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TPG Week 50: Making Sure Things Make Sense

| December 9, 2011 | 26 Comments


Welcome once again to The Proving Grounds! This week, we have a returning Brave One in Evan Windsor. Let’s see what he’s brought us in

 

Death From Above

 

Page 1: 3 Panels

Panel 1

Establishing shot. A fancy high rise apartment building, night. At least 5 stories high, and the apartments have balconies. below, there is a fairly large parking lot. it is raining. (Right away, I have problems. To me, “fancy” means that this is taking place somewhere like New York City. I’m not getting a sense of place here, so I’m feeling like I’m in the white void. Next, I don’t know where the camera is. Is it up high and pulled back, looking down? Is it down, looking up? Straight on, looking at the building from a normal height (6 feet or so)? I don’t know, which just adds to the sense of isolation that this panel has. It could be on the moon for all I know of its location right now. Not good, Evan. Expand on this.)

 

Panel 2

Inside an apartment, middle shot of Professor Frank Widmeyer sitting at a desk. Across the desk are various essays and red pens and such, it’s apparent he’s been grading. At the moment though he’s not grading, he’s on the phone. Behind him you can see the sliding glass door that leads to the balcony, though out the window you cant see anything but dark and rain. (Fancy hotel, a professor grading papers. I don’t think these two things go together. It’s panel 2 on P1, and already, you’ve broken my suspension of disbelief. I think this has to be rethought, Evan. Either that, or a damned good explanation. Anyway, what does his body language say? Is he leaning back into his chair, or is he sitting forward?)

WIDMEYER (into phone): I don’t think you should come over. (Hm. I would add a word at the beginning, like “No.” Other than that, I’d go with something that would talk around it. Listen to people. They rarely come out and say exactly what they mean. This is too blunt. And really, you could put this dialogue in the first panel as a voiceover caption or as a word balloon coming from the building. It would be your choice as to which, but I’d move it. It isn’t doing you much good here, and it would better serve you in the opening panel. Get readers involved that much quicker.)

 

Panel 3

Same as Panel 2, but lightning has struck outside, backlighting Korppikotka, perched menacingly on the balcony’s railing. (Interesting. Now, you’re going to have to angle the camera in the previous panel so that it doesn’t move, but you can still see behind the prof. The way the previous panel reads now, the door and balcony are just there to place him in the room. Reveal their importance. Throw the artist a bone. Oh, and while I’m at it, you’re going to have to rethink the opening panel when it comes to the camera angle. You don’t want to reveal the demon in the first panel, which may have to happen if you go with certain angles. Make sure the angle works, but also keeps the demon hidden.)

WIDMEYER (into phone): Fine, come over. We’ll fuck, but you need to leave immediately after. I’m buried in work tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

Page 2: 7 panels

Panel 1

Widmeyer back at work grading papers (Has the camera moved any? What does his body language say? Is he frustrated? Is he holding a paper as he reads it? What’s he a professor of? Depending on how close the artist gets, that may be important, because they’ll then have to draw what’s on the page. Either that, or the letterer would do it. See what happens when you don’t give the artist enough information, folks?)

SFX: THUD (Where did this come from?)

 

Panel 2

Widmeyer stands up at his desk, startled. Behind him we see the sliding door to the balcony is open a few inches, and Korpp. is no longer out there. This is behind Widmeyer, he does not notice. (Evan, you’re making this extremely too easy. I’m not going to pick on Lisa yet. Connor McCloud of Clan McCloud: what’s wrong with this pic-ture?)

WIDMEYER: What was that? Is somebody there? (Okay, here’s where you devolve into a bad 80s movie. And I knows about bad 80s movies. Why is it that when people KNOW they’re alone, they hear a thump, and then they ask if someone is there? If a cat springs out, Evan, I’m going to fire you. Anyway, I think that the dialogue here needs a lot of work.)

 

Panel 3

Widmeyer, cautiously patrolling the apartment, sees a closet door slightly ajar, and grabs hold of a nearby desk lamp (In my best Dennis the Menace voice: Oh, Lisa WIIIIIILSON… What’s wrong here?)

 

Panel 4

Widmeyer is now standing right in front of the door, his left hand reaching for the handle, his right brandishing the lamp like a weapon (Where’s the camera? What’s the best camera angle for this? What would be the best view in order to add tension? Liam, you’re up.)

 

Panel 5

Korpp’s foot, from inside the closet, has kicked the door open. widmeyer is flying backward, the lamp has fallen from his hand. he is bleeding from the nose and mouth (Again, where’s the camera? You’re doing something here that you know better to be doing, Evan.)

SFX: KRACK

 

Panel 6

close up-The lamp hits the ground at an angle, lightbulb first, violently shattering – glass from the lightbulb goes flying (Okay, Yannick. I saw you nearly pulling your hair out in order to say something. Go ahead. Let fly. I’m going to contain you to ONLY this panel for now, though. D’oh!)

 

Panel 7

Mirroring the last panel, widmeyer hits the ground at a similar angle – headfirst. blood from his face splashes (I have no idea what this means. Mirroring the last panel? Why would you want to do that? Yannick is going to tell you the problem with the previous panel. That panel is not this panel. For this panel, you’re going to want a better description of the angle, at the very least.)

