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Thread: TPG: Week 42 - John Lees

  1. CalvinCamp Guest

    TPG: Week 42 - John Lees

    John Lees is up this time.

    I kind of feel bad for him. He tried to get in on the tail end of Steven’s run, got stuck with me instead, and got put off to a later date besides. And, after my reaction to his last script, he probably doesn’t have high hopes for what I’ll have to say about this one. I hope he won’t be too disappointed when he finds out I liked it.

    Now, about the "red font of doom"... I considered retiring it, and tried a few different colors to replace it, but nothing had the same combination of standing out from the black lines and not being painful to read. So I think we're stuck with the dark red. Sorry, guys.

    Now, on to John's script...



    BABY IT’S YOU
    AN 8-PAGE SCRIPT BY
    JOHN LEES


    PAGE ONE (7 panels)

    Panel 1. It’s night-time, and we’re in a dimly-lit bedroom in a rundown cabin. We open with a medium shot of Mark Hollander, a balding, middle-aged man, carrying his wife, Susan, in his arms, in what looks like a grotesque parody of a groom carrying his bride over the threshold. Both are covered in blood.

    Nice creepy visual.

    You described Mark, but what does Susan look like?


    Title. BABY IT’S YOU

    Panel 2. A close-up of Susan, close enough that we can see the blood is gushing from a bite wound in her shoulder.

    SUSAN: OH GOD, MARK! IT GOT ME! IT GOT ME!

    Panel 3. Mark has laid Susan down on the bed. He is now standing over her, holding a cloth in place over the wound on her shoulder.

    Is this a one-room cabin? Or have we moved to a different room? If it’s a different room, perhaps it would be a good idea to pull back a little in Panel 2, to show Mark carrying Susan down a hall or something. Not a big deal, but since you’ve got the panel there to work with…

    MARK: HOLD THIS AGAINST YOUR SHOULDER FOR ME, SUSAN. IT… IT’S OKAY.

    SUSAN: DON’T LEAVE ME.

    MARK: I’M NOT LEAVING, BABY. I NEED TO LOCK UP.

    Panel 4. Long shot of Mark, staggering across the cabin hall as if in a trance. With this shot we can get a better sense of the couples’ “home”, dark and dingy, with the most basic of kitchens visible in the background. Standing before Mark, to the extreme right of the panel, is the heavy front door.

    Considering the fortifications to the door (that you get to shortly) I would add a note in this panel about window protection, in case the artist shows any windows in the shot. And even if it doesn’t show up in this shot, there will be a window eventually, so you might as well get it out of the way.

    Panel 5. One of two smaller panels, focusing in on Mark locking the cabin door. It is a triple lock system, and at the moment this panel captures, Mark has already fastened two locks, and is in the process of locking the third.

    SFX: CLICK

    Panel 6. The second smaller panel. Mark has now affixed a large wooden board over the door with an electric screwdriver, and is in the process of screwing in the nails to hold a second board in place below it.

    It’s nit-picking, I admit, but you can’t screw in nails.

    SFX: RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

    Panel 7. Medium shot of Mark, looking down at his trembling, bloodstained hands. He is in shock, his face devoid of expression.

    Be careful with this one. Your artist could show the trembling with motion lines, but it may come out seeming like more of a violent shake than you’re looking for. Skipping the trembling and just having him looking at the bloodstains might be easier. I’m not saying change it, but maybe discuss it with your artist and see what they think.

    It might be worthwhile to mention the bloodstained hands in the panels where he’s locking and barring the door also. You could even get some blood smears on the electric screwdriver, locks, etc.

    Nice opening page. You’ve got my interest.


    PAGE TWO (6 panels)

    Panel 1. Long shot of Mark standing in the tiny bathroom, turning on the tap.

    Panel 2. Close-up of Mark’s hands as he attempts to wash the blood off them. As the water sprays down onto his hands, the blood spirals along the basin and down the drain. Depending on whether you think the angle is practical, it might also be a nice touch to work in a grimy bathroom mirror above the basin, with a reflection of Mark’s face in it, eyes cast downward.

