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Thread: TPG: Week 36- Calvin Camp

  1. StevenForbes Guest

    TPG: Week 36- Calvin Camp

    Welcome back once again to The Proving Grounds! Our Brave One this week is Calvin Camp, doing a resubmit of an earlier project. Let's see if he's made any progress!

    The Murdering God – Excerpt (Take Two)
    5 pages

    PAGE 1

    PANEL 1
    A clear summer night here in the slums. The gas giant looms over the buildings. We’re in the street, looking toward the front entrance of Lar’s Bar. The bar is a one-story, tin-roofed shack built into a former alley between shabby warehouses. The street is dirt, no sidewalk. There’s one door and two narrow windows on the building’s front. One of the windows is covered over with tin and has a bent stove pipe stuck through it. A lit kerosene lantern hangs near the entrance, but there are no streetlights. Crudely painted on the wall above the one functional window and door are the words, "LARS BAR". (An establishing shot. Thank you. My words don’t fall on deaf ears.)

    PANEL 2
    Zoom in on the entrance. Dag and the Posoti are leaving the bar. Dag is obviously drunk as the Posoti helps him navigate the doorway. Dag is a stocky, middle-aged human man in an old navy jacket and ivy cap. He’s an average-looking guy with brown hair and bushy sideburns, six feet tall or so. The Posoti is a mature but attractive female Gnome. She's wearing a trashy, colorful, low-cut dress with a profusion of gaudy costume jewelry, and high-heeled boots. She has curly hair and freckles. She's about four and a half feet tall, with a heart-shaped face and large eyes. (Dialogue here would be immensely helpful. It will help to bring across the fact that he’s drunk.)

    PANEL 3
    Outside, still night, but we have left Lar's Bar behind. The gas-giant is the only light source, no street lights. The Posoti is pulling Dag by the hand while she's playfully skipping along and leading him around the corner of a building where they’ll be out of sight of the street. (Moving panel. You knew I was going to call it. Let's just agree to disagree on it. And this needs dialogue.)

    PANEL 4
    The viewpoint is from ¾ behind the Posoti. She is shoving Dag up against a wall with one hand. Her other hand is held out to one side, her fingers held like claws. We can see a glow coming from the area of her eyes. Dag looks startled and confused. (This comes out of nowhere. There’s no tension, because you didn’t have them doing any talking. Pacing is a hard thing to balance, isn’t it?)

    Dag:
    Hey! What the...

    PANEL 5
    Close-up on Dag. He now looks terrified. His face is bathed in harsh light from directly in front of, and somewhat below, him.

    Dag (last word screaming, breaking out of the balloon):
    What are you... No! (No. The last word shouldn’t be here. It’s too fast. Nothing’s happened to him. What’s he saying “no” to? Pacing again.)

    PANEL 6
    Close up on the Posoti, from Dag’s point of view. Her expression is wild, eager. Her eyes are blazing with magical energy. She’s reaching toward the camera with her clawed hand, energy crackling around it. (I don’t like this panel placement. It’s coming WAY too fast. I’m not feeling the tension that should be here because of it. Remember, when you don’t have any copy on the page, the audience is going to call it a fast read. Speed, in this case, especially with P1, isn’t your friend. Build some tension first. Foreshadow.)

    Posoti:
    Yesss!

    PAGE 2

    PANEL 1
    Outside view of a run-down, Victorian-style tenement building in an equally run-down neighborhood – this is a more residential area than where Lar’s Bar is located, but no classier. It’s winter with dusting of snow on the ground, drifting against the buildings, packed down by traffic in the streets and door-paths. It’s early evening, the sun disappearing behind the gas giant. The sky is filled with smoke from the many wood and coal fires. (No. You have summer in one page, and winter in another. That’s fine, except for two things: readers aren’t going to know it’s summer on P1, and won’t think much of a season change on P2 because of it. They’ll just think of it as a continuation of the same basic timeframe. Because this is a resubmit, I’m thinking this is going to be part of a dream sequence, with nothing to distinguish it from reality. This is a cheat. Don’t cheat your readers. They paid money to be entertained, not cheated.)

