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TPG Week 145: Too Much Stuff In The Bag

| October 4, 2013

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Welcome back, one and all, to The Proving Grounds! This week, we have a returning Brave One in Jourdan MacLain. We also have Samantha LeBas in purple, I’m in red, and we see if Jourdan can make us all feel

Dirty

TITLE: DIRTY/ CREATED BY: MONTE MILLER/ WRITTEN BY: JOURDAN MCLAIN/ PAGE 1

DIRTY

 

[ALL CHARACTERS ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF MONTE MILLER. ALL CHARACTER AND EVIRONMENT DESCRIPTIONS ARE IN A SEPARATE DOCUMENT] (Ah, the ownership disclaimer. Know what? No one cares. No one is out to steal your characters because they’re too busy creating their own, and even if they were to steal the characters, do you think this would really stop them? You going to take them to court? I know a guy who says he’s going to sue Disney because he says he created names they used in The Lion King, forcing him to change names of his own characters. It’s been almost 20 years and no lawsuit. Ownership has to be proven. This first sentence is garbage and semi-offensive to me. The second sentence…I’m just happy that there’s a document with the information in it.)

PAGE 1 (10 PANELS) (Whoa. That’s a lot of panels on 1 page. Let’s see if they’re put to good use.)

PANEL 1: A daytime aerial shot of the wastelands as Diana and Olivia, with her sun hat, backpack, and belt pouch on, (Olivia has on outdoor gear, but Diana does not, right?) run side-by-side chasing Holland who is ahead of them running with his oversize axe in his hand.(Disclaimer: ComixTribe does not endorse running with with scissors or oversized axes)

CAPTION DIANA: WELCOME TO THE WASTE. AFTER THE BOMB DROP TWENTY YEARS AGO(comma) IT DESTROYED MOST OF THIS AREA AND CHANGED THE SURVIVORS.(This sentence is not grammatically correct. It should either read ‘After the bomb drop twenty years ago, most of the area was destroyed and the survivors were changed.‘ or There was a bomb drop twenty years ago. It destroyed…‘ (20)

OLIVIA: B^&%H! GIVE IT UP. (4/24/24)

CAPTION DIANA: “THE DROP” TURNED IT(this area?) INTO A PLACE WHERE OUTCASTs, SCUM, AND THE POOR LIVE(. THIS IS WHERE I LIVE NOW WITH MY COUSIN, PENELOPE, AND HER LITTLE KID (son? daughter?), TEAPOT.(You’re kind of putting poor people on the same level as scum and outcasts. It is a little off-putting. The poor may live in this area of the world you are creating, but there is a better way to say it. Consider: and ‘those too poor to escape,’ or something that differentiates them from the riffraff. Also, you never come back to Penelope and Teapot, why are you bringing them up?) (Mos Eisley, anyone?)(29/53/53)

PANEL 2: A over the shoulder view from Diana as she looks to her left at Olivia who is looking and laughing at Diana while pointing at her as they both continue to run.

OLIVIA: YOU’RE GETTING TOO OLD TO BE A BOUNTY HUNTER, DIANA. (10/63)

DIANA: SHUT UP! (2/12/65)

OLIVIA: WHAT ARE YOU, LIKE SIXTY? SIXTY(hyphen)FIVE? (6/18/72)

CAPTION DIANA: THIS IS OLIVIA, THE COMPETITION, AND I’M ONLY FIVE YEARS OLDER THAN HER. I WISH SHE WOULD JUST DIE SOMETIMES…(I would change this to ‘Sometimes, I wish she would just die.’ (20/38/92)

PANEL 3: Tilted angle(What specific angle?) shot behind the backs of Olivia and Diana. Diana is looking straight ahead and we see the profile of Olivia as she is still looking at Diana while she laughs and talks unaware of Holland who is no longer running but is standing in between them in the mid ground as he is looking back over his shoulder at Olivia smiling with his axe touching the ground.

OLIVIA: YO’(no apostrophe needed) COOCHIE IS ALL DRIED OUT NOW, AIN’T IT? (this accent was not present in her last lines of dialogue.) (9/47/101)

PANEL 4: In a wide shot we see Diana’s left arm shown as multi-images/a ghosting sequence as it is grabbing the back-pack from off her back and throwing it to her left at Olivia, as it crosses in front of Holland in a blur. Holland has struck the ground creating a small crater that cracks the ground while small to medium size pieces of rock float in the air. Motion lines show the path that the axe strike took. Olivia is cringing in pain as her arms are stretched down towards her clearly exaggerated broken left ankle. The broken ankle is due to being hit by Diana’s back pack which took her off balance and is near her. Olivia’s right leg hangs out to the side, nearly being hit by Holland’s attack.(Though you account for the motion with lines and visual effects, I think this would be stronger if she grabbed her backpack in the previous panel and the we got the the toss and fall in this one. You’re shoving way too much visual information in this panel. You might even need to put Olivia reacting to her injuries in another panel.)