    You’re calling for two different viewpoints here. If this is a close-up on his hands, and blood swirling down the drain, you aren’t going to also see his face in the mirror, not at any angle. You’d have to pull out and loose your close-up. Decide which shot you want and ask for it. (If you want both, you could pretty easily get the grimy mirror and reflection into the shot for Panel 1)

    Panel 3. This panel could be black-and-white, to demonstrate that it is a flashback. It’s early morning in this scene, where we have a long shot of Mark and Susan packing belongings into their car. The car is parked in a driveway, and in the background we can see the front of a large, welcoming suburban home.

    Could be black and white? Do you want it to be or not?

    What kind of car? Family sedan? Sports car? Station wagon? Sub-compact hybrid?


    SUSAN: ARE YOU SURE WE’RE DOING THE RIGHT THING?

    MARK: WE HAVE NO CHOICE. NOBODY’S COMING TO SAVE US! I’M NOT WAITING AROUND UNTIL WE’RE SURROUNDED BY… BY THEM!

    I’d break that last balloon up a bit. I think the dialogue would flow better with a pause in the middle.

    Panel 4. The flashback continues, so still black-and-white. A medium shot of Mark and Susan standing by their car, with Mark pulling Susan into a tight, protective embrace.

    SUSAN: MARK… I’M SCARED.

    MARK: ME TOO, BABY. BUT WE’LL GET BY, WE ALWAYS HAVE. I’LL KEEP YOU SAFE.

    Panel 5. The flashback continues, so still black-and-white. A close-up of Susan’s terrified face, tears in her eyes.

    SUSAN: WHATEVER HAPPENS, DON’T LET… THAT HAPPEN TO ME.

    Panel 6. Back to the present day now, with a long shot of Mark in the bathroom. Now, he has slumped down onto his knees, his cheek rested against the basin, a hand tugging at his hair. His face is contorted into a silent scream of agony.

    Good build-up. You’re working the pacing well to build up the suspense and the emotional impact, and getting some background exposition in too.


    PAGE THREE (6 panels)

    Panel 1. A long shot of Mark as he walks into the kitchen. He has now composed himself, and washed most of the blood off his face and arms. He is smiling slightly now, recalling a happy memory.

    MARK: REMEMBER OUR FIRST DATE? I HAD IT ALL WORKED OUT. WE’D HAVE A CANDLELIT DINNER AT A RESTAURANT BY THE SHORE, SHARE A ROMANTIC MOMENT OUT UNDER THE STARS.

    I would break that dialogue up.

    Panel 2. In the bedroom, Susan is sitting up on the bed, still covered in blood. Her knees are bunched up to her chin, as if she’s hugging herself. And one hand presses the cloth tightly against her shoulder to prevent further bleeding. She stares ahead, her expression blank, making no reply to Mark.

    MARK (O.P.): AND OF COURSE, IT STARTS… POURING WITH RAIN. IN JULY! SO WE’RE RUNNING DOWN THE STREET, WITH OUR FOOD IN DOGGIE BAGS, AND THAT CAB DRIVES RIGHT PAST US, SPLASHING A PUDDLE ALL OVER YOU!

    I’d break that one up too.

    Panel 3. A low-angle long shot from behind Mark. Still in the kitchen, he has opened a storage cupboard under the sink, and is on his knees, his upper body vanished inside, rummaging around for something.

    MARK: YOU LAY YOUR JACKET ON THE PAVEMENT, SIT ON IT, AND GO BACK TO YOUR MEAL. YOU LOOKED UP AT ME, FOOD DANGLING FROM YOUR MOUTH, AND YOU WERE JUST SO… PISSED OFF!

    And this one. I think, with pretty much all of these blocks of dialogue, it would help it visually (by breaking up the big chunks) and help the dialogue flow better by introducing some pauses into the quiet, reminiscing tone you have going.

