including the "has moved" part in there. Meaning someone was watching the news on the computer, they bumped the mouse and that brought the video up, then someone took picture of that and made it panel 2.

    Abraham: Hello America, I’m Abraham Van Ellsing reporting for VNN. Tonight, our hour long special report, “Vampires: Where are they now?”. But first, let’s take a short look back on how vampires got to where they are today. (Punctuation. There shouldn’t be a period after the question mark. And this seems too long. You’re going to squeeze him out, methinks. You have to deal with the current type of newscast presentations: you have the crawl on the bottom; you have the smallish head and shoulders of the newscaster, who’s going to be off to the side; you have the graphic that will be on the side of the newscaster touting the Vampires thing, and you’re enclosing that in three frames: the panel border itself, the computer monitor, and the frame of the video player. You’re not going to have the space for all that text. Also, this needs to be electric, in order to show it’s a broadcast. You might even want to go with a squared off balloon in order to help bring it across.)
    I could trim the anchor and just put up the big logo for the story. Then throw the dialogue into captions.

    As far as 3 frames go, I wasn't planning on pulling out to show the monitor, and I was thinking about not including the video player frame either. Some video players you can flip it to full screen mode, then the program frame itself only pops back in when you move the mouse.

    Abraham (OP): For the next 10 years it was an uphill struggle for equal rights. (While you may think this is interesting, I can assure you, I’m on the first page and ready to go to sleep. If you’re going to do exposition, at least have it be interesting. This isn’t.
    My view: It's been 4 panels, I've already revealed that vampires are real, they've fought for and won equal rights, and they own businesses. That's some big reveals at most, and background information at least.

    I'd be curious for a version that's more interesting for you.

    An alternative I came up with, I suppose is chopping these 4 panels and just starting the reader out on Panel 5. Although that is just dropping the reader into the world with no explanation.

    P5: This panel should be the largest panel on the page, maybe a tall skinny panel to outline Amy, our red-haired love interest. She’s dressed business casual, but the skirt is a little high and the shirt is unbuttoned one button too low. Just enough skin to catch a dude’s attention. (I’m not a fan. Where is this a good page-turn? Sure, our eyes just have to slide over to the next page, but how is this a good panel to end a page on? I understand that they cannot all be winners, but you can do better than this.)
    Here I was basing my page turn on introducing a new character, and having her be a good looking female on top of it. I thought would be enough of an incentive to turn the page.

    P6 Hank has wrestled the skin away from Amy and is cramming it back in his briefcase quickly. He’s clearly making this up as he goes along. He looks down so he doesn’t have to make eye contact. (Anyone else seeing what I’m seeing? Anyone else seeing what I’m NOT seeing?)
    I don't see where you were going with this comment.

    What does VNN stand for? If it’s Vampire News Network, why is the newscaster speaking like he’s not one of them? Why is a news network dedicated to vampires going through the trial and tribulation of telling vampires things they already know? And then, the information just drops off when the unnamed vampire comes in. And if you tell me he’s not, I want you to show me a place where he’s named in a place a reader can see it.
    It's an in-joke, I was going for Vampire New Network, but as of right now it doesn't really have any significance. If it's too distracting I can change it to another generic news station name.

    Like I said, this is boring, which is one of the worst sins you can commit. In five pages, you’ve succeeded in doing nothing: you start exposition but then don’t complete it; you start doing some character stuff, but don’t do the best job of bringing it across; you pad; and you do nothing at all to capture someone’s interest. Pique their curiosity, sure, but truly capture it? No.
    What I was trying to do in the first 5 pages:

    1. Give a little backstory to the world
    2. Segue to introducing our main character Hank and a humourous vampire workplace incident
    3. Introduce our love interest, and pique the curiosity of the reader with the giant snake skin

    I guess I've piqued people's curiosity that's a minor win. Where did I fall down at?

    If you’re attempting humor with this, with your character being an obvious liar, then you’re falling flat there, as well. There was nothing that made me smile, let alone laugh. Didn’t even wince with sympathy over his obvious discomfort. I felt nothing. I wasn’t invested in the character or his situation.
    Those are definitely fall down points.

    I didn't want readers to view Hank as a liar for sure. The first incident of "lying" was covering his behind when he made an inappropriate comment too loud. The other incident of "lying" was hiding his embarassment over seeing a pretty girl and dropping his briefcase, then a giant snake skin falls out.

