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Thread: TPG: Week 49 - Barri Lang

  1. CalvinCamp Guest

    TPG: Week 49 - Barri Lang

    Hey, folks! Barri Lang is up again. Let's see what he's brought us this time.

    Page 1
    Panel 1
    A panel showing “outer space”. Not boring black “real space” but the kinda ["kind of" would sound more professional] space you see in the movies. Throw a nebula in there. No planets. In the centre of the panel (tiny) there’s a small shuttle. This shuttle would serve the same use as private jet, so should be big enough for comfort but not too big.

    Good description on what you want for your space backdrop. The link to the nebula image is a nice bonus.

    Voice (a radio disembodied transmission emanating from a spec [should that be "speck?" I'm not sure if the UK spelling is different or not] in the centre of the screen)
    Mayday, Mayday

    Is the speck, in the dialogue notes, the shuttle? I assume so, but this could be interpreted as a shuttle and a speck separate from the shuttle. If the speck is the ship, I'd just say the transmission is from the ship. Or mention something, in the description, to the effect that, "The ship is just a speck right now."

    Panel 2
    We’ve pulled in closer to the ship and we can clearly see that it’s a space ship.. [extra period] Smoke billows from the rear of the ship. I don’t know how smoke behaves in space and can find no reference on good old Google. So until someone tells us otherwise I say go with a trail of smoke.

    I would suspect that you'd probably have a trail of smoke if the ship was moving, or a cloud if it was sitting still. That means that if you go with a trail, it'll probably look like the ship is moving. The cloud would make it look like it's stopped. A slightly trailing cloud would suggest it was drifting slowly, leaving smoke behind.

    I think you should be more specific, but as long as you don't end up with smoke leading upward from the ship like it's coming out of a chimney, you're probably okay.


    Voice (a radio transmission emanating from a ship in the centre of the screen)
    [Why not just say, "from the ship?" The location should have been established in the panel description, not in the dialogue]
    Please! My name is Senator Stanley Hancock… my crew is dead. I…

    Panel 3
    Cut to the inside of the cockpit. It’s a high tech affair but not to [too] dissimilar to a passenger jets cockpit.. [extra period, and "jet's" should have an apostrophe – good on you for the link, though] The pilot and co-pilot are sat in their chairs (M/G). Their bodies are facing away from the reader. The co-pilot is slumped forward on the front console, his arm limp at his side. The pilot is sat upright in his chair, his head turned, looking to the right. Their wounds were caused by the control console in front of them, exploding and sending glass and fire into them. The console is a mess of wires, broken monitors and sparking electricity. We can see the “windshield” is also cracked (B/G).

    Senator Stanley Hancock is in the F/G. He stands in the centre of the panel side on to allow the M/G and B/G to be seen. His head [is] turned slightly towards the “windshield”, [slightly] enough so that we can see he has a radio mike to his mouth. The mic is connected to a “spring” coiled wire that runs to the ceiling and another bank [of] switches and lights. He uses his free hand to brace himself against the cockpit ceiling.

    Not a bad description, but there are a couple things...

    You didn't describe the pilot's and co-pilot's wounds, just what caused them. I think you need to mention some serious burns, shards of console sticking in them, whatever, to make it clear that the console blowing up is what did them in.

    "The pilot is sat..." vs "The pilot is sitting..."
    I know you've said this is a UK thing, and it's not really a comprehension issue, but I'm not sure it sounds all that professional. Now that we've got you thinking about your self-editing more (and you will keep doing that, won't you?), I think it's time to get you thinking about your polish, about what you can do to make the best possible impression with your submissions to publishers. And I think that not mixing your tenses would help that.


    Senator
    I repeat this is Senator Han…

    SFX (from the crack in the glass) - screerACK

    Panel 4
    Close up of the Senator. We’re looking towards him from the front of the cockpit and his head is turned directly towards us. The radio mic is no longer up to his mouth, numbing fear having caused him to lower it. His eyes are wide in terror and his jaw slack.




    Page 2
    Splash Page
    Looking into the cockpit towards the “Windscreen” (B/G) as it begins to shatter. A large crack being the greatest danger. The Senator (F/G) has flung the Radio mic and it stretches on its wire. He has turned and is just starting to run towards the reader, (and the door o/p). [period] Around him bedlam is let lose. Everything that isn’t nailed down is flying towards the failing glass. The Senator's hair and tie are ruffled by the rushing air.

