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Schuyler
07-07-2014, 05:52 PM
As promised here is my recent TPG. I added and subtracted some commas and fixed the lettering tags but tried not to change anything else.

PAGE ONE (seven panels)

Panel 1. Big panel. In the foreground Golgoth sits next to Ambrogio’s corpse on a small hill at the bottom of a mountain, in what would be modern-day Iran. The hill is covered in desert grass. In the middle ground there is a river that runs at the base of the mountain. Kuga was walking by the river. He was a little surprised and stopped when Golgoth called out to him. In the background beyond the river is a lot of desert grass. The sun is setting. This can be on panel or off.

CAP (Editorial):
Fall, 1512 A.D. Safavid Empire

GOLGOTH:
Hello!

KUGA:
Did you just say something to me, corpse?!

GOLGOTH:
No, I am the skull! My name is Golgoth!

Panel 2. Kuga Pov or camera moves behind Kuga. Golgoth rests on a small hill at the base of a mountain. There is a cliff wall behind Golgoth.

KUGA (burst):
What do you want?!

GOLGOTH (burst):
I just want to talk! Most people are not so comfortable with me at first!

Panel 3. Kuga climbs the hill warily. He squints his face in disgust at Golgoth’s suggestion.

KUGA:
There are worse things in the world than you, Golgoth.

GOLGOTH (op):
It is getting dark. I was hoping you might choose to camp here…?

KUGA:
Do I want to sleep next to a rotting corpse and a talking skull?

Panel 4. Kuga stands before Golgoth pointing at Ambrogio’s corpse.

KUGA:
No…but thank you…I guess.

KUGA:
What happened to this man?

GOLGOTH:
Oh, Ambrogio? He was a greedy and murderous man. He tried to steal an orb from the tomb that sits below us.

Panel 5. Golgoth medium shot. The gems in his eyes are just swirls of purple.

GOLGOTH:
Unfortunately for him the tomb was guarded by ancient undead warriors. He pulled one of my eyes out before he died. Can you find it for me?

Panel 6. Kuga searches through some grass on the hillside.

KUGA:
How did you get jewels for eyes? Are you a cursed skull, made by some long-dead and forgotten sorceress?

GOLGOTH:
The eyes were given to me by a sorceress but she...

Panel 7. Kuga picks something up out of the grass but it is obviously just a smooth stone. The stone can also be invisible to the reader. That is up to the artist and largely depends on what camera angle.

GOLGOTH:
...is neither dead nor forgotten.


KUGA:
Here it is. I want to hear about the sorceress first, though.

GOLGOTH:
Very well… After I died, I woke up and I was nothing more than an object, buried in the snow.


PAGE TWO (seven panels)

Panel 1. Big panel zoomed out, on a Venetian countryside during the middle of the night. In the foreground is mostly snow. In the middle ground a sixteen-year-old girl stands next to a half burnt wall that was once on the perimeter of a small village. Her name is Vittoria. In the background a small village was recently burned down entirely and the burned out ruins are covered in snow. Behind the half wall where the camera cannot see is Golgoth, buried in the snow. The scene is lit by the moon. Vittoria wears a golden hairpin that is important to a later development.

CAP (Editorial):
February, 1504 A.D. Venice

CAP (Golgoth):
“The first time I spoke to Vittoria, it gave her quite a fright and we didn’t get to talk.”

VITTORIA (whispers):
Hello? Old Ghost?

GOLGOTH (op):
You have decided to return… Have you overcome your fear?

VITTORIA (whispers):
I am still afraid…

Panel 2. Camera zooms in and spins around to a medium shot of Vittoria; she has fear in her eyes and face. A road slopes up behind her to a one story house in the distance.

GOLGOTH (op):
Why do you call me ‘Old Ghost’?

VITTORIA:
You sound old… Are you not?

GOLGOTH (op):
I suppose I am…

Panel 3. Small panel. Vittoria leans over the wall to look at the snow piled up on the inside. Golgoth is packed inside a snow drift and cannot be seen.

VITTORIA:
Why can’t I see you?

GOLGOTH (op):
There is not much to see. What is left of me is buried in the snow.

Panel 4. Vittoria turns now to sit on the wall.

VITTORIA:
My Mom died in the fire. Did you die in the fire?

GOLGOTH (op):
Yeah…

VITTORIA:
Then you can’t really be an old ghost. You are just a ghost… A friendly one…

Panel 5. Small panel. Vittoria sits on the half wall staring into the distance.