CAPTION DIANA: …SOMETIMES.(This seems out of place.) (1/102)

DIANA: WATCH OUT! (2/3/104)

SFX [NEAR THE IMPACT OF THE GROUND]: THROOOM

OLIVIA: AAAAHHH S#%@! (1/4/105)

SFX [NEAR TWISTED ANKLE]: CRUNCH

PANEL 5: Low angle view in between Holland and Diana as they stand facing each other. Diana is looking up at Holland who is staring down, at the much shorter, Diana in anger with the words TRY N KILL ME painted on his chest.

CAPTION DIANA: THIS IS HOLLAND, A CLASS THREE(this should be a numeral) ASSASSIN. (Suggest separate balloons) HE’S A “DROP BABY”,(move comma inside quotation marks) A SURVIVOR OF THE BOMB DROP. (17/122)

[FLASHBACKS CAN BE IN SEPIA OR IF YOU GOT SOMETHING COOLER GO FOR IT]

PANEL 6 [FLASHBACK]: Tilted angle medium shot from the side, in the foreground, is an angry Salem with no goggles on and teeth clenched as his scarf blows behind him. He has a full-mount (mma style) on Holland as he’s holding half a broken sword, with both hands (who is holding the sword?) that had struck Holland’s chest(How will you show this?). Holland is smiling at Salem. The other half of the swords blade is in mid-air with motion lines near it. (lines that indicate what?) In the mid-ground a tired(she looks tired, not scared or worried?) Diana is running towards them with no scars on her face and long blonde hair.(Where is she? Left? Right? Behind them?)

CAPTION DIANA: WE ALMOST HAD HIM BEFORE, BUT THE BASTARD IS STRONG, INVULNERABLE…(this is not what you mean. If he has no vulnerability she can’t win. ‘and nearly invulnerable’? Also, consider naming Salem here.) (11/133)

PANEL 7: Out of the flashback we have a medium shot behind Diana as we see Holland grinning as he rushes at her. With his axe raised behind him, in one hand, he reaches straight out to grab Diana with the other. Diana is looking up at Holland, crouched underneath Holland’s extended arm, while she has her left hand half way in her belt pouch.

HOLLAND [ROUGH BALLOON]: NO BABY DADDY,(no comma needed) TODAY? (4/137)

DIANA: DON’T WORRY ABOUT HIM. (4/8/141)

CAPTION DIANA: …(Consider: ‘but he’s also’)…PREDICTABLE… (1/9/142)

PANEL 8 (INSET ONTO PANEL 7): Close up of Holland’s surprise face, surrounded by radiation lines, with a suffocation mask covering his mouth. Diana’s hand is seen as she has placed it there, with speed lines behind her arm.

CAPTION DIANA: …SLOW… (1/143)

PANEL 9: This is a close up multi-image panel of Holland’s face with each image slightly over-lapping the next. The first image shows Holland, left of the panel, as the mask has taken over his cheek and is up his nostrils. Holland is wide-eyed as he panics and motion lines are around his hands as he touches the mask. The Second image in the sequence has Holland, centered in the panel, sleepy with his eyes half way closed looking straight ahead and we don’t see his hands as the suffocation mask is now in his ears also. The last multi image is of Holland leaning so far right of the panel that only one of his closed eyes, an ear, part of his cheek and his hair are seen with motion lines following.

CAPTION DIANA: …AND MOST IMPORTANTLY… (3/146)

PANEL 10: High angle view of Diana as she looking straight up towards us as she has a foot on the back of a sprawled out unconscious Holland with her hand holding up the brim of her hatwhile her left hand is on her hip. (I don’t know what you are trying to get across here, is she arranging her hat to see better, or is she tipping her hat, or something else? Also, in your first panel description makes it sound like Olivia is the one with the hat and backpack, not Diana.)

CAPTION DIANA: …WORTH A HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. (Suggest separate balloons) THAT’S MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR US TO MOVE AWAY FROM HERE. (16/162)

DIANA: HOW DID YOU LIKE THAT? (5/21/167)

PAGE BREAK(Actually insert a page break.)

(Stop this! It seems like you have a page limit, and you are trying to get as much as you can in those pages. So, you are showing multiple actions in one panel, and cramming 10 panels on one page. It’s not a five page story just because you number the pages that way. You have already put three pages of content on this page. The point of short comic stories is to find a story that can be told effectively in the limit given, not to make a story for ants. These panels are going to be too small to the human eye to appreciate what with the motion lines, ghosted images, novel tech devices, and all. You’ve sacrificed things like establishing shots and proper transitions in order to get this large amount of information in a small space. Where is Olivia during all this? She seems to have no consequence. Have you considered cutting her all together to get this down to a more manageable number of panels.)

So, P1 is in the books!

It’s crap.

I would be at a loss as to where to start, but luckily, all I have to do is start at the top and work my way down.

10 panels on this page. This is neither impossible nor unheard of. There are times when you need a lot of panels. It isn’t just about telling the story, but sometimes those “extra” panels add ambiance to a scene or a page. This is not the case here, though. Here, Jourdan puts ten pounds of crap in a five pound bag. This is not good at all.

