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TPG Week 21: The Script Goes To Everyone

| May 20, 2011 | 5 Comments
Hello, and welcome to this week’s TPG! Our Brave One is John Eboigbe. He’s an artist, and is working on one his first written scripts. Let’s see how he does!
24 Hour Heroes
By
John Eboigbe 

Page 1: Prologue:

4 Panels

Panel 1
Birds eye view – City park – Day . We see a great view of the park and the metro area . People are walking, cars and cabs Good reference would be central park west in NYC. (Like I said before, I’m not going to hit too much on punctuation in the panel descriptions…)

Caption: My name is John Eboigbe. tThis is where I used to live. (However, punctuation is part of the puzzle that is clarity. You need a period here. That means there’s also a change in capitalizations.)

Panel 2
Wide shot – City park – Day To the right of the screen we see various people walking along the sidewalk, all connected to a  smooth patch of grass that runs to the curb. Everyone is enjoying the day an old man siting at a park bench feeding the birds, a couple walking close, a woman jogging, a woman walking a dog, a father and son at a hot dog stand. To the left of the screen high-rise  buildings  as well as in the background. Good reference would be central park west in NYC. (This, John, isn’t good. I can puzzle out what you’re trying to say, but I shouldn’t have to. I understand you’re primarily an artist, but you still need to learn how to write if you’re writing scripts. Remember, the script isn’t just for you. It’s for the entire creative team, so they can understand what’s going on. That means learning the rules of punctuation.)

Caption: Not in this city, but in this world.

Caption: A parallel world. (This line right here? Terrible. I’m doing you a favor right here by excising it. Your readers wouldn’t be as kind.)

Panel 3
Medium shot – City park – Day The couple reacts to an obvious earthquake as do others in various stages of falling (everyone is falling.) (Where is the camera?)

Caption: Where I came come from, super heroes were real. (Come, not came.)

Panel 4
Birds eye view – City park – Day  A sink hole appears. People are all over the ground and grass scattered. Some daring to get close to the sink hole, others motionless as tremors start. (This cannot be drawn. You don’t have enough information to draw. Where is the sinkhole? Is it in a paved area, or a grassy one? How big is it? How are you going to show tremors starting? Last panel, you had an earthquake going on. When did it stop in order to start? See all those questions I just asked? Important.)

(SFX)

Rummmmmmmble

Page 2: (Page break)

2 Panels

Panel 1
Close up – City park – Day The earth explodes! (Yannick? Thanks.)

Caption: They were all very, very powerful.

Panel 2
Wide Shot – City park – Day People are running for there lives bodies and cars are flung into the air buildings are and glass are shattering the devastation is unfathomable. (Spelling, punctuation, and things that cannot be drawn. Where is the camera? How are you showing unfathomable devastation?)

Caption: some could have shaken the very foundations of the earth. (Capitalization, and over-writing.)

Page 3 (Page break)

Splash page – City park – day A brightly illuminated man bursts from the city street. The source of all the destruction and chaos. Screaming in shear agony. (Here’s the thing about splash pages: when talking webcomics, the placement of the splash doesn’t matter. When talking print, then the placement of the splash matters. Except for the first page, splashes should be on even-pages, so that they don’t lose power. Something to keep in mind.)

Caption: Some had only speed, others had only strength. (Unnecessary word.)

Page 4 (Page break)

2 Panels

Panel 1
Reverse Angle – upper atmosphere- day  We see the same man hurtling skyward into the clouds. (What else can we see? What does the guy look like?)

Caption: Still others had both, speed and strength.

Panel 2
An Extreme close up – upper atmosphere- day Of  the man blond hair blue eyes with a terrified look in his eyes. (Extreme close-up of what? His face? His eyes? What?)

Caption: flight and strength. (Capitalization. And where did flight come from? When did that enter the picture?)

Page 4: (Page break, and this is misnumbered. This is actually P5.)

3 Panels

Panel 1
Medium shot – upper atmosphere- day Clasping his hands to his the man glowing in red with a smile on his face seems surprised that he is alive. (John Lees. What’s wrong here?)