 

 

 

 

 

Page 3 (8 Panels)

Panel 1

Korpp grabs Widmeyer by his collar to lift him up

 

Panel 2

Korpp slams Widmeyer’s limp body against the desk (Okay, this is starting to bother me. It’s called a PERIOD, Evan. I want to keep looking for something to follow because there’s no period, and there’s nothing, because we’ve come to the end. Punctuation. I don’t harp on it as much in the panel descriptions as I could, and if I start doing it, people will have YOU to blame. Anyway, you have to be more specific than this. Is he being slammed down on top of it, or up against a side? Is he Face Down [just like Elvis—special prize to anyone who knows the artist and album WITHOUT LOOKING IT UP], or is he face up? See what happens when you’re vague?)

WIDMEYER(mumbling – letters small, and not quite aligned): who…

 

Panel 3

Korpp punches Widmeyer in the face (Is Widdy still on the desk? Has he been hauled and possibly turned into a sitting position? The vagueness of the last panel is impacting the vaguenss of this panel.)

KORPPIKOTKA(lettered, as always, in a monster-ish font to denote the “batman growl”): YOU KNOW WHO.

 

Panel 4

Korpp has once again lifted Widmeyer. his hands are up, shielding his face, pleading (This is frustrating me. It’s like you’re not even trying. If you’re not going to try, why should I? Why should anyone continue reading? Punctuation and correct capitalization, Evan. It isn’t difficult. A period at the end of the sentence is a basic rule of writing. EVERYONE knows that. So, do I call this being damned lazy? Or, worse, should I look at it as a sign of disrespect for what I do and what we’re all trying to accomplish here? This will need an answer. Anyway, the demon lifted him how? You have to be clear at least once in order to be vague in other places.)

WIDMEYER: Oh, my god… I swear, I never meant to… (I’m not going to ding you on the non-capitalization of a deity. If this were to be produced, the letterer more than likely is going to use a font that’s all caps, so this is fine. I just wanted to call attention to it, that’s all. In a less specialized setting, this would have been capitalized.)

 

Panel 5

Korpp throws Widmeyer through the plate glass sliding door onto the balconay (Okay, I know you saw the red line under the last word. I just wrote a post about Submissions, and gave some tips. I suggest you read it, and then apply the tips listed. Lately, I’ve been EXTREMELY lax about what goes on in the panel descriptions. You’re making me wonder if that’s a mistake on my part. Now, where’s the camera? It could be in a couple of places. Yes, Lisa, I’m going to pick on you again. I want to see how visually you think. Rewrite this two times, giving the camera angles.)

WIDMEYER: AIEEEE!

 

Panel 6

Korpp casually steps through the hole in the door onto the balcony (Spelled incorrectly once, and then spelled correctly the next time… I think you’re doing it on purpose. I think you want my liver to HATE you. Consistency. The only thing you’ve been consistent with on this page is the non-use of periods.)

 

Panel 7

Korp is holding Widmeyer, pushing his body against the railing of the balcony, his upper half leaning back over the edge (Holding him how?)

KORPPIKOTKA: It was no accident!

 

Panel 8

Same general composition as previous panel, only now, Korpp has pushed Widmeyer loose, his feet are off the groud, his arms are flailing. he’s clearly about to fall (Too many panels on this page. Consolidate. As soon as you start getting to seven panel territory, start thinking about ways to condense. 8 panels is a nightmare to do a proper layout of. The storytelling can get murky. If you go 8, you might as well do a 9-panel grid, and clear up the murkiness you’re foisting onto your artist. 8 is a bad panel number. 5-7 work, but 8 is something I’d shy away from.)

KORPPIKOTKA: And neither was this.

 

 

 

Page 4-5: 2 page spash with 2 inset panels on page 5

Splash

worms eye view looking up at widmeyer, falling down toward the camera. behind him (above him, in relation to the ground) we see Korppikotka perched menacingly. Lightning strikes again. Widmeyer’s eyes are wide open with terror and he is screaming (Rich, what’s wrong with this?)

WIDMEYER: AAAIIIEEE!

 

Inset Panel 1

Side view of the moment of widmeyer hitting the ground. blood and debris splatter about. motion lines from above show he was moving at great velocity (I have things to say about the insets, but I don’t want to steal any of Rich’s thunder. Just imagine a lot of red for this entire page. Rich will explain it well. [No pressure, Rich!])

 

Inset Panel 2

bird’s eye view of his lifeless, mangled, corpse

 

 

 

 

 

Page 6: 6 Panels

Panel 1

Establishing shot – Catesby University, “The Square”. Catesby is a private school, not quite Ivy League, but very old and nice. It has four main halls of instruction, arranged in a square, these buildings are all quite old, and built of red brick. At least one of them has a belltower. in between these 4 buildings there is a large, square, grassy area where students hang out, as well as several tree-lined walkways between buildings. expanding outward from this center point, there are several newer buildings, more classrooms, athletic facilities, and dorms. it is daytime, the sky is blue and it is sunny. (He squeezed it out! We have a Where [although it needs some work on clarity. Describe it like you’re seeing it, not like a brochure.], we have a When. I didn’t think you were going to get to the When, and I was ready to pounce. Good work getting it in there. Periods also mysteriously appeared again.)