    Is there a larger crack? A large crack and a few smaller cracks spreading? Have a couple of chucks broken loose? Or is the windshield shattering? There's a LOT of difference there. And a single large crack doesn't seem like the biggest danger if the window is shattering. I think you should try that part of the description again, while keeping in mind the fact that the windshield remains (relatively) intact through the following pages, so your damage can't be too excessive.

    And what isn't nailed down in a spacecraft cockpit? Give the artist some suggestions. Alternately, he could probably just use the hair and clothing, and the radio mike, along with some motion lines, to show the wind without a lot of debris required. Think it over. Decide what you want.


    This is the title page.

    SFX (from the biggest crack) – CreaACKK!

    Senator Hancock.
    …cock!

    Don't forget to give your letterer the title, so he doesn't have to go looking for it in the header.

    Page 3
    Panel 1
    Inside the cabin (where the passengers sit), looking from right to left across the cabin. This will place the cockpit door on the right of the panel and the corridor leading further into the ship to the left. Against the left hand wall of the corridor (B/G) is a heavy looking door (like an exit door of airliner.) On it in large print is the word EXIT.

    Is this a corridor or a passenger cabin with an aisle up the middle? Or is it a cabin and then a corridor? Right now it's a little unclear. And if it's a corridor after the cabin, and we're looking straight across the cabin, how are we going to see an exit door somewhere in the corridor? If the exit door is in the cabin it works (is it opposite the cockpit door? On the side?), but I can't tell if that's what you want or not.

    Air rushes from the cabin towards the cockpit, some flying paper work and stationary can show this.

    Just a suggestion, but I'd show an open briefcase bouncing around somewhere, and maybe a fold-down desk at one of the seats, just to provide a source for the flying stationary.

    Panel 2
    As above except that on either side of the open cockpit door are the grasping hands of the senator.

    Senator (O/P coming from the open door)
    GUuh!

    Panel 3
    As above but he’s managed to almost completely pull himself out of the cockpit. He’s being battered by the rushing air.

    Senator
    C…’mon!

    Panel 4
    Cut to the outside. We’re looking at the Senators ship from inside the open airlock of another, as yet unseen, ship. The senator’s ship is in the B/G, haemorrhaging oxygen into the vacuum of space. Again paper and other small bits of debris can show this.. [extra period] In the F/G is a figure wearing a sleek looking EVA suit (space suit). On the wall to the right of the open airlock is a panel, with large glowing green and red buttons and the perforated grill of a speaker on it. The figure holds what looks to be a pneumatic drill in one hand. (Zero G making it easy).

    Along with the debris, don't forget the water vapor in the air freezing as it hits open space. You have a change to show visible airflow there, a high-pressure "fog" blasting out of the windshield.

    Space Man (from his helmet)
    The cockpit’s breached! There’s no time to dock!

    Voice (from a speaker on the wall)
    NO! The collar!

    What does that dialogue mean? What is "the collar," and what is its significance? My first assumption would be that it's the docking collar of the airlock, but then I'm left wondering why someone's hollering "NO!" about it.

    Page 4
    Panel 1
    Looking towards the “space man”, his knees bent as he prepares to dive towards the Senator’s ship.

    Are we still inside the airlock? Have we moved out into space and are looking back at the airlock? Does the spaceman have any sort of tether to the ship (is that what the collar is, and he didn't have time to connect it)? Does he have any kind of equipment for maneuvering?

    Space Man (radio through his helmet)
    Then I guess you’d better keep up.

    Panel 2
    Looking towards the “rescue ship”. The Spaceman glides towards us, drill cradled to his chest like an infant. He passes through a drifting debris field of papers and a paperclips and pens. [get rid of the "a" before paperclips]

    The way it's written, that could be construed as a moving panel. And it's not going to carry real well. What you're going to get, visually, is the spaceman hanging in space in a cloud of office supplies. You need to think about how you're going to suggest the movement away from the rescue ship.

    What does the rescue ship look like?


    Panel 3
    Low wide angle. In the cockpit, looking out of the cracked “windshield” at the Space Man. He’s inserted the drill through the now fist sized hole in the “windshield”. At the tip of the nozzle we can see four large holes. From these a quick hardening foam will be pumped into the cockpit. In the B/G the rescue ship has shifted position and is passing out of the left hand side of the panel.

    Space Man (radio through his helmet)
    I’m about to restore cabin pressure.

