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TPG Week 7: Punctuation Is Your Friend

| February 11, 2011 | 18 Comments
Hello, one and all! Welcome back to another installment of The Proving Grounds!
This week, we have Mike King. And there’s more red here than black.  Let’s get to it, shall we?

Tears and Fangs

PAGE 1: (6 Panels)

Panel 1: A wide shot of a long oak bar.  Marcus Stone is sitting sideways on his barstool, facing left. A beer rests on the bar in his right hand. He is wearing casual clothes, a button down blue shirt, a pair of jeans, and sneakers. He is Caucasian, and good looking. Blue eyes, brown hair. (I have never been a fan of putting character descriptions in panel descriptions. When your artist comes onboard, you’re going to be going over the look of the character, anyway. Doing it here is generally a waste of time.) It is apparent that he hasn’t shaven in a couple days, because of his stubble. He is grinning at a pretty looking blond woman (Erin) standing next to him, who smiles back. The woman is  dressed in a low cut red dress that reveals a bit of cleavage. She is Caucasian, and has light brown hair put up in a pony tail. Her eyes are big and brown. She has a look of innocence about her, but the way she dresses says she knows what she is doing.
In the back ground, a middle aged bartender is polishing a glass with a white towel. He looks tired. (If she’s standing, what is she doing? I’m seeing a pose in my head, but when I get to her dialogue, I’m not seeing anything in the panel description that would fit what she’s saying. She’s just standing around.)
Woman: “Hold that thought, I got to pee!” (Format. Format is the absolute easiest thing in comic scripting. While there is no “wrong” way to write a script, there is a way that will make your letterer absolutely hate you. What is that way? Putting quotation marks around ALL of the dialogue. Pick up a comic. Read the word balloons. See any quotation marks? Nope. Not unless it’s a direct quote. Why? Because of one of two reasons: they either weren’t there to begin with, or the letterer took them out beforehand. Have your letterer love you. Remove the quotation marks, unless you have a person talking to another person in a caption. See the Dialogue entry of B&N for a breakdown on what I’m talking about.)
Marcus: “I’ll wait right here.”

Panel 2: We are looking at Marcus from behind. He is now facing the bar. A different woman (Rachel) is now standing over his left shoulder, dressed in jeans and a red t-shirt.  She is very pale. Her hair is blond, and hangs to the middle of her back. Behind the bar is a mirror, reflecting Marcus looking at his beer resting in his hands. The woman has no reflection in the mirror, so we are unable to see what she looks like. (No. We’re just two panels in. The jump in time [border time] is too big. The girl JUST left. Where did this other one come from? The other girl probably shouldn’t even be out of view yet. And the vampire/ghost/whatever she is shouldn’t have a chance to show up so fast. Your pacing is off.)
Rachel: “Who’s the cutie?”
Marcus: “What are you doing here, Rachel?” (Comma. Le sigh. I’ve ranted about this before. I’ll be ranting about it again. Just not today.)

Panel 3: A close up  of Rachel and Marcus from behind the bar. The bottom of the panel is framed by the top of the bar,. Rachel is Facing Marcus, who is grimacing as he continues to look at his beer. We can now see that Rachel is pretty. She has smooth, light skin, and blue eyes. One strand of blond hair falls gently across her cheek. Her lips are unnaturally red, and pursed slightly. (Comma before a period? Why is “facing” capitalized? And again, since Rachel is a main character, she doesn’t need to be described here.)
Rachel: “Just making sure my puppy stays out of trouble.”
Marcus: “I don’t need a baby sitter.” (Another one of my pet peeves are compound words that are broken apart.When printed, this will look like one of two things: either the editor was asleep at the wheel, or the writer is an idiot. Personally, I will ALWAYS take the blame for something a writer under my watch did, and ALWAYS give the credit to them when they do something right. But do you think your reading public is going to see it that way? Do yourself and your editor a favor: remember that spelling counts.)