    Inquisitor (from inside the building):
    Open in the name of the Crown!

    PANEL 2
    We are now inside the tenement, in a one-room hovel lit by oil lamps. A little girl (Talia as a child) is running toward the camera, her expression frightened. Beyond her, we can see Talia's mother. She is reaching toward a Naginata (which is displayed on the wall) as she looks toward the entry door. (Hopefully, whatever a Naginata is will be explained to your artist. Any idea if you want the camera high or low? I’d prefer low. It seems more immediate that way. And I don’t mean child-Talia eye-level, either. I mean worm’s eye, at her ankles, looking up.)

    Talia’s mother bears a close resemblance to Talia. She’s also an Elf, but, where Talia is dark, her mother is ghostly pale with pure white hair (although she looks quite young). Her clothing is reminiscent of traditional Japanese styles, but with extensive decorations similar to American Indian beadwork. The clothes look far too expensive for someone who lives in a dump like this.

    Little Talia is maybe five or six years old. She should be dressed in a style similar to her mother, though more plain.

    SFX (by the door):
    BAM BAM BAM

    Talia’s Mother:
    *



    Caption (small):
    *Translated from the Tehnsune tongue.

    PANEL 3
    Focus closer on the door. Viewpoint from just behind Talia’s mother, as she grips the Naginata in both hands, raising it in front of her. The door is being blown to splinters by crackling energy (similar to what the Posoti was using earlier). Little Talia is now off panel. (I know this is killing you, but really, this is reading much better. I don’t know what a Naginata is—a quick google search lets me know. However, it doesn’t deserve the capitalization you’re giving it.)

    SFX:
    KRAKOOM

    PANEL 4
    The Inquisitor, in a black uniform with a silver death’s head badge on his chest, is coming through the doorway, energy crackling around his hands. He's a tall, imposing figure with harsh features. Talia’s mother looks frightened but determined. We can now see energy flowing from her hands too, where she’s gripping the Naginata, crackling along the shaft of the weapon. (Who’s the focus of the panel? It’s better served with the threat of the inquisitor, showing how menacing he is. Don’t lessen that by putting another main character in it. Remember in Star Wars Ep IV, at the very beginning, when Vader finally comes through the door? He’s not “cluttered” by another main-ish character when he makes his entrance. Some lackeys, but that’s it. He’s the one dominating that particular mini-scene. Do the same thing here. Cut this panel in half, expanding it to a second, and shove her dialogue down into it.)

    Talia’s mother:
    There is no need for this.

    She is not a threat. She does not even have to know. (She’s rather calm when talking to someone who just blew her door in about her daughter.)

    PANEL 5
    Close-up on the Inquisitor, looking stern and determined. It’s not his job to care. (Decent. Not the best place to end a page on, but decent.)

    Inquisitor:
    It doesn’t matter. You broke the law.


    PAGE 3

    PANEL 1
    Talia’s mother has thrust the Naginata, the blade now blazing with energy, at the Inquisitor, who parries it with a gesture and crackling shield of energy. The Inquisitor looks no more than mildly annoyed.

    Talia’s mother:
    You will not take her!

    SFX:
    KZACKT

    Inquisitor:
    You’re only making this worse.

    PANEL 2
    Close-up on Talia’s mother, looking over the shoulder of the Inquisitor. She is slashing again with the Naginata. She’s snarling, her face a mask of rage. (No. A close up is just that. Unless they’ve closed the distance, which you didn’t say, then this won’t be anyplace other than a close-up of her face, possibly getting as far down as her knees in order to show the weapon, but that’s it. You cannot have a closeup of her over the shoulder of someone. Go get a camera, and have your wife stand in the middle of the room. Now, zoom in on the object behind her, over her shoulder. Get in close. You shouldn't be seeing her shoulder because the object should be taking up the entire viewfinder. Same thing here.)

