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StevenMenszer
10-10-2015, 12:48 AM
WHITE
by
STEVEN MENSZER

5-PAGE TREATMENT



PAGE 1 - FOUR PANELS


PANEL 1:

A well-dressed man in his mid-50s with strong features, short gray hair and a neatly-trimmed gray beard stands at a podium on a makeshift stage outside in the cold street. He wears a black overcoat and a suit with black leather gloves.

His name is Darren Sanders and he is the police chief.

He places his hands on the podium and leans in to talk.

To the sides of him is a row of police officers, standing up straight with their chests puffed out and their hands behind their backs. They exist for appearance only.

In front of the stage, there is a mob of reporters with tape recorders, notepads and cameras. They push and shove, trying to be the one closest to the words.

In the background, there is a courthouse and an American flag blowing in the wind. The trees stand bare around it.

It’s winter.

It’s about 3:00 in the afternoon and bright.

CHIEF SANDERS
Now, I know you’re all eager to ask me how we will stop the recent influx of
illegal narcotics on our streets, but I have to ask you to please be patient.


PANEL 2:

Chief Sanders turns his head slightly to the side, eyeing the crowd over.

CHIEF SANDERS
At this moment in time, I am not able to mention any elements of our
plan, but be assured, we have one, and we have our best men in the field.


PANEL 3:
Chief Sanders smiles and stands up straight as he finishes his incredibly brief press conference.

CHIEF SANDERS
I will not be answering any questions today,
so you can all go home now. Thank you.


PANEL 4:

Chief Sanders walks off to the left. The press wave their hands in the air and point their microphones and tape records towards the podium.

PRESS
Chief Sanders! Chief Sanders!



PAGE 2 - SIX PANELS


PANEL 1:

An ungloved hand knocks on an old, rusted and vandalized steel door. It’s the entrance to what seems like an abandoned warehouse in a middle-of-nowhere, never-finished industrial park.

SFX
CLANG CLANG CLANG


PANEL 2:

Bruce Hartlett, a somewhat heavy-set man in his late-30s, holds his hands under his armpits, trying to keep warm in the cold night air. He wears a khaki colored trench coat over a black suit with a red tie that hangs loosely around his neck. The top two buttons of his white dress shirt are undone, revealing the top to his undershirt. His light-brown hair is unkempt and his face is covered in stubble.

He looks to the side, does a shimmy to keep warm, and breathes outward. The cold shows his breath.


PANEL 3:

Bruce knocks again, this time more impatiently, with one hand still buried deep in the warmth of his armpit.

BRUCE HARTLETT
Come on...!

SFX
CLANG CLANG CLANG


PANEL 4:

The door opens a crack, caught by the thick chain that is used as a lock.
A completely-bald bodyguard pokes his head out to see who’s been knocking. His curiosity is met with the dull shine from an outdoor light off of an old, beat-up police badge as Bruce Hartlett reveals that he is a police officer.

BODYGUARD
Yeah? Wha’d’you want?

BRUCE HARTLETT
Office Bruce Hartlett. How ‘bout
you open the fucking door?



PANEL 5:

The heavy door closes in Bruce’s face. Bruce places the badge back in his coat pocket.

PANEL 6:

The door reopens. This time, there is no chain to stop it.

BRUCE HARTLETT
Thought so.



PAGE 3 - SIX PANELS


PANEL 1:

Bruce enters the warehouse and walks past the bodyguard.

Inside, it’s exactly as you’d expect: Water-damaged metal frames make up the walls with a little bit of wood rot on the planks that are pretending to support the place.

Bruce speaks without looking at the bodyguard.

BRUCE HARTLETT
Cameron around?

BODYGUARD
In the back.


PANEL 2:

Bruce walks down a hallway towards a wooden door with a golden handle. The door is actually well-crafted and in completely pristine condition.


PANEL 3:

Bruce turns the knob on the curious door. A sliver of blue light comes through the cracks.


PANEL 4:

Wide shot. Over Bruce’s shoulder.