GOLGOTH (op):
It’s complicated. Perhaps I am not an old ghost, but I feel old.

VITTORIA:
Last time, before I ran away, you said you needed to tell me something.

Panel 6. Big Panel. Fear turns Vittoria’s face sour as she looks down at the spot where Golgoth is buried.

GOLGOTH (op):
Yes... first, you have potential to wield powerful magic, something not common for humankind.

GOLGOTH (op):
Second, your family is in danger. They may not survive, but you probably will.

VITTORIA:
You’re scaring me! If you know the future then you can change it! You’re an evil forest spirit not a friendly ghost!

Panel 7. Small panel. Tears well up in Vittoria’s eyes as she pushes herself off the wall.

GOLGOTH (op):
Vittoria…Yes, you can change it if you try…but I cannot.

VITTORIA:
No! I am not a witch who talks to spirits in the snow! You leave me alone, and my family will be fine!



PAGE THREE (five panels)

Panel 1. Venetian countryside during midday. A small newly built building rests on a low hill. It is the single story building that could be seen in the background of the last page. Teodore’s home. Spring has begun and the snow is all but melted.

CAP (Editorial):
Two weeks later

CAP (Golgoth):
“The future is neither like the mountain that stands in one place, nor like the river, which has only one destination.”

VITTORIA (loudly, op):
Father!

Panel 2. Inside the house two twins age sixteen, one female, the other male, look inside a large standing wardrobe. The wardrobe is empty. Camera looks over their shoulders into the wardrobe. Far enough back to show that they could easily hide in the wardrobe together. Vittoria is on the left, Heironomo on the right. There is a bed in this room that is more than likely off panel left.

CAP (Golgoth):
“The future is more akin to roads. Some roads are just more traveled than others and thus become predictable.”

TEODOR (op):
Yes, Vittoria?!

HEIRONOMO (loudly):
Where is our new clothing?!

Panel 3. An old Venetian man (Teodor) sits at his desk that faces a window. He is writing a letter and holds a quill in his hand. See artist letter for full description of the house.

TEODOR:
I returned the clothing to Vicenzo.


VITTORIA (loudly, op):
But Father?! That was a gift!

Panel 4. Teodor set his pen down as his children entered the room.

CAP (Golgoth):
“Teodor chose the road I expected him to, when he did not accept a bribe.”

TEODOR:
Calm yourselves… The clothing was not a gift. It was part of a bribe. A bribe I have chosen not to accept.

Panel 5. Teodor, Heironomo, and Vittoria are all shocked at the sound of a voice from outside.

INIGO (loudly, op):
Teodor!

TEODOR (Whispers):
Quickly, children, hide!

PAGE FOUR (five panels)

Panel 1. Profile of Íñigo as he steps up to the building his horse tied to a post behind.

CAP (Golgoth):
“The road Teodor chose led to Íñigo ‘The Wolf’ Ibarra.*”

INIGO (loudly):
Is there someone in there with you, old man?!

CAP (Editorial):
*Íñigo, pronounced “En-yay-go”

Panel 2. Íñigo’s POV. He has just stepped inside the door to the house. He sees Teodor turned in his chair towards the door. Teodor does not rise from his chair; his face shows contempt for Íñigo. Vittoria and Heironomo are hiding in the wardrobe. Íñigo rages at Teodor.

TEODOR:
Íñigo, you are naught but a glorified errand boy with delusions of grandeur!

INIGO (loudly):
Making me angry will not prolong your life, old man!

Panel 3. Face shot of Íñigo. He has calmed down and smiles a sinister smile.

INIGO:
Or perhaps you seek to protect someone else hiding in the house… a woman?

Panel 4. Teodor screams for Heironomo to run.

CAP (Golgoth):
“In that moment, I am sure that Teodor knew Íñigo would search the house and find his children.”

CAP (Golgoth):
“He sacrificed one to ‘The Wolf’, hoping to spare the other.”


TEODOR (loudly):
Heironomo, run!

Panel 5. Wide shot from behind Íñigo. On the left is Teodor starting to push himself to his feet from the arms of the chairs. Behind him is a door that leads to the pantry. On the right is a small room with the wardrobe. The room has a doorway but no door. Heironomo is bursting from the wardrobe at full speed.

INIGO (loudly):
You fool! I will kill you both!

