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Thread: TPG: Week 47 - Steven Forbes

  1. CalvinCamp Guest

    TPG: Week 47 - Steven Forbes

    Hey, folks.

    We’ve got Steven under the gun today. He told me this is something he did to play around with the nine-panel grid. So let’s see how it plays out.


    PAGE 1
    Hi. Just a few notes. We’re NEVER going to see the psychiatrist. Never. Their speech balloons will ALWAYS come from the right side of the panel, so please leave some space there. That’s first.

    Second is that we will NEVER see the faces of any of the analyzed. They will always be shown from no higher than the neck down. If you want to be in tight on their chests, that’s fine. I have no problem with that. We’ll build their visual cues together. For Mr. V., he’s more than likely playing with the signature machete. I’m not too concerned with his clothes, but I don’t want them too tattered. Dirty, sure, but not overly tattered.
    Thanks.

    Okay. I already don’t like the sounds of this. I hope you’ve got a really good reason for it, and I hope you pull it off well, but you’ve got your work cut out for you. On the surface, it seems like you’re eliminating a lot of the ability of the artist to show the emotions of the characters, and most of the ability of the reader to connect with the characters. Can you overcome that? I guess we’ll see.


    PANEL 1
    It is daytime. This is from Mr. V’s pov. He’s looking out from a stand of trees, across the lake. In the water, near the small pier, are a group of teenagers. They’re frolicking in the water.

    Because this is from Mr. V’s viewpoint (and, therefore, we can’t see him in the panel), the reader won’t know anything about Mr. V or how he relates to this viewpoint. So if you’re trying to use this to place Mr. V in the scene, you’ve failed. I would suggest a shot from slightly behind Mr. V, looking past him at the setting you’ve described. Alternately you could leave Mr. V out of this panel and pull back from the same viewpoint to include him in the next, along with the teenagers - that could work well.

    NO COPY

    PANEL 2
    Still in the woods, Mr. V. is holding the machete. The machete is in his right hand, and is pointing down. We’re going to be holding on slight variations of this image for a few panels. This could be from the neck down, if you want some distance, or we can come in tighter to his legs, in order to get a good look at the machete, and the actions it will take in a few panels. Whichever way works best, but we’ll be holding that scene for a few panels a we do some back and forth.

    We’re still in the woods, but what is the viewpoint? Have we reversed the angle to look back at Mr. V? Have we pulled back to look past him at the same scene? Are the teenagers in this shot?

    I’m not sure if you intend to keep the same general scene, but vary the shots (neck down, then tighter on the legs to show the machete, then a close-up of the machete, etc), or if you intend to pick a shot and stick with it. Repeating shots can sometimes work well, but it can also get boring very easily unless something significant, within the shot, is changing from panel to panel. Without such a change, or using it as a dramatic pause, I’d go with varying the composition.


    CAPTION (DOCTOR)
    You didn’t answer the question.

    CAPTION (DOCTOR) (CONT’D)
    ...

    CAPTION (DOCTOR) (CONT’D)
    The silent treatment isn’t going to work with me, you know.

    PANEL 2 (No. That was last panel. This is panel 3)
    Back on the teens, but closer. They’re skinnydipping. We’re eventually going to be focusing on one female in particular. Her breasts aren’t going to be overly large, but she’s going to be as pretty as you can make her without being slutty.

    How do you want your artist to handle the nudity? Do you want to “fig leaf” it, treat it naturally, or what? I’ll assume, since you don’t want the girl to look slutty, that you’re not going for gratuitous, but some additional guidance would be nice.

    CAPTION (MR. V.)
    Yes. I like to watch.

    PANEL 3 (this is panel 4)
    Back to the machete. His arm is still down by his side, but the machete is starting to rise a bit.

    Dr. Freud would be so proud.

    Now, this panel decides your shot choice for panel 2. Because this should be the shot where you zoom in from the neck down shot (that you’ll want to use in panel 2), to the tighter-on-the-legs shot, focusing us on the machete. At least that’s what I’d do.


    CAPTION (DOCTOR)
    And how does that make you feel?

    CAPTION (MR. V.) (CONT’D) It's not continued. It's the first time Mr. V is speaking in this panel.
    How do you think?


