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Thread: TPG: Week 54 - Calvin Camp (free-for-all)

  1. CalvinCamp Guest

    TPG: Week 54 - Calvin Camp (free-for-all)

    Okay, guys... We're going to do things a little differently this week.
    You're the editors now.

    We had no scripts in the queue, so John Lees suggested that, rather than skipping a week, I post up something of mine. I thought it seemed like a good idea. He has graciously volunteered to tackle the edit (with some assistance from Jamie Fairlie).

    Now I don't necessarily want to put all the weight on them, so I figure I'll call this a free-for-all. I've come to believe that editing someone else's script is the best practice you can get for spotting the flaws in your own, so anyone who feels so inclined should do their best to tear this to shreds. I know this has more flaws than I've spotted, so I'm counting on all you guys to gang up on me and find them.

    Have at it.

    (Regular viewers may remember this character from a script Steven butchered for me back in Week 32. This is the lead-in for the second issue)

    Shadowdancer – Jake (excerpt)

    Character description - Shadowdancer
    Shadowdancer is not terribly tall (maybe 5' 8" or so), and he's a little scrawny but still muscular in a wiry way. He appears to be in his mid to late 20s . He looks like kind of a freak, with a crack-addled, goth, Morris dancer vibe going. He runs around in a ragged Victorian frock coat, with a poet shirt, torn jeans and engineer boots. He also has white ribbons tied in places around his arms and legs and wears a long, white scarf at his neck. His hair is a wild, black mess. He has a perpetually crazed look and he smiles waaaay too much.

    Character description - Jake
    Jake is a skid row bum, weathered and bent with age. He's in his mid 70s and looks every hour of it, and then some. He's homeless & dirty. His clothes are mismatched, ill-fitting, and in poor condition. He wears a patched and threadbare overcoat, a battered & floppy old fedora, and gloves with the tips worn out, his fingers poking through. He has a scraggly gray beard. He's a wrinkled, rumpled, but kindly-looking old gent, who has long ago fallen on hard times.

    Setting Notes:
    This story needs a timeless look, nothing modern allowed (until the very end). Architecture, clothing, furniture, everything visible, must as easily fit in the 1950s as the 2000s. Avoid showing cars (except where specifically noted), as it would date things way too easily. Keep the viewpoints looking away from the streets toward the buildings whenever possible. Don't put in anything that too strongly suggests a time period other than our own, but don't put in anything that screams modern. Yes, I know this will be a challenge, but it's essential to the story.
    ________________________________________________________________

    Page 1

    Panel 1
    (large, full width panel with title & credits)
    Long shot of a boardwalk beside the ocean. There are cast iron benches in front of the protective wood railing, facing out to sea. Throw a couple decorative streetlights in somewhere, for light later. The sun is low in the sky, nearing sunset. The clouds are just beginning to pick up some color. Shadowdancer is sitting on a bench, looking across the water, his feet propped up on the guard railing and hands folded in his lap. Nearby, Jake is shuffling along the boardwalk toward Shadowdancer, hands in the pockets of his overcoat.

    Panel 2
    Jake is lowering himself onto the bench as Shadowdancer looks over at him, grinning. Jake is smiling also, his eyes crinkling almost shut in his wrinkled face.

    Jake:
    Hiya, 'Dancer.

    Shadowdancer:
    Good evening, Jake, my welcome friend. You're just in time for this fine day's end.

    Panel 3
    Jake is pulling a whiskey bottle out of his coat pocket, as Shadowdancer gazes out at the sea.

    Jake:
    Gonna be a cold night. Care for a snort?

    Shadowdancer:
    You should keep it for your own pleasure, sir. My blood, liquor is unable to stir.

    Panel 4
    The old man looks over at Shadowdancer, whiskey bottle half-raised to his lips. Shadowdancer is back to gazing expectantly outward, waiting for the sunset.

    Jake:
    Eh, that's right. Still a pure shame.

    Whiskey may be a small comfort. But what good is life without small comforts?

    Panel 5
    Close-up on Jake, as he looks at the contents at his half-raised whiskey bottle, a rueful smile on his face.

    Jake:
    'Course the docs told me, years ago, it would kill me.

    But, if you gotta die of somethin', might as well be somethin' you enjoyed.


    Page 2

    Panel 1
    Medium shot on the two, as Jake tosses back a swallow of his whiskey. Shadowdancer is sitting next to him, head tilted to the side slightly, looking thoughtful.

    Shadowdancer:
    It is a fortunate man who can choose his own fate. I've chosen many, myself... but found none, to date.

    Panel 2
    Jake tucks his bottle back in his coat, as he gives Shadowdancer a concerned look, eyes narrowed as he tries to decide if that meant what it sounded like. Shadowdancer is still staring at the ocean, smiling wistfully.

    Jake:
    The hereafter comes to everyone, son. Ain't no need to try and rush it.

    Panel 3
    Close-up on Shadowdancer. His smile has faltered a bit.

    Shadowdancer:
    Heaven, or Hell, may be a strong lure. But for everyone, Jake?

    I'm not so sure.

    Panel 4
    Pull back to show both. Jake stares at Shadowdancer with confusion.

    Jake:
    Maybe I just ain't the poet you are, but I could swear you ain't makin no kind of sense.

    Panel 5
    Close-up on Shadowdancer's face. His gaze is distant. Though he's still holding onto a faded smile, sorrow is now clear in his expression.

    Shadowdancer:
    After all the sunsets you've spent by my side, it seems strange I've not told you...

    I've already died.

    Page 3

    Begin Flashback – use alternate visual style (to be determined)

    Panel 1
    A night scene outside a theater. A crowd of patrons are leaving the show. Prominent among them is Shadowdancer (looking the same age as he does now). Instead of his usual oddball look, he's in a suit and tie with his hair fairly short and neatly combed. He appears happy, but remarkably un-crazed. There's a lovely young woman on his arm, as happy as he is. She is wearing a white dress with a long, white scarf that looks suspiciously like the one Shadowdancer usually wears.

    Caption (Shadowdancer):
    "It was not such a long time ago, by the years. But long enough that I've lost all count of the tears."

    Panel 2
    Shadowdancer and the woman are stealing a kiss in the recessed doorway of a closed shop, as the crowd passes them by.

    Panel 3
    Farther along the street, Shadowdancer and the woman laughingly perform a dance twirl on the sidewalk, while passersby give them strange looks. The crowd has thinned out some.

    Panel 4
    A rough-looking man backs out of the door to a liquor store with a revolver in his hand, stuffing a wad of money into his pocket with the other.

    Panel 5
    Shadowdancer and the woman, still doing their dance, have bumped into the robber - startling all of them.

    Panel 6
    Zoom in on the robber. Panicked, he's firing the revolver.

    SFX:
    BLAM BLAM


    Page 4

    Panel 1
    Shadowdancer sprawls lifeless on the sidewalk, in the woman's arms, blood staining his shirt. The woman stares up at the robber (now killer), her face a mask of anguish and rage.

    Panel 2
    As Shadowdancer lies on the sidewalk in a pool of blood, the woman has risen and is advancing on the robber. Her teeth are bared in a snarl, her eyes slits of rage, her hands clenched in fists. The robber looks scared. He's pointing his revolver at her, his other hand held out as if to keep her away, his mouth open as if he's yelling something.

    Panel 3
    Close-up on the robber, freaked out. He's firing again.

    SFX:
    BLAM BLAM BLAM

    End Flashback

    Panel 4
    Shadowdancer sits beside Jake on the boardwalk bench. He's leaning forward, his elbows on his knees and his hair obscuring his face. Jake has a hand on Shadowdancer's shoulder. He looks toward his friend with a sympathetic but puzzled expression.

    Jake:
    Well, now... that's sure a sad tale. But... I'm a little confused.

    You said, before, that you died. Are you saying your heart died, like? Or are you saying you literally, throw the dirt over you, died?

    Panel 5
    Zoom in closer, as Jake looks at his friend and Shadowdancer hangs his head.

    Jake:
    'Cause, well... you're sitting right here beside me.

    And you look pretty lively.

    Panel 6
    Close-up on Shadowdancer as he raises his head. His eyes look off into the distance as he answers.

    Shadowdancer:
    Oh, I was well and truly dead.

    At least, that's what the coroner said.