CAPTION: Catesby University (I’m not going to ding you for a lack of a period here. Wait, let me see something. Be right back. Back. Okay, there was no location caption on P1, so there’s no problem with consistency. Given the fact that you’ve put correct punctuation in all the dialogue, I’m going to go out on a limb and call this a conscious decision.)

 

Panel 2

On one of these tree lined walkways in The Square, Julie walks to her next class. She has a backpack on. She is lost in thought. Austin, behind her, is chasing after her, trying to get her attention.

AUSTIN: Hey, Julie! Wait up! (Nice! I like the way you worked that in. Extremely organic.)

 

Panel 3

Julie turns and notices Austin who has now caught up with her. (Where’s the camera? How about a facial expression?)

JULIE: Oh, Austin. Hi!

 

Panel 4

Austin is bent over, catching his breath. Julie is waiting by his side patiently. (He must not be athletic in any way in order to be winded after what appears to be an extremely short run. I’m not buying it. Does Austin have a backpack? Carrying any books? If so, these need to be established in panel 2. If you do it later, it will be magically delicious.)

AUSTIN: Baby, did you finish last night’s homework? (Baby? That means they’re dating. THAT means that Julie’s previous dialogue doesn’t sound right. It’s just the two of them. Pet name, nickname, or a term of endearment—that’s what I would have expected. I understand you wanted to get the name in there, but this still doesn’t fit for being slightly unrealistic.)

JULIE: You mean the homework that Widmeyer assigned two weeks ago? The homework due in three minutes? (This is the first time that Widmeyer has been named. This is a fail, because there is absolutely NOTHING here to connect the name to the dead guy of a page ago.)

AUSTIN: Yeah, that’d be it.

 

Panel 5:

Julie continues to look focused. Austin looks a more flippant and carefree (Focused where? Did she turn back around? Or is she standing there, still looking off into space, which would make the dialogue look VERY strange if this were to be drawn. Is Austin standing now?)

JULIE: Of course I did. Didn’t you?

AUSTIN: I didn’t quite finish it.

 

Panel 6:

Julie’s face shows concern. Austin looks a bit awkward, like he just got caught, but doesn’t really seem concerned. (That’s going to be hard to draw. Again, the cleaner the emotion, the easier it is to draw.)

JULIE: How far did you get?

AUSTIN: Well, I didn’t quite start it, either.

 

 

 

Page 7: 4 Panels.

Panel 1

Julie pulls a piece of paper out of her backpack (Really? Is the pack still on her back? If it is, it will be pretty difficult to do. If it isn’t, then you need to state that she pulled it around in front or something. And don’t think I haven’t noticed the periods disappeared again.)

JULIE: I thought this might happen. I printed you out a copy with your name on it.

AUSTIN: Thank you, baby! You’re the best! This is why I love you! (Hm. Austin isn’t in the panel description. That means he’s off panel, which means the dialogue is coming from off panel. If you want him to be on panel, then you need to describe him, as well as his expression.)

 

Panel 2

Julie hands the assignment to Austin who kisses her on the cheek

JULIE: Why didn’t you do it last night?

AUSTIN: I was… busy. (This dialogue doesn’t match the action. Not in the least. You either have to change the dialogue or change the action. I suggest combining the two actions into one panel, and then having him look guilty in this one, keeping the dialogue.)

 

Panel 3

Julie looks a bit inquisitive but not overtly mean. Austin however, has taken offense to this and it shows on his face. He responds with anger. (Describe the panel, not the reactions to the dialogue.)

JULIE: Busy playing your stupid video game?

AUSTIN: Oh, come on! This shit again?

 

Panel 4

Medium-long shot from behind them as they walk away

JULIE: I don’t want to get in another fight, I just feel you’re wasting your education.

JULIE: I just think you should spend a little bit more time hitting the books, and a bit less time with the senseless murdering.

AUSTIN: They’re Nazis! It’s not senseless, they deserve it!

 

And that’s the end, folks. All I was given. Pretty unsatisfying, isn’t it? Let’s run it down.

 

Format: Flawless victory!

 

Panel Descriptions: Pretty light in the “describing” aspect. There are a LOT of things that haven’t been thought out here. It makes for interesting reading. Slow down, think things through, and make sure things make sense from panel to panel.

 

A word about punctuation. Well, two words.

 

Use it.

 

There is absolutely no excuse for a lack of a period at the end of a sentence. Sure, there’s the comma-fail that a lot of storytellers are guilty of, but everyone knows that a period ends a sentence. That’s either damned lazy and thus, inexcusable, or there’s something else going on here. If this were given to me as a submission for a company, it would have been thrown in the trash, and wouldn’t rate a response. English may be a challenge, but putting punctuation at the end of a sentence is simple. Just from a punctuation standpoint alone, this is a failure.

 

Pacing: Not too shabby! A couple of instances where you could be accused of padding, to include a huge waste of space, but not too shabby. Combine when you can, and stay away from 8-panel pages. Go seven, go nine, but not eight.

