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TPG Week 10:A Full 10 Pager!

| March 4, 2011 | 4 Comments

Hello, and welcome to another installment of The Proving Grounds! This week brings us a fun 10 pager from my friend, Martin Brandt. I call him Were-Lock.

Let’s see what he does to Sister Z, shall we?

Sister Z script

Page 1

Panel 1 – SISTERZ barrels down the country highway on her chopper at night. The coffin collection tagging behind her. There is no traffic, just her, the road and some stars in the sky. She is determined and focused ahead. (Martin, I don’t know what the second sentence means. That’s first. Second, I don’t get a clear sense of where the camera is at. It could be almost anywhere. I’m not going to touch on the lack of a character description. That should be covered with your artist.)
CAPTION: I’m gunning for you, Padre,. aA highway of hell coming your way. (Period, not a comma. You want a hard stop here, not a soft pause.)
Panel 2 – <FLASHBACK> PADRE STIELER is standing next to the confessional booth in a small church. He is pointing at his ear. SISTER Z is in her habit listening to him talk. Under the door of the confessional a fluid is leaking out. (What do their expressions say?)
CAPTION: I was so naive back then, before my eyes were opened.
STIELER: From your mouth to God’s ears, Sister.(Comma.)
SISTER Z: Thank you, Father. We are just concerned about the missing Sisters. (Comma.)
Panel 3 – <FLASHBACK> PADRE STIELER has his hand on SISTER Z’s lower back walking her forward down the isles between the pews. (Where is the camera? In front or in back?)
CAPTION: Of course it was too late before I realized.
STIELER: I keep them in my prayers, and I am sure God will see them safely to us again. (Comma.)
Panel 4 – <FLASHBACK> The front doors are buckling slightly from the pressure of someone knocking on them from the outside.
CAPTION: You remember that night, Padre.
EFFECT: KNOCK KNOCK!!
Panel 5 – <FLASHBACK> PADRE STIELER gives the doors a question glance, SISTER Z is startled.
CAPTION: That was the night the world came calling at our front door.
STIELER: Who could that be at this hour?
SISTERZ: Oh!
Panel 6 – <FLASHBACK> Outside it is storming, rain is pouring. The doors have flung open, CYRUS stands soaked in the door holding a body bag over his shoulder and a woman on a chain leash in the other hand. The leashed woman looks abused, savagely beat up and her clothing is filthy and torn.
CAPTION: Of course you welcomed with with open arms.
CYRUS: Padre, we got us a problem! (Comma.)
Nice page setup, Martin. Instead of pussyfooting around, you’re getting right to the heart of it. Mystery set up, and a problem as the last panel, forcing the reader to turn the page. Nice work.

Page 2 (Hm. No page break. Bad Were-lock! Bad!)

Panel 1 – (small panel upper left) A close up of SISTER Z’s face as she rides down the highway. Still very focused.
CAPTION: Years later and now…


Panel 2 – (splash) We see from behind SISTER Z’s bike and trailer full of coffins the church. Dust has been kicked up from her sudden stop. SISTER Z is lookup up at the church steeple. Behind the church the moon hangs low in the sky. The area around it is hilly and empty. (I like it. I now know what you meant by coffins tagging along. Make that more clear in the first panel.)
CAPTION: …here we are.
SISTER Z: PADRE!

PAGE 3 (Page break.)

Panel 1 – (thin page width panel) UNDEAD-INSANE walking on all fours come from around the sides of the church. Some are crawling across the walls of the church to the doors. SISTER Z is still sitting on her bike watching, the dust has started to settle.
SISTERZ: This is how we play it?
Panel 2 – One of the UNDEAD-INSANE turns and looks towards her, screaming. Behind a few others have gathered.
UNDEAD-INSANE: AAAAAARHHH!!
Panel 3 – Close up of neck pulp, behind that SISTERZ is sitting on her bike with a gun pointed towards, smoke pours from its barrel.
SISTER Z: Be still.
Panel 4 – Five UNDEAD-INSANE have turned towards her screaming and running.
CAPTION: Insane. Those driven to madness by the affliction. Fast little bastards.
UNDEAD-INSANE HOARD: AAAAAARHHH!!!

PAGE 4 (page break)

Panel 1 – Three UNDEAD-SHAMBLERs are walking slowly up behind SISTERZ who is now standing to the side of her bike. In her hands she holds her pistols. She is facing the away from them towards the oncoming FIVE UNDEAD-INSANE that are running at her.
CAPTION: Shamblers,. sSneaky moaning shits. Almost didn’t notice them. (I’ve never been fond of the internal monologue. Who is the character talking to? That’s always my question. Blame Roger Zelazny. Anyway, you want a period there, not a comma.)
Panel 2 – SISTER Z is pointing one gun firing over her bike towards the three UNDEAD-SHAMBLERs and the other gun towards the oncoming five UNDEAD-INSANE. (Where’s the camera?)
Panel 3 – The three UNDEAD-SHAMBLERS have dropped to the ground and four of the other UNDEAD-INSANE have dropped. One remaining UNDEAD-INSANE has his mouth wide open to bite and is coming from her side towards her extended arm. (Which side? Throw the artist a bone, so they don’t have to think as hard. Part of it will be where the camera is placed, though.)
Panel 4 – The UNDEAD-INSANE has bitten into her arm, her grip on the gun is loose and it is falling.
CAPTION: Damn it! Sloppy work.