    PANEL 4 (This is panel 5)
    Come in closer on the girl. She’s facing directly toward us, and is raised somewhat out of the water. We can now clearly see her breasts.

    Okay, so it is a little gratuitous. Which is fine - nothing wrong with celebrating boobs once in a while. But it would be nice to know what she’s doing, besides showing off her assets.

    CAPTION (DOCTOR)
    Asking questions is what I’m here for. Please answer mine.

    PANEL 5 (This is panel 6)
    Back on the machete. It’s raised even higher.

    CAPTION (MR. V.)
    ...

    CAPTION (CONT’D)
    It’s embarrassing.

    PANEL 6 (This is panel 7)
    We’re now very close to the girl. As close as you can get without it looking like porn.
    She’s laughing and having a great time in the water.

    Steven... I hate to break it to you, but it's looking like porn by Panel 5 – I mean, c’mon, you’ve got wet, dripping, naked boobies in the reader’s face. And you’re giving the machete an erection. It’s too late to worry about it, and merely changing the camera distance isn’t going to matter. Just don’t break out the BOOM-CHICKA-WOW-WOW SFX, and you’ll be fine.

    CAPTION (DOCTOR)
    I don’t make judgments, Mr. V. I’m just here to listen and to try to help.

    PANEL 7 (This is panel 8)
    The machete is as high as it can go and still be at his side. It might even quiver.

    Go ahead. Get some motion lines in there and make it quiver. You obviously want to, so don’t try to blame the decision on your artist.

    CAPTION (MR. V.)
    They’re always throwing it in my face. They deserve what they get.

    CAPTION (DOCTOR) (CONT’D)
    That doesn’t answer the question.

    PANEL 8 (This is panel 9)
    Back on the girl. She’s in lower in the water, being splashed by someone else. Feel free to pull back some.

    CAPTION (MR. V.)
    ...

    CAPTION (MR. V.) (CONT’D)
    Watching excites me. And it enrages me. It reminds me of that night...

    PANEL 9 (This is panel 10)
    This is a view of a female’s head flying from her body. Get close in on it, so we can see something (maybe a machete) just going out of view from being swung, and the head being severed from the neck. The head is of an older woman—at least 50.

    Is it a machete or isn't it? And this is a moving panel. We can see it, we can see part of it, or we can't see it.

    I’d move, “It reminds me of that night...” to this panel. I think it’ll help clarify to the reader that this panel is a flashback, and will keep it visually connected to the conversation.


    NO COPY

    Your 9-panel grid is broken, but it’s savable. None of those shots really need to go (except to preserve the grid), but I think you could probably live without Panel 8 (per revised numbers). I’d just move the, “They’re always throwing it in my face. They deserve what they get,” line up into Panel 7 – y’know, where you’re throwing it in the reader’s face.

    Or you could just use ten panels. Up to you.



    PAGE 2

    PANEL 1
    This is in the office. We’re finally getting a look at Mr. V. He’s sitting in a chair, playing with the machete. Maybe he’s cleaning his filthy, black fingernails.

    Nah. We’ve seen him before. Or as much as we can see, since you aren’t showing him above the neck. (And I still don’t like that idea)

    And is he cleaning his fingernails or not? How about making up your mind?


    MR. V.
    It seems like I’ve been watching since that night. Almost like a dream that I can’t escape.

    DOCTOR
    (off panel)
    Is that what you would like to do? Escape?

    PANEL 2
    The same. He may be working on a different nail.

    MR. V.
    I don’t know.

    DOCTOR
    Okay. We’ll come back to that later. Let’s go back to them throwing it in your face. Throwing what?

    PANEL 3
    This is at night inside a cabin. Mr. V. is walking up a set of stairs. The machete is prominent. He’s only seen from about the waist down, through the railing.

    If it’s night, and inside, what’s your light source? How are we going to see anything? You don’t even have a window called out. I would suggest deep shadows and blue tinted colors, but you’ve claimed that blue tinting doesn’t work in comics. So I think that leaves you with a dilemma.

    PERSON
    (off panel)
    Yeah, baby! Yeah!

    He’s stalking Austin Powers?

    CAPTION (MR. V.)
    You’re obtuse. You know that?