    Page 5

    Resume Flashback

    Panel 1
    We're in a morgue. The viewpoint is from inside looking toward the open entrance door to the room. Make sure we can see some of the body drawers off to one side. Inside the room, two bodies, one male and one female, lay on metal gurneys with sheets concealing them and toe tags dangling. Outside the morgue room, visible through the open door, a man in a white smock is standing at a coffee counter (back to us). Put a telephone on the wall in the morgue, beside the door.

    Panel 2
    Move the viewpoint outside the morgue room. Viewpoint from in front of the man at the coffee counter, looking back through the open door, into the morgue. The man is pouring himself a cup of coffee. Inside the morgue, the male body (Shadowdancer) is sitting up on the gurney, looking confused. There are no signs of his gunshot wound.

    Panel 3
    Same viewpoint as above. The man at the counter is spilling his cup of coffee all over himself as he looks over his shoulder, in horror, at Shadowdancer. Shadowdancer is standing, wrapped in a sheet, in the doorway of the morgue. He still looks confused.

    Shadowdancer:
    Hey, guy --

    Man with coffee stains:
    Gaahh!

    Panel 4
    Large panel. Viewpoint from the wall by the morgue phone. The man with coffee all over his smock is talking on the phone, calmer than he has any right to be, but still looking a little wild-eyed. In the background, Shadowdancer is sitting on the floor with the woman's body held in his lap, his face buried in her hair. The sheets are tangled around them both.

    Man with coffee stains:
    Yeah, boss, you'd better come down here. We've got a...

    …situation.

    End Flashback



  2. JohnLees Guest

    Hey, folks! I'm working on this script with Jamie, which is why I say "we" throughout the editing process. Now, neither of us have really done any in-depth editing like this before, so forgive us if we've made a bit of a mess of it. But I hope Calvin can glean some useful feedback from it. Let's get to work!

    Shadowdancer – Jake (excerpt)

    Character description – Shadowdancer (Interesting piece of opening trivia. Shadowdancer is in fact the name of a Mega Drive game. You play a descendant of Shinobi in the apocalyptic future of 1997, who has a dog for a sidekick that follows you around. Have you thought about giving your protagonist an Alaskan husky for a best bud?)

    Shadowdancer is not terribly tall (maybe 5' 8" or so), and he's a little scrawny but still muscular in a wiry way. He appears to be in his mid to late 20s . He looks like kind of a freak, with a crack-addled, goth, Morris dancer vibe going. He runs around in a ragged Victorian frock coat, with a poet shirt, torn jeans and engineer boots. He also has white ribbons tied in places around his arms and legs and wears a long, white scarf at his neck. His hair is a wild, black mess. He has a perpetually crazed look and he smiles waaaay too much.

    Character description - Jake
    Jake is a skid row bum, weathered and bent with age. He's in his mid 70s and looks every hour of it, and then some. He's homeless & dirty. His clothes are mismatched, ill-fitting, and in poor condition. He wears a patched and threadbare overcoat, a battered & floppy old fedora, and gloves with the tips worn out, his fingers poking through. He has a scraggly gray beard. He's a wrinkled, rumpled, but kindly-looking old gent, who has long ago fallen on hard times.

    Setting Notes:
    This story needs a timeless look, nothing modern allowed (until the very end). Architecture, clothing, furniture, everything visible, must as easily fit in the 1950s as the 2000s. Avoid showing cars (except where specifically noted), as it would date things way too easily. Keep the viewpoints looking away from the streets toward the buildings whenever possible. Don't put in anything that too strongly suggests a time period other than our own, but don't put in anything that screams modern. Yes, I know this will be a challenge, but it's essential to the story.
    ________________________________________________________________

    Page 1 (5 panels)

    Panel 1
    (large, full width panel with title & credits)
    Long shot of a boardwalk beside the ocean. There are cast iron benches in front of the protective wood railing, facing out to sea. Throw a couple decorative streetlights in somewhere, for light later. (Thinking of your light source - good!) The sun is low in the sky, nearing sunset. The clouds are just beginning to pick up some color. Shadowdancer is sitting on a bench, looking across the water, his feet propped up on the guard railing and hands folded in his lap. Nearby, Jake is shuffling along the boardwalk toward Shadowdancer, hands in the pockets of his overcoat.

    Mostly good, but how are you going to show shuffling Not necessarily calling it a moving panel just yet, but “hands in the pockets” creates the idea of shuffling enough, without needing to say the word “shuffling” itself, which implies the motion of shuffling.

    Panel 2
    Jake is lowering himself onto the bench as Shadowdancer looks over at him, grinning. Jake is smiling also, his eyes crinkling almost shut in his wrinkled face.

    I think this line is okay, but Jamie thinks it's borderline moving panel.

    Jake:
    Hiya, 'Dancer.

    Shadowdancer:
    Good evening, Jake, my welcome friend. You're just in time for this fine day's end.

    I get that having Shadowdancer speak in rhyme is a stylistic choice, but I think it still feels kinda clunky. It seems like you're forcing in words to try and get a sense of meter.

    Panel 3
    Jake is pulling a whiskey bottle out of his coat pocket, as Shadowdancer gazes out at the sea.

    Jake:
    Gonna be a cold night. Care for a snort?

    Shadowdancer:
    You should keep it for your own pleasure, sir. My blood, liquor is unable to stir.

    This one feels even clunkier. The meter is a bit wonky, and swapping around the order of the last sentence to get the rhyme makes it feel a bit contrived and unnatural. But there's no point highlighting the same flaw every time it pops up. We'll talk more about it at the end.

    Panel 4
    The old man looks over at Shadowdancer, whiskey bottle half-raised to his lips. Shadowdancer is back to gazing expectantly outward, waiting for the sunset.

    Jake:
    Eh, that's right. Still a pure shame.

    Whiskey may be a small comfort. But what good is life without small comforts?

    Panel 5
    Close-up on Jake, as he looks at the contents at his half-raised whiskey bottle, a rueful smile on his face.

    Jake:
    'Course the docs told me, years ago, it would kill me.

    But, if you gotta die of somethin', might as well be somethin' you enjoyed.

    Okay, my problem right away with this page is that not much happens. If we are to view page 1 as the attention-grabber, the one that is supposed to grab readers by the balls and make them keep reading, then this doesn't really work. Over 5 panels, all you manage to do is have a man walk to a bench, sit down, pull out a bottle of booze, think about drinking it, then decide to look at it ponderously instead. In one whole page the poor old dude doesn't even get as far as drinking the stuff! It's a very quiet, uneventful opening to your story, with very stationary visuals (except the two moving panels – Jamie) and so any interest gleaned from it would depend entirely on some truly excellent, immersive dialogue. And while the dialogue is perfectly serviceable (Jake's, at least) it is just filler conversation rather than anything blow-your-socks-off. I don't feel immediately compelled to turn the page. What cliffhanger am I waiting for, seeing if Jake drinks his booze?

    Page 2 (5 panels)

    Panel 1
    Medium shot on the two, as Jake tosses back a swallow of his whiskey. Shadowdancer is sitting next to him, head tilted to the side slightly, looking thoughtful.

    Oh, he does!

    Shadowdancer:
    It is a fortunate man who can choose his own fate. I've chosen many, myself... but found none, to date.

    Panel 2
    Jake tucks his bottle back in his coat, as he gives Shadowdancer a concerned look, eyes narrowed as he tries to decide if that meant what it sounded like. Shadowdancer is still staring at the ocean, smiling wistfully.

    Jake:
    The hereafter comes to everyone, son. Ain't no need to try and rush it.

    Panel 3
    Close-up on Shadowdancer. His smile has faltered a bit.

    Shadowdancer:
    Heaven, or Hell, may be a strong lure. But for everyone, Jake?

    I'm not so sure.

    Panel 4
    Pull back to show both. Jake stares at Shadowdancer with confusion.

    We're confused too.

    Jake:
    Maybe I just ain't the poet you are, but I could swear you ain't makin no kind of sense.

    Panel 5
    Close-up on Shadowdancer's face. His gaze is distant. Though he's still holding onto a faded smile, sorrow is now clear in his expression.

    Shadowdancer:
    After all the sunsets you've spent by my side, it seems strange I've not told you...

    I've already died.

    This is a more interesting way to end the page. Shame it was another largely static page. Now it seems like the story's going to go somewhere, but it took two uneventful pages to get to that point. Perhaps you could find a way to streamline this conversation into a single page (which would cut out a bit of the waffle, where it seems like you were putting in lines just to take up space). And 5 panels a page isn't that many for slow moving stuff, so you probably wouldn't have to cut too much stuff out to get it down to 1 page – just squeeze more panels into the 1 remaining page. This way, the “I've already died” line becomes the first-page page-turner.