    Talia’s mother:
    She is my child, you soulless monster! (Blah blah blah. Want to get more melodramatic?)

    PANEL 3
    The Inquisitor blasts Talia’s mother with magical energy, slamming her into a wall.

    SFX:
    KAZAKATHOOM

    PANEL 4
    Little Talia is cowering under a bed (this isn't a modern bed, this is an old wooden-frame & rope bed, so there’s a fair amount of room under there). The viewpoint should make it seem like we're hiding under the bed with her. She's terrified, crying. In the background we can see Talia’s mother sprawled in a lifeless heap on the floor and the Inquisitor's boots approaching the bed. (No. You can’t be under the bed with her, SEE her, and see boots across the room approaching, let alone a dead mother. Know what can and cannot be drawn.)

    Inquisitor:
    >Sigh< They always have to do it the hard way.

    PANEL 5
    The Inquisitor is now down on one knee so he can reach under the bed and has little Talia by her foot. She is crying and struggling to get away. (What’s the vantage point? Where is the camera?)

    Inquisitor:
    Come along, child.

    Little Talia (screaming):


    PAGE 4

    PANEL 1
    (full width - this should be two images, the second superimposed on the first) (This may be difficult to pull off well. You’ll need a strong artist. I suggest having one Talia waking on the bottom left of the panel, and having dream-Talia as a see-through figure above her and to the right, wisping away as she wakes. That will come off better than what you have here.)

    Image 1
    Close-up on Little Talia under the bed. She’s screaming in terror and dragging her fingernails across the floor, as the Inquisitor pulls her toward him. (See what you’ve done here: you’ve put her under the bed, meaning you’re going to have to SHOW the bed, and you’re going to have to physically place that memory-bed over the top of the real Talia. It won’t work well. It’s going to look cluttered. This is not a movie.)

    Little Talia (screaming, loud):


    Image 2
    Close-up on Talia (as an adult) awaking in her bed. She’s wearing a nightshirt, and is tangled in her blankets, her hair loose and mussed. She’s thrashing and clawing at nothing, her eyes wide and frightened. (This is fine, just the way it is.)

    Talia (screaming, loud):
    No!

    PANEL 2
    Pull out a bit. Talia is sitting up in bed, her knees drawn up and her arms wrapped around them. She's resting her forehead on her knees. This should be a moderately close-up view, showing very little of the room except a window beyond the bed, the drapes closed but sunlight filtering in.

    Talia (small):
    Damn it.

    PANEL 3
    The camera pulls back from Talia, where she still sits on the bed, arms around her knees. She has lifted her head and is looking toward a nightstand we can now see beside the bed. There is a 1930s-style rotary-dial phone on the nightstand, with a wind-up alarm clock next to it (the old kind with the double bell on top). The time is 6:45. There is a holstered revolver hanging from the bed post, by the nightstand.

    SFX:
    BRIIINNG

    PANEL 4
    Zoom in closer on Talia. She’s sitting on the edge of the bed. She has picked up the receiver and is holding it to her ear, rubbing her temple & forehead with the other hand.

    Talia:
    Talia here.

    Phone:
    You sound like hell, Lieutenant.

    Talia:
    Thanks. I pulled a graveyard shift last night. (So? Unless this is her boss, this is unnecessary info. If she’s being sarcastic, it’s going over my head. Remember, I never claimed to be smart.)

    PANEL 5
    Still holding the phone receiver, Talia is looking over at the window, squinting as the sunrise sends a shaft of light stabbing into the room. (I thought the drapes were closed, but that’s a small nitpick. Where’s the camera? It can only be in front of her as she looks into the shaft of sunlight. However, as an action, what is this panel doing to push the story forward? This panel can be cut, and the dialogue shoved up to the next panel. Or, you can shove most of the dialogue up, except the last line. Keep that here, and change the panel description to something that’s worthy of ending this page.)