Page 5

Panel 1 – While ripping her arm up and free, SISTERZ jams her hand with the gun up into the UNDEAD-INSANE’s chest.
CAPTION: It doesn’t matter though, it will heal. (Clunky. This needs to be rewritten.)
Panel 2 – The upper half of the UNDEAD-INSANE blows up in a shower of gore, SISTERZ holding the gun up into where its chest cavity once was.
CAPTION: Which is more than I can say for it.
Panel 3 – The last UNDEAD-INSANE comes running at SISTERZ screaming as she picks her gun up off the ground. (If it’s screaming, where’s the scream?)
CAPTION: It really never gets old for them does it?
Panel 5 – The legs are running towards SISTER Z but top half of the torso is flying backwards from the gun shot to its waist.
Panel 6 – The legs fall just short of SISTER Z’s position, she is peering down at them.
SISTERZ: I said, be still.

Page 6 (Page break.)

Panel 1 – PADRE STIELER burts out of the front church doors, yelling. (How is he dressed? How late is this supposed to be? Does he look at all disheveled?)
STIELER: Stop this insanity!
Panel 2 – PADRE STIELER points down towards the pile of 5 UNDEAD-INSANE infront of SISTER Z. (What is the sister doing?)
STIELER: Do you know how much these things cost!?!
Panel 3 – SISTER Z is pointing a gun right at PADRE STIELER’s head. He does not seem too concerned by it. (What do their expressions say? Their body language?)
STIELER: You know this is fruitless, Sister Selina. (Comma. And I was gonna get you about not naming a character where a reader could see it, but you pulled it out. Good work.)
SISTER Z: It doesn’t take the satisfaction out of it for me.
STIELER: Well, there is that.
Panel 4 – PADRE STIELER has stepped back, putting his hands in prayer position. (This is a very incongruous action. I’m acting it out, and I’m not seeing it. Also, what does his expression say?)
STIELER: You have become an extreme nuisance, though. (Comma.)
Panel 5 – PADRE STIELER arms out to the sides in the crucifiction pose with his head tilted slightly to the side. (Still strange, but it goes with the previous panel, so it’s all good.)
CAPTION: I see someone is still a cChatty Cathy. (I’m kinda wondering why she hasn’t shot him yet. If she has long enough to think this, she has long enough to pull the trigger.)
STIELER: One that must be dealt with.
Panel 6 – SISTER Z watches as the top of the church behind PADRE STIELER explodes with debris.

Page 7

Panel 1 – (large page width panel) UNDEAD-NAUGHT stands erect over the remains of the church. Towering far above PADRE STIELER, SISTER Z, and her bike.
CAPTION: You have got to be kidding me.
Panel 2 – SISTER Z level’s her gun aim for the top of the UNDEAD-NAUGHT’s head, taking careful aim.
SISTER Z: Me without a slingshot.
Panel 3 – The UNDEAD-NAUGHT’s head explodes. (Why does it explode? Did she fire the gun?)
Panel 4 – (thin page width panel) THE UNDEAD-NAUGHT falls to the ground, sending a wave of debris and dust flying past PADRE STIELER who is still holding his arms out, but staring wide eyed at SISTER Z in disbelief. SISTER Z is shielding herself. (How is she shielding herself?)

Page 8

Panel 1 – PADRE STIELER has his arms down to his sides, his shoulders slumped, his jaw slack, eyes still wide in disbelief.
STIELER: What? How? Why?
Panel 2 – SISTER Z looks smug, her entire posture shows satisfaction.
SISTER Z: What can I say?, tThe power of God compels me.
PANELS 3-4 in the same row.
Panel 3 – PADRESTIELER is yelling feverishly, spittle flies from his mouth.
STIELER: I WILL KILL YOU!
Panel 4 – SISTERZ smirks.
SISTERZ: You‘ve already tried that.
Panel 5 – PADRE STIELER lifts his arm showing his armband with NEVETTS’ face on the vid display, PADRE STIELER gives a devious grin. (This is what I call “magically delicious.” If it’s something that’s big and bulky, then I have no idea why it wasn’t seen earlier. And what is Nevetts’ face supposed to look like? And yes, I know that Nevetts is Steven spelled backwards. Just has the extra “t.”)
STIELER: This time though, I will succeed.