    Page 3 (6 panels)

    Begin Flashback – use alternate visual style (to be determined)

    Yeah, with the approach we suggested you'd be turning the page onto a flashback and a change of scene, which would be nice.

    Panel 1
    A night scene outside a theater. A crowd of patrons are leaving the show. Prominent among them is Shadowdancer (looking the same age as he does now). Instead of his usual oddball look, he's in a suit and tie with his hair fairly short and neatly combed. He appears happy, but remarkably un-crazed. There's a lovely young woman on his arm, as happy as he is. She is wearing a white dress with a long, white scarf that looks suspiciously like the one Shadowdancer usually wears.

    Not really a problem, but is there any particular demographic you want the crowd of patrons to cover? Is it an old crowd, a young crowd, a wealthy crowd, a trendy crowd? Other than that, good panel description.

    Caption (Shadowdancer):
    "It was not such a long time ago, by the years. But long enough that I've lost all count of the tears."

    Panel 2
    Shadowdancer and the woman are stealing a kiss in the recessed doorway of a closed shop, as the crowd passes them by.

    Perhaps you should describe a bit what kind of angle you're wanting this? You might end up with the passing revellers in the foreground, obscuring what I imagine you want to be the focus of the panel.

    Panel 3
    Farther along the street, Shadowdancer and the woman laughingly perform a dance twirl on the sidewalk, while passersby give them strange looks. The crowd has thinned out some.

    It's not impossible to draw a still image of a “dance twirl”, but you need to describe it better than that, or we're going to call it moving. They're dancing, and they're laughing at their dancing, and people are looking at them while they're dancing and laughing?

    Panel 4
    A rough-looking man backs out of the door to a liquor store with a revolver in his hand, stuffing a wad of money into his pocket with the other.

    Panel 5
    Shadowdancer and the woman, still doing their dance, have bumped into the robber - startling all of them.

    Panel 6
    Zoom in on the robber. Panicked, he's firing the revolver.

    SFX:
    BLAM BLAM

    We're not sure what you really want with this description. Are you zooming right in on the robber's face, with his firing gun off-panel? Or are we more focusing into the gun in his hand as it fires? A better description of the “camera angle” might help here. We were about to say this is a REALLY strong page turn, only then we remembered we suggested you cut the previous scene from 2 pages to 1, meaning we kinda screwed that up for you. Sowwee. I didn't notice it at first, but Jamie pointed out that what's really great about this page is that other than sound effects, it's totally silent – no dialogue. That really adds to the power of the scene, nice job!


    Page 4 (6 panels)

    Panel 1
    Shadowdancer sprawls lifeless on the sidewalk, in the woman's arms, blood staining his shirt. The woman stares up at the robber (now killer), her face a mask of anguish and rage.

    Good panel description. I could really visualise this one.

    Panel 2
    As Shadowdancer lies on the sidewalk in a pool of blood, the woman has risen and is advancing on the robber. Her teeth are bared in a snarl, her eyes slits of rage, her hands clenched in fists. The robber looks scared. He's pointing his revolver at her, his other hand held out as if to keep her away, his mouth open as if he's yelling something.

    Panel 3
    Close-up on the robber, freaked out. He's firing again.

    SFX:
    BLAM BLAM BLAM

    A repeat of the previous problem – is the close-up on the robber's face or his gun?

    End Flashback

    We'd actually have the page end here. So we take back our apology, we didn't screw up your structure, nyah! With an amended structure, you condense the boring opening into a single page, making it move faster and therefore making it less of a drag. You then turn the page, and page 2 and 3 is this lovely little self-contained, silent piece (done in a different art style, as you stipulated), with the page-turning cliffhanger being Shadowdancer's lady friend apparently getting shot. And there's no problem with this page just being 3 panels, as the first panel of this page would merit being a large panel that dominates like half the page.

    Panel 4
    Shadowdancer sits beside Jake on the boardwalk bench. He's leaning forward, his elbows on his knees and his hair obscuring his face. Jake has a hand on Shadowdancer's shoulder. He looks toward his friend with a sympathetic but puzzled expression.

    Jake:
    Well, now... that's sure a sad tale. But... I'm a little confused.

    This line reads just a little bit patronising. Shadowdancer: “I WAS SHOT AND THEN THE LOVE OF MY LIFE WAS MURDERED!” Jake: “Well now, that's sure a sad tale.” Just a little nitpick.

    You said, before, that you died. Are you saying your heart died, like? Or are you saying you literally, throw the dirt over you, died?

    Panel 5
    Zoom in closer, as Jake looks at his friend and Shadowdancer hangs his head.

    Jake:
    'Cause, well... you're sitting right here beside me.

    And you look pretty lively.

    Panel 6
    Close-up on Shadowdancer as he raises his head. His eyes look off into the distance as he answers.

    Shadowdancer:
    Oh, I was well and truly dead.

    At least, that's what the coroner said.

    Jamie is threatening to go get his big book of how to write poetry down to correct your dodgy meter. It's written by Stephen Fry.

    Page 5 (4 panels)

    Resume Flashback

    Panel 1
    We're in a morgue. The viewpoint is from inside looking toward the open entrance door to the room. Make sure we can see some of the body drawers off to one side. Inside the room, two bodies, one male and one female, lay on metal gurneys with sheets concealing them and toe tags dangling. Outside the morgue room, visible through the open door, a man in a white smock is standing at a coffee counter (back to us). Put a telephone on the wall in the morgue, beside the door.

    Panel 2
    Move the viewpoint outside the morgue room. Viewpoint from in front of the man at the coffee counter, looking back through the open door, into the morgue. The man is pouring himself a cup of coffee. Inside the morgue, the male body (Shadowdancer) is sitting up on the gurney, looking confused. There are no signs of his gunshot wound.

    Panel 3
    Same viewpoint as above. The man at the counter is spilling his cup of coffee all over himself as he looks over his shoulder, in horror, at Shadowdancer. Shadowdancer is standing, wrapped in a sheet, in the doorway of the morgue. He still looks confused.

    Shadowdancer:
    Hey, guy --

    Man with coffee stains:
    Gaahh!

    Panel 4
    Large panel. Viewpoint from the wall by the morgue phone. The man with coffee all over his smock is talking on the phone, calmer than he has any right to be, but still looking a little wild-eyed. In the background, Shadowdancer is sitting on the floor with the woman's body held in his lap, his face buried in her hair. The sheets are tangled around them both.

    Man with coffee stains:
    Yeah, boss, you'd better come down here. We've got a...

    …situation.

    End Flashback

    This whole sequence in the morgue works great. You get a nice little visual gag or two in there, but you also get a nice character beat with the resurrected Shadowdancer cradling his lost love in his arms. To again refer to my recommended restructure, if you did make the end of the first flashback a page-turn, that would leave you with two options. Either you extend the second dull present day talky scene into a whole page, or you squeeze those panels onto the start of this page, making a 7-panel page. Neither of those are ideal options, so my recommendation would be to use the first 2 panels of the Jake/Shadowdancer conversation, and have Shadowdancer's dialogue in the third panel become a narrative caption on the first panel of the morgue flashback.

    Okay, so that's us done with the script provided. So what general comments do we have? First, the elephant in the room – Shadowdancer's clunky dialogue. Now there's nothing wrong with a character talking in verse, but to pull it off, you have to do it EXTREMELY well. And with most of these lines, it just ends up feeling awkward. Imagine for a moment this is a movie, and Vin Diesel is reading these lines. To paraphrase Harrison Ford: “you can write that shit, Calvin, but you sure as hell can't say it.” If you're wanting to go for a poetic aspect to the character, perhaps try something a little more subtle, like writing his lines in iambic pentameter?

    Hate to be harsh, but the present day scenes are dull. It seemed like very little of note happened in those opening couple of pages, and very near scuppered the script totally. If I was a curious customer in a comic book store picking this up off the shelves, skim-reading the first couple of pages would not convince me to give the book a try.

    But on the plus side, the flashback sequences were a lot stronger here. One possible danger could be that the lack of dialogue would make people breeze through these scenes too quickly, but a strong artist should amend this problem, and the stylistic choice of no dialogue in that first flashback was one of the strongest aspects of the scene, so the benefits outweigh any possible risks. Not only did these two flashback scenes tell an engaging story I want to learn more about, but it was in these sequences that you really hit your stride as a visual storyteller, framing some images I could instantly picture in my head.