    I’ve also got a question for you. Have you ever tried to cram your entire upper body into an undersink cabinet? If it worked, you must be a lot smaller than me. With the pipes that would be in the way, I can’t see him getting more than his head and arms in there and still have any room left over to rummage around in. Even that seems excessive, since sink cabinets are only two feet deep – all you have to do is reach in less than the length of your arm and you’re at the back wall.


    Panel 4. A low-angle medium shot, looking up at the kneeling Mark, who has emerged from the storage cupboard with a hammer in his hand. He is absently tapping the flat end of the hammer against the knuckles of his other hand, smiling fondly as he retells his story.

    You’ve got a moving panel there, with the tapping. You could probably add a small “Tap Tap Tap” SFX and get away with it. Sounds painful, though.

    MARK: THEN WE BOTH STARTED LAUGHING! HA HA! SO I SAT DOWN ACROSS FROM YOU, AND JOINED IN. A PICNIC IN THE RAIN.

    Again, I’d break this up.

    Panel 5. A close-up of Susan in the bedroom, her eyes cast sadly downward.

    SUSAN: THAT WAS A GOOD DAY.

    (more)

    PAGE THREE (continued)

    Panel 6. The same low-angle medium shot as Panel 4, but now Mark’s smile has faded, and his expression is grim. He is tapping the chiselled end of the hammer into his palm, staring at it intently.

    MARK: YES. YES IT WAS.

    Okay. This is pretty good. You’re building the suspense nicely. But I think you’ve built it about as far as you can without being accused of milking it. I expect something to happen on the next page.

    PAGE FOUR (6 panels)

    Panel 1. An establishing shot of an abandoned city centre in the afternoon. Unmanned cars clog up the roads, and debris and bloodstains are scattered everywhere. But amid this scene of desolation, only one person can be found. Sergeant Joe Ernest, a uniformed soldier in his 30s, holding a rifle slung over his shoulder.

    Okay. A scene change works. That’ll buy you a little more time.

    But I want to know more about Joe. What’s his body language and expression? What’s he doing? Searching the area? Standing guard? Why is he all alone? Where’s the rest of his unit? What kind of rifle does he have? Does he have any other equipment (I’d think a soldier in the field would)? Does he have a hummer, or transport of some kind? If not, how did he get here?


    Panel 2. A close-up of Sgt. Ernest’s surprised face as he hears a voice behind him.

    MARK (O.P.): EXCUSE ME?

    Now I want to know why I didn’t see Mark sneaking up behind Joe in the last panel. The artist’s natural inclination is going to be to show Joe from the front, which means we should also see what’s behind him. If you need to set up the shot so we can’t see behind him, you need to specify that.

    Panel 3. Medium shot of Sgt. Ernest as he spins around, aiming his rifle.

    ERNEST: WHO THE HELL ARE YOU? NAME!

    That line needs to be broken up. Not because it’s long, but just because it sounds completely unnatural without a significant pause.

    Also, should we be seeing who he’s aiming at? You’re not specifying whether you want Mark in this shot or not. I’m guessing not, but guessing is bad.


    Panel 4. Long shot from Ernest’s POV of Mark. Mark stands before him, wearing a beaten-up anorak, his hands in the air.

    MARK: MY NAME’S HOLLANDER. MARK HOLLANDER. CAN YOU HELP ME, PLEASE?

    I don’t really like the way you’re jumping back and forth, from one character to another (with the other character off panel) when the characters are trying to play off each other. I think that, when you’ve got two characters interacting, it works best (with the exception of an occasional close-up for emotional impact) if they’re both visible to the reader in the same panel - which does not mean they need to be equally visible, just enough to maintain that visual connection. All you need to do is pull the camera back a bit for an over-shoulder shot from behind Joe, and I think you’ll have a panel that’s both more clear, and more powerful.

    And, honestly, I’d probably just combine those last two panels into one. You don’t need both.