    PANEL 4
    Mr. V. is walking down the hall. The hall is long enough to accommodate two doors on either side: three bedrooms and a bathroom. He’s going to be heading toward the bedroom to the rear and on the right. This view is from behind him, and low. Again, the machete is prominent.

    CAPTION (DOCTOR)
    Maybe, but in psychological medicine, there is nothing that is obvious. Stating something is part of recognizing it.

    PERSON
    (off panel)
    Yeah! Yeah! UHHH!

    SFX:
    BOOM-CHICKA-WOW-WOW (sorry, couldn’t resist)


    PANEL 5
    He’s now at the door, which is closed. He’s grabbing the doorknob.

    CAPTION (DOCTOR) So, what are they throwing in your face?

    CAPTION (MR. V.) (CONT’D) Not continued, because he hasn’t said anything earlier in this panel.
    ...

    PANEL 6
    He’s opened the door and has pushed it open a crack.

    CAPTION (MR. V.)
    Sex. They throw sex in my face.

    PANEL 7
    This is from Mr. V’s pov. There is a couple fornicating on a bed. Nothing too graphic, please. I don’t care much about position. Most of the room can be seen, and no one is looking at the door. The woman will NOT be the one that he was staring at in the lake.

    What about the head? I assume it’s also not her, but I’m guessing. Guessing is bad.

    PERSON
    I’m gonna... I’m...!

    Let me step out of the critique for a second, to ask a question...
    You said you were experimenting with the nine-panel grid. Now, I realize that doesn’t mean every page has to actually be nine panels, but it does suggest a fairly formal structure. Given that formal structure, wouldn’t it be appropriate to designate which panels “jump the grid” to make it a seven-panel page? That would be my inclination, but you didn’t do that and I’m just wondering if it was intentional or not.


    PAGE 3

    PANEL 1
    Still watching. Someone’s having an orgasm. I don’t care whom.

    Who’s still watching? Us? Mr. V? Is Mr. V in this panel? Some clarity, please?

    And doesn’t it usually get louder when someone’s having an orgasm? What happened to the PERSON dialogue? I mean, if you’re gonna show it, and have all the grunting earlier...


    CAPTION (DOCTOR)
    How can they throw it in your face if you’re going out of your way to watch them?

    PANEL 2
    The couple is now through, and one is lying on top of the other. Both have their eyes closed in afterglow.

    CAPTION (DOCTOR)
    How can they throw it in your face if they don’t even know you’re there?

    This one needs Mr. V in the shot, standing and watching them, looming over them. It’ll play well with, “...they don’t even know you’re there.”

    PANEL 3
    Tight focus on the machete, which is held high in the air, point down. It’s about to be plunged deep into the couple.

    If it’s a tight focus on the machete, we can’t tell how high it’s held, or where it’s about to be plunged (especially since Mr. V was in the doorway the last time you described him). This needs to be the same shot as last panel, with Mr. V in the background, but now holding the machete high above the couple.


    CAPTION (MR. V.)
    ...

    CAPTION (DOCTOR) (CONT’D) Not continued. It’s the first thing he’s said.
    No answer?

    PANEL 4
    The couple has a look of surprise and anguish on their faces as the machete is plunged deep into them.

    CAPTION (MR. V.)
    That’s not the point.

    I assume that pun was intended? I laughed, so you might as well take credit.

    CAPTION (DOCTOR) (CONT’D) Not continued.
    What is the point? You watch them, and then you punish them for having sex. They don’t know you’re there.

    PANEL 5
    This is a view of the machete, sticking out of their backs.

    CAPTION (DOCTOR)
    Or is it punishment? Could it be that you’re having sex with them the only way you know how?

    PANEL 6
    Mr. V. has his back turned from them. This is from the middle of his back, down. The couple, of course, is unmoving.

    Did he leave the machete behind or take it with him? What’s he doing? What’s his body language? Are his hands hanging limp at his sides? Are his fists clenched in frustration? Are his hands shaking? You’re throwing away opportunities to say things with visual cues.

    CAPTION (DOCTOR)
    How does killing them make you feel?

    CAPTION (MR. V.) (CONT’D) Not continued.
    Powerful. Ecstatic. Warm. Horrible. Ineffective. Small. (This is begging to be a series of small, interconnected balloons, rather than a single, large one)

    PANEL 7
    He’s turned back.