 

Dialogue: Meh. While it was totally serviceable, it did NOT help enhance the story. There was absolutely nothing about the dialogue that gave any other insight as to what was going on with the story. So, while serviceable, the dialogue let this story down.

 

Content: From a reader’s perspective, this story is a failure. There is NOTHING here to tie the guy who dies in the beginning with the professor whose class the students are going to. If you think that the last page is enough, you’re wrong. Here’s why.

 

We can infer, tenuously, that the demon somehow is Austin. We cannot logically infer that the guy killed was the professor. We can feel it in our gut, but that doesn’t mean the logic is sound. The guy could have been anyone. And, really, so could the demon.

 

They aren’t tied together. These could be two separate stories.

 

Also, there’s no reason why the guy in the beginning was killed. Not from where the reader is sitting. The demon knows why, and the guy apologizes somewhat, so he knows why he’s about to die, but there isn’t anything overtly stated for the reader to cling to.

 

Editorially, this is a mess, starting with the story itself. I have little choice but to assume it is modern day. It’s like a panel description: unless you specifically state what time of day it is, I’m going to default to daytime. So, I’m defaulting to our present, since there’s no timestamp.

 

Now, IF the professor were a Nazi, he’d have to have been pretty young when he started. I’m going to say that most professors stop teaching probably around 60 or so. WWII ended in 1945. That’s 66 years ago. IF the professor were 20 when the war ended, that puts him at 86. He’s OLD. I don’t ding for leaving out a character’s description, but if he’s talking about having sex in such bald terms, then I’m going to say that he’s not in his 80’s.

 

Now, if he WERE a Nazi, and he somehow kept himself young, there’s no explanation given. There’s no explanation given for anything within these pages. Nothing makes sense.

 

Why was the professor killed? Who killed him? What was Austin doing last night? Is the reader supposed to infer that Austin is the demon that killed the professor? Is the reader supposed to infer that the professor was a Nazi? If so, what is the relationship between the demon and the Nazi? Why is the demon dating? Why is the demon in school?

 

Why name the demon Korppikotka? It’s Finnish for “vulture.” Why name a demon after a bird? I’m not getting the significance.

 

Nowhere is the demon’s name mentioned where a reader could see it. Just like the reason for the killing, the name is hidden.

 

This needs to be rethought from beginning to end in order to make this a viable story. Nothing of consequence happens, because this is literally two different scenes that have nothing to do with each other.

 

And that’s all I’ve got.

 

Thank you to those who have submitted scripts. There’s enough to last through the New Year! But I’m always looking for more, so keep submitting!

 

Now, that’s REALLY all I have. 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 (26)

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  1. Evan Windsor says:

    Okay, I failed here, in two pretty major ways.

    1) I rushed the submission. I was very excited about this story (still am) and sent in pages as soon as I had them. Looking at it now, with a months time between me and the work? Wow. I’m ashamed. It really needed a second pass.

    I just wrote a paragraph explaining the circumstances that lead to all those panel descriptions not having periods, but deleted it and wrote this instead because how it came to be isn’t the point, the point is that you’re absolutely right, its lazy and inexcusable. I’ll be better next time.

    2) I submitted the script without the context for it to make any sense. I submitted the first seven pages of a six issue miniseries I’m writing. There’s things in the character descriptions, and in the next few pages that clarify a lot of what confused you. But you didn’t have that available, because I’m an idiot.

    So for anyone reading this today, here’s the context. It’s a slasher/mystery, much like the movie “Scream”. Korppikotka isn’t a demon, it’s a person in a creepy bird suit. Widmeyer is an Ornithology professor, and the students in his class (and as you saw, Widmeyer as well) are the victims of a series of bird related murders. Throughout the miniseries the characters (and the readers) attempt to discover who the killer is, and what the killer’s motive is. That’s the big picture, and this is just a small piece.

    So, as I said at the beginning, I failed. I should have sent more, and I should have sent better.

    My apologies to Steven for wasting his time having him edit this, and my apologies to anyone who was looking forward to TPG and instead got this rubbish.

    I’ll make it up to you all.

    • Tyler James says:

      I think we’ve all been there, Evan.

      We get so excited about our ideas that as soon as we’ve put them to paper we want to get them out into the world. The texting, blogging, tweeting, Facebook update culture of today has thus trained us.

      I did it the other day, too. Finished an eight page short and fired it to Steven. An hour later, looking it over and finding at least five obvious errors, I immediately contacted him and said, “Cancel that…new draft coming.”

      Neither you or I want our reviews clogged up with basic, easily fixable errors…but I think it’s good to be reminded to temper our enthusiasm with a little right brain reading and reviewing before submitting to any editor. Your script helped remind us all of that. So thanks!

      • Yeah, Tyler took all the fun out of things!

        Here’s something you all should know, folks: I will take corrections and I will take substitutions as long as I haven’t begun work on a script. If I’ve started work on it, you’re going to be out of luck. Kind of like a policeman when he’s writing a ticket. If he’s already started writing, it’s too late.

    • Replies!

      Evan, don’t sweat it. As others have stated, this is how we learn. Your lesson just happened to sting a little more than usual.