Panel 3:
Close up of Rachel Grinning. (Another capitalization? I used to work with a guy who would capitalize seemingly random things like Church and School. Drove me nuts, because then I had to go back and put them in lower case. He would then re-correct my correction, put them back in uppercase, and then send it out. I went absolutely bonkers. Save me some white hairs. Watch your capitalizations.)
Rachel: “Hanging around pretty little things like her, I’d think you do.”

Panel 5: Close up of Marcus, He looks angry. (I won’t harp on the capitalization thing. But he looks angry. That’s nice. Is he still looking down at his beer? Is he looking at Rachel? Is his head turned all the way around a la Linda Blair? I can make him do almost anything, because you haven’t said.)
Marcus: “Go away Rachel, I won’t ask you again.” (A comma? No. A period? Yes. You want a hard stop, not a soft pause. And what happened to the comma that should have been there? Le sigh.)

Panel 6: We are looking at the two of them from the POV of the ceiling, and cannot see their faces, only the tops of their heads. Rachel is now sitting on the stool to Marcus’ left, her body turned to face him. (Why? What does this view do to push the story forward? How is it even interesting? We can’t see their faces, we don’t have enough info to read body language, and the only thing this view does is says “I couldn’t think of anything else, so here’s a different view for you to work with.” This view needs to be changed.)
Rachel: “Awwww! Are you breaking up with me Puppy?” (Generally, here’s what’s going to happen: when the script goes to the letterer, they’re going to use a font that will more than likely use all uppercase letters. So, your use of Puppy as a capital is fine, because it more than likely won’t matter. If they use a mixed case font, then your use of Puppy as a capital is correct. So, that’s not a mistake. The missing comma? Mistake.)
Marcus: “I don’t want you around.”

PAGE 2 (5 Panels)

Panel 1: A upper body close up of Rachel. She has an expression of annoyance, and is biting the corner of the right side of her lip, exposing her right fang.
Rachel: “Sigh… I’m not stupid Doggie… I kind of got that feeling when you let those men burn me alive.” (Her action doesn’t match what she’s saying. It seems like you’ve read a LOT of 90s Image cheesecake comics, where the girls all posed and said a whole lot of nothing. Burnt alive? Why isn’t she pissed? If he’s human, why isn’t he terrified? I’m not seeing most of this. Oh, and in case you thought I forgot: comma.)

Panel 2: Close up of Marcus. His Blue eyes are wide, and slightly Watery. He is frowning. We can tell he is disturbed  by his memories, almost as if he’s about to cry.
Marcus: “A small price to pay for what you did to those children.”

Panel 3: Full body shot of Rachel. She oozes sexuality. She is puffing out her chest, her medium sized breaks pressing against her t-shirt. She has a huge grin on her face, her eyebrow raised. she is delighted by the same memories that disturb Marcus. (Medium sized breaks? Remember that a spell-check won’t catch words that are spelled correctly but misused.)
Rachel: “Back then I really wanted Children… but to be honest, they didn’t taste that great… Now that girl you’re with… I bet she’s delicious!” (And here is where Children is improperly capitalized. In the panel descriptions, it won’t much matter. However, it could come to matter in the dialogue, because you have font options.)

Panel 4: A close up of Marcus’ hand on his beer. He is gripping the glass in his fist, his knuckles white as he tries to control his rage. (Know what this is? This is prose writing. There is no way to show what you want here in one panel. Not the way you’ve described it, and not with a single panel. If you want to show white-knuckle anger, you’d have to use 2 panels for that: one showing the regular knuckles, and one showing the white. However, that’s a waste of time. Instead, what your artist is going to do is show the fingers gripping the stein tightly, and have little lines to show the hand is shaking. Know what medium you’re writing for. Now, with that said, there’s no reason for this view. You’d be better served in showing your characters’ faces.)
Marcus (Off Panel): “Last Warning Rachel. Stay away from me and those around me. If I see you again, I’ll kill you!” (Format: save yourself some time by typing OP instead of “Off Panel.” Everyone will know what you’re talking about. And really, you can do a search on comic book scripting terms. This will get you everything you need to know. Now, with that being said, comma, capitalization.)

