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Author Topic: Judge Dredd Script  (Read 625 times)

Robin Low

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Judge Dredd Script
« on: 12 July, 2019, 02:41:05 pm »
Okay, biting the bullet here. I've had a Dredd script sitting on the hard drive for a more than a few years now. It's not intended for any kind of submission and there are undoubtedly any number of problems with it. For example, what's the best use of bolded text? In my effort to minimise the number of words per balloon have I sucked the life out of it or lost any distinctiveness the characters' voices might have had? Similarly, by trying to reduce the number of balloons per panel, have I lost panels that could have been put to better use? And it's an unashamed exercise in fanwank.

The biggest problem (for me anyway) is how to handle the action on page five. It's a matter of physically positioning the characters in a logical way and doing so while leaving the final two panels as they are. So, I've decided the best thing to do is let others have a look at it, especially the artists around here as they're the ones who'd have to handle it.

I'd much rather have fixed the problem before releasing it into the wild, but what the hell. At least it's better than the half-arsed future shock I sent to Gordon Rennie 20 years ago.

Regards,

Robin

Frank

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Re: Judge Dredd Script
« Reply #1 on: 12 July, 2019, 05:07:23 pm »

Dare turns into Dane between the first and second pages.  I'm not qualified to comment on the technical aspects, but, as a reader, my least favourite Dredd writer trope is the introduction of a new character of the author's own devising who's even better than Dredd*

I know you're in love with the beauty contest quote because it isn't an immediately obvious bit of Dredd lore, but the Hands Of Orlac nature of the gag would work better with a phrase that doesn't need a line of dialogue explaining its cleverness to the general reader.


* Paradox Vega's probably the most recent example, but even Kraken annoyed me

Robin Low

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Re: Judge Dredd Script
« Reply #2 on: 12 July, 2019, 05:24:13 pm »

Dare turns into Dane between the first and second pages.

I shall beat myself in the testicles with a hammer in due course...

Arse.

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I'm not qualified to comment on the technical aspects, but, as a reader, my least favourite Dredd writer trope is the introduction of a new character of the author's own devising who's even better than Dredd

Who says she's better than Dredd? The final line does rather hint that he may have deliberately let her beat him.

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I know you're in love with the beauty contest quote because it isn't an immediately obvious bit of Dredd lore, but the Hands Of Orlac nature of the gag would work better with a phrase that doesn't need a line of dialogue explaining its cleverness to the general reader.

Hmmm, hadn't thought I was being clever, just avoiding one of those 'Tharg Note' boxes you used to see.

There was a draft where I lose the Dredd's brain bit altogether, but somehow it seemed blander. And like I say, it's a bit of fanwank.

Regards,

Robin

Frank

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Re: Judge Dredd Script
« Reply #3 on: 12 July, 2019, 05:30:48 pm »

I forgot the bread component of the s*** sandwich. The dialogue's mostly as terse as the style established by the strip's creator and the distinction you make between asking to see someone and sending for someone is a clever bit of characterisation.

Never written or drawn a comic and I never will, so my punch-ups carry all the weight of my position as a nobody.



Robin Low

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Re: Judge Dredd Script
« Reply #4 on: 12 July, 2019, 06:01:55 pm »

I forgot the bread component of the s*** sandwich. The dialogue's mostly as terse as the style established by the strip's creator and the distinction you make between asking to see someone and sending for someone is a clever bit of characterisation.

Never written or drawn a comic and I never will, so my punch-ups carry all the weight of my position as a nobody.

Don't worry, I accept the risks of putting oneself on show. And the name cock-up was a dumb mistake.

I've written a fair bit of fan stuff for RPGs and a teeny bit of paid-for, too. When I started writing I made a strict rule for myself that I wouldn't get uptight if anyone didn't like what I'd written, especially if it's a matter of personal taste. The only thing I'd challenge is misrepresentation; the only things I'd explain are misunderstandings.