    Phone:
    And you picked up in one ring? Don't you sleep?

    Talia:
    Not really.

    Phone:
    Good. Looks like we've got a homicide.




    PAGE 5

    PANEL 1
    Talia is still holding the phone, while glancing at the alarm clock.

    Phone:
    How soon can you get to the Constables’ precinct in Dockside?

    Talia:
    With the trains... an hour? At least.

    Phone:
    Make it twenty minutes. (This needs to be shoved down.)

    PANEL 2
    Talia's bedroom is brightly lit now, the curtains open and the sun shining in. Talia is standing in front of a dresser with an attached mirror. We’re looking over her shoulder at her reflection. Her hair is now combed and drawn back into a loose ponytail. She's dressed in her black Inquisitor's uniform (just like the one the Inquisitor was wearing in her dream) with her revolver in place. She's in the process of pinning the silver death's head badge to her shirt. She's smiling just a little. (This panel, while I get it, doesn’t do it for me. It needs to be cut.)

    PANEL 3
    Large, full width panel – like a minisplash. Outside Talia's home. View from a high angle above the street. It’s summer, early morning. The area is a residential district of modestly upscale townhouses. There should be a handful of cars parked on the street - mid 1930s style or slightly older. We should be able to see that this neighborhood is on a hillside, with terraced rows of streets rising in the background. In the foreground, we can see Talia rocketing into the sky toward us, trailing a comet-tail of crackling energy. Her arms are at her sides, using her hands to direct the energy and propel herself. (If you've seen the Iron Man movie - remember the way he flew, using the rockets or whatever in his gloves to steer? That's kind of the look I'm going for, as opposed to the hands-out-in-front flying pose of Superman) (Done well, as a close-up with the same pose, showing her uniform, this is a nice panel to end the page on. The dialogue from the phone works better here, as a caption with quotation marks. That gets across all the messages you want, while moving the story forward.)

    Okay, that’s all I was given, and more than likely where I would have stopped, anyway.

    Let’s run it down.

    First, good job on cutting down your panel descriptions. I’d like to see them a little more concise, but you did a good job with this. Keep this up.

    Now, the first page is too fast. I think it’s the lack of dialogue, and the air you’ve given the first few panels. If you gave it a more menacing air, did some foreshadowing, actually have the people talk before the guy gets killed, then you’d have a better sense of what could be coming. But even having people speak slows down the page. Slow it down. Give some banter—preferably banter that does some foreshadowing.

    The dream sequence: again, I’d do something different with the borders there. Something to differentiate that this is not “now”. If you plan on doing that with colors, that’s great. Say that. (Also, realize that printing, which is almost always the goal, will cost a hell of a lot more when you do it in color. Doing color online costs nothing, but will be MOST of your production budget when you get to printing and distribution if you’re doing it yourself.) If you’re going to stay b/w, I suggest that you do something different with the borders.

    If you’re going to reference a Japanese weapon, I suggest also putting a link in the script so the artist knows what it is. They’re also going to need to do some research on how one is wielded, in order to do justice to the panels.

    Overall, there are some pacing issues that need to be contended with. Get the pacing straight, and work on the dialogue.

    I can see the work you’re putting in. I think you’re getting better with every script you send in, experimentation aside. I saw you struggling to cut down on your panel descriptions here. I could just imagine you putting in more and more, until it was this unwieldy mass. Again, good job on resisting that. I didn’t feel as laden as I usually do when I read one of your scripts.


    That’s it for this week. See the list for who’s next, and let’s discuss this.



  2. Dungbeetle Guest

    Hi folks.