    I’d have him reaching toward the machete, so it’s less static. Whether you do that or not, at least use some kind of body language. C’mon, Steven - you know this stuff.

    CAPTION (MR. V.)
    Don’t say “interesting.” I hate it when you do that.

    CAPTION (DOCTOR) (CONT’D) Not continued.
    I wasn’t going to say it. I was thinking it, but I wasn’t going to say it.

    PANEL 8
    Mr. V. has grabbed the handle of the machete. Angle this so we can still see the bodies.

    CAPTION (DOCTOR)
    Why do you hide the bodies afterwards?

    CAPTION (DOCTOR) (CONT’D)
    And don’t say “why do you think?”

    Not taking the opportunity for a panel 9, to show the machete after it’s pulled out? You could even have Mr. V. holding it up, as if inspecting it, and then repeat that theme in the first panel of the next page to add a little menace to the shrink visit and the, “I hate you,” comment.


    PAGE 4

    PANEL 1
    Back in the office, looking at Mr. V. Of course, he’s still holding the machete.

    MR. V.
    I hate you.

    DOCTOR
    (off panel)
    If that were true, you would take that machete and do very rude things to me with it.

    PANEL 2
    The same.

    DOCTOR
    (off panel)
    Since you came to me for help, I highly doubt that will happen.

    Okay, Steven... I want you to tell me what you just did here. I'll even give you a hint - "(the psychiatrist's) speech balloons will ALWAYS come from the right side of the panel"

    You also do it in panel 6, and again on page 5 panel 3. (You might have done it later too, but I only checked for it in the first few pages.)


    MR. V.
    I could have intercourse with you...

    MR. V. (CONT’D)
    Heh.

    PANEL 3
    The same. He may have changed position in the chair.

    MR. V.
    If Shakespeare called having an orgasm the ‘little death,’ I wonder what he would call what I do.

    DOCTOR (not going to specify off-panel anymore, eh? There’s probably no need to, since you called it out at the beginning, but you might as well be consistent and pick one method or the other)
    I don’t think there were adequate words in those times for what you do.

    PANEL 4
    He’s motioning with the machete. Try to make it look questioning, not menacing.

    Moving panel. And a lame description.

    I’d suggest having him pointing with the machete, his grip loose and underhand, his index finger alongside the blade, using the machete like an extension of his finger (possibly with the machete held a little high, so the blade has a slight downward angle when he points with it). That should make it fairly non-menacing. But I have no idea how to make a questioning motion with a machete, frozen as a single image or otherwise.


    MR. V.
    Sounds like a judgment to me, Doc.

    DOCTOR
    Not at all. There weren’t words for what I do in those times, either.

    DOCTOR (CONT’D)
    So, is that why you killed all of those people? Just for sex?

    PANEL 5
    He’s holding the machete in both hands. It’s pointed down, like in disappointment.

    He’s just holding it. Point down. In mid air. How about some body language? How about having him leaning forward, elbows on his knees, and dangling the machete toward the floor? Damn it, Steven, you’re better than this. I know you are. Stop being lazy.

    MR. V.
    I don’t kill them all.

    DOCTOR
    No, not all of them. Just most.

    MR. V.
    Only those who don’t have enough will to stop me.

    PANEL 6
    Another position.

    Now that’s just beyond lazy. You’re not even pretending to try. This is really disappointing. You’ve given people hell for leaving the choreography of a fight up to the artist, so don’t be trying to claim you’re just giving the artist freedom to work, because you’re not. You’re just slacking off.

    And these shrink visit scenes are dead. Get some visual interest into it. Get Mr. V moving around. Give us some body language. Give us some different viewpoints. An entire page of “guy sits in a chair and moves his knife a couple times” is going to bore the reader. Especially with the reader not seeing anyone’s face (or, if you go your way, even a head – so you can’t even include head movements to help carry the weight), you need to make sure you’re hands-down, goddam STUNNING with the body language. Your artist is already going to have his work cut out for him, thanks to the way you’ve tied his hands, so give him what help you can.

    DOCTOR
    Still doesn’t answer the question, Mr. V.