    Panel 5. Medium profile shot of Mark and Ernest facing each other. Ernest has lowered his rifle, but is still eyeing Mark suspiciously.

    ERNEST: WHAT DO YOU WANT?

    MARK: IT… IT’S MY WIFE. SHE’S… SICK. I CAN’T, BUT… SOMEBODY NEEDS TO… HELP HER.

    A profile isn’t ideal for showing a complex emotion. You can probably pull off “suspicious” with this view, but it would work better if you rotated the viewpoint a little in Ernest’s favor.

    Panel 6. Medium shot of Ernest. His expression has softened into one of sympathy and understanding.

    ERNEST: WHERE IS SHE?

    MARK (O.P.): SHE’S AT THE PLACE WE’VE BEEN STAYING. I COULD TAKE YOU THERE, I HAVE A CAR.

    ERNEST: …OKAY.

    For this panel, I’ll stand by my preference for having both characters visible unless there’s a compelling reason to do otherwise. This works better as a solo-shot than the earlier panels, but I don’t think it’s doing it any great favor, either.

    PAGE FIVE (6 panels)

    Panel 1. Exterior shot, looking in through the front windscreen of the car. Mark and Sgt. Ernest sit in the car, both looking straight ahead with grim expressions. It is now dark outside, suggesting they have been driving for quite a while.

    What’s your light source? If it’s the reflected headlights, it’s highly unlikely we’d be able to see the guys through the glass and inside the darker interior of the car. Unless the dome light is lit, the windshield would act almost like a mirror. You could just do a dash-cam shot, though. Your light source will still be an issue, but you could probably fake it.

    Panel 2. Establishing shot from Ernest’s POV. We’re now in the woods, trees leaning forward threateningly in the darkness, and up ahead lies a battered, rundown cabin – small, but sturdily built - with boarded up windows and a barricaded front door.

    ERNEST (O.P.): THIS US?

    So the viewpoint is looking from inside the car, through the windshield, and out over the hood of the car? Or just a shot looking at the cabin from the general direction of the car?

    Personally I think a shot of the car pulling up to the cabin would be the way to go, with the balloon tail disappearing into the passenger side of the car. Either way, I think you should have the car pointed at the cabin, so you have a credible light source to show all the details you’re trying to get across.

    And, see? I knew those boarded-up windows would show up eventually.


    Panel 3. Long shot of the car, which has now come to a halt. Ernest has stepped out of the car, and is now leaning back inside to look at Mark, who is still sitting at the wheel, staring straight ahead.

    ERNEST: HOLLANDER?

    It’s picky, but I’d add a note about the dome light being on, with the door open. You should be able to rely on the artist to look for light sources like that, when doing a night scene, but why take chances?

    Panel 4. Medium shot of Mark from Ernest’s POV. Mark, sat at the driver’s seat, is looking up at Ernest – which from this angle appears as if he’s looking out at us. His eyes are red raw and haunted, his face ashen.

    MARK: THANK YOU. FOR YOUR KINDNESS.

    That dome light will also let the artist do some nice things with dramatic lighting for this panel, if he remembers it, so I’d make sure he does.

    And that’s another balloon begging to be split up, for the dramatic pause.


    Panel 5. Long shot of Ernest standing in front of the cabin, facing outwards, checking the ammo in his rifle. Behind him, Mark is busy unscrewing the boards put in place over the door.

    You need to specify that they left the headlights from the car on, that they have flashlights (or specify a lit porch light on the cabin earlier on) - some credible light source, or Ernest won’t be able to see to check anything.

    Panel 6. The cabin door has swung open, the blackness beyond its threshold impenetrable. In the foreground at the bottom of the panel, Mark and Ernest exchange tentative glances.

    Why are they at the bottom of the panel? We’re just looking at a door. Are they on their knees or something? This isn’t making sense to me. It sounds like you’re looking for something specific, but I don’t know what.