Panel 5: Shot of both of them from the left side of the bar, over Rachel’s right Shoulder. We cannot see her face, but we can see Marcus Clearly, who is turned on his stool and faces the Camera. (Okay. So, he’s facing the camera. That’s nice. What’s he doing? What’s his facial expression? I say that he’s stroking his pet elephant, smiling, with a bucket on his head. Sure, the elephant and the bucket are magically delicious, but that’s not the point.)
Rachel: “Very well… but don’t say I didn’t try to warn you…”

Page 3 (6 panels):

Panel 1:Marcus is now standing, facing Rachel. We’re looking at the two from the opposing view or the last panel, over Marcus Left shoulder. We cannot see Marcus’ face, but can clearly see Rachel, who is grinning knowingly. Behind her, the bartender is serving an elderly man sitting on a stool at the end of the bar.
Marcus: “Is this where I am baited into asking you what you were going to warn me about?” (This line right here? Pretty cliche. Yep. Cliche written all over it. Yes, it needs to be re-written.)

Panel 2: Upper body shot of Rachel from the POV of Marcus. She is facing the bar, touching her face gently with her right hand, Her index figure extended across her cheek, pointing behind her. (This is not going to come off well. It won’t look as if she’s pointing unless we can also see behind her.)
Rachel: “See those two gentlemen sitting by the door? Your little hussy is with them. They’re black hats. ..”

Panel 3: The right side or Rachel’s cheek, and her hair frames the left side of the panel. (Okay, so is it the right side, or is it Rachel’s cheek? See what I mean about spell checkers?)We cannot see her whole face, just the corner of her lip, her fang still revealed, and half of her smallish nose. to  her left we can see two men in suits and ties sitting at a small round table left of the door, They are both large muscular men. The two men are looking at each other as if they are engaged in a conversation, but they are sitting rigidly, not at all as relaxed as two bar patrons would seem. (I was wondering if you were going to show the gents. But really, they should have been shown in the previous panel. That’s first. Second, unless you give them some lines, they’re just going to look rigid and out of place. Third, unless this is a high-class bar, which doesn’t seem to be the case, they’re going to stand out, anyway. Fourth, it would probably be a lot better if this started out with an establishing shot, this way we can see them without paying much attention to them first, and then really see them for what they are at this second look.)

Panel 4: Close Up of Marcus’ Beer. The whole glass takes up the panel. We cannot see the top of the glass, but the sides of it are framing the panel. Tiny Silver bubbles can be seen inside.
Rachel (Off Panel): “That last beer she bought you? Laced with a trace amount of silver. Enough to stay in your system for a couple hours minimum… You’ve fallen into a trap Puppy.” (I almost didn’t have anything to say. Almost. Know what I do have to say? Commas.)

Panel 5:
Close up of Marcus’ Face. He is very angry. His nose is wrinkled, his lips revealing his teeth (perfectly straight, human teeth) slightly as her grimaces. Spittle flies from his lips slightly as he hisses his response.
Marcus: “You expect me to believe that? You’re just jealous that a girl much prettier then yourself is buying me drinks!” (On first, second, and third blush, this is a bad line. Why? Because I’m not seeing logic here. He burns her alive, and now she’s jealous that someone else is buying him drinks? Someone supposedly much prettier than she? I’m not seeing the thread of logic here. That comes first. Damn near on top of that is the criminal misuse of the word “then.” You’re on the internet. Do a search for “than vs then,” and then apply the lessons. You’re a writer, which means language is your tool. Learn how to use it. This is pretty basic.)

Panel 6: Close up of Rachel, with a big grin across her face.
Rachel:  “Hardly! She isn’t even that pretty Puppy dog! She’s just a glamour…” (Comma. And because she’s now calling him a puppy dog, no longer using it like a first name, Puppy should no longer be capitalized.)