    MR. V.
    ...

    PANEL 7
    Another position.

    MR. V.
    No. It’s not all about sex.

    DOCTOR
    (off panel)
    Good. We’ll get into that next time. But right now, I want to know about the mask. Why do you wear it?

    PANEL 8
    From his body language, we can tell that he’s turned away from the doctor.

    We couldn’t really tell (with the possible exception of that one panel where he was motioning with the machete, and that’s a stretch) if he was looking at the doctor in the first place. And what is this body language that’s supposed to tell us this? I could probably think of some, but it’s not my job. It’s yours.

    NO COPY


    PAGE 5

    PANEL 1
    He’s still turned away.

    DOCTOR
    (off panel)
    Ashamed?

    PANEL 2
    The same.

    NO COPY

    PANEL 3
    The same.

    DOCTOR
    (off panel)
    Mr. V.?

    MR. V.
    (small)
    Yes.

    PANEL 4
    He’s turned back to face the doctor.

    MR. V.
    I look at the beautiful people, and know that I’m not one of them. That I’ll never be one of them.

    DOCTOR
    (off panel)
    That’s all?

    PANEL 5
    He’s holding the machete up menacingly. Not overhead, like he’s about to chop, but pointing it toward the doctor.

    We can only guess that he’s pointing it toward the doctor. That’s the problem with conversing with off-panel characters. The reader can’t tell where they are. I’m not a fan when people do that in a single panel (without a good dramatic reason), and I’m really not liking a whole comic of it (and no, I can’t see the dramatic reason).

    MR. V.
    I could shove this in many pretty tender places, you know. Pull your insides to your outsides.

    MR. V. (CONT’D)
    Crush your skull and make your eyes pop out like shots.

    PANEL 6
    He’s repositioned himself.

    Yeah? To what position? This stuff is killing me.

    MR. V.
    Or I could bend-

    DOCTOR
    (off panel, covering)
    That’s all nice and graphic, Mr. V., but since we already know better, why even go through the motions?

    PANEL 7
    The machete is wilted again, ashamed or defeated.

    Guess he was still pointing it, last panel, then. Too bad you didn’t tell your artist that.

    MR. V.
    It always comes down to the mask, doesn’t it?

    DOCTOR
    No, not always. But it represents certain things. It says things about you.

    PANEL 8
    Different position.

    Killing. Me.

    MR. V.
    What does it say about me?

    DOCTOR
    (off panel)
    You first.

    PANEL 9
    He’s slouching.

    Finally! A hint of body language that isn’t entirely focused on the peni... machete. Was that so hard? Now I want to know what he’s doing with his hands, and with the machete.

    MR. V.
    It...it goes back to when I was a kid. Before I drowned.

    DOCTOR
    (off panel)
    Go on.

    Sorry, Doc, but I’m not going on. I’m going to stop there.

    Steven... I’m sitting here and just shaking my head. What were you thinking? What’s with the lack of description? This is a script that needed more attention to description (particularly body language) than most, and you gave your artist almost nothing. You can do so much with just hands, not to mention showing body angles and leg positioning to indicate tension or relaxation. You really dropped the ball on that. And, yes, a good artist could pick up that ball and run with it, and deliver a good comic - but you’re still making him work harder than he needs to. Unless you’ve already got your artist chosen, and this is the level of detail he requested, I think I’m going to have to stick with my accusations of laziness.

    You also need to think a little more about your viewpoints, and general descriptions of what’s going on. You’re slacking a little on that front too.

    At the beginning I said I didn’t like the sounds of your approach (cutting people off at the neck and such), and I still don’t like it. I get that this is basically Jason, so I understand why you want to hide the trademark mask. And, running with that as a theme, I can see why you would want to hide the doctor’s face too. But the way you want to go about it is just bad. Don’t do it. You could use camera angles and shadows to keep the mask hidden. Or, even easier, why not just give him a different mask?

    You could use the same kind of tricks with the doctor, to have him in the story but with his face concealed. If you really want to keep the doc mostly off-screen, that’s probably fine (since the story isn’t really about him), but at least keep him on the edge of the frame when you’re in his office – you could probably get away with just having the corner of his desk in view, but you could also have his hands moving around (playing with a coffee cup, taking notes, folded hands, various gestures – don’t forget the body language), to keep the connection between the characters. There are a number of options, but the point is that you can do this SO much better than you are.