    I'm glad you saw the emotional cues I was going for, the little smile moments, the sympathy moments. I'll have to work harder at making the reader more invested in the character.
    ===
    Thanks again, Steven, for looking at my story. I appreciate that, week in and week out you volunteer your time and skills to help us writer-type folks hone our craft, I know a lot of other folks do to.

    Tongue planted firmly in cheek though, sometimes I wonder if you've gotten in trouble and this is a weird form of community service.

    Next post is Calvin's and other people's edits.
    Last edited by AdamH; Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 04:04 PM.



  7. BarriLang Guest

    Kudos for taking your time and coming back with a cool head and an objective view Adam.

    I know how it is when you've written something and people offer suggestions on how to improve it. I used to massively get on my high horse with friends and family when they offered a suggestion. I got it why couldn't they! I now know it's because I was too close. To me my story was perfect and the reason people had a problem with it was because they just didn't get it.

    Now having had the Sh*t kicked out of me on TPG for a few months I know it's me who was missing the point.

    Case and point I wrote a story called Bad Moon Rising..... a year ago. And I didn't touch it. I've been here and had some reviews and thought... I'll have a look at that again... see if I can polish it up a little. I didn't polish... I re-wrote it... totally! I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread up until I looked at it for the 1st time in months and though... DOH! It was cheesy, the pacing was all over the shop, no page turns... Steve didn't get past page 6 but I think....hope the re-write would do better.

    Anyway just wanted to say kudos for being a man about it and keep on working at it.



  8. AdamH Guest

    John Lees, dropping the wisdom once again.

    Well, looking at the panel, one problem that jumps at me is how you would construct it. You talk about Hank having a pained expression and hunching his shoulders, creating the sense that he's terrified. Like you say, he's thinking "That's it, I'm caught." But the key thing you're missing in justifying this kind of reaction from Hank is Mr. Bungle.
    I was trying to cram as much as I could into this page because that's all I had alloted for the "hilarious work exchange" segment, but to make this reaction justified, you're right, I need something from Mr. Bungle to cause this reaction more than a line of dialogue.
    ==
    The Mad Elf speaks...

    This begins the ongoing problem with this whole section, up to Hank's reveal. The thing to do is establish this as a video playing on a computer screen right off the bat and stick with it. Personally, I'd go with a simple set of equal-sized panels with rounded borders (maybe doubled borders, with the outer squared off). That, combined with electric balloons, should be plenty to get the idea across. You don't need anything else until you pull out to reveal Hank, so I'd say keep it clear and simple.
    This is good suggestion, and might simpler than the one I posted previously where we had one panel with the video player frame popping up around it, then fading away because the mouse didn't move anymore.

    My only problem with it is that, personally, I don't like locking down a fixed date like that - What if the reader is reading the comic in 2011? 2012? Suddenly it’s the past. Any work will become dated with time, as styles change, etc, but why force it? Why not just go with... "Now, four years later, vampires still..."
    Another good suggestion, I'd honestly never thought about NOT locking in a date, but it makes sense makes life a little easier on me.

    Let's say the panel where Hank was revealed actually did establish that he was in an office - say a high angle shot showing him seated in his own little corner of the typical cubicle maze, something like that. Would that be adequate as an establishing shot?
    After reading Steven's edit, that's along the lines of what I was going to do, modify one of the panels to be an interior establishing shot. What say you, Steven of Project Fanboy, is that alright for an establishing shot?

    Hank: Right after I get done having my massive coronary, I’ll be fine.
    Now that's wordy. How about…"Just a heart attack. I'll be fine."
    I was going for exaggerated sarcasm, not sure if it came across that way though.

    And why can't we see the windows? The front door area is usually where most of the glass in an office building lobby is (there'll usually be other rooms to the sides). If we can see the front doors, we should see glass (especially since he has light playing on his front as walks toward the doors). And if we can't see the front doors (and a hint of stuff outside them so we know they are the front doors), we won't know he's leaving.
    The angle I had for this panel doesn't work now that I'm thinking about this again, so I will to change it and show some of the outside windows around the lobby.
    ==
    Brian Augustino writes in...

    I'm thinking this could very easily be made into one panel. Edit some dialogue and presto...anyway, that's it from me this time.
    I don't really want to merge this into one panel, I'm trying to draw the scene out a little bit to highlight Hank's nervousness and embarrassment in this scene.