PAGE FIVE (four panels)

Panel 1. Heironomo is running past Íñigo headed for the front door. Íñigo has just stabbed Teodor as he tried to rise from his chair. The sword entered the center of Teodor’s abdomen blood flowing around the wound. Teodor is slumped in his chair, looking dead already.

CAP (Golgoth):
“Heironomo played his part without flinching. He lured Íñigo away from the house.”

Panel 2. Split panel, I imagine it to be split diagonally. Half for Heironomo half for Vittoria. Heironomo runs down a path surrounded by grassy fields, with the house behind him. Vittoria is huddled inside the wardrobe with her knees against her chest. Light spills in from the door Heironomo opened to run away.

CAP (Golgoth):
“Perhaps they both knew what their father had intended… But it was fear that kept Vittoria from revealing herself, not obedience.”

Panel 3. Camera behind Íñigo, who is halfway on his horse. Heironomo runs away in the background. Burned ruins from page two in the left background.

CAP (Golgoth):
“There were other outcomes that I had foreseen for this particular event.”

Panel 4. POV. Íñigo is riding his horse, aiming his crossbow with his right hand, holding the reins with his left. We are looking down the sight of the crossbow right at Heironomo, who runs down the path towards the ruins. The burned ruins are closer now.

CAP (Golgoth):
“They all required intervention, and some of them were more gruesome than the tale I tell you now.”

PAGE SIX (five panels)

Panel 1. A crossbow bolt struck Heironomo in the leg, causing him to stumble. He was headed for the burned ruins and almost made it to some cover. The small half wall from page two.

HEIRONOMO:
aaaagh!

Panel 2. Heironomo stumbled and is headed face first for the ground. He is falling behind the half-wall of a burned building.

NO COPY

Panel 3. Heironomo landed with his face right next to Golgoth. He is quite out of breath and wounded. His eyes are wide from shock. Golgoth does not have his eyes and is still attached to his skeleton. Golgoth still has some hair and flesh on his body and skull.

HEIRONOMO (breath marks):
…huff…huff…pant…

GOLGOTH:
Hello.

HEIRONOMO (breath marks):
…I must be dying…huff…you are not real…

GOLGOTH (op):
I am real. The wound on your leg isn’t fatal. You aren’t dying, yet.

Panel 4. Heironomo grabs his leg, his face crumpled in worry as Golgoth reveals his future.

GOLGOTH:
It’s the wound that you’ll receive to your neck that’ll be deadly.

HEIRONOMO:
What do you mean?! I don’t want to die!

GOLGOTH:
I am sorry. It’s too late. If you do not mention your sister she’ll survive. Can you do that?

Panel 5. Íñigo’s feet land hard on the ground after he dismounted from his horse. The panel shows just his feet where they landed and horse hooves behind them.

HEIRONOMO (op):
Yes…

SFX:
thump


PAGE SEVEN (Three panels)

Panel 1. Worm’s eye view. Íñigo stepped around the corner of the wall with his sword in his left hand and his crossbow in his right. The camera looks up at Íñigo, Golgoth and Heironomo are both off panel.

INIGO (Loudly):
Who is here?! Who are you talking to?!

Panel 2. Heironomo looks up at Íñigo, terrified of his imminent death. Íñigo has his sword arm reared up, ready to plunge it into Heironomo.

HEIRONOMO:
There is no one else! It is the skeleton! The skeleton speaks to me! It is a magic skeleton that sees the future!

INIGO:
Stop your blubbering!

HEIRONOMO:
Please spare me! I won’t tell anyone what happ--

Panel 3. Íñigo thrust his sword into Heironomo. The panel only shows Íñigo from the knees up. He and his sword hilt are covered in fresh blood that sprayed from the artery that he struck in Heironomo’s throat.

HEIRONOMO (op, dying breath marks):
--urk…

Lovecraft13
07-07-2014, 06:59 PM
Just from reading the first page, I can tell you the dialogue-to-panel ratio is too much. It reads well on paper. It won't work in execution. It'll be too crowded on the page. And with the dialogue you do have, those panels won't have room to breathe. Less is more.

Charles
07-08-2014, 01:39 AM
PAGE ONE - Panel 1

Prefacing the description by calling for a big panel to portray all of the details that you craft the scene with doesn't resolve the core problem with this panel - namely, that you've overloaded the artist with details, and your details are out of time synch with one another.