    The pacing wasn’t horrible, but it’s running a little slow for my tastes, after that first page. The scenes in the doctor’s office particularly drag. Still not (quite) painfully so, especially if you can get some visual stimulation in there, but it could stand some squeezing. Or maybe spread the stalking of the girl in the last several pages out over the conversation a little more, giving us more visual breaks from the static scene. Heck, add some more victims and you could keep the visual focus mostly on action with the conversation superimposed over it, and just have the occasional jump to the office for context.

    And following on that thought, I think I would also (rather than jumping from the kids in the first scene, to some random couple in a house, then back to the girl from the first scene), have Mr. V stalking the same group of kids from the first panel, all the way through the story.

    Finally, I want to ask you an important question. Is this story intended to be taken seriously? Or is this a joke? Right now I’m not entirely sure (though I thought I was, up until the end), and that’s a problem.

    If it’s intended to be serious... it’s not working at all - not with all the boobs and puns and penis metaphors, and not when you end it with the conclusion that you did. There’s simply no way to take it seriously. But if it’s intended to be a joke... you botched it by trying to play the conclusion too seriously. It’s like you’re not even sure which it’s supposed to be.

    If you go for the joke and deliver the ending with the one-liner it’s begging for (and you know the one-liner I’m talking about)... this could make for a pretty good short. If you want this to be taken as a serious analysis of a slasher-movie serial killer... I think it’s doomed.


    That's all I've got. Anyone else have any thoughts?



  2. BarriLang Guest

    For me the fact that this is kinda "off the wall" and silly makes it an dig at the Slasher Movie genre. They're like a teenagers wet dreams (the films). All gratuity and the like, and this seems to be mocking that.

    I'd have to side with Calvin on the, change position and the lack of description for panel after panel.

    The story really could be a nice little short and a good artist who doesn't mind the "change position" panels in there might have a field day with it. You taught us to arm the artist with the descriptions that will stop him asking questions. A little too much freedom for him in this story.



  3. Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    I'm going to jump straight to the booby issue.

    I THINK what Forby means by "without being porn" is more about the tone, mood, and positioning of the girl and her friends. They are simply playing in the water, they aren't posing and looking lustful. it's that innocent kind of skinny-dipping that has been forgotten in today's mindset of naked = Sex.

    Forby, am I close?
    Last edited by SebastianPiccione; Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 04:30 PM.
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



  4. StevenForbes Guest

    Thanks, Calvin.

    When I wrote this, I wrote it for a particular artist, knowing he didn't want a lot of direction. That's why the descriptions aren't as detailed as they could be.

    Now, there are reasons why I didn't include the head, or seeing the doctor at all.

    The first issue with the head, of course, are trademark issues. I want it to be who it is, skirting the line as close as I could, without going over it. If I change the mask, it's no longer who it is, and I didn't want that. Not at all. Not for what I have planned for these stories.

    The reason you don't see the doctor at all, not even hands, is because I want you to do exactly what you just did: I wanted you to assume the sex of the doctor. I'm hoping that some readers will think of the doctor as a woman, instead of assuming right off the bat that it's a man. I wanted to leave the doctor sexless, almost so that the reader could actually BE the doctor.

    You caught me with the misnumbered panels on P1. I didn't catch that.

    All the "Cont'd" stuff is from Final Draft. When I write for myself, I use FD and then save as .rtf. Unfortunately, saving that way doesn't include saving the page breaks, so I have to put those in. I'm not worried about the "continueds." Since I'll also be lettering it, I know to ignore them.

    Yes, this is intended to be a serious piece. But even some seriousness should have some levity to it. The penis metaphor is obvious, as is the sex. (VERY good call on putting him in that one panel. I didn't see that, myself.) As for the boobs--there are boobs in his world. There isn't an installment that doesn't have them, and to leave them out would be criminal. I can understand if it wasn't to your taste. It's not going to be to everyone's, and I knew that when I wrote it. But some of the associations were just screaming to be made, so I made them.

    Thanks again for your thoughts. I appreciate them.

    Anyone else?