Thanks for the compliments, though, I appreciate them.

Regards,

Robin

The Legendary Shark

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Re: Judge Dredd Script
« Reply #5 on: 13 July, 2019, 12:35:48 am »
Hi Robin.

Before I offer my two penn'orth, a couple of caveats: first, one of my faults is that my scripts tend to be hard for readers to follow because I often leave too much out as I try to cut as much exposition as I can - often too much - in the hopes that reading between the lines will fill in the blanks. I have noticed, and am frustrated by, reviewers pointing out that my stories can be hard to follow. Second, contributing to this problem, I also boil things down too much. So, please take my comments with several pinches of salt and a few other condiments as well.

I like the basic idea of the story, which I think is strong.

Personally, I'd first ask myself whether the scenes with Hershey and McGruder are necessary. They are basically talking heads in an office providing exposition without action. Can these scenes be cut and the exposition introduced in another way? Cutting these scenes would offer an opportunity to focus on Dredd and Dane and their conflict with the Sons of Mean (and maybe even each other), and development of the Sons of Mean - which is, I think, an interesting idea.

Would it be better to cut Hershey and McGruder altogether and focus on the Dredd/Dane relationship? Could Dane be on assessment, under Dredd, following her reconstruction? Given Mean Machine Angel's fondness for head-butting, is an opportunity for one of the Sons of Mean knocking himself out butting Dane's metal skull being missed? That might be a nice set-up for Dredd deciding to use Dane's skull as a ricochet target of last resort, like a footballer booting the ball to a team-mate's head to score a last-minute winning goal. This would also allow Dredd to be Dredd - using Dane in a way she doesn't expect, or even approve of, to save the day. Something like this might also make for a better last word by Dredd; the 'paperwork' quip is okay but doesn't really follow smoothly and something about 'using her head' might fold into the overall narrative a little more satisfactorily.

If the Hershey/McGruder scenes are cut, that will open up the story (in my opinion) to be more action-oriented and allow room for the Sons of Mean idea (which I love) to breathe.

Using McGruder's sister is also a good idea but, I feel, not for this story - she needs a story more personal to her because in this context she feels "tacked on" or too much of a fan-wink - a waste of a character, if you will.

Don't get too hung up on panel layouts and angles. Most of your panel descriptions are short, strong and to the point - and that's all you need to do. Let the artist decide as much as possible and only include layouts and angles if they're absolutely necessary to the story.

To address your questions; I use bold text simply to emphasise important elements in a panel description, such as Chekhov's gun or on the first appearance of an important character. Reducing words is, to me, one of the most important elements in scripting. In his indispensable work, Story. Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting, Robert McKee teaches that the essence of scriptwriting is brevity. Whilst a novelist can pour words onto a page, a scriptwriter must do the opposite and cut, cut, cut - saying as much as possible with as few words as possible. Reducing speech and text balloons leaves more room for the artwork and, as we all know, a picture's worth a thousand words. Don't be afraid to cut. Be an avid slasher. Zero in on the essence of what needs to be said as much as possible. One of the questions I always try to ask is, does this panel need any speech or text bubbles at all? Most do, of course, but some of my favourite panels contain no words at all because, quite simply, they don't need them. (Of all the panels I have written, my favourite is from Paragon's Jikan - a full page image of a drunken Samurai leader, Lord Ankoku, who has accidentally impaled Jikan's pregnant wife with his sword, after waving it about in a mindless fury. The artist, the wonderfully talented El Chivo, delivered an image so powerful and so descriptive that any words from me would be entirely superfluous - "Shimasu," Part Two - The Jikan Chronicles, Book Two - Shameless Plugging Dept!)

I hope you don't find my comments too harsh because this is one of those stories where I genuinely find myself thinking, damn, I wish I'd thought of that. Also, I'm not telling you how you should write your story but how I'd think about approaching it if it were mine - and the critics be damned! :-)

Finally, and honestly, I think you should write more and start submitting to Zarjaz because you certainly have a talent which needs to be built upon and developed.