Bruce opens the door to reveal what could only be described as a privately-owned, secret penthouse suit.
A red couch stretches along the far wall in front of Bruce. To the left side of the couch, there is a monstrous TV, looming over the room and letting it bask in the flickering light it uses to distract the world of it’s actual form. It’s turned so that it faces the side of the couch. On the right side, there is a red chair. In front of the couch, there is a glass coffee table topped with dunes of cocaine. It’s a barren desert of white on top a see-through earth.

Lounging on the couch, there is a skinny light-skinned black man in his mid-20s with a gold tooth and cornrows. His name is Cameron and he belongs in the room as much as every piece of furniture does. He wears a simple purple suit in an obvious attempt to seem important. On each side of him, there are scantily-clad women. Cameron leans back on the couch with his arms on the back of it. One woman leans her head into his breast.

Sitting stoically in the chair, there is another man by the name of Redd. He has a shaved head, a thick goatee, a wide- set, once-broken nose, and a small-but-noticeable horizontal scar above his left eyebrow. He wears a red tee-shirt with a black graphical design and old, dirty jeans. He fondles a stainless steel Desert Eagle that’s resting in his lap like some childhood pet cat.

Around the coffee table, there are even more women: Some snort lines of cocaine they’ve set up; they’re the product testers. Others bag it; they’re the factory line.

Bruce addresses Cameron, who returns with a cocky smile and a nod.

BRUCE HARTLETT
Cameron.

CAMERON
Officer Hartlett. The fuck you doin’ here?



PANEL 5:

Bruce puts his right hand into the inside of the left side of his jacket. He looks agitated and aggressive. His next move will be a bold one.

BRUCE HARTLETT
You know exactly what the fuck I’m doing here.


PANEL 6:

With a defeated half-smirk on his face, Bruce pulls out a folded wad of cash between his index and middle finger and holds it up in front of his face.

BRUCE HARTLETT
I just got paid.



PAGE 4 - FIVE PANELS


PANEL 1:

Bruce points to the coffee table that holds the mounds of cocaine with the two fingers that grasp his rent and food money or cable and electrical bill fund.

Cameron lethargically holds out his hand towards the table, palm up, presenting it to Bruce like an king presents jewels to a knight for saving the princess in the times of fairy tales and dragons.

BRUCE HARTLETT
Mind if I...?

CAMERON
Help yo'self.


PANEL 2:

Bruce gets down on both knees and huddles over the coffee table. With his nose cupped deep in his hands, he pushes his face against the glass.

BRUCE HARTLETT
Yeah.


PANEL 3:

Bruce pulls back up with his right thumb smashed against his right nostril, leaving only his left nostril opened. His eyes start to roll back into his head as he smiles and speaks, superprised.

BRUCE HARTLETT
Wah! Good shit.


PANEL 4:

Cameron cocks his head to the side with a smile of a successful business deal.
Bruce slaps his money down on the table.

CAMERON
An’ how much’a this good shit might you be buyin’?

BRUCE HARTLETT
An 8-ball. For now.

CAMERON
Sho’ thing, pal.


PANEL 5:

Cameron turns to Redd with a straight face.

Bruce begins to get up on one knee with his hand placed on his leg for support.

CAMERON
Yo, Redd, get this man an 8-ball.



PAGE 5 - FIVE PANELS


PANEL 1:

Redd tosses Bruce a Ziploc bag of cocaine.

REDD
All yours, chief.

BRUCE HARTLETT
Thanks, pal.

PANEL 2:

Cameron smiles once again. Bruce salutes him.

CAMERON
Pleasure doin’ business with you,
my man.

BRUCE HARTLETT
You too.

PANEL 3:
Bruce exits through the door. Without turning around, he says one last thing to Cameron and Redd.

BRUCE HARTLETT
I’ll, uh... I’ll see you later.


PANEL 4:

With the door now closed and Bruce gone, Cameron stops smiling. He becomes someone angry or annoyed in his demeanor. The customer is gone, and Cameron no longer has to be friendly and resolved. He’s disgusted by the idea of Bruce.