In this one scene/panel, there are two characters (one alive, one dead) on a small hill at the bottom of a mountain. What, exactly, is "the middle ground?" Whatever that is, there's a river running through it. Do you mean that the river runs through the middle of the panel? Or, is the river flowing between the mountain and the hill?

On the one hand, Golgoth is sitting (in the present tense) next to Ambrogio's corpse. On the other hand, despite it being but a single panel, the very first panel, in fact (so, no imagery precedes this panel), a third character, Kuga, was walking (in the past tense) by this very same river. Kuga, thus, either is walking or he is not. How do you deal with the issue that your panel description creates, insofar as Kuga was walking, is concerned? How does the reader know that? How does the artist depict that? By crafting panels within panels, that show that to the reader? After all, the caption doesn't mention walking.

Assuming that the artist depicts Kuga walking, the artist must then also depict Kuga stopped, since your panel description specifies that. Thus, Kuga must be depicted a bare minimum of twice, to visually convey his part in this one panel, everything else in the panel description, notwithstanding.

Plus, on top of that dilemma, Kuga must be depicted as being a little surprised. Yet, Kuga isn't in the foreground, because the panel description specifies that it is Golgoth and Ambrogio's corpse that are in the foreground. So, where, then, is Kuga, in this very same panel of one?

The description asserts that the two characters are in the foreground, on that small hill, at the bottom of that mountain. But, in the background beyond the river is a lot of desert grass. After initially setting the scene, you decided to add to the scene, in the same panel. Why is the description that governs the setting/place scattered? Why not just set the scene, visually, and be done with it? Why complicate the artist's task, unnecessarily?

It is by reading the dialogue that, rather than the panel description, proper, that I learn that Golgoth is a skull, rather than a whole person. I am somewhat new to reading and analyzing comic book scripts, but is this a typical or routine way of informing the artist that has to draw the panel?



PAGE ONE - Panel 2

It was established in Panel 1 of this page that Golgoth sits on a small hill at the bottom of the mountain. It strikes me as needless duplication that you then assert, in the very next panel, the same basic thing. Nothing indicated that Golgoth's location had changed. As such, why repeat that part of the previous panel? To what end, I ask? For what purpose? What was it that was to be achieved by this duplication?



Page ONE - Panel 2 - Dialogue

GOLGOTH (burst): a comma should appear after the word me, so that the exclamation reads, "Most people are not so comfortable with me, at first!" The pause in conversation properly follows after the word "me." Punctuation is always a relevant consideration, but when presented within the context of actual dialogue, it becomes more than just relevant - it becomes paramount. The human eye will take notice of punctuation deficiencies quicker, where dialogue is at issue, than in descriptive narrative that is not dialogue-based.



PAGE ONE - Panel 3

In Panel 2 of this page, you introduce the camera angle. You did so directly, by summarily declaring it. One panel later, it warrants no mention, at all. So, absent a change in direction to the artist, the camera angle should be what, for this particular panel? If the camera angle has not changed, then how will the squint on Kuga's face be seen, in Panel 3?



PAGE ONE - Panel 3 - Dialogue

GOLGOTH (op): Typically, people say, "It's getting dark," rather than the more formal, "It is getting dark." This isn't a criticism, so much as an observation. Dialogue between individuals in informal settings tends to be less formal. Why? Because, it tends to make conversation flow better. In a comic book, the longer your text, in character count and word count, the larger your speech bubbles. Thus, informal dialogue tends to make for more efficient use of available space allocated to display words in written form.

The quasi-sentence that follows, the one that ends in the quizzical three periods and a question mark, is less formal, avoiding use of the word "that" between "hoping" and "you." It's not a critical issue, but as a general observation, as you create and develop characters, you might want to give increased though to characters' mannerisms and styles of conversation. If you do, then I suspect that what you will find is that your characters will become more consistent, over the long haul.



PAGE ONE - Panel 4

I recommend that you add a comma between the words "Golgoth" and "pointing." One of the core roles that punctuation performs in the written word is to impact the flow of what is being communicated. There are reasons why we embraced punctuation, long ago. Imagine if all text in a given book or comic book had no punctuation, and sentences ran one on top of the other, with nothing to indicate where we should stop or where we should pause.

Commas will, at times, serve as stand-ins for conjunctions. In Panel 4, two actions are occurring. Kuga is standing before Golgoth, and Kuga is pointing at Ambroglio's corpse. The conjunction of "and" is implied. The implication is to pause.