    To wrap up, there are a few structural problems here, sure. We suggested possible ways of fixing them. But if you sort out those bumps, I think you have the foundation of a really good story here. Good job!



  3. CalvinCamp Guest

    What? You folks are all going to leave it up to John & Jamie?
    Bunch of slackers.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnLees View Post
    (Interesting piece of opening trivia. Shadowdancer is in fact the name of a Mega Drive game. You play a descendant of Shinobi in the apocalyptic future of 1997, who has a dog for a sidekick that follows you around. Have you thought about giving your protagonist an Alaskan husky for a best bud?)
    I don't think the husky would fare well jumping about the rooftops in this character's usual adventures, so I think I'll leave that alone.

    And I guess I'll chalk another mark on the "reasons to change this guy's name" chart, too. I've been trying to come up with a different name for the guy since Steven pointed out some issues with it when the last script went up, but I haven't been able to come up with anything I like yet.

    Mostly good, but how are you going to show shuffling Not necessarily calling it a moving panel just yet, but “hands in the pockets” creates the idea of shuffling enough, without needing to say the word “shuffling” itself, which implies the motion of shuffling.
    You may have a point, but I don't think "hands in pockets," alone, implies shuffling well enough. I can set a pretty brisk stride with my hands in my pockets. Jake, on the other hand, shuffles.

    Let me ask this... If you were being asked to draw "old guy shuffling along the sidewalk" would you understand what needed to be drawn? If not, then perhaps I should take a closer look. Maybe I'd be better off describing the things that "shuffling" implies to me.

    To me, it seems like a description that would apply to body language more than speed of movement - the feet placed closely together rather than separated as they would be in a more powerful stride, a slouched posture, perhaps a somewhat dejected air. I could have said "walking," but I don't think it gives the same overall impression as shuffling (and even "walking" is a description that implies motion, so where do we draw the line?).

    What do you think? Is it really a moving panel, or does it just need more description to clarify what I'm looking for? Or does "shuffling" get the point across even if it sort of sounds like movement?

    Panel 2
    Jake is lowering himself onto the bench as Shadowdancer looks over at him, grinning. Jake is smiling also, his eyes crinkling almost shut in his wrinkled face.

    I think this line is okay, but Jamie thinks it's borderline moving panel.
    Possibly borderline. Possibly, like "shuffling," just more vague than it should be. Either way I should clarify it. I was seeing him partway to a sitting position, most likely with his hands braced on the seat and an armrest to take the strain off his arthritic knees.

    Okay, my problem right away with this page is that not much happens. If we are to view page 1 as the attention-grabber, the one that is supposed to grab readers by the balls and make them keep reading, then this doesn't really work. Over 5 panels, all you manage to do is have a man walk to a bench, sit down, pull out a bottle of booze, think about drinking it, then decide to look at it ponderously instead. In one whole page the poor old dude doesn't even get as far as drinking the stuff! It's a very quiet, uneventful opening to your story, with very stationary visuals (except the two moving panels – Jamie) and so any interest gleaned from it would depend entirely on some truly excellent, immersive dialogue. And while the dialogue is perfectly serviceable (Jake's, at least) it is just filler conversation rather than anything blow-your-socks-off. I don't feel immediately compelled to turn the page. What cliffhanger am I waiting for, seeing if Jake drinks his booze?
    Hmmm... I obviously failed to deliver the hint that I had hoped would come through. The hint being that Jake is dying. So I guess I'll have to look at that, and try to make that clearer (yet without being too ham-handed about it either). It's true that it still won't be a major cliff-hanger, but it should be a decent moment of drama if I can figure out how to get it across. The other dialogue, though I wouldn't say it was intended to blow anyone's socks off, is definitely not intended to be filler conversation. It's apparently not working like I intended, but it's there for a reason.

    I'll get to what I was trying to accomplish, and the pacing issue, later.

    Not really a problem, but is there any particular demographic you want the crowd of patrons to cover? Is it an old crowd, a young crowd, a wealthy crowd, a trendy crowd? Other than that, good panel description.
    Nah, I wasn't really thinking of any particular demographic. Just people.

    But I was thinking more of a play or show of some sort, rather than a movie night, so I should have mentioned that.

    Panel 2
    Shadowdancer and the woman are stealing a kiss in the recessed doorway of a closed shop, as the crowd passes them by.

    Perhaps you should describe a bit what kind of angle you're wanting this? You might end up with the passing revellers in the foreground, obscuring what I imagine you want to be the focus of the panel.
    I don't think it's completely unreasonable to trust the artist and assume he'll chose an appropriate angle, or at least leave a gap, so as not to obscure the only two characters specifically mentioned in the panel. But, on the other hand, it would probably make it a more effective image if I left the crowd out of that panel completely (other people are visible in the panel before & the panel after, so their presence will be implied). So, good call.

    It's not impossible to draw a still image of a “dance twirl”, but you need to describe it better than that, or we're going to call it moving. They're dancing, and they're laughing at their dancing, and people are looking at them while they're dancing and laughing?
    Heh. In my word file for the script, there's actually an attached image as a reference for the dance move, I just didn't bother with it for posting. Guess I should have.

    I figure the laughing is their expressions, and the twirl is their action, so I don't see a moving panel there. The other people are other people, so they can be doing something different, at the same time, without it being a moving panel. I'm pretty sure it works.

    Panel 6
    Zoom in on the robber. Panicked, he's firing the revolver.

    SFX:
    BLAM BLAM

    We're not sure what you really want with this description. Are you zooming right in on the robber's face, with his firing gun off-panel? Or are we more focusing into the gun in his hand as it fires? A better description of the “camera angle” might help here.
    Yeah, that could be clearer. I was just looking for a view that would be zoomed in closer than the panel before, cutting SD and his wife out to focus on the robber. A medium shot would be about right.

    Depending on how the last panel was set up, this one might also require a change in camera angle, but (as a personal preference) I've been trying to leave that stuff up to the artist, unless I have a very specific shot in mind.

    I didn't notice it at first, but Jamie pointed out that what's really great about this page is that other than sound effects, it's totally silent – no dialogue. That really adds to the power of the scene, nice job!
    Well, technically there's some dialogue in the caption box on that page, but I was trying to keep even the voice-over to a minimum (just enough to establish a vague chronology). I'm glad you liked the effect.

    Panel 3
    Close-up on the robber, freaked out. He's firing again.

    SFX:
    BLAM BLAM BLAM

    A repeat of the previous problem – is the close-up on the robber's face or his gun?
    Right again. Actually this one is even worse, because I called for a close-up and that's actually not what I wanted. A medium close shot would be better – I'd like to be closer than the last time, but not so close the gun is off-panel. So I'll have to fix that.

    This line reads just a little bit patronising. Shadowdancer: “I WAS SHOT AND THEN THE LOVE OF MY LIFE WAS MURDERED!” Jake: “Well now, that's sure a sad tale.” Just a little nitpick.
    Yeah, now that one I had spotted. I've re-written that line, I don't know how many times, and I still hate it. I was even fiddling with it, yet again, just before I posted. And after all the work, I think it's worse now than what I started with.

    Part of it might be that I never know what to say at those tragic reveal moments, myself. My brain completely shuts down except for glowing insights along the lines of, "Aw, man, dude. F**k."

    And here I am trying to have Jake say something caring and appropriate while then smoothly steering the topic to, "Wait, what was that about you dying?" I'm definitely trying to write over my head with this one, but I'll keep working at it.

    Jamie is threatening to go get his big book of how to write poetry down to correct your dodgy meter. It's written by Stephen Fry.
    Hey, go for it if you want to, Jamie. I wouldn't mind seeing a couple lines laid out in a strict classical meter, for the sake of comparison. I don't know if you'll sell me on it, but it'd be interesting to see how it might work.

    This whole sequence in the morgue works great. You get a nice little visual gag or two in there, but you also get a nice character beat with the resurrected Shadowdancer cradling his lost love in his arms. To again refer to my recommended restructure, if you did make the end of the first flashback a page-turn, that would leave you with two options. Either you extend the second dull present day talky scene into a whole page, or you squeeze those panels onto the start of this page, making a 7-panel page. Neither of those are ideal options, so my recommendation would be to use the first 2 panels of the Jake/Shadowdancer conversation, and have Shadowdancer's dialogue in the third panel become a narrative caption on the first panel of the morgue flashback.
    Dropping the third panel and changing the dialogue into a voice-over at the beginning of the morgue scene isn't a bad idea. I might go with that if I can get it to sort out right with the changes it looks like I'll need to make.