The panel descriptions are overly burdened with action, while at the same time not giving all the pertinent information that the artist will need in order to do their job. Sure, this happens, but here’s what you’re doing: the over-actions are causing you to try and ghost the images, showing quick actions. Those quick actions more than likely aren’t going to come across the way you want them to. More than likely, they’re going to come across as cartoonish. A prime example is when the guy gets knocked out. One panel? He suffocates to unconsciousness in one panel? I’m not buying that at all. However, I’m afraid of what you’d try to do in order to show it in a more realistic sense. Add more panels to the page, more than likely.

Sam is very right in that you have about three pages worth of stuff here. Most of those ghosted images are you trying to cram more crap into a single panel, for whatever reason. It isn’t good. Pages need to breathe, and you’re not letting it breathe.

Now, a high panel count means a low word count. You have ten panels on this page, and what I did was I counted the words per balloon/per panel/per page. In the first panel alone, you have 53 words. Most panels can handle only around 35, and you went for all the marbles here. I’m going to tell you a not-so secret: panel 1 cannot hold all of those words and still show art. It isn’t happening. Here’s why.

The first caption has 20 words in it, and the second has 29. Then there is the four-word word balloon. Now, captions can hold more words than word balloons, because they don’t take up as much space. Word balloons take up more space than captions, because they have to be formed in a diamond shape. You have lots of negative space to deal with in word balloons.

Now, this page has ten panels on it. The more panels you have, the smaller each individual panel has to be in order to accommodate the other panels. The smaller the panels, the fewer words each panel can hold. So not only are you cramming more actions than a panel can comfortably hold, you’re trying to cram more words than the panel can hold, too. With all of these words, where is the art supposed to go?

I once made Tyler write and draw a nine-panel (or so) page with about the same amount of words on it. (You still have that, Tyler?) He did it, but it was difficult, because he couldn’t show all the art he wanted to, and he had to work around himself in order to put all the words in. And you know what happened? He never did it again.

So, I don’t care whether or not you have an ounce of artistic talent in you: I want you to draw this page and put words in it. Then I want you to send it to me. I want to see it.

As for the dialogue, your characters are still rough around the edges. One of them has a dialect that comes and goes, so it doesn’t sound authentic. Then there is the incorrect placement of the stressors.

Panel 1: you have a stress on “it.” Why? I read it out loud, and it just sounds wrong. It reminds me of what Marvel used to do in the 70s and 80s: they’d make random words bold in order to make it seem more like real conversation. However, the randomness of it always threw me out of the story, because it was forced. Just like this.

And then, there’s the page break at the end of the page. Know what that is? That’s just lazy, and not knowing how to use your tools.

Okay, so I’ve been using Microsoft Word for about 20 years. It can take me a while to do certain things, but I can do a helluva lot with it. Because I’ve been using it for a long time, I can also make my way through just about any word processing program you care to name. However, this is also the internet age, and we’re all connected to information. We just have to look for it.

This means if you want to learn how to put in a page break and a header, you can go learn how to do it. There are tutorials out there, and probably YouTube videos. Not doing it is just damned lazy, and really, you should be ashamed of yourself for it. I don’t abide laziness.

I think I dinged you on this last time, too. Here’s the thing, folks: you can send in multiple scripts at one time, and then you can still improve them if you’ve learned something new, asking for me to swap them out for you. As long as we haven’t done a significant amount of work on the script, we have no problem in switching out the script for a newer version. We’re here to be as helpful as we can. But this? Just like last time, it’s inexcusable.

TITLE: DIRTY/ CREATED BY: MONTE MILLER/ WRITTEN BY: JOURDAN MCLAIN/ PAGE 2

PAGE 2 (8 PANELS)

PANEL 1: Worm’s eye view behind Diana as she looks up at a smiling Porter floating above her on a scooter.Porter is holding his video camera down at his side while his other arm is stretched out, as he has tossed a tablet toward Diana. The tablet is in mid-air between them and Diana has her arm out to catch it.

PORTER: GOOD STUFF(comma) DIANA. HERE’S THE NEXT JOB.

DIANA: WHO IS IT?

CAPTION DIANA: THIS IS THE OTHER HALF OF MY JOB. I’M A REALITY T.V. WHORE.(Why does the fact that she is getting a new mission indicate that she is on reality TV? Should she say something like: ‘There’s a second part of my job.’?)

PANEL 2 [FLASHBACK]: Wide shot view of Diana, in the busy city of Gravenka, in the middle of an intersection blocking a high kick (http://www.fighttimes.com/magazine/magazine.asp?article=586 ) from The Red Tongue who is still holding a cigarette in one hand. Ren Raz is in the background crawling on top of wrecked cars, with short sleeves on, as she’s trying to get to Diana. There are some cars on the sidewalk trying to avoid them, while others are backed up in traffic, and some drivers are screaming at them. The MMC TV sign is in the background clearly seen as Parrish, who is wearing a tie and suspenders, and Shem, with his cloak on and a sword handle sticking up behind him, walk out the open door next to the sign. Parrish is smiling and looking at the two fighting in the street while Shem’s look is expressionless. (I am assuming all your including all character and setting info in a separate document [or referencing pre-existing work] since this introduces the city and a lot of characters in this particular story you may want to comb through those descriptions, or books, and make sure that you touch on any points that seem necessary that are not directly addressed. Also you need to describe the placement of each character on the panel, not just what they are doing.)