Keep on scribblin'!

Robin Low

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Re: Judge Dredd Script
« Reply #6 on: 13 July, 2019, 01:21:27 pm »
Hi Sharky - thanks for taking the time to read it and write a response.

First thing to say is that I think all your comments are entirely fair and largely valid.

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I like the basic idea of the story, which I think is strong.

Thanks. I can't ask for any more than that, really.

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Personally, I'd first ask myself whether the scenes with Hershey and McGruder are necessary. They are basically talking heads in an office providing exposition without action. Can these scenes be cut and the exposition introduced in another way? Cutting these scenes would offer an opportunity to focus on Dredd and Dane and their conflict with the Sons of Mean (and maybe even each other), and development of the Sons of Mean - which is, I think, an interesting idea.

Would it be better to cut Hershey and McGruder altogether and focus on the Dredd/Dane relationship? Could Dane be on assessment, under Dredd, following her reconstruction?

Yeah, there are potentially separate three stories here: Doctor McGruder, Dane and the Sons of Mean (you can imagine how annoyed I was when the Sons of Booth first appeared). A professional writer would have written three stories, at least in part because they need to make a living. Personally, I like a story with more than one idea in it.

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Given Mean Machine Angel's fondness for head-butting, is an opportunity for one of the Sons of Mean knocking himself out butting Dane's metal skull being missed?

I considered that, but decided not to purely because a reader would probably be expecting it. If that artist wanted to do it in a generic action, that's fine, but I wouldn't explicitly draw attention to it.

That said, you'll probably enjoy the alternative version, which I'll attach for your amusement. It drops the explicit Dredd's brain stuff to free up space, avoids my ricochet angle problem, but includes a touch more fan-wankery and a Tharg Note. Maybe it's better.

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That might be a nice set-up for Dredd deciding to use Dane's skull as a ricochet target of last resort, like a footballer booting the ball to a team-mate's head to score a last-minute winning goal. This would also allow Dredd to be Dredd - using Dane in a way she doesn't expect, or even approve of, to save the day.

I think if the Dredd's brain element was dropped this would be a fair way to go, but that was the seed idea for Dane. In an imaginary series featuring her, she's going to discover who has effectively been grafted into her subconscious, leading to the inevitable questions of identity and free will.

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Something like this might also make for a better last word by Dredd; the 'paperwork' quip is okay but doesn't really follow smoothly and something about 'using her head' might fold into the overall narrative a little more satisfactorily.

Heh. Sorry, but that punchline and McGruder quoting Anderson are my favourite bits in the whole thing, so that's staying.

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Using McGruder's sister is also a good idea but, I feel, not for this story - she needs a story more personal to her because in this context she feels "tacked on" or too much of a fan-wink - a waste of a character, if you will.

All three strands are pure fan-wank and wink, there's no getting away from it. It might work better as one-off story in the Meg. I considered allowing myself that freedom, but decided I'd make life harder for myself. I just like the idea of a single story from which three entirely separate ones can arise.

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Don't get too hung up on panel layouts and angles. Most of your panel descriptions are short, strong and to the point - and that's all you need to do. Let the artist decide as much as possible and only include layouts and angles if they're absolutely necessary to the story.

Thanks, I was trying to keep it simple, but at least give an artist something to work with. It's difficult when you have a very clear image in your head.

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To address your questions... SNIP

Thanks for all that.

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I hope you don't find my comments too harsh...

Not in the slightest.

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...because this is one of those stories where I genuinely find myself thinking, damn, I wish I'd thought of that.

Again, I couldn't ask for more.


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Finally, and honestly, I think you should write more and start submitting to Zarjaz because you certainly have a talent which needs to be built upon and developed.