    I really liked what was happening with the pace here. I'm guessing we're going to end up with Talia investigating the murder on page one, right? That's all good. And we're getting Talia's background in a reasonably mysterious way that interested me. Steven pulled you up on that first sequence with Dag and the Positi. My suggestion would be to include some drunken, flirty dialogue, maybe even from the get-go in the establishing shot. Maybe even cut that last panel, or make it so they've dissapeared down an alley, presumably to do something lude, and Dag's dialogue is coming out in a kind of "oh no, don't do that" kind of way. There would perhaps be an assumption from the reader that he was ravashing her in the wrong orafice or something equally depraved, and of course later on we find out she's a she-bitch from hell who's killed him. You can hint at what you already had by having a bloodcurdling scream and a flash of energy coming out of the alley or whatever seedy love nest they've ended up in. Just my take on it. Hell, I'm a fan of mystery, and if you're Talia character is fulfilling the role of inquisitor, it may be best to play it from that angle, rather than making us privy to too much that she doesn't know.



  3. CalvinCamp Guest

    (An establishing shot. Thank you. My words don’t fall on deaf ears.)
    They never do (at least with me). I may not always agree, but I always listen.

    (Dialogue here would be immensely helpful. It will help to bring across the fact that he’s drunk.)
    Yep. I think you’re right. I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t put any here – especially when I had some I could have used from the earlier bit that was cut.

    (Moving panel. You knew I was going to call it. Let's just agree to disagree on it. And this needs dialogue.)
    Yeah. I kind of did. And it’s bordering on it in my own opinion, looking at it again. I was going for the skipping walk (or half-dancing, as we argued about before) while she led him around the corner, and it didn’t come out as well as it could have.

    (This comes out of nowhere. There’s no tension, because you didn’t have them doing any talking. Pacing is a hard thing to balance, isn’t it?)
    I actually wanted it to feel like it came out of nowhere. The idea is, they’re walking along, all fun and games, then… Wham! He’s being slammed against the wall.

    (No. The last word shouldn’t be here. It’s too fast. Nothing’s happened to him. What’s he saying “no” to? Pacing again.)
    Too fast… hmm. As above, I’m going for sudden. He’s startled when he’s shoved against the wall, now, just as suddenly, he realizes something bad is going to happen. As for what he’s saying “no” to… I was trying to build some mystery, while hinting at something weird with the lighting. And then reveal a little more in the next panel. All while keeping the actual murder (which you didn’t like seeing last time) off the page.

    (I don’t like this panel placement. It’s coming WAY too fast. I’m not feeling the tension that should be here because of it. Remember, when you don’t have any copy on the page, the audience is going to call it a fast read. Speed, in this case, especially with P1, isn’t your friend. Build some tension first. Foreshadow.)
    Interesting. Except for leaving out the gratuitous murder and the interaction inside the bar, this is the same sequence of events as the last time this was up – and you didn’t call it out as too fast then (the opposite in fact). So it seems like I cut it down too far (got too carried away with that "maybe if I show someone getting killed on page 1" idea). Too long and boring the first time, too fast the second.

    Now, just to get it clear in my head… the foreshadowing… that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to telegraph that the attack is coming right? Because I’d still like that part to feel like a surprise. If I were to slow down a bit, provided some banter and such on page 1 (maybe go as far as the guy getting shoved in the last panel, for the page turn), then jumped into the attack on page 2… does that sound like I’d be on the right general track?

    (No. You have summer in one page, and winter in another. That’s fine, except for two things: readers aren’t going to know it’s summer on P1, and won’t think much of a season change on P2 because of it. They’ll just think of it as a continuation of the same basic timeframe. Because this is a resubmit, I’m thinking this is going to be part of a dream sequence, with nothing to distinguish it from reality. This is a cheat. Don’t cheat your readers. They paid money to be entertained, not cheated.)
    Why won’t they know it’s summer (okay, maybe not summer, but at least not-winter)? The scene is outside. The characters won’t be dressed for cold weather. I’d think that seeing snow on the ground and smoking chimneys on the next page should give a pretty good clue that there’s been a significant time-jump. Not that it needs to be winter, I just thought it would help reinforce the time change.