Caption: Others could create quantum energy fields and manipulate them at will. (Create quantum energy fields. Really? Again, another set of powers that seemingly come out of nowhere. And this is really something of an infodump. Uninteresting after a certain point. We reached that point two panels ago.)

Panel 3 (Watch your numbering. This is panel 2.)
Close up – upper atmosphere- day Fists clinched and arms raised in a show of triumph he shouts.

Caption: Optical concussive energy beams with super speed. Or manual electrical ignition and super strength. (Bad, bad dialogue. I’m feeling my eyes roll, which is never good. The only one who cares about the permutations right now is you. We’re talking superheroes. That means it is even more important to show and not just tell.)

MAN IN RED

It Worked!

Panel 3
Medium shot – upper atmosphere- day  The man in red is spread eagle shouting even louder with a sonic boom.

Caption: Magnetic containment with the ability too create a focused supersonic boom with the mere utterance of a phrase. (Spelling. And you’ve lost any interest you could have built up with the telling of power combinations. Simply put, it’s boring, and boring is death.)

MAN IN RED

It Worked!

SFX: BOOM

That’s where I’m going to stop. This is already back on the shelf. Let’s run it down.

Format: Page breaks. Other than that, your format is fine.

Panel Description: These aren’t good. Close to terrible. The bulk of that is punctuation, which causes the reader to have to slow down and parse what you’re trying to say. The other part is that there are some things that can’t be drawn. Slow down, put in your punctuation, read the panel descriptions out loud, and see if they are getting across what it is you’re trying to say. If they are, then you’re good. If they aren’t, then you have more work to do.

Pacing: It’s okay. I’m not wild about the placement of the splash page, but there’s a bigger problem. You’re taking too long to be interesting. You’re hoping the action will cause readers to stay, but the dialogue they’re reading is going to send them away in droves. Be more interesting, and do it faster.

Dialogue: As a whole, it wasn’t good. It didn’t give me any physical reactions, but I did want to stop reading it after a while. Like, after the second page. That’s never good. It needs to be ripped out wholesale and replaced.

Content: Not good. Actually, I’m going to go with terrible, because there isn’t much after the second line to draw the reader in. They’re going to put it down after two pages, if not three. Especially with what you have passing for exposition/power explanation/point of interest. This is the opposite of good. This is not the way to start this particular tale.

Editorially, this is a mess. Clarity, spelling, punctuation, knowing what can be drawn…all of these are problems in this script. I know you’re an artist, but like I said, the script isn’t just for you. It has something for every part of the creative team. As an editor, I’d have my work cut out for me in getting this into shape that the rest of the team could work from.

And that’s all I have for this week. Check the calendar to see who’s up 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 (5)

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  1. John Lees says:

    Panel 1
    Medium shot – upper atmosphere- day Clasping his hands to his the man glowing in red with a smile on his face seems surprised that he is alive. (John Lees. What’s wrong here?)

    First, we’re missing a word. He’s clasping his hands to his what? His face? His chest? His balls? Also, though I guess it’s not impossible, it could be difficult to draw someone with a smile on their face, and portray “surprised to be alive”.

  2. “Panel 1
    Close up – City park – Day The earth explodes! (Yannick? Thanks.)”

    “Close up” – Okay. “City park” – Buh? Do we see a leaf only? A patch of grass? A trashcan? Close-ups are used to either focus the camera’s attention to a detail in a previously established shot or to create suspense before standing back to reveal a whole scene. Unless your first page was all happening on a cosmic scale with sweeping vistas of stars, planets and nebulae, you can’t “close up” on a city park.

    “Day The earth explodes!” – Here’s where I had a reaction so strong that my coworkers gave me a puzzled look. I thought you meant that the Earth – the planet – exploded. It’s only when I kept on reading that I understood that you meant that the GROUND opened up in an explosion. With the close-up, the park and then the whole planet in that panel, I got a severe case of whiplash!

    Now what I THINK you meant with this panel description is that you want the camera to tighten up on a specific part of the park where you want this event to occur. You want to go from a wide shot of the people reaction to the sinkhole appearing to a shot of that same sinkhole explosively releasing the “Man in Red”.