Redd turns to him and speaks.

REDD
Say, why you let that cop in here? Shit’s dangerous.

CAMERON
Believe me, that’s the safest shit I can do.


PANEL 5:

Bruce is in his car. He’s adjusting his rearview mirror. In his eyes, you can tell that he’s just a shell of a man. He’s not happy; not even close to it. He hates himself and everything around him.

CAPTION
“I own that motherfucker.”

SamRoads
10-10-2015, 10:36 AM
When doing panel descriptions, start with the general/wide and then move to the specific. For example, in the first panel, mention that it's winter very early.

Panel descriptions need to be more precise and less prosaic. "His next move will be a bold one." This sentence has no place in a comic script. You need to tell the artist what to draw.

"presenting it to Bruce like an king presents jewels to a knight for saving the princess in the times of fairy tales and dragons."

And again. You've misunderstood the point of the document you're writing! :)

The story looks interesting and the characters are well described. Dialogue is good too, with maybe the exception of the first page. Feels like an exposition dump.

First page is also pretty dull. Would be nice to find a way to cut it, so the story gets straight into the interesting stuff on P2-5.

StevenMenszer
10-10-2015, 06:14 PM
When doing panel descriptions, start with the general/wide and then move to the specific. For example, in the first panel, mention that it's winter very early.

Panel descriptions need to be more precise and less prosaic. "His next move will be a bold one." This sentence has no place in a comic script. You need to tell the artist what to draw.

"presenting it to Bruce like an king presents jewels to a knight for saving the princess in the times of fairy tales and dragons."

And again. You've misunderstood the point of the document you're writing! :)

The story looks interesting and the characters are well described. Dialogue is good too, with maybe the exception of the first page. Feels like an exposition dump.

First page is also pretty dull. Would be nice to find a way to cut it, so the story gets straight into the interesting stuff on P2-5.

Thanks for the feedback. I'm used to working with a single artist who understands the way I think and work, so it's good to get an outsider's opinion. The only thing I didn't understand was what you meant by "You've misunderstood the point of the document you're writing!"

SamRoads
10-11-2015, 11:03 AM
The lines I quoted are perfect for showing that you think that a comic script is a place for prose. Standard theory on comic scripts says that this ain't so, and that your script should be all about describing things for the artist.

"His next move will be a bold one" is for your synopsis, or some other document.

KevinLeeMcDougall
10-12-2015, 10:56 PM
I loved it, I thought it was superb and of a professional standard. I have nothing else to say it was that good.

Steven Forbes
10-12-2015, 11:18 PM
I loved it, I thought it was superb and of a professional standard. I have nothing else to say it was that good.

I have no idea what this is in reference to.

Did I miss something?

KevinLeeMcDougall
10-12-2015, 11:25 PM
I have no idea what this is in reference to.

Did I miss something?

You find something to criticise about it then, I know I can't. The only thing that could be said is that there is not enough direction in terms of shot type, but sometimes we just leave these things to the artist for artistic freedom.

Steven Forbes
10-12-2015, 11:32 PM
Oh. So you didn't learn anything.

Got it.

Good luck.

(And I edit professionally. I could very easily tear your entire script apart, but I refuse to waste time on someone who doesn't want to learn. You think it's perfect? Submit it to The Proving Grounds. This way, everyone can see.)

Schuyler
10-13-2015, 10:16 AM
Oh. So you didn't learn anything.

Got it.

Good luck.

(And I edit professionally. I could very easily tear your entire script apart, but I refuse to waste time on someone who doesn't want to learn. You think it's perfect? Submit it to The Proving Grounds. This way, everyone can see.)

Whoa, Steven! It's not his script. He is only commenting on it.

-Sky

Steven Forbes
10-13-2015, 02:13 PM
Whoa, Steven! It's not his script. He is only commenting on it.

-Sky

I understand perfectly.

The statement still holds true.

paul brian deberry
10-13-2015, 09:42 PM
9 out of 10 artist would have no problem drawing from this script. That is ALL that matters.

