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Steven Forbes 12-06-2013 11:39 PM

TPG Week 154: Writing Challenge Submision
Welcome again to another installment of The Proving Grounds! This week, we have Paul LaPorte, with a last name that sounds like he's from a Louisiana bayou somewhere... Just saying. Anyway, we have Steve Colle back in the calming blue, I'm forever in the fiery red, and let's see how well Paul handles a writing challenge script whose only parameters were that there had to be a monkey in it somewhere, and someone had to say “creamed corn” in the dialogue. That said, here's


Page One

Panel One: Wide, establishing shot of a high school lunch room. (If it’s the only panel on the page, the “wide” aspect of the panel description is off. That is, unless you plan on having black space on the top and bottom portions of the page. Cut the “wide” comment and you simply have an establishing splash page.) Round tables surrounded by plastic chairs. The lunch room is filled with monkeys dressed in modern clothing, sitting with each other according to their fashion, in their monkey-cliques. (What kinds of monkeys are there? Are they all of the same species, like chimpanzees exclusively, or are there baboons, spider monkeys, etc.? When you’re talking about monkey cliques, having the types staying amongst themselves is a perfect way of representing that.) Two monkeys are conversing at a table in the center of the room…

MONKEY ONE: SoHow do you think you did on your foraging test?

MONKEY TWO: Eh, (Use ellipsis instead of a comma. That would be my suggestion.) I probably bombed it. (I’d also change the word “Eh” to “Meh”, as Eh sounds more like a hard letter A as we Canadians pronounce it.)(There's something to be said for regional diction, but there is also something to be said for knowing that where you are or where you're from is not the center of the universe. Flexibility. That being said, I agree with the suggestion.)

MONKEY TWO: Whatever.

Very little text for such a large page, don’t you think? We’ll see on the next page if you could have combined Page One and Two together. Right now, it seems needless to have this panel by itself as a splash, especially as a first page intro to the story. There’s no hook to speak of.

This page is a waste of space, the way that it is. This needs more that a single panel, or dialogue that actually moved the story. This doesn't do any of that. It is barely a setup, and that's a shame.

Steve is also right when it comes to types of monkeys. Here's the thing: even though it's a writing challenge, the term “monkey” is extremely generic. It was that way on purpose. (I was the one who chose the topic/theme for the challenge, folks.) If you want to show cliques, it's very easy to do so within different types of monkeys. A movie that did this well was the original Planet of the Apes.

In the end, what does this page do? Nothing. Could it be cut and not be missed? Quite possibly. Let's see what P2 looks like.

Click here to read more.

DarkHalf05 12-07-2013 02:36 PM


I'm going give the challenge question a try.

I think there are three ways to make it not into a moving panel. First, we could add motion lines tracing the characters path across the room and up the table.

The second option would be to use ghosting.

However, I feel that these two wouldn't really fit the story. Mostly if it's a one and done deal, it would stand out too much against the rest of the story, which contains no such visual action. I would be more focused on wondering if the monkey suddenly had super speed. But that's just me.

My final suggestion would be placing the camera in the rafters, where the monkey is jumping and reaching towards. The monkey would be in a full body shot, mid jump, in the extreme foreground. I'd keep one of his legs in a curved, almost straight line which would lead directly to the table he is jumping off of. It would be behind him and in mid topple. In the background the other monkeys arm would still be outstretched, as if he still did not have time to move.

For this setup to work, the previous panel should establish the direction he is heading and show that the table he will jump off has not yet been over turned.

Ultimately, it would be challenging in any of these suggestions to fit all the detail in a ten panel page. The biggest panel you could get would be roughly 3x4 inches. I would think it would have to be very simplified to read clearly.


Ryan Kroboth

DarkHalf05 12-08-2013 07:39 AM

I had another idea. Depending on the species of monkey, his tail could be exaggerated behind him, and used as a more makeshift motion line.

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