CAPTION DIANA: ME AND RAZ HAD JUST CAUGHT UP WITH THE RED TONGUE AT (in, not at) DOWN TOWN(one word) GRAVENKA

RED TONGUE: ARE THEY PAYING YOU ENOUGH,(suggest changing comma to ellipses) TO DIE?

CAPTION DIANA: WE WERE JUST TRYING TO MAKE RENT FOR THE MONTH, NOT AUDITION(ing) FOR A SHOW.

PANEL 3 (INSET ONTO PANEL 4) [FLASHBACK]: Close up Diana’s bare feet, as she has jumped, and they are off the ground with motion lines behind them.

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PANEL 4 [FLASHBACK]: Full body shot of Diana in the air with her left knee connecting with The Red Tongue’s head, cracking his mask, as she has just delivered a *flying knee. His arms dangle by his side and his legs buckle.

* http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Umar_Khan_performing_a_flying_knee.jpg

RED TONGUE [WAVY BALLOON]: UUHHHG

PANEL 5 [FLASHBACK]: Close up of Parrish smiling.(Where is he? Still in the city scene?)

CAPTION DIANA: BUT I GUESS PARRISH SAW A STAR BEING BORN.

PANEL 6 [FLASHBACK]: Mid shot from the side as Diana stands with a slight smile shaking hands with Parrish who has a big smile, showing all his teeth, over his desk. (Any description of his office?) There are motion lines around their hands as they shake. (Of course there are) Ren Raz is leaning over the desk and signing papers while Shem is against the wall with two sword handles sticking up from his back.

CAPTION DIANA: THIS WORKED WELL(consider adding ‘for us’), BECAUSE WE NEEDED THE EXTRA MONEY AND INTEL(comma) IF WE WERE GOING TO COMPETE WITH THE BIG(hyphen) TIME BOUNTY HUNTERS.

Panel 7: Out of the flashback is a close up view of Diana’s thumbs wrapped on the sides of the tablet showing Greedy’s and Shai’s wanted posters that are next to each other.

PORTER (OP): THE LANDELL BROTHERS. PARRISH HAS REN RAZ OUT FINDING INTEL ON–

[LET’S GO WITH SOMETHING COOL IN THE BACKGROUND OF PANEL 8. I WAS THINKING ALONG THE LINES OF A VAN GOGH’S STARRY NIGHT TYPE WIND SWIRLS]

PANEL 8: Medium close up of Diana holding the tablet looking down at it surprise with wide eyes and her mouth is open a little.

DIANA: —GREEDY AND SHAI?!

CAPTION DIANA: THIS SHOULD’VE NEVER HAPPENED.

(I am going to break out one of my dad’s favorite phrases: you are trying to cram five pounds of shit in a two-pound bag. This page is all over the place.)

This really is just all types of not-good.

Most of these problems are really just Comic Writing 101 things:

We read from left to right. This means characters have to be placed left to right. But since you’re not slowing down your thinking, the panels are coming out as a muddled mess with characters in the panel but not properly placed. So, you’ve got half the battle: they’re there, they’re acting, but they aren’t placed solidly.

However, you’re also jumping around a lot. Because you’re jumping around, you’re failing to put in good establishing shots, let alone adequately establish the location of where things are happening. Sure, you can condense and use a montage-like series of images to tell the story, but you still have to do the job of letting the artist know where things are happening.

Then, there’s the fact that you have eight panels on this page. Eight is a kind of no-man’s land. Seven is generally the upper limit, and then you have the nine-panel grid. Most of the time, writers will skip over eight panels and go right to a nine-panel grid, or rethink the page and cut it down to six or seven. Eight gets you stuck in a strange area, and stuck is nowhere to be.

Don’t think I didn’t see the fact that you have about two or three pages worth of story on this single page, too. This is just cramped all around.

PAGE BREAK

TITLE: DIRTY/ CREATED BY: MONTE MILLER/ WRITTEN BY: JOURDAN MCLAIN/ PAGE 3

PAGE 3 (7 PANELS)

PANEL 1: Full shot of the back of Diana walking into MMC TV building as we can see the sign next to the door. (Clarity. This? Unclear because I had to read it twice, and that’s saying something because this is a short panel description.)

CAPTION DIANA: I JUST THOUGHT THIS WAS PARRISH TRYING TO GET RATINGS, BUT IT WAS MORE THAN WHAT(suggest eliminating ‘what’) I EXPECTED.

PANEL 2: Medium shot from the side showing Diana yelling in anger with her arm straight out, with motion lines, as she has thrown the tablet at Parrish. Parrish grins behind his desk and has caught the tablet with his right hand as he is touching his bright green ear piece with his other hand. Shem has his cloak pulled back with his left hand as his right is on the handle of one of the three swords sheathed on his hip as he looks at Diana expressionless.(Why is Shem there?)

