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Author Topic: First Page Attempt  (Read 1660 times)

Taryn Tailz

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First Page Attempt
« on: 02 October, 2016, 01:55:31 AM »
So now that I have a handful of professional and small press publications to my name (Horror Writer's Association anthologies, Flash Fiction Press etc), I thought it about time I had a shot at writing a Future Shock, with the aim of submitting if I ever felt I'd gotten to a high enough standard.

Therefore I'd appreciate any, positive and negative, comments on this attempt at a first page. Bearing in mind I'm still writing the rest of the script, this is un-edited at present, so won't be up to standards, but any comments would be welcome none the less. :)


Page One:
Four panels. First and fourth panels should be horizontal and stretch across the page, with the other two panels in between the two.

1. A horizontal shot, though quite tight and fairly shallow. Essentially this is a scene-setting close up, including titles. This panel should be from the point of view of someone looking up at the face of a vast Gothic cathedral, the angle giving the impression that the cathedral is looming over us, with one of it’s double doors opening onto darkness. What horizon we can see behind the cathedral should be almost entirely black, with a few irregularly shaped points of light. We should not be able to see the ground at this point, so some of the cathedral should be lost towards the bottom of the panel.

Box:   I don’t stand a chance. I’m guilty...

2. Interior of the cathedral, looking down from a high up corner of the ceiling, as though we were seeing from the angle of a security camera. Beneath us we see the congregation, who are filling every last space on the dozens of pews which fill the floorspace, a length of carpet separating the pews into two sections. Towards the top left corner of the panel we can see sections of the Cathedral’s windows, which should appear entirely black, with not a hint of stain glass.

Box:    They know it, and so do I. The trial has been for show, nothing more.

3. Close up shot of Becka. She is down on her knees, her face, partly obscured by her dreadlocks, cast down towards the floor. She is bound at the wrists with chains, which lead off both sides of the panel, suggesting guards holding onto each end. Behind her can be seen the front sections of the congregation, who appear to be jeering and heckling Becka.

Judge Priest (off panel):      Becka Vine, you have been found guilty of the crime of blasphemy...

4. Horizontal shot, again tight and shallow. This should be an almost mirror image of the first panel, with the Judge Priest, in traditional wig and dog collar - though his eyes should be completely black-, taking the place of the cathedral. This is from Becka’s point of view, so the judge should appear to be gazing down at her from atop the looming dock. While his dark eyes appear impassive, his mouth is set into a determined snarl, revealing crooked and irregular teeth.

Judge Priest:   ...by way of denying that the great and worshipful void is the totality of existence, and for your heretical belief that humanity was not always required to light it’s own path through the purity of the great night. I therefore sentence you to life aboard a Torch Ship.

The Legendary Shark

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Re: First Page Attempt
« Reply #1 on: 02 October, 2016, 07:50:39 AM »
Hi Taryn. FWiW, here are my comments.

Firstly, unless you have a VERY good reason otherwise, let the artist decide on the page layout and "camera angles." If there is a good reason for a particular layout, P.O.V. or angle, let the artist know what it is straight away.

Second, be more sparing in your panel descriptions. Give only essential details and let the artist decide the rest. For example, "A huge, Gothic cathedral, ornate but with clear (not stained glass) windows. This cathedral exists in an infinite void." Describe it as simply as possible - your words are the bones, it's the artist's job to put the flesh on.

Check use of words like its and it's. (Editors pick up on these things like you wouldn't believe.)

This is a Future Shock, so don't be afraid to tell the artist what the twist is from the outset - he or she can help with the reveal. Remember, you're not trying to shock the artist, you're both  trying to shock the audience.

Lastly, I think Tharg is very unlikely to accept a submission that's already appeared on a website. He wants his audience to read something they've never read before.

Hope that helps.
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Greg M.

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Re: First Page Attempt
« Reply #2 on: 02 October, 2016, 09:42:12 AM »
Firstly, unless you have a VERY good reason otherwise, let the artist decide on the page layout and "camera angles." If there is a good reason for a particular layout, P.O.V. or angle, let the artist know what it is straight away.


Very much this. I reckon we all do it when we start writing scripts (well, I certainly did, dunno about Sharky, and there's probably a few of my older scripts floating about yet to be drawn that still use 'filmy' speak, to my chagrin) but don't use camera angles at all. Let the artist decide.