    Okay, so that's us done with the script provided. So what general comments do we have? First, the elephant in the room – Shadowdancer's clunky dialogue. Now there's nothing wrong with a character talking in verse, but to pull it off, you have to do it EXTREMELY well. And with most of these lines, it just ends up feeling awkward. Imagine for a moment this is a movie, and Vin Diesel is reading these lines.
    I'm afraid I can't imagine Vin Diesel reciting Shadowdancer's lines without laughing at the image. Talk about bad casting.

    But, yeah. The attempt at poetry is a pretty big risk. And a challenge. It's harder to write than straightforward prose, especially as dialogue. It sometimes comes out clunky, even to my ear, and I end up rewriting every line a half-dozen (or more) times. And some of this still needs polishing.

    But (and here's hoping I don't sound like a nutcase when I say this) that's the way the character insists on talking. If I try to take it out, it all goes wrong - like I'm trying to cram a completely different character into Shadowdancer's story. I never intended to have him speak in verse when I initially came up with the concept for the character, but that's how it came out when I started writing his dialogue, and the character just doesn't work, at all, without it. At this point, I'd have to scrap the project before I'd scrap the verse and try to go forward without it.

    I do have to ask, though...Meter? What meter? If you're going at that dialogue trying to read a strict classical meter into it (dodgy or otherwise), then it'll never sound right. Try forgetting about meter and just read those lines like ordinary sentences and you might find they flow better (or you might not).

    Don't let the rhyming fool you, it's all free verse. There was no attempt at sticking to a specific meter. I've always just tried (not always successfully) to find a rhythm that feels "right." I believe good poetry (or perhaps I should say, poetry that I like) has a certain melody-like flow that has nothing to do with rigid meter, and that's what I'm attempting to create. It's not classical metered poetry, but it's also not supposed to be.

    To paraphrase Harrison Ford: “you can write that shit, Calvin, but you sure as hell can't say it.”
    I don't know what to say on that. I've read it all out loud, and had no trouble saying it. Some lines are better than others, of course, and some need to be polished some more, but, in general, it "works" to my ear.

    As for iambic pentameter (or its reverse, the name of which escapes me), I'm not a big fan. It's the most straightforward of the strict forms (and less obnoxious than some), but I still find that the marching cadence it forces on everything wears on me fairly quickly.

    Hate to be harsh, but the present day scenes are dull. It seemed like very little of note happened in those opening couple of pages, and very near scuppered the script totally. If I was a curious customer in a comic book store picking this up off the shelves, skim-reading the first couple of pages would not convince me to give the book a try.
    Be as harsh as need to, I don't mind.

    But I would like to know what it is that makes it boring for you. Are you looking for action? Are you looking for more explicit drama? Do you think there's just no point to those parts at all and they should be gone? What do you think it needs? Knowing what you're looking for, and what you might be missing (that I thought was there), may help me improve it.

    On the earlier static pages comment, I'm not sure I follow you. There's no major action, but that doesn't mean the page has to be visually dull. Is it the lack of camera direction that makes you think it will be? Because that's not necessarily true. I skip heavy camera direction to give the artist the freedom to be creative with viewpoints and camera angles, not to restrict them to static layouts.

    As far as my goals for the present day scenes... I was intentionally setting a leisurely pace for this story (though I'll allow I may have been a bit too leisurely). Issue #1 was a fast-paced, light-hearted adventure. This story is pretty much the dead opposite, because it's supposed to show the opposite side of Shadowdancer, getting into the guy behind the clowning facade he shows to most of the world. To serve the story, I was trying to set up a sense of peaceful companionship between SD and Jake, a moment of down-time.

    I'll have to think on how to best keep a balance between moving things along and dwelling on the moments together - because even though all the action takes place in the origin-story flashbacks, the greater story is a drama exploring SD and Jake's friendship and what that friendship means for a guy who can never die.

    Let's analyse the first scene (the longest of the present day scenes) and see what I've got. Maybe it'll help spot where I went wrong. The idea is to have every panel advance the story or reveal character. But does it do that?

    Page 1

    Panel 1 is the establishing shot. It gives a sense of time and place, and introduces the characters for the scene. I'd say it's okay for what it is, though I could probably tweak it and move some dialogue into it if I decide to condense things.

    Panel 2 tells us (or is supposed to) that our superhero is friends with an old, homeless guy. The friendship is a major element of the story, and I think it says something about SD's character. Jake is the sort of person most people wouldn't make eye-contact with, much less hang out and watch sunsets with.

    Panel 3 should be suggesting several things. That Jake is a hard enough drinker that he carries a bottle around with him, and that Shadowdancer not only isn't a social drinker (declining to share the drink with his friend) but also that alcohol doesn't have any effect on him.

    Panel 4 should tell us something about Jake's philosophy on life (that it's the small comforts that make it worth living), and I was hoping it might raise questions about what Shadowdancer sees as making life worth living (because the story will reveal that as a major question for him).

    Panel 5 was supposed to get across the idea (though it seems to have failed) that Jake's "small comfort" is killing him, and also show that he's kind of okay with that. It's not a cliff-hanger, but it's meant to be a meaningful moment, that should hopefully elicit some sort of emotion from the reader and draw them into the story.

    Page 2

    Panel 1 should be showing two things. One is Jake putting another nail in his coffin. The other is Shadowdancer's reaction to Jakes comment about dying – he's not struck by concern for his friend and Jakes impending demise. Instead he turns philosophical, musing about how Jake is fortunate to have chosen a method of dying that he's at peace with, and hinting that Shadowdancer has tried to end his own life, repeatedly.

    Panel 2 shows the opposite reaction from Jake. Jake is concerned at what Shadowdancer has revealed, because his view of dying is different than SD's. He may be at peace with it, but he doesn't see it as a goal.

    Panel 3 is a little cryptic, but it's supposed to set up what comes after, raising the idea that not everyone dies.

    Panel 4 may be the weakest of the lot, but the reader is supposed to feel as confused by the earlier, cryptic comment as Jake. I think panels 3 and 4 could probably be combined with no real loss.

    Panel 5 is supposed to be the grabber – "I've already died." Hopefully the reader will want to read further to know the story behind that comment.

    So that's what I was trying to accomplish with those panels. The question becomes... did they say what they were supposed to? And was what I was trying to say worth saying? Those are questions I'll have to think on, but I don't believe, right now, that I want to remove any story elements. It looks like I will definitely have to refine them, though.

    As for the length... It could probably be condensed to fewer panels. And it could also be squeezed into a denser layout on a single page. I'm just not sure that making a single page with a dense layout is any better for pacing than two pages with a more generous layout – the reader will still have to get through the same scenes and dialogue either way, so it won't really speed things up. The only way to speed things up is to cut down the scene, and it's tight enough already that cutting it down much would mean I'd loose story. If I don't cut story elements, then all I'd save is page count.

    The denser layout might also make the scene feel constricted and uncomfortable (with the combination of small panels and relatively extensive dialogue), where I think I'd prefer something more spacious with room for the scene to breath – it's supposed to be a comfortable moment (at least until the talk turns to death).

    But I do like the idea of the double-page flashback scene that condensing the first two pages into one would provide. I don't know. I'll have to think that one over.

    But on the plus side, the flashback sequences were a lot stronger here. One possible danger could be that the lack of dialogue would make people breeze through these scenes too quickly, but a strong artist should amend this problem, and the stylistic choice of no dialogue in that first flashback was one of the strongest aspects of the scene, so the benefits outweigh any possible risks. Not only did these two flashback scenes tell an engaging story I want to learn more about, but it was in these sequences that you really hit your stride as a visual storyteller, framing some images I could instantly picture in my head.

    To wrap up, there are a few structural problems here, sure. We suggested possible ways of fixing them. But if you sort out those bumps, I think you have the foundation of a really good story here. Good job!
    Thanks guys!

    I appreciate the critique, and I think it provides me some good food for thought. And if you have any additional thoughts on how I might better achieve my goals for the present day scenes, I'd love to hear them



  4. drgerb Guest

    Just a quick note: I haven't read either the edit or the script yet, but I'll try to make time either tomorrow or within the next few days. I've got a 4 day weekend from my job coming up, beginning on Sunday, so woohoo!