DIANA: WHY SALEM’S BROTHERS, PARRISH? …FOR WHAT? HUH?

DIANA: THEY’RE BOUNTY HUNTERS!

PARRISH: DIANA I KNOW IT’S(they’re) SALEM’S BROTHERS, BUT NOW THEY’RE ON THE TOP TEN MOST WANTED LIST…

PARRISH: …SEND IN CILLIAN.

Panel 3: Over the shoulder of Parrish looking at a confused Diana with her head tilted, both arms bent with her shoulders slightly raised, and palms turned upward (shrugging?).

DIANA: WHAT DID THEY DO?

PARRISH: HIGH TREASON, OR SOMEHING(something) LIKE THAT.

PANEL 4: Parrish’s point of view as you see his hand pointing, Diana is looking back, at Cillian in the doorway next to Kuri (where did Kuri come from?) with a bag over his head and arms handcuffed behind his back. (Sounds like Cillian is leading Kuri in, say that.)

PARRISH: DIANA THIS IS CILLIAN. HE’S A FORMER ROYAL GUARD(comma) AND HE’LL BE WORKING WITH YOU AND RAZ.

PARRISH: THE EXEC’S(execs) SAID IF YOU’RE REALLY GOING TO DO THIS, FOR REAL. (change period to comma) THEY NEED TO MAKE SURE THEY’RE(their) INVESTMENT STAYS ALIVE.

PANEL 5: Medium shot of Cillian holding up the mask off of Kuri who has swelling, bruises, and cuts on his face.

PARRISH (OP): LUCKILY(comma) OUR NEW SPONSOR, SHAHITA, HAS STEPPED UP AND GIVEN US CILLIAN…

PARRISH (OP): …AND LOOK(comma) HE’S ALREADY GOT A THIRD OF THE JOB FINISH(finished). (This doesn’t make any sense. If we saw Cillian last panel, and he was leading someone in, AND you’ve already had a character introduce/make mention of him, WHY are you now reintroducing him like it wasn’t already done? This is just awkward.)

TABLET [IN ELECTRIC BALLOON] (OP): NEW VIDEO MESSAGE RECEIVED.

PANEL 6: Close up of Parrish looking at his tablet in horror.

DIANA (OP): WHAT’S WRONG?

Panel 7: Medium shot of the tablet screen we see Greedy angry and yelling as he points to Ren Raz tied up to a chair next to him.

PARRISH (OP): IT’S-(change dash to ellipses) IT’S A MESSAGE FROM GREEDY.

GREEDY [ELECTRIC BALLOON]: DIANA, BRING KURI TO THE OLD CRYSTAL BASE(comma) AND WE’LL GIVE YOU BACK RAZ. (Suggest separating balloons) YOU BRING ANY COPS OR YOUR CAMERA CREW AND SHE’S DEAD!

(I would suggest that you put Kuri’s mugshot or wanted poster with the other two, so we know that they are a group. That way his showing up will have more of an impact, and the fact that Cillian has already captured him will be more impressive or shocking. The pacing on this page is better than the previous two.)

So, we’ve got seven panels on P3. This is a much more manageable number. We even manage to stay in one place.

To be honest, I no longer care about the story. Too many characters, none of whom I’m invested in, too many panels that are just plain gibberish and that don’t move the story forward… I mean, we’re actually somewhere around P7, maybe P8, and there’s still no idea as to what the story is about. True, it’s possible that we might be getting it right now, but it really doesn’t seem like it.

I don’t care, and that’s a shame. Nothing is done to make me care about anything that’s going on here. I can’t even work up a rant. That’s how much I don’t care.

I have no idea where I’m at in this thing. So many seemingly random images are in my head. It just isn’t any good.

Remember in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, near the beginning, when Ferris is still in bed, faking? He calls, “Poppa?” even though his father is standing right there, because he’s acting delirious/blind? That’s exactly how I feel here, although it isn’t an act.

PAGE BREAK

TITLE: DIRTY/ CREATED BY: MONTE MILLER/ WRITTEN BY: JOURDAN MCLAIN/ PAGE 4

PAGE 4 (7 PANELS)

PANEL 1: Wide view of two motorcycles riding through the surface of the crystal catacombs at night towards a lone house. Diana is on one bike and Cilian (you’ve spelled this Cillian thus far. Which is it?) and a person completely wrapped in cloth from head-to-toe and tied up on the other. (How could a person wrapped in cloth straddle a bike? What would they hold onto? Do you mean he’s wrapped like a mummy?) (If he’s tied up, how is he driving the bike… Poppa?)

CAPTION DIANA: IT TOOK ME AND SALEM MONTHS TO MAKE(build?) THIS LITTLE HOUSE.

Panel 2: Mid shot of inside the house(any details?) as we see Greedy standing and screaming at his brother Shai while his arms are spread out laterally. His left hand is pointing at the door while his right hand is holding an issue of LUMI THE ANGLER as we see his yellow and blue gloves in his back pocket. Shai is clearly angry as he faces his brother pointing and screaming at him, while he stands next to Raz. Raz’s back is toward us while she is tied up. A ¾ profile of her alarmed face a she is looking at the door in the background.

