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Author Topic: A bit of feedback for my pitch, "Dumb Bastard"  (Read 1805 times)

Chris_Jones

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A bit of feedback for my pitch, "Dumb Bastard"
« on: 24 September, 2009, 10:10:53 am »
Hey everyone, I was looking to pitch a future shock to 200AD and I finished my story tonight, titled "Dumb Bastard". I'm not going to post the whole thing, as I read in the FAQ that that would be unwise, so I'll just go with the first page for now. I'd really like to know what you guys think of it-if you want to keep reading than I think I've done my job, but once again, all kinds of feedback are wildly appreciated. Thank you so much.

"Dumb Bastard"

-Chris Jones

Page 1, Panel 1: A group of four men, ranging from about 25 to 40 years old, is driving a jeep down a street in a city that’s obviously in a post-war state, aka blown to pieces-there’s buildings crumbled to the ground and rubble everywhere. These men are all rather shabby looking-many of them have wild, untrimmed facial hair, are dirty and wearing torn up clothes. A man who has the look of a retarded person is sitting on the curb of the street, a St. Bernard sitting by his side. This young man has a metal plate in his head, with the letters COS emblazoned in enormous print across it. There is a set of bags filled with food and clothes belonging to Davy situated behind him. The driver of the jeep points his thumb mockingly towards the retarded-looking young man.

Caption: 2300 AD, Chicago. Post-Grand War IX.

Driver(Bill): Well, look who it is, fellas! Ol’ shit-for-brains Davey Clint! He’s from my town!

Man 1(Carl): Never heard of him. Should I have?

Panel 2: Bill gets out of the jeep and beckons the other three men to follow him. He looks at Davy with an air of cruelty and superiority. The Saint Bernard starts growling menacingly at him. Davy stares forward with a blank look in his eyes and his mouth still hanging open.

Bill: You remember back when COS was looking for volunteers to be “automated”, promising a wage increase in exchange for their thinking abilities while on the job?

Bill: Well, this dipshit was one of the only takers and, wouldn’t ya know it, the technician in charge fucked up and turned him retarded.

Dog: Grrrrrr…

Panel 3: Bill kicks the dog in the stomach hard, obviously agonizing the dog. Davy, panicked, runs to protect the dog.

Bill: Shut the fuck up!

Dog: *euurf*

Davie: Noo-oo! Don’ hurt th’ dog!

Panel 4: Three of the four men have now ganged up on Davy and are kicking the shit out of him, causing him to try to curl up in the fetal position to try to avoid too hard of a beating. The dog slinks away while the fourth member of the group starts rummaging through the bunch of bags, pulling some food out in one arm and some clothes out in another. He turns and shouts excitedly at his friends, proud of his bounty.

Bill: ‘Choo fuckin’ tell me what to do, retard!

Carl: Kick his ass!

3rd Man(Howard): You guys, check it out! This guy’s got food and clothes!

Panel 5: The men walk back to the jeep, carrying all of Davy’s provisions with them. Davy, lying on the ground, beaten and bloody, looks up at them with an innocent, child-like shock in his eyes while clutching at his stomach. Bill looks down at him with a vicious, contemptuous sneer. Howard chuckles at Bill’s little joke. Carl is the one getting into the driver’s seat this time while Bill, holding the provisions, seats himself in the back.

Bill: Don’t see any reason THIS simple fucker should have any of it.

Davy: B-but that’s mine!

Bill: Yeah? Come over here and take it from me, then.

Howard: Heh.

Panel 6: Bill leans out and throws an empty beer can at Davy’s head as they drive away. Davy crawls over to his dog and hugs him tightly, screwing his eyes shut and trying to block out the pain and nastiness he just went through.

Bill: We’ll be comin’ back tomorrow to see what else ya got for us, Davy! Better be some good shit or we’ll beat you TWICE as bad!

Davy: Don’ hurt my dog.

Chris_Jones

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Re: A bit of feedback for my pitch, "Dumb Bastard"
« Reply #1 on: 24 September, 2009, 10:22:48 am »
I decided I'd add the second page, as just looking at that first one you don't get as good of a look at the story.

PAGE 2, Panel 1: It’s evening now. The group is driving down a freeway in what used to be the country-now it’s all just scorched earth, dried up grass and trees that have been blown to pieces. There’s an abandoned car or two lying on the road as well. Bill and the as-yet unnamed fourth man are sitting in the back seat, reclining.

Caption: 3 hours later, 50 miles west.

Fourth Man(Drew): Hey, Bill…how come you were so mean to that kid?

Bill: It’s the post-apocalypse, man. Gotta get your kicks somehow, am I right?

Drew: I guess. I dunno, it just…felt a little more personal than that.

Panel 2: Bill looks up at the night sky and swallows a beer, with a cold look in his eyes.

Bill: Well, if ya really wanna know the truth, I used to go to school with Davy. He was a straight-A student, on the swim team, with one smokin’ girlfriend. I hated his guts.

Bill: Seein’ him like this now, all drooling and brain-fried shit…it’s like all my adolescent fantasies come true. I’m gonna milk that for all I can.

Panel 3: Drew scrutinizes Bill, obviously having lost a good deal of respect for him. Bill pulls out a switchblade and waves it threateningly.

