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Thread: TPG: Week 58 - Tommy Ferrari

  1. CalvinCamp Guest

    TPG: Week 58 - Tommy Ferrari

    Tommy Ferrari brings us this week's script. Let's see how he does.

    PAGE 1

    PANEL 1

    Long panel. A glittering, futuristic coastal city at midday. White skyscrapers line the foreground, overlooking the coast filled with boats. On the other side of the harbor, you can see construction cranes indicating that the city is still experiencing enormous growth.

    CAPTION
    Virtua City… the city of tomorrow!

    PANEL 2

    Zooms in closer to street level, but still high above the actual street. Scientists in lab coats of all ages and races walk across a bridge leading into a building. The building is decorated with the logo of a futuristic energy company (see reference pic).

    CAPTION
    In the span of ten years, glittering skyscrapers emerged from a seaside village to create the most energetic scientific community in the world.

    PANEL 3

    Three scientists in a lab huddle around a humanoid robot. One is repairing his leg with an open panel while the other attaches an arm. The third is on a computer in the background. Control panels and monitors can be seen in the background (the monitors display heart rate monitors, diagrams, etc.). The robot smiles happily.

    CAPTION
    It is known worldwide as an engineering mecca…

    CAPTION
    A treasure trove of ideas, creation, and energy!

    PANEL 4

    Large panel. A series of highways leads away from downtown, marked by the same tall skyscrapers on a bright, sunny day. Retro-futuristic cars, trucks, and robotic machines dot stacked highways. See reference pic for specific details.

    You're adding detail to your city, in later panels, which should have been specified from the outset (stacked highways, retro-futuristic vehicles). I think you'd be better off giving the artist an overview of what you want the city to look like (just like you're, presumably, giving him general descriptions of the characters), and then just specify locations and new elements - otherwise he'll have to read ahead to make sure the city he's showing in his early panels doesn't conflict with what you add later.

    CAPTION
    The progressive spirit of the city lives in its citizens, all of whom move at breathtaking speeds in the name of progress, advancement, and…


    PAGE 2

    PANEL 1

    ¾ page panel. Jet is in the foreground, running from Teck in the background. Jet’s wearing a gleeful expression of hearty, wide-smiled, open-mouthed laughter. Teck’s is of pure rage and frustration. His arms are extended, fingers extended, ready to strangle Jet. His head down to his shoulders is covered in motor oil – his eyes and mouth are the only visible details.

    They are running across a launch site for test rockets (a runway specifically – should look like a normal road situated on a platform for planes to land). Planes should be seen in the sky (at varying heights) while both humanoid and transporter robots should be seen on the runway. The humanoid robots can be carrying cargo, lounging around, etc. The transporter robots just look like wheeled machines (carrying cargo aboard if possible).

    That's a lot of background detail to cram into a shot where we're supposed to be close enough to the figures to see their expressions. It's possible the artist could pull it off, but I think you'd be better off with a long establishing shot, showing the background and the characters as small figures running along the launch site, and then adding a second panel to zoom in on the characters for their expressions.

    CAPTION
    … mischief!

    TECK TRONIX
    Get back here, [comma] you little fiend!

    JET ROCKET
    Bwahahahaha!

    PANEL 2

    Long panel. Jet and Teck are in the background, running away from the reader, in similar poses as before. Find a way to give the image a humorous touch. In the foreground, two robots (of differing models) can be seen looking at them in the distance.

    TECK TRONIX
    Wait ‘til I get my hands on you!

    JET ROCKET
    Watch out!

    ROBOT #1
    Looks like Jet rigged the jet fuel canisters again.

    "Jet" is repetitious, making this sentence clunky. "Looks like Jet rigged the fuel canisters again," would work better and still get the point across.

    ROBOT #2
    That’s one messenger bot that’s always up to no good.

    This sentence is also a bit clunky. I understand that you need to get specific information across, but try and see if you can make it feel a little more natural.

    I think it would help to have these same robots positioned somewhere in the panel before this one (perhaps Jet and Teck are running between them?) so there's some continuity to the scene.


    PAGE 3

    PANEL 1

    Teck chases Jet to a rocket silo. Stairways/bridges wrap around it, and the chase continues on one of them. The view is a distance away; the characters can’t be seen clearly, but it’s a good establishing shot.

    We had a shot showing the launch site, a wide enough shot that we can even see planes in the sky. If you wanted a rocket silo with stairways and bridges wrapped around it, somewhere on that site, it should have been mentioned in the description for that earlier panel. Otherwise it has just appeared out of thin air. (Personally I'd also show the silo in the background of the shot with Jet & Teck running away from the camera, to show where they're headed.