GREEDY: HEY, I WAS WATCHING HIM THE BEST I COULD!

SHAI: WELL YOUR BEST AIN’T S#@%, IS IT THEN? YA’LL LEFT FOR A SECOND AND–

GREEDY: SHUT UP! AND STOP CRYING LIKE A LITTLE B#%^@! I GOT DIANA TO BRING HIM BACK…(You’re overdoing the censored profanity. Can he be foul without being that foul mouthed, it seems like chickening out to censor this many words, and loses effect each time you do it.)(I’ll tell you one thing, the Main Man he ain’t! The bastich!)

SFX [NEAR THE DOOR]: KNOCK KNOCK

GREEDY: …SEE?

DIANA [EMINATING BALLON FROM DOOR]: WE’RE COMING IN! (Wait… You compressed time too much here. They would have had to finish getting near the house, parked the bikes, and then knocked. All of that didn’t happen between the previous panel and this one.)

Panel 3: Wide side view of Cillian, who is wearing royal armor that has daggers coming up from the shoulder plates, and the fully wrapped up guy beside him as they stand in the doorway while Diana stands ahead of them inside with her laser rifle strapped on her back. They are looking across the room at Greedy who has his arms raised in the air as he looks back at Shai. Shai is behind Raz, who looks sadly upon Diana. Shai is looking angry as he points at Diana. (Where’s the camera? No matter where you put it, this panel cannot be drawn. Poppa?)

GREEDY: HEY DIE (Is this on purpose? The nickname for Diana is usually spelled ‘Di’), LOOK AT YOU. I’M (consider changing to ‘I was’) SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT THE BABY.

GREEDY: YOU KNOW(comma) YOU WERE LIKE OUR SISTER GROWING UP. WHEN YOU WERE WITH SALEM, BEFORE–

SHAI: –BEFORE HE LEFT YO’ PREGNANT @$%,(no comma needed) TO BECOME SOME LACKEY FOR THE GOVERNMENT.

SHAI: NOW TAKE THE BAG OFF KURI(comma) AND LET’S GET THIS S#^% OVER WITH.

Panel 4: Medium shot of a smirking Cillian looking down at Diana as he’s holding the mask above the head of Porter, who is looking in the direction of Greedy in Shai surprised. Diana is looking up at Cillian in anger as she speaks to him through clenched teeth. (When did she turn around? When did they react in order for her to turn around to see what they’re talking about? Poppa?)

DIANA [WHISPERING]: I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DID THIS!

SHAI (OP): OH YOU THINK THIS S#&@ A F#$@*% JOKE, HUH?(Dial this back profanity tool, it’s not fun to read.)

CAPTION DIANA: I SHOULD’VE KILLED CILLIAN RIGHT THEN.

Panel 5: Full body shot of Shai holding up Raz’s right arm with his left as he looks at them in anger and points straight ahead at us.

SHAI: I’LL SHOW YOU A F#&%#@ JOKE!

[MAYBE PANEL 6 CAN HAVE A DIFFERENT BORDER FOR THE PANEL TO SHOW THE INTENSITY IT’S YOUR CALL]

Panel 6: Now into a medium shot that shows Raz’s eyes closed and her jaw looks almost nearly unhinged as she screams in pain as Shai is now holding her arm that has been torn from her body with speed lines following. The background is now a solid color.

SFX: WAAAAAAAAAHHHHH(That ‘w’ makes this seem like an infant’s cry. If a character makes this noise it’s dialogue not SFX)

Panel 7: Close up Raz’s arm on the floor next to Diana’s and Cillian’s feet as the thumb is still twitching with motion lines around it.(Do not make the thumb twitch. That’s silly. Well, to me it seems silly at least.) (No, it’s silly.)

SFX: AAAAAAHHHHH (Again, where did this come from?)

SHAI (OP): THAT’S A F#$@*% JOKE!

I’m nearing the end, and really, it’s all I can do to push on through.

We’re still in one place, which is great, but the pacing is bad.

You go from the business office to a house with no real transition inbetween. Is the transition necessary? No, not really, but it would have helped.

Then, there’s the two panels that were needed in order to improve the pace here: giving Diana & Co. time to get off the bikes, and then the panel to show the villains reaction to the revelation in order to get Diana to turn around. Actually, that’s more like three panels.

It’s too condensed. While there is no actual fat on this script so far, there are leaps made that make it too lean. Lean isn’t even the right word for it. It’s like you bought a puzzle, and when you go to put it together, you find there are a lot of pieces missing. After a while, it’s just no longer any fun trying to put it together.

PAGE BREAK

(Your pacing is better. You’re actually doing a better job with set up/pay off than you have been in the previous pages. I really hate the way you’re using the F%&*&$# profanity, though. It’s distracting.)

