So, here we are again, back in The Proving Grounds! This week, we have a returning Brave One in Sam Roads. There are no blue notes. Steve Colle had some things to take care of, so you’re stuck with me and the red font of doom! Let’s see what Sam brings us in
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Panel 1 Wide, aerial shot of British city street in a
commercial area. It’s run down, with decaying factories
and storage sheds. A few cars are parked on the left. On
the right a brick railway bridge crosses the road. Speech
comes from the central car on the left. If the angle
permits, we can see the silhouette of Griffiths inside. A
big brick wall runs across the far side of the road, upon
which is the title of the story, in white paint: “Out of
Sight, Out of Mind”. (Okay, Sam. Since you went out of the way to say this is a British city street, care to tell the readers where they’re at? And what kind of car is it that’s on the left? Are you going to be specific, or are you going to leave it up to the artist? So, we have part of a Where, we’ll be getting to a Who, but we don’t have a When. I have no idea what time of day this is.)
BOSS (OP, RADIO)
DETECTIVE GRIFFITHS, YOU’RE FIFTEEN
DAYS BEHIND ON YOUR PAPERWORK.Â
IF YOU’RE STILL WORKING THOSE DAMN
HOMLESS ABDUCTIONS, I’LL HAVE YOUR
Panel 2 Medium. POV is the back of the car. Griffiths is
on the right, in the front seat. She stares, with narrowed
eyes, across to left, 100 metres distant, where we can see
a cardboard city under the railway arch – some half dozen
homeless people. She holds a mobile phone up to her right
ear. The car is littered with fast food empties. (Oh my word. Okay. If the POV is the back of the car…we can’t see her. We’re seeing whatever the back of the car is seeing, and most things can’t see inside themselves. But, if you mean that this is supposed to be a view from the back seat of the car, that’s totally different. We can see her, but we can’t see her in profile (which is what you’re asking for) without her physically turning to the side. What about the headrest? There’s a headrest in there, right? That’s also going to obscure the view. This is a bad angle to get the first good look at your hero.)
LOUD AND CLEAR, BOSS.
GOT BETTER THINGS TO DO THAN NANNY
TRAMPS WHO’VE WATCHED TOO MUCH X
Panel 3 Medium, profile on Griffiths. Her eyes are wide,
looking at the railway arch. She is opening the door on
the other side of her and shaping to get out of the car in
a hurry. Panel 5 should be where her eyeline points to. (Moving panel. What’s the still image here?)
Panel 4 Wide, POV is above and behind Griffiths as she
sprints towards the railway arch. She’s in a big damn
heroic running pose, really going for it. In the
background, distant, a dozen alien figures are escorting
the homeless towards a supernatural glowing portal which
has appeared in the wall behind them. Whatever you want to
draw as long as it looks like it goes somewhere. The
portal’s light should give the scene some cool shadows. (I hate the misuse of the word “supernatural.” Supernatural means magic. Aliens mean science. More than likely, super-science. Can aliens mean magic? Sure, but we usually call those angels and demons. Okay, rant over. It’s panel 4, and we still haven’t gotten a good look at our hero. Is that intentional?)
OI! YOU ALIENS! STOP NICKING OUR
THAT’S OUR JOB.
Panel 5 Wide, from the POV at the top of the arch, looking
diagonally down on Griffiths stood in the middle of the
cardboard city. There are no people here. The glowing
portal remains, but has shrunk (and ideally draw it
shrinking, if you can). Griffiths looks at the portal,
bottom jaw to one side, biting her bottom lip, brows
furrowed in indecision. She holds her body in a position
of action, arms raised a little. (Position of action? As in ready to do what? This means nothing. Here would be a nice use of reference, as well as the cardboard city.)
GLOWY THING LEADING TO CERTAIN
…OR HOME WATCHING ENGLAND TRYING
TO QUALIFY FOR THE WORLD CUP.
Panel 6 Close, profile of Griffiths back leg. The rest of
her has gone through the still smaller portal. The portal
is on the right, drawing us over the page.
So, we have P1 down, and let’s see what we have.
We have a heroine whom we do not have a good look at. We also have a partial establishing shot, not to mention a panel that can’t be drawn (or, it could, but it isn’t the view you really want).
Why are you burying your lead, Sam? Why have a character whom we don’t have a good view of? I’m not seeing the reason for it. I mean, I could understand if it was supposed to be a mystery, or a mysterious character, but it isn’t. She’s a cop of some sort. There’s no call not to give her a good view. I wouldn’t be surprised if your artist decided to add in a full panel view of the lady, both for story clarity and for pacing.
Page 2 Panel 1 spreads across both pages. All the other
panels on page 2 and page 3 are inset. (I’m not going to hit you on the page break. It might have been in the original, and I know I asked you to send it in a different format. So, benefit of the doubt there. What I’m also liking is the placement of the double-page spread. Even-odd. Great! Let’s see what you do with it.)