    I'll try to give it a read and post up my thoughts then, if not sooner. I can't tell if I should read the edit first so I know what not to say, or if I should skip it, thinking I might end up inadvertantly stealing what John and Jamie already pointed out. Gah.

    I also mentioned a while back I've been writing a script to submit. Gah, I've been so busy lately. I've got the first 3 pages of one script done, and I've got an interesting starting point for a second script in the back of my mind. If this 4 day weekend goes swell, I might be able to get a couple of scripts sent your way, Calvin, for this column. I should at least get the one done, hopefully, but I'm at kind of a road block. I hate that. Writing out page turners, coming up with awesome pages, dialogue, and transitions / scene changes is all fun and all... But then you just hit the point where you don't know where to go next with your story. Gah.

    So yeah. Just lettin' ya know I'll be back here posting my two cents in a short while. Woohoo!



  5. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by drgerb View Post
    Just a quick note: I haven't read either the edit or the script yet, but I'll try to make time either tomorrow or within the next few days.
    Don't rush yourself. It's not going anywhere.

    I'm just giving people a hard time. I don't expect anyone to put their lives on hold to critique a script (or be bothered with doing it at all if they don't want to).

    And I know what you mean about the road blocks. It seems like some stories practically write themselves, but others will fight me every step of the way. I've got one short that I've been sitting on for months. It should only be about 6 or 8 pages, complete... but you think I can get past the first stinking page? Pfft!:mad:



  6. jamesfairlie Guest

    Hya, this is just me replying at the moment, John might disagree with me, or have things to add later.

    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    And I guess I'll chalk another mark on the "reasons to change this guy's name" chart, too. I've been trying to come up with a different name for the guy since Steven pointed out some issues with it when the last script went up, but I haven't been able to come up with anything I like yet.
    I quite like the name, and I don't think sharing a name with an almost forgotten MegaDrive game from almost 20 years ago counts against it. I only noticed it because I still play MegaDrive games more than is healthy.

    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    You may have a point, but I don't think "hands in pockets," alone, implies shuffling well enough. I can set a pretty brisk stride with my hands in my pockets. Jake, on the other hand, shuffles.

    Let me ask this... If you were being asked to draw "old guy shuffling along the sidewalk" would you understand what needed to be drawn? If not, then perhaps I should take a closer look. Maybe I'd be better off describing the things that "shuffling" implies to me.

    To me, it seems like a description that would apply to body language more than speed of movement - the feet placed closely together rather than separated as they would be in a more powerful stride, a slouched posture, perhaps a somewhat dejected air. I could have said "walking," but I don't think it gives the same overall impression as shuffling (and even "walking" is a description that implies motion, so where do we draw the line?).

    What do you think? Is it really a moving panel, or does it just need more description to clarify what I'm looking for? Or does "shuffling" get the point across even if it sort of sounds like movement?
    I had a go at drawing "shuffling" and came up with this:



    which looks more like a walk to me. I would imagine a man shuffling to have his feet closer to and more parallel to the ground, but that would end up looking like he is standing still. Now, obviously, any artist you hired would draw something much better than that, but I think they would have the same difficulties implying his motion.

    On the other hand, if that's the kind of thing you were looking for then the description is fine as it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    I was seeing him partway to a sitting position, most likely with his hands braced on the seat and an armrest to take the strain off his arthritic knees.
    That's a perfectly good description right there, and not overly long

    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    Heh. In my word file for the script, there's actually an attached image as a reference for the dance move, I just didn't bother with it for posting. Guess I should have.
    Yeah, I think a photo reference of the sort of thing you're looking for would help here.

    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    Hey, go for it if you want to, Jamie. I wouldn't mind seeing a couple lines laid out in a strict classical meter, for the sake of comparison. I don't know if you'll sell me on it, but it'd be interesting to see how it might work.
    I might have a shot at that later
    I don't think keeping his dialogue in verse is a bad idea, but I cringed at almost every one of his lines here.


    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    The denser layout might also make the scene feel constricted and uncomfortable (with the combination of small panels and relatively extensive dialogue), where I think I'd prefer something more spacious with room for the scene to breath – it's supposed to be a comfortable moment (at least until the talk turns to death).
    I see your point here, but I stand by our suggested restructure. If you had a nice big opening shot, perhaps taking up the whole top third of the page, with a lot of open space shown then I think you could maybe have an 8 or even 9 panel page and have it not feel too constricted. That way you would only have to cut out one panel.



  7. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesfairlie View Post
    I had a go at drawing "shuffling" and came up with this:

    which looks more like a walk to me.
    That's not too far off. And a shuffle is a walk, after all, it's just walking slowly and without lifting your feet much. I mainly just want to make sure I do get something that looks more-or-less like that and not like a purposeful stride. Just "walking" seems too vague to me in this case, but I think "shuffling" describes a type of walk appropriate to the character.

    I might have a shot at that later
    I don't think keeping his dialogue in verse is a bad idea, but I cringed at almost every one of his lines here.
    Just be careful. If you do too well at it, I might try and recruit you to rewrite all my verse.

    I see your point here, but I stand by our suggested restructure. If you had a nice big opening shot, perhaps taking up the whole top third of the page, with a lot of open space shown then I think you could maybe have an 8 or even 9 panel page and have it not feel too constricted. That way you would only have to cut out one panel.
    I'm not ruling out a one-page opening scene. But the thing to remember is that the bigger I make that nice big opening shot, the smaller I'll have to make the rest of that panels, which just increases the potential crowding effect. Still, I'll think it over, maybe thumbnail it, and see what happens.



  8. JohnLees Guest

    Sorry, I forgot all about this thread! I'll try and weigh in later.



  9. drgerb Guest

    Shadowdancer – Jake (excerpt)

    Character description - Shadowdancer
    Shadowdancer is not terribly tall (maybe 5' 8" or so), and he's a little scrawny but still muscular in a wiry way. He appears to be in his mid to late 20s . He looks like kind of a freak, with a crack-addled, goth, Morris dancer vibe going. He runs around in a ragged Victorian frock coat, with a poet shirt, torn jeans and engineer boots. He also has white ribbons tied in places around his arms and legs and wears a long, white scarf at his neck. His hair is a wild, black mess. He has a perpetually crazed look and he smiles waaaay too much.

    (Just because everyone's already done red)Sounds interesting. I think Shadowdancer will depend on how the artist goes about drawing him. Trying to imagine some concept sketches.

    Character description - Jake
    Jake is a skid row bum, weathered and bent with age. He's in his mid 70s and looks every hour of it, and then some. He's homeless & dirty. His clothes are mismatched, ill-fitting, and in poor condition. He wears a patched and threadbare overcoat, a battered & floppy old fedora, and gloves with the tips worn out, his fingers poking through. He has a scraggly gray beard. He's a wrinkled, rumpled, but kindly-looking old gent, who has long ago fallen on hard times.

    Setting Notes:
    This story needs a timeless look, nothing modern allowed (until the very end). Architecture, clothing, furniture, everything visible, must as easily fit in the 1950s as the 2000s. Avoid showing cars (except where specifically noted), as it would date things way too easily. Keep the viewpoints looking away from the streets toward the buildings whenever possible. Don't put in anything that too strongly suggests a time period other than our own, but don't put in anything that screams modern. Yes, I know this will be a challenge, but it's essential to the story.

    My only thoughts are 1. Will this take place in a town / city? If so, avoiding cars unless specified may be a bit rough, as cities tend to have cars. I hope the roads aren't deserted looking unless they are meant to be.
    ________________________________________________________________

    Page 1

    Panel 1
    (large, full width panel with title & credits)
    Long shot of a boardwalk beside the ocean. There are cast iron benches in front of the protective wood railing, facing out to sea. Throw a couple decorative streetlights in somewhere, for light later. The sun is low in the sky, nearing sunset. The clouds are just beginning to pick up some color. Shadowdancer is sitting on a bench, looking across the water, his feet propped up on the guard railing and hands folded in his lap. Nearby, Jake is shuffling along the boardwalk toward Shadowdancer, hands in the pockets of his overcoat.

    I think words like shuffling can always be misread. I thought 'meandering' when I first read it. But just the idea that he's homeless, I have this image in my head of a homeless guy standing, facing Shadowdancer, maybe not necessarily walking, but definitely facing him as if he's about to slowly reach him? Homeless people tend to look like like they're not really going anyplace quite often.