StevenMenszer
10-14-2015, 12:41 AM
I loved it, I thought it was superb and of a professional standard. I have nothing else to say it was that good.

Thank you, kind sir!

Oh. So you didn't learn anything.

Got it.

Good luck.

(And I edit professionally. I could very easily tear your entire script apart, but I refuse to waste time on someone who doesn't want to learn. You think it's perfect? Submit it to The Proving Grounds. This way, everyone can see.)

Then tear me apart. I want to learn.

I do agree with the previous statement that the first page feels like an exposition dump, but I've yet to touch it up. Anything after that, destroy if you see it needs destroying.

9 out of 10 artist would have no problem drawing from this script. That is ALL that matters.

That's what most important to me. I try to keep my scripts fun to read and let the artist enjoy the read rather than make it feel like work, but if it's counterproductive to producing the best material, then believe me, I want to know.

SamRoads
10-14-2015, 07:52 AM
9 out of 10 artist would have no problem drawing from this script. That is ALL that matters.

I respectfully disagree. Whilst the artist is the person who will read the script, the only thing that really matters is whether you make your readership care.

I might be wrong about the storytelling issues I raised, but that kind of thing is the most important thing, not whether the artist can draw the script, surely?

EDIT: Another important person who might read your script would be the commissioning editor of a publishing house. If I were such a person, the line "His next move will be a bold one." would have me tossing the script onto the slush pile. (I'm making assumptions here based on my knowledge of the film industry. I don't know the inside of the world of comics.)

SamRoads
10-14-2015, 07:57 AM
In my opinion, it's not of a professional standard, and saying that it might be isn't very helpful.

Doug Richardson is the screenwriter of Die Hard 2 and Bad Boys. He writes a fantastic blog. This week's article is about how much it hurts your writing when your friends sugar-coat their criticism. The article is here:

http://www.dougrichardson.com/blog/lie-to-me/

However, I do think this submission is good. And I think Steven M is driving down the road towards 'of a professional standard' in a well-serviced vehicle, with a full tank of gas.

("Then tear me apart. I want to learn." - Well said! :) )

Kiyoko, Rin
10-14-2015, 08:56 AM
OMG, the amount of moving panels in this script! You have hands waving, heads turning to survey the crowd, people shimmying, doors opening... It's a static medium - you should either describe what has happened or what we're in the middle of seeing - not a whole sequence of movement in one panel. You could, I suppose, use motion lines or ghosting to convey the movement you've asked for but there's a limit to the number of times you can do that without ruining it for when you really need it (e.g. if a bullet ever gets fired).

Also, in turns of focus, you have panels that describe close ups and long shots at the same time (page 2, panel 1).

That said, I enjoyed your script, you do more right than you do wrong, and I'd probably buy the finished product when it comes out. Kudos!

PS - Schuyler, I think Mr Forbes was referring to Kevin's latest post (http://www.digitalwebbing.com/forums/showthread.php?t=175550), rather than his comment.

B-McKinley
10-14-2015, 09:10 AM
Prosaic is not the opposite of precise. Prosaic, if you want to use it to mean "prose-like," would be the opposite of poetic. Less prosaic would be less matter-of-fact which is exactly what you're trying to discourage.

SamRoads
10-14-2015, 10:49 AM
Yeah. I think I got tangled up with that. Shouldn't have used 'prosaic'. Should have just said "Don't write prose." :)

Schuyler
10-14-2015, 11:49 PM
Okay, thanks, Rin.


Steven. Apparently, I am the one who misunderstood. That happens a lot between between you and I, and I'm sorry because I see that it's not happening to everyone else.

-Sky

Kiyoko, Rin
10-15-2015, 07:47 AM
Okay, thanks, Rin.


Steven. Apparently, I am the one who misunderstood... and I'm sorry because I see that it's not happening to everyone else.

-Sky

Don't sweat it, Schuyler, I would have misunderstood too if you hadn't clarified, and I hadn't checked out the latest posts before going to this thread.