    And, yes, it’s sort of a flashback masquerading as a dream sequence. I’ll probably use some method to distinguish that visually – I’ve got several options I’m thinking about, but haven’t made a final decision on what I’m going with yet.

    (Hopefully, whatever a Naginata is will be explained to your artist. Any idea if you want the camera high or low? I’d prefer low. It seems more immediate that way. And I don’t mean child-Talia eye-level, either. I mean worm’s eye, at her ankles, looking up.)
    Hmm. I hadn’t thought of doing a worm’s eye view. I’m not sure what I think of the idea, but I’ll consider it. I would probably have gone with child’s eye view, myself.

    (I know this is killing you, but really, this is reading much better. I don’t know what a Naginata is—a quick google search lets me know. However, it doesn’t deserve the capitalization you’re giving it.)
    Nah. It’s not killing me. I think this scene works much better than it did on the first go-round. The outside establishing shot, the inside establishing shot, then the exploding door… it’s all working, I think.

    And, as for the details, I’ll just provide the artist separate setting descriptions, as necessary, so he/she can get a general feel for what I’m trying to do.

    (Who’s the focus of the panel? It’s better served with the threat of the inquisitor, showing how menacing he is. Don’t lessen that by putting another main character in it. Remember in Star Wars Ep IV, at the very beginning, when Vader finally comes through the door? He’s not “cluttered” by another main-ish character when he makes his entrance. Some lackeys, but that’s it. He’s the one dominating that particular mini-scene. Do the same thing here. Cut this panel in half, expanding it to a second, and shove her dialogue down into it.)
    As I wrote it, it would almost have to be a side-view, probably rotated slightly to focus more on the Inquisitor. I can see what you’re saying about it working better in two panels, though. That would let me focus better on both characters.

    (She’s rather calm when talking to someone who just blew her door in about her daughter.)
    Yeah. She’s actually supposed to be a capable person in her own right (anyone but an Inquisitor came through that door and he probably wouldn’t have made it into the room), and she knew this moment was coming eventually - neither of which is clear here, but I didn’t want to drag the scene out too long. I probably should have slowed this down some though. Obviously being determined and angry, instead of frightened, isn’t getting her character across properly.

    (Decent. Not the best place to end a page on, but decent.)
    I’ll take decent, and be happy with it. But I’ll see if, in re-pacing things, I can’t find a better one.

    (No. A close up is just that. Unless they’ve closed the distance, which you didn’t say, then this won’t be anyplace other than a close-up of her face, possibly getting as far down as her knees in order to show the weapon, but that’s it. You cannot have a closeup of her over the shoulder of someone. Go get a camera, and have your wife stand in the middle of the room. Now, zoom in on the object behind her, over her shoulder. Get in close. You shouldn't be seeing her shoulder because the object should be taking up the entire viewfinder. Same thing here.)
    Why can’t I have a close-up on someone over someone else’s shoulder? I figured I’d just put him in silhouette at the edge of the panel and have Mom charging toward the camera, beyond him, taking up most of the panel. She would have come in closer, to attack (course it’s a 5 or 6 foot weapon, so maybe it wouldn't be all that close), slashing it past the Inquisitor. Y’know, thinking more about it, close-up or not… I just think I did a lousy job of describing what I wanted.

    (Blah blah blah. Want to get more melodramatic?)
    Maaaybe. I was going for her getting more mad by the second, but I guess that was a big fat fail.

    (No. You can’t be under the bed with her, SEE her, and see boots across the room approaching, let alone a dead mother. Know what can and cannot be drawn.)
    Yeah, I think you can. If it was a modern bed, you’d be right. But have you ever seen one of those rope beds? It’s another thing I’d have to provide reference for, but the bottom of those things were a good eighteen or twenty inches off the floor. Kid, Mom, and boots are all basically at floor level. And we don’t need to see all of Talia, or her mom, just enough to know who and where they are. Use a low-angle view, and it should work fine.