    Panel 2
    Jake is lowering himself onto the bench as Shadowdancer looks over at him, grinning. Jake is smiling also, his eyes crinkling almost shut in his wrinkled face.

    Camera angle? Guess if it's not necessary, it's not required. I have a harder him imagining panels when the angle / shot isn't described.

    Jake:
    Hiya, 'Dancer.

    Shadowdancer:
    Good evening, Jake, my welcome friend. You're just in time for this fine day's end.

    I no longer like Shadowdancer. He's too arrogant.

    Panel 3
    Jake is pulling a whiskey bottle out of his coat pocket, as Shadowdancer gazes out at the sea.

    Jake:
    Gonna be a cold night. Care for a snort?

    Shadowdancer:
    You should keep it for your own pleasure, sir. My blood, liquor is unable to stir.

    Come on, not even for a good time on the beach? It might be a nuuuude beach!! And ugly nude people look hotter once you tip a few back. Poor Shadowdancer.

    Panel 4
    The old man looks over at Shadowdancer, whiskey bottle half-raised to his lips. Shadowdancer is back to gazing expectantly outward, waiting for the sunset.

    Jake:
    Eh, that's right. Still a pure shame.

    Whiskey may be a small comfort. But what good is life without small comforts, right Shadowprancer?

    Panel 5
    Close-up on Jake, as he looks at the contents at his half-raised whiskey bottle, a rueful smile on his face.

    I don't know what rueful means, but I am just a lazy artist. If I was paid to draw this script, maybe I'd take the time to look it up but not every artist would. I don't know how much an adjective like 'rueful' would change a shot of a homeless guy smiling.

    Jake:
    'Course the docs told me, years ago, it would kill me.

    But, if you gotta die of somethin', might as well be somethin' you enjoyed.

    Cheers, mate!


    Page 2

    Panel 1
    Medium shot on the two, as Jake tosses back a swallow of his whiskey. Shadowdancer is sitting next to him, head tilted to the side slightly, looking thoughtful.

    I've got 'The Thinking Man' on my mind. Jake sitting next to the famous sculpture, slamming back some whiskey on the beach. What a great image. Hah.

    Shadowdancer:
    It is a fortunate man who can choose his own fate. I've chosen many, myself... but found none, to date.

    Aw, depressed rhyming straight edge goth? I want to beat him up with Jake's whiskey bottle already. But maybe that's just me.

    Panel 2
    Jake tucks his bottle back into? his coat, as he gives Shadowdancer a concerned look, eyes narrowed as he tries to decide if that meant what it sounded like. Shadowdancer is still staring at the ocean, smiling wistfully.

    Jake:
    The hereafter comes to everyone, son. Ain't no need to try and rush it.

    Panel 3
    Close-up on Shadowdancer. His smile has faltered a bit.

    Shadowdancer:
    Heaven, or Hell, may be a strong lure. But for everyone, Jake?

    I'm not so sure.

    Panel 4
    Pull back to show both. Jake stares at Shadowdancer with confusion.

    Jake:
    Maybe I just ain't the poet you are, but I could swear you ain't makin' no kind of sense.

    Panel 5
    Close-up on Shadowdancer's face. His gaze is distant. Though he's still holding onto a faded smile, sorrow is now clear in his expression.

    Shadowdancer:
    After all the sunsets you've spent by my side, it seems strange I've not told you...

    I've already died.

    I was waiting for something to pick up. Maybe this will be it. Nice page turn.

    Page 3

    Begin Flashback – use alternate visual style (to be determined)

    Panel 1
    A night scene outside a theater. A crowd of patrons are leaving the show. Prominent among them is Shadowdancer (looking the same age as he does now). Instead of his usual oddball look, he's in a suit and tie with his hair fairly short and neatly combed. He appears happy, but remarkably un-crazed. There's a lovely young woman on his arm, as happy as he is. She is wearing a white dress with a long, white scarf that looks suspiciously like the one Shadowdancer usually wears.

    Caption (Shadowdancer):
    "It was not such a long time ago, by the years. But long enough that I've lost all count of the tears."

    I dunno but rhyming to me is hard to pull off without feeling forced. I guess if it rhymes, it rhymes, and that's the point. Just after reading a line that rhymes (gah!), from time to time, the words you choose need to confine rather than define. Oo, I should rhyme more often. I mean when you rhyme, all of a sudden you put sound over meaning and that's all fine and dandy for music, but... I dunno. It is fun to do!

    Panel 2
    Shadowdancer and the woman are stealing a kiss in the recessed doorway of a closed shop, as the crowd passes them by.

    Panel 3
    Farther along the street, Shadowdancer and the woman laughingly perform a dance twirl on the sidewalk, while passersby give them strange looks. The crowd has thinned out some.

    Panel 4
    A rough-looking man backs out of the door to a liquor store with a revolver in his hand, stuffing a wad of money into his pocket with the other.

    Panel 5
    Shadowdancer and the woman, still doing their dance, have bumped into the robber - startling all of them.

    Panel 6
    Zoom in on the robber. Panicked, he's firing the revolver.

    SFX:
    BLAM BLAM


    Page 4

    Panel 1
    Shadowdancer sprawls lifeless on the sidewalk, in the woman's arms, blood staining his shirt. The woman stares up at the robber (now killer), her face a mask of anguish and rage.

    Panel 2
    As Shadowdancer lies on the sidewalk in a pool of blood, the woman has risen and is advancing on the robber. Her teeth are bared in a snarl, her eyes slits of rage, her hands clenched in fists. The robber looks scared. He's pointing his revolver at her, his other hand held out as if to keep her away, his mouth open as if he's yelling something.

    Confused on how to pull this off. At first I thought it'd be over the shoulder from the robber, so you see her face along with Shadowdancer laying on the groun, but then you describe the robber's face and all of a sudden it feels a lot harder to do. A side shot seems far less dynamic than focusing on either the girl or the robber, thus killing any chance of revealing both of their faces.

    Panel 3
    Close-up on the robber, freaked out. He's firing again.

    SFX:
    BLAM BLAM BLAM

    End Flashback

    Panel 4
    Shadowdancer sits beside Jake on the boardwalk bench. He's leaning forward, his elbows on his knees and his hair obscuring his face. Jake has a hand on Shadowdancer's shoulder. He looks toward his friend with a sympathetic but puzzled expression.

    Jake:
    Well, now... that's sure a sad tale. But... I'm a little confused.

    You said, before, that you died. Are you saying your heart died, like? Or are you saying you literally, throw the dirt over you, died?

    Panel 5
    Zoom in closer, as Jake looks at his friend and Shadowdancer hangs his head.

    Jake:
    'Cause, well... you're sitting right here beside me.

    And you look pretty lively.

    Panel 6
    Close-up on Shadowdancer as he raises his head. His eyes look off into the distance as he answers.

    Shadowdancer:
    Oh, I was well and truly dead.

    At least, that's what the coroner said.

    While standing near the bed and reattaching my decapitated head.


    Page 5

    Resume Flashback

    Panel 1
    We're in a morgue. The viewpoint is from inside looking toward the open entrance door to the room. Make sure we can see some of the body drawers off to one side. Inside the room, two bodies, one male and one female, lay on metal gurneys with sheets concealing them and toe tags dangling. Outside the morgue room, visible through the open door, a man in a white smock is standing at a coffee counter (back to us). Put a telephone on the wall in the morgue, beside the door.

    Panel 2
    Move the viewpoint outside the morgue room. Viewpoint from in front of the man at the coffee counter, looking back through the open door, into the morgue. The man is pouring himself a cup of coffee. Inside the morgue, the male body (Shadowdancer) is sitting up on the gurney, looking confused. There are no signs of his gunshot wound.

    Panel 3
    Same viewpoint as above. The man at the counter is spilling his cup of coffee all over himself as he looks over his shoulder, in horror, at Shadowdancer. Shadowdancer is standing, wrapped in a sheet, in the doorway of the morgue. He still looks confused.

    Panel 2: 'viewpoint from in front of the man at the coffee counter, looking back through the open door,' Panel 3: 'Same viewpoint as above... as he looks over his shoulder.' I don't understand. Is he facing us in panel 2 or is he looking back through the morgue door? If he's looking through the door in both panels, why is he looking over his shoulder (turning his head I'm assuming?) in the last and not the first? Minor nitpicking, I know, but it feels as if you rushed these descriptions, unless I'm just misunderstanding them.