      You’ll be fine.

      • Evan Windsor says:

        It was the implication that my failures were due not to laziness or my stupidity, but due to a lack of respect for you and the column that punched me in the gut more than anything else. I assure you: I have nothing but respect for what we’re all doing here.

        So I analyzed my mistakes, licked my wounds, and allowed myself to feel bad for a solid 24 hours – then sucked it up and got back to writing, reinvigorated.

  2. Lisa Wilson says:

    Okay, here I go. Time to see if I am any help at all! (PS I’m hoping HTML works in comments or I’ll repost without all my crazy colours)

    Page 2
    Panel 3
    Widmeyer, cautiously patrolling the apartment, sees a closet door slightly ajar, and grabs hold of a nearby desk lamp 

    You’re describing this like a novelist not like a script writer.  “cautiously patrolling” invites that he’s in movement, but this is a still shot. Where is he in the room? How is he being cautious? What is his body doing that’s indicative of ‘caution’. Is he tip-toeing? Bent forward looking and to where?

    You say ‘Sees a closet door slightly ajar’: Where is the closet in relation to him and the rest of the room? It wasn’t previously described in the layout of the room that there was a closet so your artist might have a ‘duhhh’ moment of not knowing where the hell to put it. Is it beside the desk or across the room. If there’s a closet where’s the bed (as you’ve described this as a hotel). The door? Bathroom? You might not need it in the panel but if it could potentially be in the comic or you think it could give relation to where the character is in the room give a brief but informative description of what’s in there. Last thing you want is the door to turn out beside the balcony. That would be super silly.

    Missing camera angles and you’ve not given the kind of shot (med, long, 1-up). This might not always be 100% needed if you know the artist and you’ve worked together before but don’t rest back on that mentality (as I have before). Give them as much direction as you feel will lead them where you want the art to go.

    Additionally this feels like three panels in one.

    1) He’s looking around cautiously.  2) He see’s a door slightly ajar.  3) He grabs the of the desk lamp as a weapon.

    What would I do?
    (Totally subjective and could be completely off base… lets see if I can take my own advice)

    Make it three very short narrow panels that might take up the space of a single med/large panel on the page. Why? (I explain after)

    Panel 3
     Narrow Birdseye shot: Widmeyer in standing by desk. Closet against adjacent wall to sliding door (left of panel) W’s body is facing sliding door, upper torso half turned to look at the closet. SFW in small type below closet door.

    SFW:
    Creeek  (could use direction on what kind of SFX to use, but one should be there and ‘creek’ feels lame. Why is he looking at the closet anyways? He needs a reasonnot just OH HEY BAD THINGS HIDE IN THE CLOSET SO IMA GO THERE!)

    Panel 4
     Narrow Over the Shoulder shot: W (left side of panel) is facing closet door. W’s body is silhouetted. Right arm reaching back towards the desk, crossing along bottom of panel. Center right  of panel closet door is light in shading with shadow gap showing it is open ajar.

    Panel 5
     Same Panel with close up: W (still silhouetted) is closer to closet. Left hand outstretched to closet door, top half of lampshade in right hand enters panel from bottom right.

    Why do this?

    You’re trying to build suspense and your one panel jumps through it all super quick. When people are scared the agony of going towards that closet that scares the crap of you is not quick. It’s never quick. So draw it out, build the suspense. To really creep the reader out throw this down the page more (though that would rework the entire page and I don’t want to do that to you) so that they have to turn the page to get the shock. For that moment of turning they’re wondering: Is there someone in the closet? Will he come from the balcony while W’s going for the closet? You captivate your reader to turn the page, and you’ve done your job.

    Additionally, W has just pulled what I’m guess is the only light source in the room from it’s power. There should be a GREAT deal of shadow play in these panels as you have a storm going on outside. With lightning. Don’t assume your artist will get this, explain how you want it to play out. I’m assuming it’s night (I double-checked and I don’t think this has been indicated so far, which it should) so you can have that amazing shadow and light play.

    I didn’t feel any suspense in the panels leading up to this one and this was executed so quickly I don’t think the character even has time to be unnerved let alone the reader.

    Fight the urge to one sentence it!!

     

    What I did like
    Self defense instinct is good. No Mary-sue walking towards the closet thinking ‘omg I’m scared but I’m totes sure all will be fine, like I’ll ever have to defend myself in a dark room with the backdoor open during a thunderstorm.’ Lordy do I hate M-Sue…

    PS. Missing period. Add them. They’re fun. I like them. They end things. Abruptly.

    Page 3
    Panel 5
    Korpp throws Widmeyer through the plate glass sliding door onto the balconay 

    1. Spelling. I am terrible at it myself but spell check helps and re-reading allowed does too. (See what I did their?! Deer Lord does that hurt…)

    2. Angles. I like them oodles. Are we behind K or W?  High Angle, Birdseye, Low? Over the shoulder?

    3.  You’re combining actions again: Is he in mid air or already ‘through’ the window? You can’t have both unless you split this up but with 7 panels on this page already I recommend a negative on that one.  Pick a state of the action: Are we the Commedian from Watchmen? Is that what you’re going for?  If in doubt references help. Do you want a pre this shot, post this shot? TELL ME!!!