Panel 1 Big panel. Wide, helicopter shot of The Community,
a futuristic city. It has elements of a modern city, such
as tower blocks and streets. But it’s been designed so
that there are gardens strewn up and down the buildings.
The scale of the city is bigger than we can manage, with
300 storey, beautiful spire-like skyscrapers. There are
two strange objects in the sky, shooting towards the city.
The nearest is close enough to us that we can see it is
some horrible ether alien rolled up in a ball.
Panel 2 Close on Griffiths, shocked and awed.
I’M GOING TO NEED A BIGGER BOAT.
Panel 3 Close on Griffiths from beside and behind her. She
has seen the abductees and cloaked figures in the
background. She, on the left of the shot, is pointing her
right hand at them, furious. The scene is a beautiful city
street, exactly the same dimensions as Page 1, panel 1.
She is under a maglev overpass. The group of robed folks
and homeless, on the right, is getting into a big,
vehicle, about the size of a bus. Sleek, beautiful lines,
BRING BACK THOSE TRAMPS!
Panel 4 Medium. Griffiths is recoiling from one of the
rolled alien things which has crunched down into the
street in front of her, cracking the surface, somewhat
flowed into the ground, semi-dematerialised. She looks
Panel 1 Medium on the alien from Griffiths’ POV, unfurling
itself, jaws opening, threatening and scary.
Panel 2 Medium on Griffiths from the alien’s point of
view. Her left sleeve is rolled up and she is shoving up
the other sleeve. She looks alarmed, but brave, sneering a
YOU DON’T SCARE ME. I WAS BROUGHT
UP IN TOTTENHAM.
Panel 3 Small. Inset into panel 2. Close on Griffiths
mouth. (I think you just forgot yourself, Sam. Remember that P2 and P3 is a double-page spread, and you said that all of these panels are going to be inset to that. Now, you want to have an inset of an inset? I don’t think that’s going to work.)
AND I SUPPORT ARSENAL.
Panel 4 Wide, profile. Alien leaps at Griffiths, she falls
backwards, desperately avoiding it. (Yup. You definitely forgot what you were doing. Getting lost in your own script is not something I recommend.)
Panel 5 Close, Griffiths’ POV. Alien runs through her leg,
flowing through her, blood spraying. The alien is somewhat
incorporeal. Griffiths is failing to grab hold of it, her
hands passing through it. (I can’t see this in my head.)
Panel 6 Wide on the alien, on the left, circling, smeared
with blood. Griffiths face is on the right, close. She
twists her head to look desperately to the right of the
page. She is panicky and sweating. (This will more than likely be a moving panel. It’s the “circling.” That’s not something you’re going to be able to show in one panel.)
So, we have P2-3 down, and while I like the ambition, the execution is leaving a lot to be desired. And it’s all the fault of P3.
P2 I have no real problems with. Using a DPS to show the scope of the city is a great idea. I like the idea of the insets. The only thing wrong with them is that there are too many on P3. You have enough to make up a whole page, which totally destroys the DPS.
I like the ambition. I like that you reached for it. Just remember where you are and what you’re doing. Then this page wouldn’t have failed.
Panel 1 Iconic shot. Wide, from Griffiths POV at floor
height. George approaches, flanked by two of the
Community. The sun is behind him, giving him an aura of
light and radiance, although he looks scared – it’s a
contradiction. He is hovering a few feet off the ground,
drifting towards the scene. The Community are timid, half
staying behind his protection. In the background is the
city, with some of the alien balls flying through the air. (Okay. I’m not going to shoot you. You’re making me want to, but I’m not going to. I’m putting the bazooka away. We’re going to have a conversation, instead.
What are we going to talk about? We’re going to talk about terminology. The biggest thing is what you keep saying over and over (and over) again: POV. Point of view. I’m tired of seeing it. You use it seven or eight times. Learn a different shot. Learn different terminology. I want you to do what you did for the DPS: stretch.
As for this panel, I’m not liking it. Know what it’s going to do? It’s going to give the colorist a reason for a lens flare. I absolutely hate lens flares. Hate them. They are overused.
As for the contradiction you’re going for, I don’t think that the audience is going to get it. You can go for it, there’s nothing stopping you, but I think the effort is going to be wasted. Why try to go artsy now, anyway?
I’M SO SORRY! I’M SO SORRY!
Panel 2 Wide profile. Furthest left are the two Community,
Â cowering behind George. He looks frightened, gnawing on a
balled up fist, wincing and only looking with one eye at
the alien, in the middle. The alien has undergone shear
stress, as if cut into thirds, with the top third going
left and the bottom third going right. Griffiths is on the
right, on her backside, holding her wounded leg and
looking at this scene in fear. Waves of psychic forces
flow from George towards the ether alien.
OH! OH! OH!
Panel 3 Medium on Griffiths from George’s POV. His hand
extends forwards into our view, pointing at her. Waves of
psychic force flow from George towards her. She remains on
the floor, looking at her leg, stunned, smiling. Three
dozen beautiful butterflies are flocked on her leg.