    (What’s the vantage point? Where is the camera?)
    Didn’t change since the last panel. I wanted the same general, under the bed, viewpoint. Should I note that? I’ve usually only been worrying about indicating when I change viewpoints, or when I want them exactly the same.

    (This may be difficult to pull off well. You’ll need a strong artist. I suggest having one Talia waking on the bottom left of the panel, and having dream-Talia as a see-through figure above her and to the right, wisping away as she wakes. That will come off better than what you have here.)
    I don’t really like the sound of the see-through, wisping away figure. I get what you’re doing with it, and it makes sense, but I’m seeing something different – visually differentiating the dream scenes from the “real” scenes should help. I do like the diagonal break, but I think dream-Talia should be to the left.

    (See what you’ve done here: you’ve put her under the bed, meaning you’re going to have to SHOW the bed, and you’re going to have to physically place that memory-bed over the top of the real Talia. It won’t work well. It’s going to look cluttered. This is not a movie.)
    Yeah. I’ll definitely have to rework that. I messed that up right from the initial panel note. I should have superimposed Image 2 over Image 1 – that way I could cut the scene with the child off using the edge of Talia’s body. It might even help to reverse the viewpoint on Image 1 – make it from the Inquisitor’s viewpoint as he drags little Talia out from under the bed.

    (This is fine, just the way it is.)
    That’s always nice to hear.

    (So? Unless this is her boss, this is unnecessary info. If she’s being sarcastic, it’s going over my head. Remember, I never claimed to be smart.)
    It’s an inside joke. Remember the first script I sent, with Talia following the zombie to the idiot necromancer in the graveyard? It refers to that. I haven’t given up on the idea of using (some elements of) that for a teaser.

    It’s also there to give a reason for the lines that follow it, which are supposed to reveal, or at least hint, that (besides having disturbing dreams) Talia doesn’t sleep well.

    (I thought the drapes were closed, but that’s a small nitpick.
    They’re supposed to be “closed, with sunlight filtering in”. I was picturing a shaft of sunlight breaking through between the drapes where it had been filtering – to indicate the sun coming up.

    Where’s the camera? It can only be in front of her as she looks into the shaft of sunlight.
    I didn’t really care all that much, as long as it was looking at her. And if there’s only one place it can be…

    I guess I’m just not sure I like calling out every single viewpoint and camera angle unless I’m looking for something specific. And I want to give the artist something to do, besides just draw by the numbers.

    However, as an action, what is this panel doing to push the story forward? This panel can be cut, and the dialogue shoved up to the next panel. Or, you can shove most of the dialogue up, except the last line. Keep that here, and change the panel description to something that’s worthy of ending this page.)
    I’ve already got three balloons with back-and-forth dialogue in the last panel. I don’t think I want to be shoving any more up there, especially when it’s more back and forth – the letterer would be ready to hire a hitman.

    And I like the panel. Just woke up, tired, squinting at the sunrise peeking through the window, “no, I don’t sleep,”… oh, by the way, there’s been a murder. Even without the last line, I think it works.

    (This needs to be shoved down.)

    (This panel, while I get it, doesn’t do it for me. It needs to be cut.)

    (Done well, as a close-up with the same pose, showing her uniform, this is a nice panel to end the page on. The dialogue from the phone works better here, as a caption with quotation marks. That gets across all the messages you want, while moving the story forward.)
    I was figuring it would be pretty close on Talia, definitely with her in the foreground. But I don’t think the flying would carry with a close-up – it would probably need to be a full-body shot. Otherwise… I agree completely. Moving that last line of dialogue to here and skipping the shot in between is much better.

    Okay, that’s all I was given, and more than likely where I would have stopped, anyway.
    That’s why I stopped there. I’ve got you figured out.