  5. StevenForbes Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianPiccione View Post
    I'm going to jump straight to the booby issue.

    I THINK what Forby means by "without being porn" is more about the tone, mood, and positioning of the girl and her friends. They are simply playing in the water, they aren't posing and looking lustful. it's that innocent kind of skinny-dipping that has been forgotten in today's mindset of naked = Sex.

    Forby, am I close?
    Absolutely on the money.



  6. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    Thanks, Calvin.
    You're welcome. Any time.

    When I wrote this, I wrote it for a particular artist, knowing he didn't want a lot of direction. That's why the descriptions aren't as detailed as they could be.
    Well, in some cases, I'd argue that there are no descriptors at all, but I did try to qualify my statement, in case this was the level of detail that was requested by a specific artist. Since that's the case, it's fine. I called it out because, as a default, I don't think it would generally fly.

    Now, there are reasons why I didn't include the head, or seeing the doctor at all.

    The first issue with the head, of course, are trademark issues. I want it to be who it is, skirting the line as close as I could, without going over it. If I change the mask, it's no longer who it is, and I didn't want that. Not at all. Not for what I have planned for these stories.
    I understood there were reasons, and what those reasons were. And I understand why you wouldn't want to use a different mask. I'd have even gone with not naming the character, myself.

    But I still stand by my opinion that there are better ways to approach the methods of hiding the mask than only showing him below the neck.

    The reason you don't see the doctor at all, not even hands, is because I want you to do exactly what you just did: I wanted you to assume the sex of the doctor. I'm hoping that some readers will think of the doctor as a woman, instead of assuming right off the bat that it's a man. I wanted to leave the doctor sexless, almost so that the reader could actually BE the doctor.
    I hadn't thought of that (personally, without seeing a face, and with the general tone, I couldn't picture the shrink as anyone but a caricature of Freud). But it's kind of a cool idea, so I'll retract my advice to get hands, etc. in the panel, but I still think at least keeping a corner of the desk in view, to reinforce the doctor's location, would be advisable.

    You caught me with the misnumbered panels on P1. I didn't catch that.
    It could be worse. I've misnumbered pages. That'll really throw things out of whack.

    All the "Cont'd" stuff is from Final Draft. When I write for myself, I use FD and then save as .rtf. Unfortunately, saving that way doesn't include saving the page breaks, so I have to put those in. I'm not worried about the "continueds." Since I'll also be lettering it, I know to ignore them.
    I assumed that's what did it (the leftover auto-formatting makes inserting comments a treat too). But I figured I'd be doing a poor job of editing if I didn't point it out.

    Yes, this is intended to be a serious piece. But even some seriousness should have some levity to it. The penis metaphor is obvious, as is the sex. (VERY good call on putting him in that one panel. I didn't see that, myself.)
    Hmmm... I don't mean to harp on you, I'm only saying this out of genuine concern. But I truly don't think this works as a serious piece. The Freudian obsession with sex is kind of a joke all by itself, and, even though it may be a reasonable analysis of what drives Jason, the story is going to have to work hard to overcome that joke. Instead it seems to be embracing the joke, right up until that deadpan delivery at the end. Even that deadpan delivery just sums up to, "Jason, dude. You really need to get laid."

    Honestly, I was smiling and chuckling all the way through this. It works great as a joke at the expense of Freudian psychology and the slasher movie genre. All it lacks is a matching delivery of the punchline. Right now you've got stellar potential as a joke. Potential as a serious piece... I'm just not seeing it. I think you'll need to downplay the humor a lot more, to pull that off.

    Another thing to consider... if it's done as a joke, that might help grant you some legal protection as a parody. I'm not sure simply hiding the mask gives you much protection. (Though that's obviously the sort of thing you'd need to talk to a lawyer about)

    But, in the end, it's your story. Don't let me tell it for you. If you don't want it to be a joke, then don't let me talk you into doing something you don't want to do.

    As for the boobs--there are boobs in his world. There isn't an installment that doesn't have them, and to leave them out would be criminal. I can understand if it wasn't to your taste. It's not going to be to everyone's, and I knew that when I wrote it. But some of the associations were just screaming to be made, so I made them.
    I had no problem with the boobs. I was actually trying to suggest that you not worry as much about embracing the inherent soft-porn aspect as you were. It's there. It is what it is. Don't try to downplay it. Just go with it.