    You can place the rescue ship wherever you like, but I don't know how the reader will know it has shifted position. We can't see it moving, and we don't know where it was before, in relation to this viewpoint.

    UNLESS... you use this same viewpoint for panel 2, showing the spaceman partway here (and the rescue ship in its earlier position). If you do that, it will also help your problem in panel 2, with showing movement, because the two panels will work together to suggest his travel.


    Panel 4
    Inside the cockpit we can see ooze has started to fill the panel. It has erupted from the end of the drill device, which is now hidden. Just visible to the right of the blob we can see the space man peering in. Have some things (perhaps the pilot and co-pilot still strapped into the chair their hair and arms and ties flailing) fly forward towards the hole (which is hidden behind the blob) to show the air is still rushing out. The radio mic stretches its lead.

    SFX (From the drill device) – Splurch

    Space Man
    Piece of piss.

    >Raises an eyebrow<
    Is a piece of piss a good thing or a bad thing? I would think it's not good, except that what he's doing (by next panel) seems to have worked. So I'm a bit confused.

    Ah... thanks to Google I now know that a piece of piss is, indeed, good.

    piece of piss
    (adj) Easy, not difficult. (Mainly British)
    Beating this game is a piece of piss.

    I learned something new today.

    I don't think you should change the dialogue. I like that the UK touch is there. But for the sake of the US market, I'd suggest adding something like the spaceman grinning through his visor, so we have some context to work with to figure out that he's pleased and things are going well. I'd also rethink having the air still rushing out, because that is helping to give the impression that things aren't working according to plan.


    Panel 6 [this is panel 5]
    Cut back to the outside. The ooze has covered the pane of “windshield” that was cracked and several spikes of the hardened material stick through the micro fractures into space. A large spike of the ooze sticks out of the main hole having solidified and sealed the damaged areas. The space man clings to the right hand side of the cockpit window. His visor pressed against the glass as he tries to spot the Senator.

    See that? Now you've got a "main hole." But before you said that a large crack was the biggest danger. You need to sort out your descriptions of that windshield, for consistency.

    Space Man
    Jackson here! I’ve plugged the breach but there’s no sign of the Senator.



    Page 5
    Panel 1
    Cut to inside the cabin. Looking towards the Senator. He’s pressed against the wall opposite the emergency exit. He looks terrified. A trickle of blood runs from the centre of his lower lip and which has also run to his chin. [That would be less clunky if it just read, "A trickle of blood runs from the centre of his lower lip to his chin."] Small trickles of blood are also running from the corners of his eyes and down his cheeks.

    From your earlier description of the cabin, I kind of thought the cockpit door was opposite the emergency exit. You're going to need to work on those descriptions.

    Caption – (another radio transmission from a different source) [a different source than what?]
    Copy that Jackson.

    Panel 2
    As above. The Senator has his hands balled into fists, rubbing his eyes.

    Caption – (another radio transmission from a different source) [the same different source as the last one, or is this a different different source?]
    Get back on board. We’re attaching the umbilical

    Senator (whisper)
    Hello?

    Panel 3
    Looking at the exit door. It’s half opened, the door is sliding into a recess in the roof. Under the door we can see the smart looking wingtip shoes and dark pressed trousers of Warden Wallace

    You're flirting with moving panels again. We can't see the door sliding, we can just see it partway open. I get that you're just letting the artist know which direction you want it to open, and that's fine, but I think you should ask for some motion lines to suggest the movement so it doesn't look like the door is stuck.


    Panel 4
    Small panel. Close up of the Senator. His bloodied eyes stare blankly ahead.

    Senator
    Who’s there? Who are you!

    Panel 5
    Large panel. We see Warden Wallace. A slim, well dressed and bespectacled man. His round glasses reflect the dim cabin lights preventing his eyes from being seen.

    Warden Wallace
    My name is Warden Henry Wallace and I’m here to take you home.

    Somewhat interesting.

    I have no idea what this is about, yet, or why it took five pages to get here, but Wallace intrigues me a little. He's not quite the rescuer I would have expected, and that's a good sign. But I don't know what the story is about - I know it's science fiction, and that there's a marooned senator getting rescued, but, beyond that, you haven't given me any clues to tell me what the story will be.