Page 4 (7 panels):

Panel 1: Birds Eye View of the Marcus and Rachel.
The two are facing each other. (That’s nice. What are they doing? I know. Mambo No. 10.)
Marcus: “What is that supposed to mean?”
Rachel: “A supernatural like us, able to seduce men… Succubus,  Siren, her type have gone by a lot of names over the years…” (This is the most interesting passage out of these pages. Saying that a succubus and a siren are within the same family? I like that thought! Too bad it’s marred by incorrect punctuation. Change both the ellipses to a period, and the second comma to an em-dash. Punctuation seems to be your kryptonite.)

Panel 2: Close up of Marcus. His face has relaxed slightly, but he still looks annoyed. (The “cleaner” the emotion, the easier it will be to draw. This is not “clean.” He’s basically going to look annoyed.)
Marcus: “Alright, for the sake of argument, I will remove the rose… start the transformation. If you’re telling the truth, I will remain human.”  (Marcus’ voice changed here. It now sounds commanding. That’s first. Second, you don’t need an ellipse. You need a period. No matter what, though, the word after the ellipse has to be capitalized because you put a space there, telling me you ended the sentence. Finally, I don’t fully understand the last sentence, but that could be because this scene is standing alone, and there isn’t anything for me to draw on.)
Rachel (off Panel): “You can count on it!”

Panel 3: A single Panel divided in half by a boarder (a boarder is one who boards–a tennant. You meant border. Spell-check is a bitch, ain’t it?), showing Marcus removing the Silver Rose Necklace that hangs around his neck. The first half of the panel is a close up of his chest, and his slightly opened shirt. His right hand is lightly touching the Silver Rose Pendent that hangs around his neck.
The second half of the panel is a close up looking down at the bar, as the necklace sits unclasped next to his hand (but not touching it)

Panel 4:
Close up of Marcus wearing a blank, concerned expression. (You can’t have a blank expression and a concerned expression. One precludes the other. Know what can and cannot be drawn.)
Marcus: “Oh bloody hell!” (First, you need a comma. Second, this line does not match up to his expression.)

Panel 5:
We are looking at Marcus and Rachel from behind again, and can see the whole length of the bar. (Wait. What direction are they facing? Where is the camera? It’s the very first line of this panel description, and I’m totally lost. As your artist will be.)To the left, the old man has his head tilted, downing his drink.  Erin now stands on Marcus Left side, the stool she was sitting on in front of her. Marcus is staring at the mirror behind the bar. Again, Rachel has no reflection. but Marcus and Erin can both be seen in the mirror. Erin is hovering close to Marcus, on his right,  her hand resting on his back. (Just like when she disappeared, she also just appeared. Un-good. You need to give her time to get back into the panel. Now, what do their expressions say?)
Erin: “What’s did I miss? Who’s this?”
Rachel: “His wife!”

Panel 5: Worms eye view of the three from behind.  Erin looks shocked. Rachel is grinning. Marcus stares blankly, straight ahead.
Erin: “You’re married? Tell me she isn’t serious Marcus!” (Comma.)
Marcus: “We were never married.”
Rachel: “That’s true… he left me at the alter… to be burned alive.” (Get rid of the first ellipse. If you must keep the second, close up the space. This will give the pause you’re looking for, and not the trailing off and start of a new sentence that you have.)

Panel 6: Close up of Erin, she has a look of confused concern across her face.
Erin: ” You know what, you guys are  freaking me out… I think it’s time for me to go.” (You’re in love with the ellipse. You shouldn’t be. Half the time, you’re using it incorrectly. The other half, you don’t need it. You’re in the “don’t need it” half right now.)

Panel 7: A close up of Rachel smiling, her fangs exposed.
Rachel: “That’s a good idea girlie, but stay… we were just about to leave ourselves!” (And you still don’t need it.)

Page 5 (7 Panels):

Panel 1: A large, wide shot of the whole bar from the POV of the bartender. As Marcus and Rachel Leave the bar, the two men sitting by the door are both turned in their seats to watch them. (I’m assuming that you sent over a complete scene. I know what happens when you assume, but I’m going to do it, anyway. Now, with that being said–this panel? This one right here? THIS is how you should have started the scene. With an establishing shot.)