Panel 6 – (page width panel) Behind SISTER Z six coffins have flown into the air from the trailer of her bike. Out of them Six UNDEAD woman hooked to chains from SISTERZ have ejected. (Oooh. This is one of my pet peeves. “Woman” instead of “women.” My blood pressure went up.)
SISTER Z: Not today,. I brought you some company.
Page 9
Panel 1 to 6 – (ACROSS Top of Page thin panels) Each panel showcases the face of the following  undead SISTER SONYA, SISTER HELENA, SISTER OLGA, SISTER ILEANA, SISTER MARGRET, SISTER MARY.
CAPTION: (spread across the 6 panels) SISTER SONYA? HELENA? OLGA? ILEANA? MARGRET? MARY?
Panel 7 – (overlap panel’s 1-6 slightly, centered) PADRE STIELER’s face is full of panic as he calls out their names. (If that’s the case, there won’t be a caption above. It’s going to be a word balloon. Let your letterer know.)
Panel 8 – (takes remaining large portion at bottom of page) SISTERZ is pointing ahead, the 6 UNDEAD women are jumping above and over her.
SISTER Z: The girls look hungry, Padre. (Comma.)
SISTER Z: SOUP’S ON, LADIES! (Comma.)
Page 10
Panel 1 – (Page width) The six UNDEAD women are feasting on PADRE STIELER, his one hand is risen in protest. This is an extremely gorey scene.
STIELER: This isn’t over…
Panel 3 – A foggy tube with lots of lights and dials has the words ACTIVE written above it. (Where did THIS come from?)
Panel 4 – PADRE STIELER is covered in a goo emerging from the tube ranting. (I don’t even know what this sentence means. He’s covered in a goo, and he is emerging from a tube, and he is ranting. Yeah. I don’t get it.)
STIELER: Get it online, Nevetts!
Panel 5 – PADRE STIELER is pointing towards NEVETTS who is hunched over a large computer screen. (Where is this supposed to be? I’m totally lost. So is your artist.)
STIELER: I WANT HER DEAD!
NEVETTS: Of course.
Panel 6 – (floating panel over panel 7) The bloodied vid display on PADRE STIELER’s severed arm shows the words ONLINE.
Panel 7 – The bloodied vid display now shows a T-REX roaring.
Caption: There is only one thing the dead hate more than the living…
SISTER Z: Damn it!
Caption: …DINOSAURS!
***
Alright! Generally, that was fun, wasn’t it? Let’s break it down.

Format: Page breaks, Martin. Make life easier on yourself and your artist. It’s much easier to edit and find your place when you put in page breaks.

Panel Descriptions: They’re lacking in some areas, and then toward the end, they get downright confusing. The reason for this is because you got lazy, and just figured the artist is going to follow along.

Wrong.

Besides the editor, the artist is going to be the first person to see the script. In reading this, especially near the end, they’re going to have all kinds of questions for you. Questions that should have been answered in the panel descriptions. On that part, you fell down. Near the end, it feels like you didn’t even try. Not good, Were-Lock.

Pacing: I liked the pace! It felt snappy. You didn’t linger over anything that didn’t need it. There were no panels that should have been cut. You were economical with your use of space and stayed within a reasonable page count. Good work.

Content: From a script-reading perspective, your use of punctuation isn’t that great. I won’t say bad, and I won’t say terrible, because we’ve seen those, or we will in the future. It wasn’t head ‘sploding, but it wasn’t that great.

From a reading-the-story perspective, this was pretty fun. Zany in its own way. I could see myself enjoying this read. Good work, there.

And that’s all I have for this week. Thanks for stopping by. See the calendar for 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 (4)

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  1. Hey Forbes,

    Thanks for taking me on a run. I promise you these days I do use page breaks and my punctuation is a tad better but still needs work. Looking back I think this was the 4th or 5th comic script I had written. Before this I had written 3 film script treatments but most of my time is spent in novel/short story land or design treatments.

    I started out looking at scripts by other writers, talk about a bad idea. The more popular the writer, the less likely you should use their script as a guideline. Hell some of Ellis and Claremont scripts are insanity wrapped in on it self.

    Anyways you nailed me good and thanks for the slap on the hand. I see I failed to mark the transition at the end of the script between the start location and the place where the Padre’s clone was activated. There was lack of direction I should be smacked around for as well and you are right it ended with a lot of talking between me and the artist. I also see now that I left a majority of the expressiveness out of the characters in the scenes, this put too much pressure on the artist.

    My last thing is character description. I always handle that in a separate document unless it is a very minor character.

    Thanks taking the time to read over this, I really did enjoy writing this script.

    • Hey, Were-Lock! Thanks for submitting!

      This was a fun script. I can see you enjoyed writing it. But like I said (and you saw), there was a point where you had TOO much fun, where you stopped being clear.

      As long as you know what you did and you make different mistakes in the future, let’s call this a “win.”

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