    Rewrite

    Panel 3
     Classic Comedian Panel from further back: Over the shoulder shot: K (silhouette because I love them) has arms outstretched towards W who is, back first, crashing through the balcony glass door at mid height. Balcony railing in background  of panel, center height in relation to W’s incoming back to prevent instant death. W’s arm’s are outstretched towards K. Lightning in background cast extreme shadows across W’s body (artist choice on shadow angles) W’s face: shock, bloody crooked noose and bleeding lip. 

    Panel 3
     Medium Two up, over shoulder (but a bit further back) of W: W in foreground. Glass has shattered into pieces but the body is still in mid air towards the reader. His arms are up defensively covering his head, lower half of his face just visible beyond his arms: his mouth clenched tight, blood on his fat lip. Background K in power stance (legs apart, torso contracted/slightly bent,) arms still in throwing action. Devilish smirk on K’s face. Bedroom features dark and vague behind K.

    With a shot like this you can do almost anything. You can make the reader be either person and it’s powerful. Even remove the over the shoulder and go for looking back as W seeing his attacker all powerstancing as he’s sliced to death by tiny pieces of horrible compact sand.

    Notes and Ideas because I’m on a roll

    Page 6: Panel 4
    JULIE: You mean the homework that Widmeyer assigned two weeks ago? The homework due in three minutes?(This is the first time that Widmeyer has been named. This is a fail, because there is absolutely NOTHING here to connect the name to the dead guy of a page ago.)

    Easy naming get around: Earlier when W is marking in the hotel throw a submission page “Essay 1 submitted to W by M.Jawesome” Establishes, if not overtly, the W’s name and profession. You can also introduce the topic of study and other information on a single page of a university paper. It’s a bit like an info dump, but if you have dialogue in the panel at the same time you can make it not look like one. On a panel with an essay page you could have the title of the paper be about birds, prof’s full name, a date, hell even a main character name. Printed/Typed pages in a comic can be helpful. It might not get through to all readers completely but they might put it together if you leave it there.

    Steven: “We can infer, tenuously, that the demon somehow is Austin. We cannot logically infer that the guy killed was the professor. We can feel it in our gut, but that doesn’t mean the logic is sound. The guy could have been anyone. And, really, so could the demon.”

    If Austin killed W, why is he worried about his homework? Easy way is to switch it up, Julie is worried Austin hasn’t done it, he’s not worried like he ‘knows’ something more than he should. Why do his homework after he killed the Prof? That’s a flimsy suggestion, I know, but if you are trying to illustrate that Austin=Demon then don’t skirt it. Make it clearer (however you might later but I’m going on what is there)

    Everyone starts somewhere Evan. Take the advice and work with it. We are here to help!!! (And hopefully you’ve not just skimmed to the end. I swear I tried really hard on this post!!)

  3. Liam Hayes says:

    “Widmeyer is now standing right in front of the door, his left hand reaching for the handle, his right brandishing the lamp like a weapon (Where’s the camera? What’s the best camera angle for this? What would be the best view in order to add tension? Liam, you’re up.)”

    Debut call!

    Playing it safe, I’d go for an over the shoulder shot. But if the mood took, I’d shove the camera inside the closet, looking through the gap. That way you’d get his expression.

    Also, you’d get the most out of this panel by having it as a page turner.

    Cheers
    Liam

    • Nice! Exactly what I was looking for!

      Both ways work very well, and one works better than the other depending on what was set up before. But I like the thoughts here. I think they work better than what was posted.

      Nice work, Liam!

  4. Rich Douek says:

    Hey Evan,

    Here’s my attempt at answering Steven’s question. All my opinion, so take it as you will.

    OK, so when I read this, I am picturing what it will look like on the page. I see Widmeyer hanging there, in midair. I don’t see him falling, because there’s no motion on the page. The one way to convey motion is with motion lines, but the perspective you’ve chosen rules out their use, because they can’t indicate motion along the “depth” axis (they would look like dots). So, you won’t be getting the dramatic falling effect you’re looking for. Conveying a fall, you’ll want to give the reader’s eyes a sense of downward motion as they read the page – there’s ways to do that, but no real way to show the trajectory of something coming out at you (without 3-D glasses, anyway).

    To show that motion, you’d probably want panels that are narrow, and tall, to emphasize the height, and show the motion, not a big, horizontal panel like a 2-page spread.

    That’s my technical view.

    As far as writing and structure go, I would question why this is the moment you’re choosing to accentuate so strongly with a huge, double page splash. Think about the purpose of a splash page – it’s to evoke a reaction from a reader – a kind of “wow” moment. What reaction are you trying to evoke here? “WOW, that demon dropped the FUCK out of him!” ? it’s maybe not the most interesting or impactful part of the sequence.

    Speaking of impact, the part you probably want to emphasize is Widmeyer, dead, mangled and probably quite sorry he crossed a demon. That’s the thrust of the scene – that’s the image you want people to flick back to when they see Widmeyer’s name mentioned on the next two pages. You don’t want to bury it in an insert underneath a needless bit of flash that’s not adding much of anything to the story.