Panel 2: Close up of Erin, her head tilted toward the collar of her shirt, a small black microphone and wire barely visible under her v-neck. She wears an evil grin. (NO. John Lees: can you tell me why I’m going out of my mind right now?)
Erin: “Let them go. The vampire bitch will make a mess of the place… Better he gets away clean, If we don’t follow them, he will begin to doubt her…” (Punctuation. Capitalization.)

Panel 3: Close up of Erin, Grinning ruthful. (Grinning ruthful? I don’t even know what that means. I know what it’s supposed to mean, but I don’t know what this means. Mike, what is this supposed to mean? I suggest use of a dictionary when you answer. That’s first. Second, I think you should have changed the scene right here.)
Erin: “Then he’s ours!” (Comma. That’s first. Second, I need some chips. LOTS of them. Why? Because this is so absolutely cheesy it’s not even funny. Yes, this line needs to be rewritten.)

Panel 4:
Marcus and Rachel stand outside the bar. We are looking from the street as they stand facing each other, Marcus on the Left, Rachel on the right. Above the door, a wooden sign reads: “Last Chance Pub”  In a window right of the door, a neon sign flashes “Cold Beer” (Punctuation. That’s first. Second, this is a moving panel. Jamie, tell me how.)
“Marcus: “They aren’t following…  How do I know it wasn’t you that drugged my drink?” (Not needed.)
Rachel: “Because you’re no fun as a Human doggie… It’s the wolf that I love.” (Because of your total disdain for the rules of syntax, I barely know what you mean by this.)

Panel 5: Marcus is now turned away from Rachel, walking off Panel to the left, looking at the ground.
Rachel stares after him, her arms lowered to her side.
Marcus: “You’ve never loved anything but yourself Rachel. You’re incapable of feeling anything for anyone but you…” (“Not needed.”)

Panel 6:  Close up of Rachel. She looks heart broken, suddenly vulnerable. A tear trickles down the left side of her face as her hair blows lightly around her cheeks. Her vampire fangs are fully exposed.
Rachel: “That’s where you’re wrong Marcus… I did love you. I was happy, and I thought you were too…” (Not needed. And I think we somehow got transported to Vermont, because this line is exceedingly sappy.)

Panel 7:  This Panel stretches the width of the page. It’s a Worms eye view of Rachel standing alone in front of the bar. A crumpled newspaper page blowing past her foot toward the left, the direction Marcus headed. (Yes. You really should have stopped four panels ago.)

Since that’s the end of the scene, that’s where I’m going to stop. No real choice, right?

So, let’s run this down.

Format: If I were handing out grades, I’ll call this 70%. There are several reasons for this:

-Every element should be separated with a space. I’m talking a hard return. When you’re finished with an element, hit the Enter key twice, to skip a space. When you butt things up against one another, it becomes more difficult to read.

-Learn your scripting terms. You can find these easily on the internet.

-Please, for the love of your letterer, do NOT use quotation marks UNLESS you’re doing something with a voiceover. You want to make the life of your creative team easier, right? This is something that is easily done. Just remember that this is not prose.

Still, this is a passing grade, if only barely.

Panel descriptions: 60%. You have to streamline somewhat, while still giving the artist enough information to go on. You don’t do that here. I was more confused than anything in trying to see what you were getting at. And then to try to parse what you were saying… You have to learn what can and cannot be drawn. You have to learn to think visually. You have to learn what would be the best angle in order to get your point across. Lots of things to learn, I know. Also, stop taking such big cuts in time when you do your panel descriptions. Your characters cannot just appear and disappear. Smaller cuts in time. Characters have to come into and/or leave a scene properly. Two panels, minimum.

Dialogue: 60%. First, the aforementioned quotation marks. Then, there’s the cheesiness of some of those lines. The biggest thing? Punctuation. If you want to call yourself a writer, then you have to know how to use the written language. That includes punctuation. From what I see here, you don’t. Want to get better? Pick up some books on punctuation. If you go to abebooks.com, you’ll be able to get used books at a very good price. You can possibly get the books for a penny, basically paying for shipping.