    PAGE SIX (5 PANELS)

    Panel 1. Long shot from inside the darkened cabin, looking out at Mark and Ernest as they enter. Ernest is in front, his rifle armed and ready, with the light on the barrel shining ahead of him. Mark is behind him, still lingering by the doorway, clutching onto a flashlight.

    A light on the barrel. That’s something we should have known about on the last page. And, unless the light is easily removable, we should have known about it on the page before that. I’m willing to assume Mark’s flashlight (and the screwdriver) were stowed in the car. But the light on the rifle isn’t something you can get away with as easily.

    I’m also wondering why they don’t just turn on the lights? You didn’t specify earlier (or even now) that there are no electric lights in the cabin. And it’s unlikely that a cabin without electricity would have running water (if you’re in a location where you don’t have municipal water, a well or spring needs a pump), so you’ve set up the expectation of power. Of course people never seem to turn on the lights in horror movies, either, so maybe it doesn’t matter.


    Panel 2. Medium shot of Mark and Ernest, further into the cabin. They now stand at the threshold of the bedroom, looking in. Sgt. Ernest’s eyes have widened with horror, but Mark – peering from behind Ernest’s shoulder – is eerily calm, solemn.

    MARK: THIS IS SUSAN. SHE’S SO SICK. SO SICK…

    I’m not sure I buy the horror on Ernest’s part. He’s a soldier, in a time and place where zombies are on the rampage, and this scares him worse than what sees every day? I could probably jump to the conclusion that Mark didn’t tell him the entire situation, but he must have known – he came instead of getting a medic, with his rifle at the ready. He had to be expecting what he saw. I’d expect more grim determination than eye-widening horror.

    At this point, though I know you’ve been trying to build suspense all this time (and you were doing well at it for awhile), I think you’ve dragged it out a just little too far. You’ve been trying to build suspense for five and a half pages. The scene change bought you a little reprieve, but not much of one. By the time I got here, I felt like things had gone a beyond suspenseful, and into, “when are we getting to the point already?” I’d consider trying to compress things a bit, and I think you could do it pretty easily.


    Panel 3. I imagine this would be the dominant panel of the page, a long shot reveal of Susan Hollander, or rather the creature that used to be Susan. Sitting on the floor at the far end of the bedroom, it is wrapped up in a straitjacket, and around that is a harness linking up to a heavy chain that seems to vanish under a hole in the floorboards in the corner. Its neck is craned upwards in a predatory, inhuman manner, parting its wild, haggard hair to reveal a hideous, snarling face. Its cracked, peeling skin has a rotten white-gray complexion, framing soulless, solid-white eyes.

    SUSAN: UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHRRRRRRRRRRR…..

    ERNEST (O.P.): MARK, YOU MIGHT WANT TO GO OUTSIDE.

    If you do decide to compress things, I’d consider trying to set your page turn here. That’ll give you a nice mini cliff-hanger, and I think the next three panels (and the accompanying dialogue) would flow better if they were on the same page.

    Panel 4. Close-up of Sgt. Ernest as he aims his rifle.

    ERNEST: SORRY, SUSAN.

    I think you’re looking for a medium shot here, not a close-up. That’ll give you a little more room for the rifle aiming, and will work a lot better for the next panel where you want the same shot.

    Panel 5. Same close-up shot, but here Ernest is being hit on the back of the head with a hammer. He’s wincing in the pain, and in the process of collapsing onto the floor.

    SFX: THWACK!

    ERNEST: NNG!

    Where has Mark been hiding the hammer all this time?

    PAGE SEVEN (7 panels)

    Panel 1. Low-angle long shot, looking up at Mark. In the foreground at the bottom of the panel, Sgt. Ernest is lying on his back, clutching his bleeding head, his rifle fallen out of reach. Mark is standing over him, his hammer raised overhead, his eyes wide with terror. For the lighting in this panel, I thought it’d be cool to have Ernest lit by Mark’s flashlight, which he is pointing into his face with the hand not holding the hammer. Mark, meanwhile, is lit by the light on Ernest’s discarded rifle, with the low upward angle the light is shining at him from giving Mark’s face a suddenly ghoulish appearance, like when you hold a flashlight under your chin.