    What I would look at is this – what is the purpose of this scene? I think its to show Widmeyer’s getting killed by the demon for some betrayal. I

    It’s a demon ,and he’s scared of it. As soon as we know that, we know Widmeyer is not going to be able to triumph over it. So, why bother with the balcony? Drawing it out doesn’t add to the tension – we KNOW what’s going to happen, so just get to it. Have the demon throw him out the window. Boom. End page 3.

    Next, we do want to show some falling – but there’s nothing really shocking about that. You get thrown out a window, you fall. So it doesn’t need a huge splash, it just needs to show the fall – from an interesting angle, sure, but just keep in mind the fall itself isn’t the most important thing on this page – hence it shouldn’t be the largest panel.

    The largest image should be Widmeyer, dead as shit. Paying the price. That’s what you want people to think of when they think of Widmeyer, each and every time he’s referenced down the line.

    THEN, in an inset go back to the demon gloating, delivering the “and neither was this” line – as a nice coda to the sequence, and a final comment on Widmeyer’s fate.

    Note, you can do that all on one page, no need for a spread, or even a splash really.
    Splash pages are used most effectively for three reasons – introductions of new characters, huge, set-piece action sequences like armies or teams battling, and big, big, climactic moments near the end of the story. It’s not like you can never break the rules, but you should always have a good reason for doing so.

    As a general rule, it’s good to use them sparingly, because they lose their impact otherwise.

    Hope that was helpful. Good luck!

    • See this, Evan? This is what you should be doing when you’re scripting. You should be thinking about what the best visuals are, the camera angles, and panel count, along with where they are placed within the story. A lot of moving parts. Rich just expained what you did wrong and why is was wrong perfectly. He even included the padding, and gave a viable alternative.

      Very nice work here, Rich. Thank you.

  5. Conner MacDonald says:

    Panel 1

    Widmeyer back at work grading papers

    (Has the camera moved any? What does his body language say? Is he frustrated? Is he holding a paper as he reads it? What’s he a professor of? Depending on how close the artist gets, that may be important, because they’ll then have to draw what’s on the page. Either that, or the letterer would do it. See what happens when you don’t give the artist enough information, folks?)

    SFX: THUD (Where did this come from?)

    Panel 2

    Widmeyer stands up at his desk, startled. Behind him we see the sliding door to the balcony is open a few inches, and Korpp. is no longer out there. This is behind Widmeyer, he does not notice.

    (Evan, you’re making this extremely too easy. I’m not going to pick on Lisa yet. Connor McCloud of Clan McCloud: what’s wrong with this pic-ture?)

    Okay, we see Korpp, in panel 3, page 1, illuminated by a bolt of lighting. Then there is no mention of him in Panel 1, page 2. But in panel 2 it is mentioned that Korpp is no longer present on the balcony, but the sliding door is now slightly open, suggesting that Korpp had slipped in.

    First issue is, your lack of angles. I suppose you could make this work if you had the right angles, but it would be a stretch. As is though, there is a huge jump in border time. I get that P2P1, Korpp is jumping into the balcony because of the sound effect. I’ve jumped into MANY balcony’s as a window washer, and its difficult to do silently, especially for a big guy like me, its more like, KA-BLAMMO! But I personally picture Korpp as being pretty lengthy and thin. Which sort of a excused the idea that he could slip silently through a door, only open a few inches. Cause I know that no matter how I tried to Tetris myself through a sliding door, I’d need it to be at least… one second I’ll go check. 1ft Imperial units, which is about 16cm metric. I am a bigger guy though… and Korpp must be a bigger guy if he toss the Prof around like he does.
    That open door being the issue with border time. As written, if we’re watching the Prof gradding papers once again, wouldn’t the sliding door be visible? So wouldn’t we see Korpp opening the door, and entering? And since Korpp must be a musculer man, he’d have to have the door open more then a few inch’s. So he opened the door, then closed the door (Sliding doors can be loud), and hustled across the room, between the THUMP panel, and the Prof noticing?
    Like I said this could maybe work with the right angles, and more detailed descriptions. But even then it seems far fetched.
    Perhaps make an excuse for the Prof to get up and leave the room for a moment. Then have him notice the sliding door open slightly, he finds it conspicuous, but not too alarming. BUT WAIT! Theres a sound coming from the closet!
    Or, going with the idea that Korpp is maybe a scrawny, sneaky type. Have your bolt of lightning panel. Then have the balcony go black, there’s the thump sound, but the Prof doesn’t scare easy, theres a storm going on after all, so he simply raises an eyebrow to it.
    Then another bolt of lightning, and we see Korpp is now standing outside the balcony, a wire noose in his hand, the Prof is oblivious! He just goes back to work. But we know whats coming. The next panel is a profile shot of the Prof, scornfully marking papers, we know Korpp is behind him! But the Prof has NO idea! The reader will be wondering, what is this thing? Why is it here! We get a close up of Korpp’s foot stepping into the room, while sliding the door open. A slight sound effect coming from the track of the door, like “RUMFH!”… Maybe.
    Back to the Prof’s profile shot, he turns his head in concern! SPLASH PAGE! Korpp has the noose around his neck! The next page will be the struggle between the two on the balcony, ending with Korpp forcing the Prof over the rail, with end of his noose secured to the top cross bar…

    That’s just an idea though…

    • Thanks, Connor!