    Come to think of it, I think a lot of the confusion in your panel descriptions come from your use of screenplay conventions. In movie speak, “Close up – City park – Day” means: “Tighten the shot and we’re still in the park during daytime.” Here, it comes off as “Tighten the shot on the city park and change it to daytime.” So you can see why “The earth explode!” seems incongruous next to those indications. In a comic script, once you’ve described the establishing shot and thus have given your artist the general info he needs to draw the scene, you don’t have to go over that same info again for the next panels using the same setting. That’s why – unless anything else might imply otherwise – you don’t have to specify the time of day for every panel in a scene.

    Now here’s my suggestion for a rewrite:

    “Panel 1

    Medium shot of the sinkhole bursting in a fireless explosion – soil, rocks and tufts of grass are being flung skyward. The few onlookers who had approached are thrown back by the concussive force of the blast.

    SFX: FWOOOM!”

    Yeah, changed it from a silent explosion to a loud one. 😉

  3. Jules Rivera says:

    *puffs on a cigarette* Did the earth explode for you too, baby?

    Okay, enough of that. I’m curious did any characters get established here? Or did we just see some red guy and some blonde clasping…something? Are they the same guy? I don’t know. I suppose amidst all the scenery descriptions, I’m having a hard time following any characters in particular. And is the man in red wearing red clothing or is his skin red? Is he naked? Is he in tights? Who is this guy and why should we care about him or his glowing blonde boyfriend?

    I suppose my put here is that when you’re planning out a script, give us a character we can identify and get behind from the get-go. Vague descriptions and showing us things we’ve all seen before repeatedly in the last few years doesn’t get anyone anywhere. Give me a character. Let me get into his head. The sooner you get your audience onto your protagonist’s side, the sooner you win them over.

  4. John Eboigbe says:

    I have to say, as hard as this was to take the critique. I really thank all of you for providing them.
    I am an artist and when I have been working on this project for a while. I found out about this site after Steven announced it on Digital Webbing. I wrote the script after completing the art work. Yes this is completely backwards and this is one of the reasons I failed. I saw a lot of these problems after I completed this draft of the script, however rather than going through a solid prof reading process, I sent it away (big mistake). Steven can tell you I bugged him quite a bit the 1st week I had sent out my script with revisions. I found out that I had left out the gaping holes in the script specifically in the very parts that would have made this whole thing readable. Clear descriptions, grammar and spelling errors. Everything and more that was brought up in this was spot on.

    I come from a film background , so the script writing part was also difficult. I am really bad with grammar (as you can probably see from reading even this) ,Yannick , thank you for noticing this, and for the suggestions. I have been looking at old Chuck Dixon, Alan Moore, Geoff Johns, and Dwayne McDuffie scripts to get a better understanding of the correct format. Jules you are right the characters did not get established at all. This was my 3rd time rewriting the script. I had spoken to Steven about the script, and the over all comic book. He gave me some fantastic direction! He also got the concept, and seemed to like it, which gave me a real boost. Following his notes, I have written a better introduction to this world. Steven has really helped me focus the project. I will be hiring him very soon.

    I let friends and family read the script and well you know how professionals always say “don’t go by what friends and family say because they will love it!” Yeah , it happened to me as you can see here . They either, they never read it , or just did not care. Not to say that any friend, or family member could not give an honest critique, just don’t count on it.

    I hope for people who are reading this for the 1st time, or if you have also been critiqued, or waiting to be critiqued, not to take this at all personally. This is how you grow,
    This place is a great resource do not pass it up. Take the plunge, find out your strengths , and weaknesses , see what you can do to improve .

    Steven I hope that I get better at writing, and I do not make this too hard for you to work with me. I will be in touch soon.

    Thanks Again!

  5. Tyler James says:

    John, you’ve got the right attitude. One of the reasons this site exists is to provide the kind of support we can’t get from friends or family. Sometimes its tough to hear, but at the end of the day, your story is going to be better for going through this process.

    Thanks for contributing.

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