    MARK: NO… I’M SORRY.

    Now, see how you’re thinking about your lighting in this panel? When working in the dark, you should be doing that in every panel. Your light will always be limited, and it will almost always be directional (unless you’re faking your darkness with a blue-tint effect or something, but, even then, specific light sources should be taken into consideration).

    Unfortunately, since flashlights are extremely directional, if the rifle is discarded and lying on the floor somewhere, then the light will be directed along the floor, not at a “low upward angle”. If you want Mark underlit by the rifle’s flashlight, I’d consider leaving the gun in Ernest’s hands (struggling to bring it to bear on Mark) until Mark attacks again. Then you could also play with some wild lighting angles, jumping around in the next three panels and spotlighting Mark in dramatic ways, as the light (presumably) is dropped and bounces around.

    Panel 2. First in a series of three small panels. Medium shot of Mark as he lunges downwards with a pained scream, bringing the hammer crashing down onto Ernest’s face.

    MARK: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

    SFX: THWACK!

    What is your viewpoint for this (and the following panels)? There are a few ways it could go, but it’s an important enough shot that you should probably think about what you want for it. I’d probably go with a similar low-angle shot, but zoomed in closer, primarily showing Mark, with Ernest almost completely cut-off in the lower corner – almost, but not quite, a POV shot from Ernest’s viewpoint.

    Panel 3. Second in series of three. Same medium shot, as Mark brings the hammer crashing down again. He appears horrified by what he is doing, but still he continues. One of Ernest’s hands is clenched into a weak fist, while the other desperately presses against Mark’s face.

    SFX: THWACK!

    Panel 4. Third in series of three. Same medium shot, as Mark once again brings the hammer crashing down onto Ernest’s face. He looks even more horrified now, and a tear is running down his left cheek. As the hammer strikes, flecks of blood spurt up, and more have already splashed across Mark’s face. Ernest’s hands, meanwhile, have gone limp.

    SFX: THWACK!

    If you bring the two panels from last page forward, I’d end this page here. I might consider ending it here it even if you didn’t bring them forward.
    Panel 5. Long shot in profile, with Mark standing on the right side of the panel, holding up the unconscious Ernest by the shoulders. On the left side of the panel, Susan faces them, tugging furiously at her restraints, rabid with hunger.

    SUSAN: UHR! UHR! UUUUUUUUUHR!

    I don’t see this with the average middle-aged guy. Unless he’s a lot more rugged than I pictured him, Mark is more likely hunched over and dragging Ernest by the shoulders. I’m not certain I could hoist the dead weight of a (presumably fit) fully grown man, to a standing position, by the shoulders. And I know my back sure wouldn’t appreciate me trying.

    You’re suddenly specifying which side of the frame Mark is in? Why? My advice is to just let the artist place the characters, because I don’t think your placement makes sense – your pending motion is toward Susan, so Susan should be on the right, to suggest that.


    (more)

    PAGE SEVEN (CONTINUED)

    Panel 6. An over-the-shoulder shot from behind Mark, as he throws Sgt. Ernest onto Susan. Susan is lunging for Ernest as he falls, mouth open and teeth bared.

    SUSAN: UUUUHRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGH!

    This is what I was talking about, with “pending motion”. Because you set up Mark on the right of the page (and you don’t want to violate the 180 degree rule, by flipping him to the left now), you’re now having Mark throw Ernest’s body toward the left, toward inside of the page. Your motion should be toward the right, leading the reader’s eyes on to the next panel or page.