Steven Forbes
10-15-2015, 12:23 PM
Okay, thanks, Rin.


Steven. Apparently, I am the one who misunderstood. That happens a lot between between you and I, and I'm sorry because I see that it's not happening to everyone else.

-Sky

No sweat, Schuyler. It's all good. :)

Steven Forbes
10-15-2015, 12:47 PM
WHITE
by
STEVEN MENSZER

5-PAGE TREATMENT



PAGE 1 - FOUR PANELS


PANEL 1:

A well-dressed man in his mid-50s with strong features, short gray hair and a neatly-trimmed gray beard stands at a podium on a makeshift stage outside in the cold street. He wears a black overcoat and a suit with black leather gloves.

His name is Darren Sanders and he is the police chief.

I don't mind this overmuch. However, if he's the main character, then the artist doesn't need this because they're going to design the character before they ever start the sequentials. If he's the main character, you've just wasted time describing him in the panel description.



He places his hands on the podium and leans in to talk.

This just became a moving panel and is undrawable. This is panel 1.



To the sides of him is a row of police officers, standing up straight with their chests puffed out and their hands behind their backs. They exist for appearance only.

What you've just described are officers standing at parade rest. What you failed to describe is whether or not they're in regular uniform or in their dress uniforms, and whether or not they have rifles. If they have rifles, then it's a different type of parade rest.

This is still panel 1.



In front of the stage, there is a mob of reporters with tape recorders, notepads and cameras. They push and shove, trying to be the one closest to the words.

Another moving, undrawable part of this panel. This also begs the question of how you're seeing this. What I mean is "where's the camera"? I know where I would place it, but where do you see it?



In the background, there is a courthouse and an American flag blowing in the wind. The trees stand bare around it.

It’s winter.

It’s about 3:00 in the afternoon and bright.

CHIEF SANDERS
Now, I know you’re all eager to ask me how we will stop the recent influx of
illegal narcotics on our streets, but I have to ask you to please be patient.

This is a bad line of dialogue. However, that's already been said. There are much better ways to do this.


PANEL 2:

Chief Sanders turns his head slightly to the side, eyeing the crowd over.

Another moving panel. I understand what you're getting at, but it's still a moving panel. If you kill the habit now, you'll be that much ahead of the game when it comes to writing better scripts. And again, where's the camera?



CHIEF SANDERS
At this moment in time, I am not able to mention any elements of our
plan, but be assured, we have one, and we have our best men in the field.

This means nothing. This doesn't say anything, except "I'm a politician and I'm here to waste time by blowing smoke up your rectum." This is panel 2, and not one thing of real interest has been said as yet.


PANEL 3:
Chief Sanders smiles and stands up straight as he finishes his incredibly brief press conference.

Another moving panel.


CHIEF SANDERS
I will not be answering any questions today,
so you can all go home now. Thank you.

See what I mean? A press conference was called, and it was a complete waste of time. What was it for? What do these three panels tell the reader?

No, I know what it tells the reader. What do you want the reader to come away with after reading these three panels? How do you want them to be impacted?


PANEL 4:

Chief Sanders walks off to the left. The press wave their hands in the air and point their microphones and tape records towards the podium.

PRESS
Chief Sanders! Chief Sanders!

So, P1 is a complete waste of time, without any reason to turn the page or go any deeper into the story. From what I understand, there are drugs on the street. This is every city in America, no matter how big or small. I also understand that the police don't seem overly concerned about it. The chief may even be corrupt. That's a trope in tons of stories. So what's unique about this? From just the first page alone, what information does the reader have that entices them to turn the page?

Nothing.

P1, as it stands, is padding of the worst kind. It doesn't start anything. You can start this story in a different place.

Stop writing moving panels. The easiest way is to write your panel descriptions in the past tense, as though the actions had just happened.

Go to the ComixTribe link in my signature, and go to the Bolts & Nuts section. The first 10 or so articles will teach you the bulk of what you need to know to write a technically correct script.

Hope that helps.