DAMN, THAT FEELS BETTER! WHAT DID
I FIXED IT. ARE YOU MAD?
Panel 4 Medium. 3/4 angle on Griffiths, left just standing
up, looking at George, right. Griffiths looks angry and
confused. George looks frightened, hunching his shoulders,
bringing up his arms defensively.
MAD? I’M ABSOLUTELY LIVID!
WHAT WAS THAT THING? WHERE IS THIS
PLACE? WHO ARE THEY?Â
Panel 5 Close on Griffiths, yelling.
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!
I could be asking that same question.
Going with the idea that this is the page after a DPS, this doesn’t come off too well. That’s first.
Second, you introduced a few new characters. The Community can be gotten to later. George, however, should be introduced. You also had the perfect opportunity to use his name in a place where the audience can see it. It was wasted.
You also used the word “mad.” I thought those in the UK used the word “mad” in its proper usage: crazy. In the US, we say “mad” incorrectly, mistaking it for anger. That kinda jumped out at me.
If this page were properly set up, then it would work. See what happens when you lose your place? You messed up things down the line.
Panel 1 Wide. Griffiths is on the left. Community 1 is
stood beside her, putting a kind hand on her shoulder and
addressing her. Griffiths is turned to listen to it. On
the right, George has huddled into a foetal ball and
Community 2 is crouched down beside him, stroking his
head. In the distance, a few other Communities are
PLEASE, HUMAN FRIEND, DON’T SHOUT
AT HIM. HE’S GOT A SEVERE ANXIETY
Panel 2 Close on Griffiths. She looks totally
Panel 3 Wide. Community 1 is pointing at the City, his
head is left and close, his arm stretches out towards the
scene. On a distant walkway we can see a group of
Community running from an ether parasite being fought by a
human in robes and a helmet. Waves of psychic force come
from human towards ether alien.
THIS CITY IS CALLED The Community.
WE’RE UNDER CONSTANT ATTACK FROM
THESE ETHER PARASITES.
PHYSICAL THREATS AMUSE THEM, ONLY
PSYCHIC ATTACKS CAN DAMAGE THEM.
Panel 4 Medium on George, sat up, with his arms wrapped
around his knees. Community 2 is stroking his head. Two
smaller Community vehicles have pulled up, covered in
incomprehensible markings. Other Community are
approaching. They are presumably Community emergency
services of some kind, but its all a bit alien and hard to
COMMUNITY 1 (OP)
CENTURIES AGO WE CURED OURSELVES OF
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL ILLNESSES. BUT
WITH OUR ids PURGED OF MONSTERS, WE
HAD NO MENTAL AMMUNITION TO FIGHT
THE ETHER PARASITES. (Comma-fail, first sentence.)
Panel 5 Medium, profile on Community 1 and Griffiths. They
are close to each other, but each is staring into the
YOUR WORLD OVERFLOWS WITH THE
MENTALLY UNWELL. NONE WE BRING HERE
EVER ASK TO GO BACK.
WE CARE FOR THEM IN The Community.
Panel 6 Close on Griffiths, looking down thoughtfully.
I THOUGHT YOU BROUGHT THEM HERE TO
MAKE THEM YOUR SLAVES.
Panel 7 Low angle, beside Griffiths as she looks up at the
radiant city surrounding them, hands outstretched, palms
upwards. In the distance we can now see that the gathering
Community are actually crowded around George,
respectfully. In the foreground of the crowd an adult is
bending down to talk to a wide eyed juvenile, pointing at
BUT YOU MAKE THEM YOUR HEROES. (Whoa! That’s quite a jump, with nothing to back it up!)
Okay, this is all I was sent, so let’s just run it down, shall we?
Format: I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt. Flawless Victory. Just take it and run, Forrest, run!
Panel Descriptions: These were pretty good for the most part. Just choose different camera angles besides your point of view shots. See what it got you on P1? And watch for moving panels. Remember, static images.
Pacing: You screwed the pooch with that double-page spread. If you hadn’t forgotten where you were and what you were doing, I’d have said the pacing is good. However, with that one mishap, you screwed yourself.
Well, that’s not the only place. That last line of dialogue just comes out of nowhere. We’ll talk about that next.
Dialogue: Methinks you’re trying too hard, Sam. You’re trying too hard to make her witty and fearless and calm in the face o the unknown. She reminds me of Spider-Man a bit. That’s not a good thing. While you can be witty, you took it to another level.
And that last line? Totally comes out of left field. There’s no workup to it at all. One minute she’s witty, the next, she’s talking about heroes. It doesn’t flow.
Content: Meh. As a reader, I wouldn’t be coming back for more.
Editorially, this needs a rewrite. From soup to nuts. Can’t much more clearer than that.
And that’s all there is this week. Check the calendar to see who’s next