PAGE ONE - Panel 5

Swirls of purple. What kind of swirls? Is it a hypnotic swirl? Is it random? Or is there a pattern to it, at all? Is the swirl the same in both eyes, as in identical or near-identical?


PAGE ONE - Panel 5 - Dialogue

GOLGOTH: It should read, "Unfortunately, for him, the tomb was guarded by ancient, undead warriors. He pulled one of my eyes out, before he died." Pauses exist in written communication for multiple purposes. One of them is to facilitate emphasis. Knowing where to pause, and by extension, where to make the reader pause, helps the comic book creator to better control what gets emphasized. Exclamation marks emphasize directly. Commas, by injecting pause, emphasize segments of sentences indirectly.



PAGE ONE - Panel 6 - Dialogue

GOLGOTH: The word "but" is a conjunction. It's like a flag waving for the reader to slow down, to pause. Thus, add a comma after the word "sorceress."



PAGE ONE - Panel 7

Once again, the conjunction, "but," appears, but no comma is in sight. However, this is in the panel description, which doesn't appear in the actual comic book. So, it is of far less importance, since it doesn't impact the reader. If you improve your habit, of how you write, then it holds the potential to yield positive dividends in your comic book scripts in more than one way. Ultimately, it is about HOW YOU COMMUNICATE - whether to reader or to artist is the only thing at issue. Communicating clearly and concisely will serve both you and your comic books well.


That concludes this segment of my feedback on this script.

Schuyler
07-08-2014, 10:45 AM
Thanks Charles! You have given me a lot to think about.

Schuyler
07-08-2014, 10:47 AM
Just from reading the first page, I can tell you the dialogue-to-panel ratio is too much. It reads well on paper. It won't work in execution. It'll be too crowded on the page. And with the dialogue you do have, those panels won't have room to breathe. Less is more.

I see your point and was surprised that this was not mentioned by Steven or Yannick. Maybe they had bigger fish to fry.

Lovecraft13
07-08-2014, 12:27 PM
The mental image of a comic book page versus the actual product can be alarming. Space quickly fills up. Balloons cover the art. You find yourself scaling back. It can be frustrating to compromise with dialogue when you have to go back to make it fit. The positive side is you might discover a better way to say something with fewer words.

Track down the scripts of your favorite books and compare them side-by-side with the finished product. It will help with space management.

Schuyler
07-08-2014, 12:47 PM
The mental image of a comic book page versus the actual product can be alarming. Space quickly fills up. Balloons cover the art. You find yourself scaling back. It can be frustrating to compromise with dialogue when you have to go back to make it fit. The positive side is you might discover a better way to say something with fewer words.

Track down the scripts of your favorite books and compare them side-by-side with the finished product. It will help with space management.

Thanks, again! This script demands a complete rewrite. So, I will get the chance to make more space. I appreciate that you are trying to save me frustration later. Some of my favorite books are really wordy but I understand that they were created by the pros. It's funny that my dialogue has been deemed terrible but I keep trying to put more in.

I cut dialogue from the pages you looked at. I counted the total words on the page and cut more. I shifted panels and tried to imagine how I could make it all fit. This was all done before I sent it to TPG. The fact is, I knew there were too many words on the pages.

I have been working on my storyboard with my artist. Every time we map out a seven panel page, it takes some work to make sure the words will fit. I actually try to avoid putting seven panels on a page. I find that if I do put that many, it is usually because I am trying to stuff a pound of beans into a half pound bag. (Mmm, you are in the UK. I don't know the metric conversion.)

Lovecraft13
07-08-2014, 03:50 PM
To be fair, if you have an artist you're working alongside, you two can construct a wordy page with care and make it work. Bendis is generally the example people use for wordy writers. But it will come at a cost of the artwork. Instead of beautifully renders panels, it may just come down to simple talking heads.

Hellboy is the exact opposite. It's a minimalistic book. Big explosive panels, little dialogue, but the storytelling never falters.

It's all a big balancing act. I generally don't write dialogue until the art is completed. A bit backwards, I admit, but I know what I want to say. I have a screewriting background, so my dialogue tends to get expansive. I'd rather tweak the story to fit the art than rework dialogue to fit the art.

Lovecraft13
07-08-2014, 04:09 PM
There are lots of exceptions to the words-per-panel-per-page approach. I found this Batman page online: six panels, many balloons. Like I said, you have to find the balance.