TITLE: DIRTY/ CREATED BY: MONTE MILLER/ WRITTEN BY: JOURDAN MCLAIN/ PAGE 5

PAGE 5 (8 PANELS)

Panel 1: Medium close up of Diana with her laser rifle in her hand as she is screaming and firing her gun.

DIANA: YOU LITTLE S#%@S!

SFX: VOOSH VOOSH VOOSH VOOSH VOOSH (From where?) (The laser rifle.)

PANEL 2: A first person shooter P.O.V from Diana as she fires her gun, there is a multi-image of three laser rifles. The center one is in focus as it fires, though the ones on the left and right are blurry as they also fire.(Oof, I find this confusing. Is it necessary to have three guns?) Greedy is in mid-air as he has jumped over a beam to go to his right toward a large metal cabinet as motion lines follow him. Shai rolls to his left under a beam and Greedy, as motion lines follow behind, to a metal desk with paper on it and chair behind it. Raz’s head is tilted down as she is unconscious as her clothes are stained in blood.

SFX: VOOSH VOOSH VOOSH(from where?)

Panel 3: Medium shot of Greedy on the floor with his back against the metal cabinet as he yells. Greedy has on one his yellow gloves, which has dark blue lines on it, and half of his other hand in the other glove as he is pulls it on. There are laser beams passing around the cabinet.

GREEDY: DIANA, LISTEN THIS IS A SETUP! THEY WANT YOU TO KILL US, BECAUSE WE KNOW THE DROP WASN’T A BOMB.

CAPTION DIANA: I WISH I WOULD’VE LISTENED, BECAUSE SHAI ISN’T A DROP BABY. HE SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN THAT STRONG.

Panel 4: Full body shot of Greedy standing with his back to us as he is standing and facing Diana. His yellow and now neon blue gloves are on and his hands are open facing out toward Diana. There is a blue opaque shield in front of his hands covering him, as a long laser beam that has made contact with the shield is bent, and other beams fly around. We see Cillian has ran crouched down to the right and Diana is still enraged and firing her gun.

GREEDY: THINK ABOUT IT, WHY THE HELL ARE WE ON THE TOP TEN LIST?

CAPTION DIANA: BACK WHEN GREEDY WAS A CHUBBY LITTLE KID(comma) HE WOULD NEVER LIE TO ME.

Panel 5: Close up bust level of the blue shield with blood splatter on it from Greedy’s open mouth as we see a side view of his face in pain and a smiling Cillian looking at him next to his shoulder.(What happens to him? You don’t mention any trauma yet Greedy reacts to something.)

GREEDY: THE GOVERNMENT IS TRYING TO–

GREEDY [WAVY BALLOON]: –UGH-UUUGHHKA

CAPTION DIANA: I LOVED HIM LIKE HE REALLY WAS MY BROTHER…(Consider: I really did love him like…’)

PANEL 6 (INSET ONTO 7): Close up of Shai’s swinging left fist, with a dozen neon orange balls around it, and curled arm with motion lines following.

No Copy

Panel 7: Wide shot view showing a shocked wide eye open mouth Diana, with a tears rolling down her face, as she’s looks down at Greedy. She continues to pulls the trigger of her empty gun that is lowered down across her. Greedy is on his knees with the green and brown handle of Cillian’s dagger sticking out his side as he is leaning in a 45 degree angle towards Diana with his arms to his side. Shai is standing to the right of Greedy with his left arm fully extended as a blurring effect leads to Cillian. His eyes are closed and blood is under his nose and around his mouth as he is now indented into the wall with cracked brick lines around him. (This should immediately follow the 5th panel. I suggest having a bigger panel combining 6/7)

CILLIAN [TRAVELING FROM WERE HE WAS HIT TO WHERE HE IS NOW AT THE WALL]: OOOOOOOOOUUGGH

SFX [NEAR DIANA’S TRIGGER FINGER]: CLICK CLICK

PANEL 8: A wide shot with a **two point perspective view of Diana and Shai running towards each other with a vertical line dividing them as speed lines following each of them.(This is tricky. I tried thumb-nailing this out and I don’t know if you’ve given enough information here. Where is the horizon line? Are they in profile? Two point perspective means that every line goes to both vanishing points, that doesn’t seem like what you want here. Do you mean that they are foreshortened, with motion lines that go to one vanishing point? I don’t know if I follow this.) The exaggerated angle on the left half shows Diana, with her head being closer to the vertical split in the panel. She is enraged and screaming as she runs in her sports bra style top as her shirt is blowing behind her(Why are we getting a description of her clothing in the last panel?) and her gun also tumbles behind her on the floor, with a slight motion line indicating the tumble. Shai mirrors Diana as he runs at the vertical split with speed lines following him as he screams in anger. Except in Shia’s panel, on the right, there are five times as many tiny neon orange balls engulfing his left hand that are also trailing behind him with the speed lines.(What? I do not understand this last run on sentence.)