The Legendary Shark

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Re: First Page Attempt
« Reply #3 on: 02 October, 2016, 09:55:32 AM »
Oh yeah, I used to do it all the time - then got upset when the artist (rightfully) ignored me. I think that the more breathing space you give an artist, the better the results.
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Taryn Tailz

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Re: First Page Attempt
« Reply #4 on: 02 October, 2016, 04:59:42 PM »
Thanks guys. :) I appreciate the feedback. Like I said, this is my very first attempt at a script, so I'm unlikely to have even a grasp of the basics yet. On future drafts of this page I'll remove the layouts and simplify the descriptions.

I'm not worried about posting this page here, as I wouldn't even dream of submitting my very first attempt to Tharg.

TordelBack

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Re: First Page Attempt
« Reply #5 on: 02 October, 2016, 10:55:01 PM »
One of the joys of Eddie Campbell's various accounts of drawing From Hell is the contrast between his obvious enjoyment of Moore's insanely detailed panel-by-panel script and his wilfull dismissal of all but the most general of instructions when actually drawing it. And what a great result.

Pauul

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Re: First Page Attempt
« Reply #6 on: 02 October, 2016, 11:55:00 PM »
Quote
Firstly, unless you have a VERY good reason otherwise, let the artist decide on the page layout and "camera angles." If there is a good reason for a particular layout, P.O.V. or angle, let the artist know what it is straight away.

You see, here, I have to disagree.

I've worked with plenty of artists and they've all appreciated a certain amount of guidance. They want to know what you're thinking.

Now, you should certainly be open to change. An artist should be able to diverge from what you've written if they can think of something better but given that your script might be the only way you ever communicate with an artist, that direction needs to be there.

And a script isn't just for an artist. You're submitting to an editor as well. Camera directions can help them to visualize your story.

I always include camera angles in my scripts. Not in every panel, but in a lot of them. Sometimes an artist asks to go a different way, which is always cool as long as the panel conveys the necessary information. Other times, I've been asked for more direction.

In my only professional gig (so far) the artist wanted to completely get inside my head, to know what each of my visual inspirations were. Now, that is a rarity, but it was very cool.

If using a camera angle enhances the description, then you should use it. As long as you remember that you're offering a guideline to the artist, rather than dictating what they must do (which most artists would get annoyed at).

The Legendary Shark

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Re: First Page Attempt
« Reply #7 on: 03 October, 2016, 03:15:59 AM »
That's interesting, Pauul.

I include them only when the story demands it, and then only as a suggestion.

If you have a copy of the Zarjaz Summer Special for this year, take a look at the Dredd story, Dreddfall. This story has a very specific panel layout, which I instigated in the script. Of all the scripts I've written, I can't think of another where I've done this. I felt that, in this instance, the panel layout I asked for enhanced the story and, thankfully, the artist agreed.

I hardly ever use camera angles but that's not to say I never do - if they help the story I will but, otherwise, would rather not.

Once my script has been assigned to an artist I always email them with an open invitation to contact me if I've not made something clear or if they want to discuss anything. Some do get in touch, most don't.

As an amateur, I glean instruction from anywhere I can find it and one of the most instructive sources for me is Robert McKee's screenwriting course, in which he advises against camera angles and suchlike. (That's a different genre, I know, but sufficiently similar to be very useful.) In McKee's opinion, scriptwriting is far harder than prose writing in that every scene description must be as sparse and precise as possible - where prose writing allows for bloat and meandering, scriptwriting is all about cutting, cutting and cutting some more until only the essence remains. A good description, then, suggests which angle to use in itself without having it spelled out.
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Steven Denton

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Re: First Page Attempt
« Reply #8 on: 03 October, 2016, 04:07:57 PM »
Here, I agree with The Legendary Shark. Keep it concise and relevant, don't try to evoke a mood of dark malevolence just instruct that there should be one. If it's not going to appear on the finished page (eg: a caption or balloon) It's not prose and has no need to read as such.

This isn't a rule however, It's just a preference. 

Taryn Tailz

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Re: First Page Attempt
« Reply #9 on: 03 October, 2016, 05:35:47 PM »
If it's not going to appear on the finished page (eg: a caption or balloon) It's not prose and has no need to read as such.

I think that's a good piece of advice. I'll try and keep that one in mind.