    And you've got a moving panel, here. They can't be running to the silo and continuing the chase on it at the same time, in the same panel. If you show them running toward the silo in Panel 2 on the last page, then you could show them continuing the chase here (running up one of the stairs or something). But you need to separate your actions, as well as add some clarity as to what you want to see.


    TECK TRONIX
    (Huff huff) Get… (huff) back here!!!

    JET ROCKET
    Too slow, big guy!

    INTERCOM (O.P.)
    Test launch in 10 seconds.

    PANEL 2

    Teck and Jet stand on a bridge leading directly to the rocket. View from behind Jet. Teck has a menacing grin across his face. He clutches his fist across his chest (typical bully fist punching palm). Jet is in the middle foreground, with the outline of the rocket all the way in the foreground. Teck look slightly tired, but still as described.

    TECK TRONIX
    Aha! Nowhere left to go now, brat!

    JET ROCKET
    Uh oh!

    INTERCOM (O.P.)
    Test launch in 5 seconds.

    PANEL 3

    Small panel. Cut to Jet’s face. Jet gulps in exasperating fear.

    "Exasperating fear"? What do you mean by that?

    TECK TRONIX (O.P.)
    Thought you’d get away with your little prank, didn’t you!

    JET ROCKET
    (Gulp!)

    PANEL 4
    Small panel. Cut to Teck’s face. His expression has changed from a menacing grin to suppressed anger.

    TECK TRONIX
    Not this time, runt…

    INTERCOM (O.P.)
    4…

    PANEL 5
    View from behind Teck this time. He lunges at Jet, as if preparing to tackle him. Jet lets out an exaggerated, cartoony, open-mouthed yelp.

    TECK TRONIX
    This time you’re gonna pay! Get over here!

    JET ROCKET
    AUUUUGH!

    INTERCOM (O.P.)
    3…

    PANEL 6

    Jet leaps into the air, managing to dodge Teck’s tackle. He still has a look of exasperated desperation on his face.

    Exasperated desperation, now? I'm starting to wonder if you think exasperated means something other than what it does.

    TECK TRONIX
    Argh!

    JET ROCKET
    Yikes!

    INTERCOM (O.P.)
    2…



    PANEL 7

    Small panel. Jet looks to his side (facing the reader) and sees a handle on the rocket in the slight foreground.

    INTERCOM (O.P.)
    1…

    PANEL 8

    Small panel. Close up of Jet’s hand grabbing the handle.

    INTERCOM (O.P.)
    Rocket blastoff!


    PAGE 4

    PANEL 1

    Splash panel. View from above. The rocket blasts into the sky, with Jet hanging onto a handle with one hand. His other hand pulls down his eyelid as he sticks out his tongue with a mischievous grin, the stereotypical anime taunting expression. The silo and Teck’s outline can be seen below, as well as the bird’s eye view of the rest of the base.

    TECK TRONIX
    Jet Rocket!!!

    JET ROCKET
    Woohoo!!!

    Nope. This shot doesn't work. You're asking for a shot from above, with Jet looking down (because he has to, to taunt Teck), and you expect us to see Jet's expression. Can't be done.

    Also, you neglected to name Teck anywhere in the scene, so the reader will have no idea who he is when you refer to him later.



    PAGE 5

    PANEL 1

    Exterior view of college lecture hall building (see reference pic from the greatest college on Earth, Penn State ). It’s the same sunny day as in the first few pages.

    CASSANDRA MORALES (O.P.)
    …And once the impulse of the rocket is multiplied by the gravitational acceleration at sea level, we can find the velocity of the rocket exhaust.

    PANEL 2

    Interior view of lecture hall (see reference pic). Attentive robot students sit in lecture-style seating. Garrett Force and Roy Axalon should be present in the seats. The rest can be random humanoid and traditional robots. Include props such as water bottles, textbooks, notebooks, etc.

    CASSANDRA MORALES (O.P.)
    Thus completing the Tsiolkovsky equation! We have now considered the principle of a rocket.

    PANEL 3

    View of the lecturer, Dr. Cassandra Morales. She has a warm, motherly smile on her face. There’s one hand on her hip with the other holding a pointer aimed at the projector screen. On the projector screen is a graph of rocket trajectory (see reference pic). There are two tall, narrow windows on either side of the projector screen revealing a grassy field behind the hall.