Content: This was hard to get through. Take a look at all the red, then increase it, because I stopped mentioning things like incorrect capitalization and punctuation. You NEED to learn these things in order to be clear. Clarity in a script is job one. This isn’t that clear. Every time you have a mistake, it takes the reader out of the story you’re trying to tell. It’s a distraction, and distractions are barriers.

As a scene, it doesn’t work that well. Your scene isn’t set well, and even though I know this is part of something larger, there’s still the sense of being lost, because things aren’t explained (the chain/pendent). You went on for too long in the scene, making it seem like a bad romance story.

The characters seem to be caricatures instead of fully breathing people. That may only be the single scene, though.

That’s really all I have. There’s more red in this script than script itself, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I’m done.

Check the calendar to see who’s next!

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Category: The Proving Grounds

About the Author ()

Steven is an editor/writer with such credits as Fallen Justice, the award nominated The Standard, and Bullet Time under his belt, as well as work published by DC Comics. Between he and his wife, there are 10 kids (!), so there is a lot of creativity all around him. Steven is also the editor in chief and co-creator of ComixTribe, whose mission statement is Creators Helping Creators Make Better Comics. If you're looking for editing, contact him at stevedforbes@gmail.com for rate inquiries.

Comments (18)

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  1. “Marcus and Rachel stand outside the bar. We are looking from the street as they stand facing each other, Marcus on the Left, Rachel on the right. Above the door, a wooden sign reads: “Last Chance Pub” In a window right of the door, a neon sign flashes “Cold Beer” (Punctuation. That’s first. Second, this is a moving panel. Jamie, tell me how.)”

    Its moving because the sign can’t flash in a still panel.

    I don’t really have much more to add, other than saying that vampire/werewolf stories have been done to death, so if you want anyone to pay attention you’ll have to either be very original or very good.

    • Thanks, Jamie!

      Now, would someone tell me how many panels it would take to “flash,” and how you would go about depicting that? (Jamie, I’m looking at you, still, but this is open to anyone.)

      • Calvin Camp says:

        I’d say three panels. Off-on-off or on-off-on. Done in the background of panels showing the ongoing conversation (doing three panels of nothing but a sign is a waste of real estate, at best).

        But, personally, I’d just skip it. Whether the sign is flashing or not has no relevance to the story, so I wouldn’t bother freezing my viewpoint to show it – better to keep the camera moving, especially in a scene with no action. (If you wanted to have some fun with it, you could use the sign as a light source and make the lighting in the panels go from light-to-dark-to-light – do it well, and you might not even need the sign itself visible in all the shots)

        • Thanks, Calvin! I knew I could count on you.

          However, I was a little unclear as to what I was going for. Let me see if I can get this across without giving it away:

          How would you go about showing a flashing sign, this panel in particular notwithstanding. How would you go about depicting that? (I want to say more, but to do so would give it away. I’m getting at what would you do to strengthen the illusion of a flashing sign.)

          • Calvin Camp says:

            Ah…

            Maybe you’re talking about putting motion lines around it, radiating out from the sign? That could help. (Or you could use lighting and shadow effects to accomplish much the same thing – an area of white, or a bright color, radiating out from the sign and into a darker background, rather than line work)

            But it still won’t fully carry the effect in a single panel. It’ll get the brightness of a flash across, but not the repetition (would work well for something like a camera flash, though).

            I think the only way you’d get the idea of a repeating flash across in a single panel is with multiple “FLASH” SFX – and that might come across a little silly, depending on the comic.

  2. Calvin Camp says:

    “And because she’s now calling him a puppy dog, no longer using it like a first name, Puppy should no longer be capitalized.”

    Alternately… She could be using, “Puppy Dog,” like a name, in which case both would be capitalized. I’m only bringing it up because I suspect that was the intent.

    “A upper body close up of Rachel.”

    Firstly: That should be, “AN upper body close up,” because the following word begins with a vowel. Probably too much reliance on the spell-checker again.

    Secondly: There’s really no such thing as, “An upper body close up.” If you’re showing the upper body, that’s a medium shot (from the waist up). Or maybe a medium-close shot (from the chest or shoulders up). A close-up just shows the character’s face, and not much more.