      You thought it through, and made what I would take to be correct assumptions based on the information given.

      I don’t think this was a Border Time problem, though. Assuming Korp is a demon, the open door is fine. Sometimes even demons need a way to get in places. So, I could see that.

      Now, with the added into that this is a guy in a Big Bird suit, it becomes baffling how he could enter the room from behind someone, cross, and get into a closet, all without being seen. Basically, teleporting, and only being heard when he wanted to be. That’s a lack of forethought. That’s a breaking of the bounds of credulity in order to force something to happen.

      That’s a no-no.

      • Evan Windsor says:

        Between Rick and Liam’s comments, there’s going to need to be some pacing adjustments anyway, so as I’m correcting them, I should also be able to correct this problem of both noise and border time.

        You know how I’m going to fix it, Steven? WITH A CAT.

        It’s your fault for putting the idea in my head! I’m even thinking about naming the cat after you!

        But don’t worry, I’m going to subvert it, rather than the reader expecting a murderer and a cat jumps out, I’m going to have the reader expect the cat and have a murderer jump out.

  6. Noel Burns says:

    Hey Evan,
    Don’t look at this like you failed. Ultimately, it was a learning experience and you were willing to put yourself out there to help all of us learn from it as well. That is a big thing and we thank you for submitting. That is the reason we come to TPG. If all that got sent into to Steven were perfect scripts then there wouldn’t be anything to learn from it. We come here to learn so don’t feel bad that this wasn’t your best effort. I am sure what we see later will be even better.

    Thank you.

  7. Yannick Morin says:

    “Panel 6

    close up-The lamp hits the ground at an angle, lightbulb first, violently shattering – glass from the lightbulb goes flying (Okay, Yannick. I saw you nearly pulling your hair out in order to say something. Go ahead. Let fly. I’m going to contain you to ONLY this panel for now, though. D’oh!)”

    Why?

    That’s all I can think of. Why is this specific beat in the action important enough to warrant its own panel in an already jam-packed page?

    I won’t go into the technical details of how you could convey the movement of a lamp hitting the ground and glass flying everywhere in such a tight shot. I won’t even go into the fact that you’re missing important information like what angle is “at an angle” or that lamps usually don’t have bare lightbulbs that shatter as soon as you drop them. Never mind also that the lamp makes no sound as it breaks (no SFX – and no mention of NO COPY anywhere depite your numerous silent panels but i was told to keep to this one panel). I will also silently glare at the fact you killed the only light source in the vicinity, plunging some of your following panels in the dark.

    No, what I’m really interested in is why you chose to show this since you could very well have it happen while the professor was being kicked back by Koppy. In fact, it nmight have even lent that panel a lot more oomph by showing visual effects of the force of the blow.

    • Evan Windsor says:

      Why? I was trying to be artsy.

      We show the lamp falling at lets say, a 30 degree angle. The bulb has hit first, and is just demolished. Shattered to bits by the fall.

      Then, next panel, we show the body hitting the ground, also at a 30 degree angle, hitting head first. The head doesn’t explode into tiny bits, but by linking the two panels thematically, I imply that a great deal of damage has been done to this poor guy’s noggin.

      Symmetry. Like Watchmen!

      That was the plan, at least.

      But you’re right (you keep making me say that, Yannick!) 3 panels to show 1 second of action is excessive, and rather than coming off as sort of artsy and badass, it would probably just come off as slow and pointless.

      And you’ve got me dead to rights on sound effects – I didn’t think of that, but now that it’s been pointed out to me, I can’t UNthink it.

      • Nice, Yannick.

        Now, I knew why you did it, Evan. As soon as I saw the next panel, I knew.

        But you’re wrong.

        Here’s why you’re wrong: if you’re going to be artsy, then you have to BE artsy. You just can’t do it for a panel here and there. Don’t treat it like am internal monologue with a case of the dropsies. It looks disjointed and is jarring. It took me right out of the story (again), instead of having the implication you wanted.

        A different way to be artsy would be to show the room/suite being trashed, without showing the violence to Widdy. Only come to him later, showing him beaten and battered. Then toss him off the roof, but instead of showing the body, pull out to show the room again, trashed and possibly with blood smears. That would be artsy.

        But if you do it that way, you have to follow through in the story. Not that the entire thing has to be an art book, but you have to have other things in there that perform the same functions.

        Know what I mean?

        • Evan Windsor says:

          I know what you mean. It’s getting cut.

          As much as I love that idea, it just doesn’t match the tone/pacing I’m going for here.

          I am going to store it in my “Story ideas” document, so maybe it’ll find a home later in another story. Or maybe in six months I’ll wonder what the heck I meant by “Broken lamp head trauma”.

  8. Evan Windsor says:

    A big thanks to everyone who posted, it’s all good advice, which I will take to heart as I revise this issue.

    There’s still a lot of work ahead, but I’m facing it head on.

    Excelcior!

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