    CASSANDRA MORALES
    Which, as I’m sure you all know, is defined by any device that can apply an acceleration to itself by expelling part of its mass with high speed in the opposite direction.

    PANEL 4

    Same view as before (Cassandra’s position should be slightly different). Outside of one of the windows, Jet can be seen touching the ground lightly after having parachuted from above. He has a small grin on his face, as if having just successfully completed his task.

    CASSANDRA MORALES
    But there’s one thing you must remember, class! This equation can only be used if the exhaust velocity is constant and—

    I think expecting to be able to show Jet touching down with a parachute out the window of what will have already had to be a wide shot (to get in the teacher, projector screen, and the windows on each side of the screen) is expecting a bit much, especially when you expect to see his expression. You'd probably be better off zooming your viewpoint in from the last panel to focus on the one window that we can see Jet's landing through.

    PANEL 5

    Same view as before. Cassandra pauses in the middle of her speech with a look that’s equally suspicious and irritated. She also gives a sideways glance. Jet, on the ground, is looking into the lecture hall with a wide-eyed surprised look on his face.

    CASSANDRA MORALES


    JET!

    Jet is outside the window behind her. She's going to need to give more than a sideways glance to see him.

    PANEL 6

    Same view. Cassandra’s eyes are now closed in irritation. Her head hangs low in frustration. Both hands are on her hips, like a mother scolding a child. Jet is just beginning to sneak away in a cartoony, tiptoeing pose. His eyes are still enlarged and nervous and he’s grimacing.

    I think you want too much out of your shots. To get Cassandra's expression we'll have to pull out again, which puts the window in the background. That puts Jet in the extreme background, and yet you still want us to see his expression (even though he's moving away from us and you didn't specify him looking back, over his shoulder).

    CASSANDRA MORALES
    Actually, we’ll just continue this next lecture. Class dismissed.

    CASSANDRA MORALES
    Jet Rocket!!!

    I also think you need an additional panel for that last line, as it kind of conflicts with the frustrated (one might even say exasperated) body language you called for in this panel, as she addresses her students. Personally, I might go for a shot from outside, in front of Jet and looking back at the classroom window as Cassandra leans out, yelling at him. You could get a nice close shot of Jet's cringing expression at the same time.

    ____

    Okay. I'm going to stop there. You've got the beginning of what might be a cute story.

    Your dialogue is serviceable and fits the tone of the story. It could use a polish in places, but it's not bad.

    Your pacing is also servicable, though it could probably be tightened up in places for a more frantic pace (less emphasis on cinematic-style establishing zoom-shots and more on the action) that would seem to suit this sort of story. (Your first two pages could be a single page without losing anything you really needed).

    You need to make sure you're identifying your characters to the reader, and not just to the artist. As it stands, you've gone 8 pages and introduced at least 5 characters (maybe more, as I don't know how many people are in the Rocket STARs) and you've identified only 2 of them.

    The biggest thing you need to work on is figuring out what can and can't be drawn. You need to visualize your shots more carefully to make sure the shot is both possible and the best choice for moving your story along (and also make sure you communicate what you're looking for to the artist). Work on that and making sure you describe things where they need to be, rather than having them magically appear when you think of them (it's fine to think of things as you go, just make sure you go back and add them where you need them), and you'll be off to a good start.

    That's what I've got. Anyone else have any thoughts?
    Last edited by CalvinCamp; Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 06:46 PM.



  2. BrandonBarrows Guest

    I noticed almost right off the bat that some of those panel descriptions aren't actually possible to depict (as you pointed out, Calvin), but I also noticed some "see reference picture" remarks.

    My advice to the aspiring writer is, since you're already creating reference pictures, sketch out your own panels just to make sure they work. It doesn't have to be anything fancy (I do it myself, and I'm certainly no artist. See my "Comics I Drew At Work" thread for proof) and you'll easily catch things like that panel where the viewer is supposed to see the character's face, but he MUST be facing away from the viewer for the scene to make any sense.

    Little things like that make the process much smoother, as the artist won't have to come back to you later to let you know it doesn't work forcing you to re-write things.

    Just my 2 cents.



  3. TommyFerrari Guest

    Thanks so much for the recommendations, guys, they are so helpful. It's amazing how many mistakes become glaringly obvious when someone else points them out for you, even after you've already proofread the script countless times XD

    I will DEFINITELY try sketching out my own panels. That will probably help my flow tremendously, so thanks for the advice

    I've started working on a handful of other scripts since submitting this, so the tips here will definitely be put to good use. Hope to show you my improvements soon. Thanks again!



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