Drew: You’re a sickeningly petty man, Bill.

Bill: People say that.

Bill: People also say I’m nutty as squirrel shit and keep their fuckin’ mouths shut when they know what’s good for them.

Panel 4: Drew draws his coat up and looks out his window, obviously very frightened of Bill now. Bill puts his switchblade away and smiles cruelly in Drew’s direction.

Panel 5: In the distance about 20 miles off, a massive junkyard is visible, about the size of a small mountain. The jeep is dwarfed by comparison.

Carl: We’ll camp here for the night and head over to the Scrapheap in the morning.

Carl: Get ready to make some SERIOUS scratch, boys.

locustsofdeath!

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Re: A bit of feedback for my pitch, "Dumb Bastard"
« Reply #2 on: 24 September, 2009, 10:45:39 am »
Hello Chris! Welcome to the board!

While I can't really critique your story as I have no idea how it might turn out, I think the best thing for you going forward is to find a sample script and set your work up in the proper format. There are several different script formats, so you can find one, or a combination of several, that you feel comfortable with!

In fact, we should get a few sample scripts posted in the creative common. I have a few that I can post once they've been published.

Keep plugging away, Chris! A good start, this.

locustsofdeath!

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Re: A bit of feedback for my pitch, "Dumb Bastard"
« Reply #3 on: 24 September, 2009, 10:52:31 am »
Oh, and there is some helpful iformation here: http://2000adonline.com/forum/index.php/topic,25779.0.html

Emperor

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Re: A bit of feedback for my pitch, "Dumb Bastard"
« Reply #4 on: 24 September, 2009, 02:16:59 pm »
Welcome Chris. It is a bit tricky giving feedback on scripts that haven't already been published because you can't show all of it. This is a really big problem for Future Shocks as the key is how the story builds up to the twist ending and it is impossible to evaluate it on the first few pages. I'd say make sure it is properly formatted (have a look at the sample scripts linked to from the general writing thread), add a covering letter and fire it off to Tharg.

One thing I did notice was that there is quite a lot of dialogue, often with three speech balloons (and sometimes three different people) talking in each panel and with 5 and 6 panels a page you might be trying to jam too much in. I think Alan Moore has suggested aiming for 23 words per panel and sometimes you go well over twice that with some balloons going over 23 words - in fact the two panels that stood out were the second ones on each page which seemed to be being used to jam in the exposition. I find quite a bit of the process of improving drafts involves trimming things back (as opposed to adding material) and asking "does the story need this?" not "do I need this?" (as one can include material because you like it but it does nothing for the story). Personally I'd try and get who Davey was in early (possibly before explaining the process that left him drooling), compact the wording as well as spreading it out so it seems like a more natural conversation. Unfortunately, as we can't see the whole script it is unclear how much is needed (does the story need dog kicking and the robbery of the brain-fried?) and, in fact, if the order and phrasing of the wording is vital. Anyway you'll know best when you read it through but keep the question in mind while you do it.

You might also want to look at:
http://2000adonline.com/forum/index.php/topic,26003.0.html
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Jim_Campbell

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Re: A bit of feedback for my pitch, "Dumb Bastard"
« Reply #5 on: 24 September, 2009, 04:48:39 pm »
As a side note, don't expect "Shut the fuck up" to get past the editorial marker pen ...

Cheers

Jim
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Chris_Jones

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Re: A bit of feedback for my pitch, "Dumb Bastard"
« Reply #6 on: 24 September, 2009, 06:19:33 pm »
Thanks, folks!

Yeah, a little while later I thought "It's really a bit stupid to post just the first 2 pages" because there's a really dark, funny twist that happens about 4 pages in and, once again, it's kind of a risk to show the entire thing.

Wordiness is something I've often been accused of. It's definitely something I need to work on and I'll keep it in mind as I'm reworking the script. Thanks a bunch!

Emperor

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Re: A bit of feedback for my pitch, "Dumb Bastard"
« Reply #7 on: 24 September, 2009, 07:06:41 pm »
No worries, brevity is not a regular houseguest at Chez Emps, so it is something I keep an eye out for.

Ultimately, if you've been reading comics for a bit, with a critical eye to the storytelling, then the trick is to do the same thing with your own work. I find leaving it for a week or so and doing something else really helps but everyone has their own ways (a ketamine enema perhaps?). The important thing is to trust your gut, if it says something needs changing then it probably does (just don't listen to the ego going "but it's a great line!").

Yeah, a little while later I thought "It's really a bit stupid to post just the first 2 pages" because there's a really dark, funny twist that happens about 4 pages in and, once again, it's kind of a risk to show the entire thing.

Yes I'd not advise it, if only for the reason that it'll spoil the read if/when it sees the light of day!! ;)
if I went 'round saying I was an Emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!

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lborl

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Re: A bit of feedback for my pitch, "Dumb Bastard"
« Reply #8 on: 24 September, 2009, 08:31:47 pm »
Chris, join the Scriptdroids Yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scriptdroids/ and post the full script and synopsis there. Your work will be safe and you'll likely get very useful feedback from the other members - some of whom are actual, proper 2000AD creators.