    First, good job on cutting down your panel descriptions. I’d like to see them a little more concise, but you did a good job with this. Keep this up.
    Thanks. It wasn’t easy, but I’ll try.

    Now, the first page is too fast. I think it’s the lack of dialogue, and the air you’ve given the first few panels. If you gave it a more menacing air, did some foreshadowing, actually have the people talk before the guy gets killed, then you’d have a better sense of what could be coming. But even having people speak slows down the page. Slow it down. Give some banter—preferably banter that does some foreshadowing.
    I think this part is the only place I’m a little confused. Slowing it down, sure, no problem. But the menacing air, the foreshadowing… I could probably play with the lighting to get some menace across, but that’s iffy. I don’t want to foreshadow too much, because it’s supposed to be a surprise attack. I could make the attack itself take longer, build to a climax slower – that might help. I’ll have to think on it I guess.

    The dream sequence: again, I’d do something different with the borders there. Something to differentiate that this is not “now”. If you plan on doing that with colors, that’s great. Say that. (Also, realize that printing, which is almost always the goal, will cost a hell of a lot more when you do it in color. Doing color online costs nothing, but will be MOST of your production budget when you get to printing and distribution if you’re doing it yourself.) If you’re going to stay b/w, I suggest that you do something different with the borders.
    I’m leaning toward no color. Both for the print cost savings and for the atmosphere – I think it’s right for the story. As for borders… I’m considering dropping them entirely for the dream scene. I might consider fading the line-work, or doing something different with the shading, as well.

    If you’re going to reference a Japanese weapon, I suggest also putting a link in the script so the artist knows what it is. They’re also going to need to do some research on how one is wielded, in order to do justice to the panels.
    Absolutely. If I don’t tackle the art myself, I think it’s a given that I’ll need to provide a small stack of reference for this book.

    Overall, there are some pacing issues that need to be contended with. Get the pacing straight, and work on the dialogue.
    Yep. Pacing is a bitch. But I think I’m narrowing in on it. Just overshot the mark trying to make it faster than it was, and ended up making it too fast. Hopefully I’ll find the happy medium.

    I can see the work you’re putting in. I think you’re getting better with every script you send in, experimentation aside. I saw you struggling to cut down on your panel descriptions here. I could just imagine you putting in more and more, until it was this unwieldy mass. Again, good job on resisting that. I didn’t feel as laden as I usually do when I read one of your scripts.
    It’s fun work. And I can feel the progress from script to script. Some new mistakes (or new twists on old ones), but that’s progress too. And an experiment is always an experiment – you just gotta accept that sometimes it’ll blow up in your face.

    Thanks, Steven. It was a blast, as always.
    Last edited by CalvinCamp; Friday, September 25, 2009 at 09:11 PM.



  4. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by Dungbeetle View Post
    Hi folks.
    Hi, Joe.

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    Yes, Talia will be investigating the murder that happened on page 1 (along with another character who'll be showing up in a couple pages, to be a pain in her ass along the way).

    I'm glad Talia's background caught your interest - it's not always easy to know if that sort of thing will be compelling or distracting (which is why I wanted to get it in early, before the main story really got going).

    You and Steven are both right about the dialogue. I need something in those opening panels.

    I'm not sure about hiding the murder any more than I already have though. I'm good with not showing it in all its gratuitous glory (like I tried the first time), but I don't want to hide it away completely. And I definitely don't want to get too misleading with the guy's dialogue during the attack. Though it's not revealed yet, normal people in this world are scared of magic. So when magic is directed at them, they really get scared. When the girl's eyes start glowing, Dag would not reasonably break out with "Oh no, don't do that." The dude should be shitting himself.

    And I could hide the whole visual away behind a flash in an alley, but the reader will still find out on page 2 that it was a murder, and on page 6 or so that it was a male victim - so it wouldn't buy that much more mystery. And if the goal was to not reveal the details of the crime at all, it'd be easier to just start at the dream sequence (which... may actually be something to consider).



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