  7. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenForbes View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianPiccione
    I'm going to jump straight to the booby issue.

    I THINK what Forby means by "without being porn" is more about the tone, mood, and positioning of the girl and her friends. They are simply playing in the water, they aren't posing and looking lustful. it's that innocent kind of skinny-dipping that has been forgotten in today's mindset of naked = Sex.

    Forby, am I close?
    Absolutely on the money.
    I get that as a general intent. I just don't know what the camera distance has to do with it. The description, "She’s laughing and having a great time in the water," should get her demeanor across. She's not thinking about sex.

    But everyone else is. And the camera distance has nothing to do it. When that image follows a straight-on boob-shot, a machete getting an erection, and Mr. V talking about how he likes to watch... well, I say let's just let it be what it is, without protesting too much. This story is about sex. And there is nudity. Which means someone will claim it's porn, no matter how much you do or don't zoom in, so why worry about it?

    That's why I said, "Just don’t break out the BOOM-CHICKA-WOW-WOW SFX, and you’ll be fine." It's just not that big of a deal - which probably means I shouldn't have bothered to bring it up, even as a joke.



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    The camera angle and closeness could have VERY much to do with it.

    I think Forby's just telling his artist "Please don't do one of those super-close up almost medical-textbook shots used so often in manga and other comics." Just a gentle reminder to draw the boobs without overdoing it.

    Besides, the point is that Mr. V..oh, dammit I'm gonna go ahead and call him Jason Voerhees, is getting excited for wrong reasons, as his wires are a it crossed.
    Last edited by SebastianPiccione; Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 06:13 PM.
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  9. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianPiccione View Post
    The camera angle and closeness could have VERY much to do with it.
    Okay. I don't really see how (unless we're zooming in for an extreme close-up on her nipples, at least - and I guess that's worth warning the artist against), but different perspectives on things are cool.

    Maybe I just haven't seen enough of those medical text book shots, but I assumed that if we were pulled back far enough to see her laughing and having a great time, we couldn't be all that close. (And you could have a long shot that was pure porn, depending on what's going on in the shot.)

    It's a tiny, minor point, anyway. I didn't think it was a problem, more a chance to poke some fun at Steven. I was already amused by that point, and the, "don't make it porn," comment struck me as funny. I probably shouldn't have said anything about it, because it's not actually doing any harm there.

    Sorry, Steven. I didn't intend it to gain so much importance in the discussion.



  10. JohnLees Guest

    This is a difficult script. I may come back and offer some more in-depth thoughts a little later when I've had time to mull over it, but for now I'll offer some general first impressions.

    On first reading, I didn't really like it. I thought it was jarring, and emotionally disengaging. But on a second reading, it became clear this was in fact a deliberately crafted exercise in jarring and emotionally disengaging the reader. From the alienating panel alignment with the faces cut out, to the voiceover distancing us from the "stalk-and-kill" sequences by removing their sense of urgency, and even to the constant, regimented use of the 9 panel grid, I'm seeing examples of the "Verfremdungseffekt" I talked about in my recent Alan Moore column. Right from the first page, where we have the pattern of "a little closer, a little closer, a little closer WAAAAAAA SEVERED HEAD SPLAT!", it's jarring the reader, taking them out of the moment.

    It seems to me like this is being done for a reason. We've heard Steven comment before on the fundamentally flawed nature of telling a horror story from the monster/killer's perspective. To me this story feels almost like an exploration of that principle. What kind of story do you get if our insight into it is through a killer's fragmented, disjointed, psyche? Well, something that's fragmented and disjointed, probably. It's a subversion of the classic slasher conventions.

    I did think some of the panel descriptions were very sparse. When you're really honed down to the minutae like that, every little movement becomes gigantic, at least significant enough for you to specify. But if you were working with an artist who specifically requested a lack of direction, then the sparseness is more understandable.

    Overall, I think it's an interesting story. But does interesting = good? I'm not sure, I think a lot would depend on art that matched the tone and built up the right atmosphere. But I think it was an ideal script for submission here, as it raises some challenging issues for discussion.



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