Oh, you flatterer, you. Incidentally, Zargaz is welcome to either script if they want to knock them into shape.

Regards,

Robin

Bolt-01

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Re: Judge Dredd Script
« Reply #7 on: 15 July, 2019, 10:45:35 am »
Hi Robin, if you wanted to submit something that hasn't been posted - feel free. Zarjaz never closes its doors.

Robin Low

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Re: Judge Dredd Script
« Reply #8 on: 15 July, 2019, 11:17:45 am »
Hi Robin, if you wanted to submit something that hasn't been posted - feel free. Zarjaz never closes its doors.

Cheers, Bolt. I considered contacting you, but then I thought what the hell, I'd post it and see what happened. I only dip into this forum, but it seems mostly to be art. Maybe this will encourage a few others to share their writing efforts.

Regards,

Robin

Steven Denton

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Re: Judge Dredd Script
« Reply #9 on: 15 July, 2019, 06:03:02 pm »
It makes sense as a coherent story which is a good thing. I don't think there is anything I would bulk at the idea of drawing and I never thought 'that's not a frame, or that's got too much detail, or that just isn't going to read how the writer thinks it will.'

There are two main uses of bold text. Bold for emphasis , where you bold the words to stress the speech patterns, and bold for reading at a glance, where you bold the important words to the plot so if you glanced the page you would get the headlines. Bold for stress is far more common but I like bold for reading at a glance more as it's more fun to work out.

 


Robin Low

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Re: Judge Dredd Script
« Reply #10 on: 15 July, 2019, 07:05:15 pm »
It makes sense as a coherent story which is a good thing. I don't think there is anything I would bulk at the idea of drawing and I never thought 'that's not a frame, or that's got too much detail, or that just isn't going to read how the writer thinks it will.'

Once again, my thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

There are some panels I see in my head very clearly, but I'm guessing it's not a good idea to get too attached to a mental image, as any artist is almost certainly going to see it differently.

Out of curiosity... obviously, the first version I posted is unfinished while the second version I posted for Sharky was a variation I'd half-forgotten about, but do you think one has more merit than the other, or is there not much difference?

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There are two main uses of bold text...

My concern is that I'd have a tendency to overdo it, but looking at Wagner's script for Spector suggests maybe not.

Regards,

Robin

Steven Denton

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Re: Judge Dredd Script
« Reply #11 on: 15 July, 2019, 08:20:50 pm »
It depends on what you are trying to achieve.

The second version is a smoother read and has a bit more action. I think the second one also felt more like a Dredd story and less like fan fiction.   


Steven Denton

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Re: Judge Dredd Script
« Reply #12 on: 15 July, 2019, 08:29:05 pm »
I write fanfiction (for zarjaz mostly) that is meant to be fan fiction, so I certainly wouldn't take that as an insult. I think there are a number of types of fan fiction: stories that could pass for the real thing, stories that are meant to pass for the real thing but don't, and stories that are not meant to pass for the real thing but instead play with the ideas or concepts in a way the real comic never would.

I tend to over think thigs and apply a level of logic that is perhaps unnecessary so quite a lot of my 'advice' could be fairly nit-picky. 

Robin Low

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Re: Judge Dredd Script
« Reply #13 on: 15 July, 2019, 09:45:09 pm »
It depends on what you are trying to achieve.

The second version is a smoother read and has a bit more action. I think the second one also felt more like a Dredd story and less like fan fiction.   

Fair enough. It'll be interesting to see if Frank and Sharky concur... and I suspect they will.

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I write fanfiction (for zarjaz mostly) that is meant to be fan fiction, so I certainly wouldn't take that as an insult.

I was involved in writing and editing fan material for Warpstone (a prozine in all but pay, for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplayer). James Wallis, one of WFRPs former licence holders, said of Warpstone, "From its earliest days it's produced material of a quality that would put a lot of actual games publishers to shame" so I'd never take fan-anything as an insult.

Regards,

Robin