**(http://piaart.wordpress.com/two-point-perspective/) (All right I have looked at this ref, and I want to point out to you that all the examples are pretty geometric, I don’t think you will get the result you want by applying this effect to characters. Also, you are asking for 2pp but I think what you actually want it 1pp with each character receding to their own vanishing point. I don’t think you want them going to both vanishing points. Don’t buy this? Google ‘people in 2 point perspective’ and see how no results come up… )

CAPTION DIANA: …BUT SHAI(comma) I HATED(needs ending punctuation)

DIANA AND SHAI [CENTER IN THE MIDDLE IN A BURST BALLON]: I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!

CAPTION [FLOATING CENTERED WITHOUT A BOX]: DIANA VS(period) SHAI (What in the entire hell just happened right here?! My head just ‘sploded!)

CAPTION FLOATING ON AN ANGLE ON THE RIGHT:WHAT WAS “THE DROP”?(move question mark inside quotations) WHO’S GOING TO COME OUT OF THIS ONE ALIVE?? CHECK OUT NEXT WEEK(apostrophe)S DIRTY(needs ending punctuation) (in logo style)(is the entire caption in logo style, or just the title?) (This just turned into unmitigated crap.)

END

(You’re juggling so many characters, in such a confined space, and you’re not doing a terrible job of it. I have an idea of what each character is like, and what the stakes are for each of them. So that demands commendation.

The main problem here is the action you are calling for. Let’s look at this page as an example of the nonessential confusion generators you’re including. Why three guns instead of one? Why show Greedy reacting to the stab two panels before you show the stab? You show Cillian hurting him, so there is no question of who did it, no mystery to reveal. We know Cillian did something to him, the only question is what he did to him, and that is not that great of a question. Why are you showing the gloves that Greedy puts on? Why do they matter? Why do you wait until the final page to show superpowers (I am guessing that is what the orange balls are about)? That, literally, gets lost in the scuffle, here. I can guess that all ‘drop babies’ have powers, but you haven’t shown me that. Here, Shai’s powers do not pay off, so it really seems like a throwaway detail. Also this is the second time you have included characters in a scene, and then forgotten to account for them as the scene continues. Where is Porter during all this? I think that you have to cool it on the motion lines. You’ve officially hit the overkill level with that device.

The good news is, you do tell a story and give a lot of information. Some of the dialogue is a little clunky. However, I know [in a general sense] what the drop was. I know Diana lost a baby. I know that there are rival factions in this world. I know that reality TV plays a part in the way this world works. You’ve gotten a lot of information into this script in a fairly organic way.)

The end! Yay! Let’s run it down!

Format: As I said up top, you need to learn how to use your tools. This could easily have been a flawless victory.

Panel Descriptions: At times, so confusing as to be useless, and other times, they don’t have enough information in them for the artist to really use. You have the focus on the wrong things, and because you’re trying to shove so much shit into each panel, you’ve made these a pain to read. If you opened up the page count, you can lower the panel count and allow things the necessary space to breathe. By lowering the panel count per page, you’re no longer trying to shove two and three actions in a single panel, thus, making the panels themselves more readable.

Pacing: The pacing here is the only thing more terrible than the panel descriptions.

You have too many actions per panel, and the action scenes themselves have too many panels per page. If you want to speed things up, then you lower the panels per page. If you want to slow things down, then you add panels per page.

Everyone who isn’t living under a rock has seen The Matrix. Everyone was blown away when we saw the bullet time effect. Think of the number of panels per page as a bullet time effect: the more panels you have, the slower the bullet travels; the fewer panels you have, the faster the bullet travels. This isn’t just for action; it’s for every scene in every comic everywhere.

The pacing of the dialogue isn’t that great, either, but that’s because of the panels themselves. One is tied to the other.

Dialogue: Meh. You get some info across, and that’s always a great thing. I like the organics of it. But Sam’s right: the symbols are just damned distracting.

Here’s the thing about the 1st person captions: they’re telling us that this story already happened, so we just have to sit back and let the story be told to us. We then ask the simple question: who is the character talking to? When did they have time to set this down? Although I understand the 1st person narrator, I don’t like it outside of a noir mystery. Not unless we know exactly that a character is talking to someone else. (Roger Zelazny’s first set of Amber Chronicles is told in the first person, and we only have a hint here and there that the main character is actually talking to someone else. We don’t find out until near the end of the last book. The second set is also told in the first person, but it is never made clear to whom the character is talking.)

There are some awkward moments, but the dialogue, strangely enough, is the best part of this piece.

Content: If I were to pick this up, I’d be confused. I hate being confused. Too many characters, nowhere near enough breathing room, not enough introductions, not enough explanation of the world. I wouldn’t have been happy.

Editorially, this needs a complete rewrite. More space is needed, as is more explanation. You could easily double this without breaking a sweat.

What I don’t get is that ending. A gameshow type of ending. It came out of nowhere, and wasn’t evident anywhere in the story preceding it. It doesn’t work, and it needs to be exorcised.

Now, with all of that said, this is still a better showing than the previous script. I’d just like to see more effort put forth. You’re going in the right direction, though, and that’s always a good thing.

And that’s it for this week! Check the calendar to see who’s next!

Like what you see? Steve and Sam are available for your editing needs. You can email Steve here, and Sam here. My info is below.

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Category: Columns, 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.

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