    Shadowdancer:
    Hey, guy --

    Man with coffee stains: <3 'man with coffee stains.'
    Gaahh!

    Panel 4
    Large panel. Viewpoint from the wall by the morgue phone. The man with coffee all over his smock is talking on the phone, calmer than he has any right to be, but still looking a little wild-eyed. In the background, Shadowdancer is sitting on the floor with the woman's body held in his lap, his face buried in her hair. The sheets are tangled around them both.

    Man with coffee stains:
    Yeah, boss, you'd better come down here. We've got a...

    …situation.

    End Flashback


    Don't really know what to say. Editing is easy but posting a few paragraphs at the end seems a bit hard. I liked the last pager turner, along with the previous one I mentioned.

    While the particular story may not be my cup of tea, I'll say the pacing seemed fine and it left me wondering what's going to happen next. I guess I really don't know what else to add.

    I didn't read anybody else's posts / edits cause I felt if I did I'd just resay what they already said and constantly be in agreement to everyone else. I rather felt like editing it on my own from scratch to see how different my comments are to everyone else's. I'll come back and read the rest of the replies in a bit and give me other thoughts on them all.



  10. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by drgerb View Post
    (Just because everyone's already done red)Sounds interesting. I think Shadowdancer will depend on how the artist goes about drawing him. Trying to imagine some concept sketches.
    This might help (though it's embarrassing how out of practice I am).

    He's not quite where I want him yet. I'd like to get him a little more crazed looking, with a slightly creepy edge (and he looks a little young in that sketch), but it's in the ballpark.

    My only thoughts are 1. Will this take place in a town / city? If so, avoiding cars unless specified may be a bit rough, as cities tend to have cars. I hope the roads aren't deserted looking unless they are meant to be.
    I'm hoping that with the scenes I've chosen and the right camera angles (shots looking back at the buildings instead of out at the streets) I can avoid most of the problem. But, yes, it will be a little tricky. Even clothing will be a challenge. And it may even be an experiment that won't work - time will tell.

    I think words like shuffling can always be misread. I thought 'meandering' when I first read it. But just the idea that he's homeless, I have this image in my head of a homeless guy standing, facing Shadowdancer, maybe not necessarily walking, but definitely facing him as if he's about to slowly reach him? Homeless people tend to look like like they're not really going anyplace quite often.
    It's weird. John & Jamie brought this up too, but I still don't really understand how it's so easy to misread. "Shuffling along" seems more specific than "walking along," and I can't imagine someone calling "walking" a vague description.

    Jamie had trouble with the word, but sketched up something that worked fine. And you had trouble with the word, but came up with a more elaborate way to describe it that also worked fine. Both of you obviously understood what it meant, so it's kind of hard to see the problem.

    If you equate shuffling to meandering, that's probably okay too (even though, to me, meandering implies an erratic path of travel rather than body language that would suggest the way a frail old man would walk), because what you described as the image in your head would work. As long as Jake's not doing a strong, purposeful stride or leaning against a lamp post and gawking off into some direction other than where he's supposed to be heading (so that the reader can assume he's setting a leisurely old-man pace headed toward the bench), then it's all good.

    Shadowdancer:
    Good evening, Jake, my welcome friend. You're just in time for this fine day's end.

    I no longer like Shadowdancer. He's too arrogant.
    Arrogant, eh? That's not quite what I was shooting for.

    What is it that makes you think he's arrogant? Is it that his line is too wordy for a casual greeting? Or just that he can't say hello without spouting rhyme? Or something else?

    Come on, not even for a good time on the beach? It might be a nuuuude beach!! And ugly nude people look hotter once you tip a few back. Poor Shadowdancer.
    Yeah. And it's a cold night too, so it might even be nipply.
    , right Shadowprancer?
    Hey, hey... that's the kind of comments SD gets from his enemies, not from his friends. Meanie.

    I don't know what rueful means, but I am just a lazy artist. If I was paid to draw this script, maybe I'd take the time to look it up but not every artist would. I don't know how much an adjective like 'rueful' would change a shot of a homeless guy smiling.
    I suppose "rueful" isn't something you hear every day, but it's not exactly a ten-dollar word either. It's basically "bitterly regretful" (tell me you've at least heard the saying, "You'll rue the day...).

    I read a LOT, and it's possible I let my vocabulary get away from me, so I can probably keep an eye on that in the future. But (and I'm probably going to sound like a jerk when I say this)... if I've hired someone to draw my comic (or shared rights with him if it's a collaboration, whatever) and he can't even be bothered to crack a dictionary if I happen to use a word he hasn't run into before, then I'd have to wonder what kind of half-assed effort he's going to put into the drawings. So I think I'd rather not work with that artist, if at all possible.

    Shadowdancer:
    It is a fortunate man who can choose his own fate. I've chosen many, myself... but found none, to date.

    Aw, depressed rhyming straight edge goth? I want to beat him up with Jake's whiskey bottle already. But maybe that's just me.
    Hey, I warned you he was goth. (He's not straight-edge, though. He'd probably be a harder drinker than Jake, if it did anything)

    But usually he's a perky goth. Last issue he was rescuing damsels and dancing with thugs - this is the emo issue.

    I dunno but rhyming to me is hard to pull off without feeling forced. I guess if it rhymes, it rhymes, and that's the point. Just after reading a line that rhymes (gah!), from time to time, the words you choose need to confine rather than define. Oo, I should rhyme more often. I mean when you rhyme, all of a sudden you put sound over meaning and that's all fine and dandy for music, but... I dunno. It is fun to do!
    Well, that's three votes against the rhyming. I may try (again) rewriting it without the rhymes, but I don't know if Shadowdancer will let me.

    Maybe I can at least convince him to save the rhyming for taunting his adversaries and pretend he's half-sane when chatting with friends.

    Panel 2
    As Shadowdancer lies on the sidewalk in a pool of blood, the woman has risen and is advancing on the robber. Her teeth are bared in a snarl, her eyes slits of rage, her hands clenched in fists. The robber looks scared. He's pointing his revolver at her, his other hand held out as if to keep her away, his mouth open as if he's yelling something.

    Confused on how to pull this off. At first I thought it'd be over the shoulder from the robber, so you see her face along with Shadowdancer laying on the groun, but then you describe the robber's face and all of a sudden it feels a lot harder to do. A side shot seems far less dynamic than focusing on either the girl or the robber, thus killing any chance of revealing both of their faces.
    Yeah, you're right. I need to fix this a bit. Good call. The main viewpoint should be of the girl. And, though it could be shown from the side, I agree that a flat side view is the least dynamic option.

    I think I need a 3/4 view from slightly behind the robber, looking past him at the girl. Rather than trying to show fear on his face (which will be mostly hidden and won't carry it well), I can use his body language to show that he's scared. He can be recoiling back, a hand up in front of him as if to ward her off, I could even use some motion lines to show the gun in his other hand shaking as he points it at her. And I can save his expression for the next panel.
    While standing near the bed and reattaching my decapitated head.
    C'mon, he hasn't had his head cut off. Yet.
    That comes later.


    Panel 2
    Move the viewpoint outside the morgue room. Viewpoint from in front of the man at the coffee counter, looking back through the open door, into the morgue. The man is pouring himself a cup of coffee. Inside the morgue, the male body (Shadowdancer) is sitting up on the gurney, looking confused. There are no signs of his gunshot wound.

    Panel 3
    Same viewpoint as above. The man at the counter is spilling his cup of coffee all over himself as he looks over his shoulder, in horror, at Shadowdancer. Shadowdancer is standing, wrapped in a sheet, in the doorway of the morgue. He still looks confused.

    Panel 2: 'viewpoint from in front of the man at the coffee counter, looking back through the open door,' Panel 3: 'Same viewpoint as above... as he looks over his shoulder.' I don't understand. Is he facing us in panel 2 or is he looking back through the morgue door? If he's looking through the door in both panels, why is he looking over his shoulder (turning his head I'm assuming?) in the last and not the first? Minor nitpicking, I know, but it feels as if you rushed these descriptions, unless I'm just misunderstanding them.
    In Panel 2, it's supposed to be the camera that's looking back through the morgue door, not the guy. The guy should be watching what he's doing, pouring his coffee. It's not until Panel 3 that the guy looks back over his shoulder, in response to hearing Shadowdancer up and around. In both panels, his body position should be more-or-less the same, facing toward the camera (probably turned slightly in panel 3). So I'll make sure I clarify that.

    Some helpful stuff there. Thanks!



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