    I don't buy her actions here. She is a well-dressed business woman with some intelligence but immediately bends down and starts touching the icky contents of some stranger's briefcase? Asking personal questions like "What is that?" I would think most women would back away not wanting to be the next donor for this guy's human skin suit.
    Taking this in the context we're given, this would could be a valid assumption, but later on in the script we find that his lady is no stranger to giant snake skins or monsters of any kind.
    ==
    Thanks John, Calvin, and Brian for throwing in...any other edits are certainly welcome.



  9. CalvinCamp Guest

    Adam,

    I think it's important to remember that Steven (or anyone else who critiques something we've written) doesn't have any logical motivation for tearing us down just to tear us down. If they're offering advice (beyond the "you suck, get a life" variety), then their intention is to help. That doesn't mean the advice will help, or even that we need to take it if it doesn't feel right. They're still our stories, and I always maintain that we're the ones who have to write them. But the nice thing about advice, even if we think about it and decide it's not the way we want to go... is that it made us think about it. And I believe that thinking about what we're doing, no matter our final choices, will make us better.


    Quote Originally Posted by AdamH View Post
    My view: It's been 4 panels, I've already revealed that vampires are real, they've fought for and won equal rights, and they own businesses. That's some big reveals at most, and background information at least.
    Yeah, but it's not that much information. You could easily shorten the number panels spent on the reveals and background info. You even could do the same thing in a single caption, and then reinforce it with Mr. B being both a vampire and Hank's boss.

    "Tonight on VNN, we're taking a look at how far vampires have come since winning their ten year battle for equal rights. From second class citizens to business executives, the last four years have been..."

    An alternative I came up with, I suppose is chopping these 4 panels and just starting the reader out on Panel 5. Although that is just dropping the reader into the world with no explanation.
    Personally I think that's almost always the best way to do it. Throw the reader right in the deep end, and let the background of the setting be revealed as the story moves along.

    I guess I've piqued people's curiosity that's a minor win. Where did I fall down at?
    Mainly I think you went too slowly, trying to do all that background exposition, and therefore gave too little of the story itself in the space you used.

    I was going for exaggerated sarcasm, not sure if it came across that way though.
    Sure it did. We realize he isn't actually having a heart attack. It was just kind of wordy - particularly in light of Steven's wordiness comment on the earlier piece of dialogue (that actually read better than this one).

    Taking this in the context we're given, this would could be a valid assumption, but later on in the script we find that his lady is no stranger to giant snake skins or monsters of any kind.
    With or without the later context, I don't think this part was all that big a problem. She did approach him afterall, not the other way around, so I had no expectation she'd think Hank was a psycho without stronger evidence than a weird-looking piece of cloth falling out of his briefcase. She came off as a bit obnoxiously nosey, to me, but nothing more.



  10. AdamH Guest

    I think it's important to remember that Steven (or anyone else who critiques something we've written) doesn't have any logical motivation for tearing us down just to tear us down. If they're offering advice (beyond the "you suck, get a life" variety), then their intention is to help.
    I certainly do keep that in mind, anything I was writing wasn't an attack on Steven, I certainly appreciate all the help. I was just reflecting on how I'm dealing with reacting to criticism.

    Maybe writing about will help me deal with it better, and help out other people if they're running into the same issue as well.



Page 1 of 2
1 2 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Archive Forums (For Archive Purposes only): General Comics Discussion, Original Works, It's Clobberin' Time, Respect Threads, P'wned, General Chat, Beat Down, The Champagne Room (Mature), Marvel News UP TO April 2011 (See the latest news here), DC News UP TO April 2011 (See the latest news here), DC News UP TO April 2011 (See the latest news here), Archie News UP TO April 2011 (See the latest news here), Comic Book Vitamins (See the latest columns here), Comics Are For People (See the latest columns here), Comics & Cinema (See the latest columns here), Comics Pro Prep (See the latest columns here), Bolts & Nuts (See the latest columns here), Seb-Standard (See the latest columns here), Webcomics You Should Be Reading (See the latest columns here), Development Hell (See the latest columns here), The Proving Grounds (See the latest columns here), Pixels Per Inch (See the latest columns here), Bargain Bin Gold (See the latest columns here), Dead Tuesday (See the latest columns here), Have You Considered... (See the latest columns here), Comic Book Vitamins (See the latest columns here)
Project Fanboy is now Fanboy Buzz.
Fanboy Buzz is home to Comic Book News, Comic Book Reviews, Comic Book Columns, Comic Book Forums and Comic Book Podcast
Check out some of our past podcast hosts doing podcasts at GonnaGeek.com. Sci-Fi, Tech, Gaming, Comics and More!