    Now you’re trying to convince me that Mark is throwing the fully grown man? Here’s what I think you should do… If you want to get me to believe this, you need to have Mark hoisting Ernest into a fireman’s carry (or getting his shoulder under him, in some way, to lift with his whole body - something that makes me think he's struggling to lift him) in the last panel, and now have him heaving Ernest off his shoulder, from barely out of Susan’s range, in this one. That I’ll believe. That he picked him up off the floor by the shoulders and threw him… not so much.

    Panel 7. Close-up of Susan, as it sinks its teeth into Sgt. Ernest’s throat, causing blood to spray out violently.

    SFX: SCHLUNK!

    I’d rethink that SFX. It sounds more like driving a sword through someone and into the wall behind them, than it does like a zombie biting into someone’s neck.


    PAGE EIGHT (5 panels)

    Panel 1. Long shot of Mark, sitting on the floor, his hands pressed to his mouth in horror as he watches Susan devour Sgt. Ernest. The rifle lies on the floor next to him.

    CAP/SUSAN: " WHATEVER HAPPENS, DON’T LET… THAT HAPPEN TO ME."

    As long as I’m trying to get you to mess with your page and panel breakdowns anyway… this is where I think you should end the last page – then start this one with what is currently Panel 2.

    Panel 2. Over-the-shoulder shot from behind Mark, now holding the rifle and looking down at it. In the background, we get a glimpse of Susan continuing to feast on Sgt. Ernest’s flesh.

    MARK: I’M SORRY, BABY. I’M SORRY I LET YOU DOWN. I THOUGHT ABOUT IT, TRIED TO DO IT, BUT… HOW COULD I KILL YOU? YOU’RE MY GIRL, SUSAN.

    Panel 3. Medium shot of Mark. He’s smiling now, a glint of madness in his eye.

    MARK: YOU MIGHT NOT LOVE ME, ANYMORE. BUT MAYBE… MAYBE IF I PROVIDE FOR YOU, GIVE YOU THE THINGS YOU NEED, YOU MIGHT LEARN TO LOVE ME AGAIN.

    Panel 4. Medium shot of Susan, caked in blood. It has finished its meal, and is now eyeing Mark hungrily.

    MARK (O.P.): MAYBE NOT. BUT I’LL ALWAYS BE HERE, FOR YOU. I WON’T ABANDON YOU, I WON’T EVER LET YOU DOWN AGAIN. YOU AND ME, SUSAN…

    The dialogue in those last three panels all needs to be broken up, for dramatic effect.

    And I don’t know about “eyeing Mark hungrily.” I might eye a pizza hungrily (though the expression could be a tough sell as a drawing, unless it was a cartoon), but I think a zombie’s version of “eyeing hungrily” would probably involve snarling, slavering, and thrashing to try and get at the food.


    Panel 5. Long shot in profile, of Mark and Susan. Kneeling forward, Mark has reached out, and rested his hand on the tip of Susan’s foot – the one part of her body he can touch without the immediate risk of being bitten himself. He looks up at her lovingly as she sits there, legs outstretched, the bloodied remains of Sgt. Ernest scattered on the floor between them.

    Much like the above comment, considering she was “eyeing Mark hungrily” before, it seems to me like Susan would probably be straining to get at him here, rather than sitting quietly.

    MARK: …I’LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU, BABY.

    BOTTOM CAP: END.

    Yeah, I went all the way to the end. But it was only eight pages, and John waited patiently (or, if he was impatient, I didn’t hear about it) so call it a bonus.

    This was a nice, creepy, little story. The pacing was fairly solid, if a little slower in the middle than I’d like. There are some minor issues, but they shouldn’t be hard to fix. Break up the dialogue in a few places, think a little more about your viewpoints and descriptions in a few places, (maybe tighten up the pacing a little) and I think this one would be good to go.

    So let’s hear what the rest of you have to say.


    .



  2. Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Florida
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    Great job, both of you!

    And, I have a simple solution that fixes both the screwing of nails and the magically appearing hammer...