    Describing shots and camera angles might be a good subject for a future B&N column, Steven. I’ve seen a few writers who don’t seem to have their shot terminology fully sorted out, and a detailed breakdown would be a handy reference.

    • Thanks, Calvin.

      I’m trying to get away from the panel descriptions being grammatically perfect. Not unless it’s just bothering the hell out of me. What I’m trying to get after is clarity, which is why I didn’t correct (and won’t correct) many of the grammatical errors I’m seeing in panel descriptions lately. Unless it makes the description unclear, I’m generally going to leave it.

      As for describing angles and shots as a future B&N, I’ve been toying with the idea. There are lots of places on the ‘net to find them, and there are books that go into them, too. I’m just wondering if it’s worth it for me to jump into that pile.

      I’ll think about it. And if I can find something different to say, or that helps to illuminate it, I’ll do it. (And it has to be soon, so that everything stays in some sort of order.)

      • Calvin Camp says:

        If you don’t want to mess with it for B&N, maybe find a good online example and link to it from that resource section you guys are working on putting together?

        Just a suggestion. 🙂

      • Ruiz Moreno says:

        Another great edition of the Proving Grounds and yes, lots of red! I will say it’s very educational though and I’m always going back and reading TPG over and over again. I felt the urge to respond and only add that I would love to see an edition of B&N with the proper methods of angles and panel descriptions. I’m not one to turn a good book down but more often I find it easier for me to take lessons in doses. Keep up the great work gang!

        P.S. I love vampire and werewolf stories as long as they stay away from the Twilight mythos. I happen to be an Ann Rice, Braumstoker kind of guy. 🙂

        • Thanks, Ruiz. I’m happy that you’re learning from it!

          As for the angles/descriptions…

          I’m thinking about it. The basic problem with it is that there isn’t a “right” way to do it. There are wrong ways, but no one “right” one. The wrong way consists of simply being something that cannot be drawn. That can come from a lack of clarity on the writer’s part, or a lack of visual thinking.

          If you write it, and the artist can’t understand it or can’t draw it, then you’re wrong.

          (The artist not being able to draw something is vastly different than the artist choosing not to draw something. That is when it becomes personal preference. In Bullet Time, I wrote a panel description that called for something pretty disgusting. Dave Simons–gentleman that he was–stated he wasn’t going to draw what I had written. He’d draw something else, but what I called for went against his personal code. See the difference? What I communicated in the panel description was something that could be drawn, but the artist said “no.” Understanding that distinction will get you far.)

          • Calvin Camp says:

            Hmm… not to beat a dead horse, but I’m starting to think we’re talking about different things.

            I wasn’t referring to the contents of the scene or general image description, I was just talking about the “camera” shots – providing the accepted definitions/guidelines for long shots vs medium shots vs close-up, bird’s eye vs high angle, etc.

            There really is a generally accepted “right way” to call for those, and using the wrong terms for those shots will only cause confusion. It’s basically like tagging a character’s dialogue as “OP” when the character is visible in the panel, because the writer thought OP meant “on panel”.

            Without a basic understanding of the proper terminology, we’re getting writers calling for the artist to draw the wrong thing (the “wrong thing” simply being something other than what the writer intended to ask for). That may not be quite as serious as calling for something that’s impossible to draw, but it seems pretty close. Honestly it does even move into the impossible to draw realms often enough, when a writer is calling for body language in a close-up or detailed facial expressions in a long shot.

            If the writer calls for a close-up and the artist chooses to draw a medium shot instead, because he thinks it’s a better artistic choice than what the writer asked for (or he makes changes because he can’t stomach drawing a particular scene), that’s a whole different thing than the writer not understanding what he’s asking for in the first place. And the latter is what we’ve got happening in a number of cases.

            With that said, if you just don’t want to get into it because you feel it’s adequately covered elsewhere, or whatever, that’s cool. I just wanted to make sure we were talking about the same thing.