    I think you could probably tighten this up a bit and get me a little farther by this time. I think this pacing would work alright once the story was underway, but it could stand to be a little tighter for the "grab." Right now, it's not really grabbing me. I might give it another page or two, but you'd need to sell me by then. If you could cut this down, you'd have that much more room for extra story. Of course you'll still need to consider whether that extra page will be enough to let the reader know where you're headed.

    Anyone else have any thoughts?



  2. BarriLang Guest

    1ST I have to thanks Calvin for giving me a bit of a heads up on this script. He actually asked me if i was dyslexic because my spelling was so bad and sentences were all over the shop. Though I can spell, when I'm typing really fast I never stop to look at what I've written and here's where TPG has become a bit "Bitter Sweet" for me. I've LEARNED A LOT about writing but it's also making me lazy. I'm not proof reading my own work anymore and just leaving it to Steve and Calvin.

    SO I self edited it and it turned out a lot better than the original. (And I had time to submit my edit for Calvin to use.
    Something else I've been working on, but still need to work at, is the "research" aspect of writing. Case and point was my ham-fisted description of the "Cabin" (the tube that houses the passengers.)

    So from now on to make sure i don't waste the help I've gotten over these months with TPG I'm going to self edit, and self edit again..... and then again for luck.

    Oh and the collar was a hint to what will be revealed in the next scene. The rescuers are death row convicts.

    As for the pace, I've been trying to keep scenes to 5 pages.. rigid I know but it helps me structure a story. But this is probably not the way to go... as you've seen it makes me stretch and squash parts that should have less/more time given to them.

    Cheers for the review Calvin. Hope to hear from the rest of the gang.



  3. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by BarriLang View Post
    1ST I have to thanks Calvin for giving me a bit of a heads up on this script. He actually asked me if i was dyslexic because my spelling was so bad and sentences were all over the shop.
    Aw, Jeeze... I wasn't going to tell anyone about that. I felt bad enough bringing it up. (And, in case anyone's wondering, I asked nicely. I think. I just didn't want to lay into Barri and bawl him out for bad self-editing if there was a reason he was having difficulty)

    And, yes, I can assert that Barri's revised script turned out a LOT better.

    it's also making me lazy. I'm not proof reading my own work anymore and just leaving it to Steve and Calvin.
    There's a good lesson here for all of us, I think. While it may not seem like there's much point to impressing Steven or me, here on TPG, we're not the ones you'll normally be writing for. Out in the real world, when you're trying to sell your story to an editor, you definitely don't want to leave it to them to find your mistakes.

    Something else I've been working on, but still need to work at, is the "research" aspect of writing. Case and point was my ham-fisted description of the "Cabin" (the tube that houses the passengers.)
    Calling it a cabin was fine. I'm pretty sure that is what it's called. What was throwing me off was the corridor reference and the shaky description. You can call it the cabin or "that part in the middle with the seats in it" as long as the artist can figure out what you're describing. It was figuring out what you were describing that was giving me trouble.

    So from now on to make sure i don't waste the help I've gotten over these months with TPG I'm going to self edit, and self edit again..... and then again for luck.
    You might try stepping away from the script for a few days, then printing it out to mark up. That could help. It creates more distance - if you're trying to edit it on-screen, especially right after you've written it, your brain will (or at least mine will) sometimes fill in things because you know what it's supposed to say. Getting that little bit of distance can help you to figure out what it actually says.

    Oh and the collar was a hint to what will be revealed in the next scene. The rescuers are death row convicts.
    Ah! That's why the ship had to keep up. Now I'm a bit more intrigued. You should see if you can find a way to work that information in there somehow. Maybe specify that's it's that guy's collar, and it could blow if he gets to far away (or whatever it does).

    As for the pace, I've been trying to keep scenes to 5 pages.. rigid I know but it helps me structure a story. But this is probably not the way to go... as you've seen it makes me stretch and squash parts that should have less/more time given to them.
    Mmmm... yeah. I can see where you'd want a way to structure things like that, but it's probably not the ideal approach. Maybe try thinking about how long each scene should be, while you're in the outline stage, rather than just saying, "Every scene is this long." That should still let you work out the page counts ahead of time while still allowing individual scenes to expand or contract as they need to (because they'll almost always need to).

    I'm probably not the guy to talk to about outline structure though. I can only outline things very generally. If I get too tightly locked in, with no room to let the story grow organically, it kills it for me and everything is a slog from there out. So I haven't done much experimenting along that line. Maybe Steven, or one of the other guys, can give you some ideas.



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