    Have Mark HAMMER the nails into place, and then when he and Ernest arrive, he can use the claw end of the hammer to pull them out. This leaves mark with hammer in hand, and Ernest not suspicious about that, for the scene.
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



  3. BarriLang Guest

    I LOVED IT!!

    Like you said it slowed down for a little there but picked up again. Great stuff.

    The ending didn't really work for me. The internal monologue that is. It seems too tacked on... Not something a man in his situation would be thinking about... I prefer silence as he watches her devour the sgt and then maybe have him just whispering "I love you Susan"

    Brill tension builder though.. KUDOS!



  4. BarriLang Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianPiccione View Post
    Great job, both of you!

    And, I have a simple solution that fixes both the screwing of nails and the magically appearing hammer...

    Have Mark HAMMER the nails into place, and then when he and Ernest arrive, he can use the claw end of the hammer to pull them out. This leaves mark with hammer in hand, and Ernest not suspicious about that, for the scene.
    That's using your noggin!



  5. BarriLang Guest

    Oh BTW!

    Good work to Calvin and John.



  6. JohnLees Guest

    Thanks for the in-depth response, Calvin.

    I think you're pretty much bang on the money with all the flaws you picked up with the script. To provide some context, I wrote this script over a single day, along with another script - as part of Steve Forbes' challenge in his "Scheduling" week of Bolts & Nuts. And when I sent it in for The Proving Grounds, I deliberately avoided amending it in any way, to get an accurate idea of what kinda standard the work was at after spending only a day on it.

    As such, you pointed out a whole lot of stupid mistakes here with panel construction or breaking up of dialogue that I'm kicking myself for not picking up on. The fact that such technical problems crop up more towards the end seems to suggest I was getting sloppy in my rush to finish. I'm still totally at sea when it comes to the more artistic stuff like light sources and what have you, so the advice you provided on that subject here proved very helpful.

    I also agree with you that the pacing slumps in the middle. I adapted this from a short story I wrote a while back, and with all the exposition and world-building removed from the part where we change to the perspective of the shoulder, it does feel like a bit of treading water on that page. Maybe working on tightening the script up to like 6 pages or so might help with pacing.

    I'm glad that, overall, you liked it. And I'd also like to say you did a stellar job following on from Steven in the editing department. Your notes were detailed and constructive, and have really helped me with ideas on how to polish this script up. Thanks again!



  7. JohnLees Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianPiccione View Post
    Great job, both of you!

    And, I have a simple solution that fixes both the screwing of nails and the magically appearing hammer...

    Have Mark HAMMER the nails into place, and then when he and Ernest arrive, he can use the claw end of the hammer to pull them out. This leaves mark with hammer in hand, and Ernest not suspicious about that, for the scene.
    Great idea!



  8. JohnLees Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by BarriLang View Post
    I LOVED IT!!

    Like you said it slowed down for a little there but picked up again. Great stuff.

    The ending didn't really work for me. The internal monologue that is. It seems too tacked on... Not something a man in his situation would be thinking about... I prefer silence as he watches her devour the sgt and then maybe have him just whispering "I love you Susan"

    Brill tension builder though.. KUDOS!
    Yeah, I too feared the end monologue was a little contrived. I don't want to seem like I'm underestimating the reader, by needing to have Mark explain to them exactly why he killed Ernest. I guess I just thought it'd be nice to give Mark a little character moment rather than abruptly ending. If I were to try cutting it down 2 pages, and was being ruthless about what had to go, then the little speech could definitely hit the cutting room floor.

    Thanks for the response!



  9. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnLees View Post
    Thanks for the in-depth response, Calvin.
    You're welcome.
    I'm glad it could help. And I appreciate your compliments on my editing efforts - Thanks to Barri and Seb, for that, too.



  10. Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Florida
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    I'd say TPG:TNG is off to a great start.

    Sure, that makes Calvin Picard to Forby's Kirk...but what can ya do?

    Ya know the only thing this needed? Calvin asking "Forby, Can you tell me what's wrong with this panel?"

    LOL
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



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