          • No, I get what you’re saying. And I’m working on something that should hopefully cover it. It should post up next week.

            The biggest problems I see with new scriptwriters is the lack of any kind of study at all. Writers think they can just put something on paper, call it a script, and its done.

            Part of the problem are the how-to books. They don’t give enough of the right kind of information to be truly helpful. One of the closest is the DC Guide. At least that has a glossary of terms.

            But, I’m seeing what I can do. Check B&N next week. Hopefully, that should clear some things up.

  3. John Lees says:

    Panel 2: Close up of Erin, her head tilted toward the collar of her shirt, a small black microphone and wire barely visible under her v-neck. She wears an evil grin. (NO. John Lees: can you tell me why I’m going out of my mind right now?)

    Not quite sure about this one, but could it be that – much like Erin appearing and disappearing randomly, we now also have a microphone that does the same? Erin has been seen repeatedly in the story up until this point, and has even been seen in close-up before. So having the microphone only visible now is a bit of a cheat.

    • And you get the prize!

      Now, No-Prize him out. (Give him an out.)

      • John Lees says:

        The most obvious answer would be to mention the microphone the first time we see Erin, or at least the first time the microphone would be visible.

        However, if it is crucially important we don’t see the microphone until that panel, then there needs to be instructions to the artist earlier on in the script that there is a mic there, but we shouldn’t yet be able to see it. Maybe instead of a V-neck, have Erin wear something with a fold or a collar, something that can slip down to reveal a mic in this panel. Or have the mic always visible, but don’t put the character in close-up (thus making the mic more apparent) until you want it to be a focus.

        • To me, the most obvious answer would be to say that she put the mic on when she went to the bathroom.

          That’s not the sense I get with this, because she says nothing about missing the opportunity to record him afterwards, but that’s the most obvious thing to me.

  4. mike king says:

    To defend myself on a few points (Although much of the red was well deserved) I actually edited this after sending it to you, so the majority of the punctuation errors were fixed, along with spelling errors. (Boarders/borders, babysitter, etc) I wrote this script in about 10 minutes, from a single scene outline. It belongs to a bigger story, so it’s not surprising you are lost on a few parts.
    1) The silver pendant shaped like a rose prevents Marcus from transforming into a wolf while he is wearing it. From this scene, you would have no way of knowing that. To someone that read the book in it’s entirety, it wouldn’t be an issue.
    2) Rachel appears and disappears at will. That’s what she does. Again, you would not know this…

    3) I have no idea what was going on with capitalization. Not sure why certain words are capitalized when they shouldn’t be. That isn’t generally a problem for me.

    As for the rest, I will take a lot of it into consideration. You have some valid points, so I am not really pissed there was so much red. I was surprised however, because a lot of people loved this script. (and not just my mum, people that actually work in the world of comic books.)You pointed out some glaring errors that others didn’t, which is very helpful.
    I didn’t catch the blinking sign when I edited, which kind of surprised me as well, because moving panels isn’t generally a flaw of mine.
    Also, as far as the quotations, Some of the sample scripts I’ve studied had them, I figured it was standard practice. The quotations were never going to be lettered into the final product. Good to know that I can get rid of them. I actually went back and added them in, assuming it was the right way to do things.
    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to edit this Steve. Took me a while to respond, due to having no computer at the moment.
    -Mike

    • Mike! Glad you dropped in! Happy you have a connection again!

      On to your points!

      1) Yeah, I made some allusions that since this was a single scene, there were some things I wouldn’t know. No biggie about it.

      2) I can get behind Rachel appearing and disappearing at will. That’s her thing, so I’m good with that. Erin appearing and disappearing, though, I’m not so good with.

      3) Capitalization: It could be something wonky with the format. I’ve seen capitalization get VERY strange, only to find out it was a conversion process that changed it. However, that went with whole words being capitalized, not a single letter. So, it could be one or the other. I don’t know.

      4) Save yourself and your letterer a lot of heartache. Lose dem quotations unless needed.

      And finally, I’m always happy to help. If you want me to take a look at the entire script, shoot me an e-mail.

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