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Old 03-15-2014, 02:33 AM   #1
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TPG Week 168: Dialogue Shouldn't Destroy Your Efforts


Welcome back, one and all, to the another installment of The Proving Grounds! This week, we have a new Brave One in Cody Stewart. We also have Steve Colle in blue, I'm in red, and we'll see what Cody does when he faces



The Last Enemy



(Are we getting tired of the small asides before we begin? I know I am. Again, this script was in a pitch smaller than 12. I think I've said before how you're not doing anything besides sabotaging yourself and your efforts. I'm tired of saying it. One strike against this already. Let's see if it gets any better.)



PAGE ONE (three panels)



Panel 1: An unnamed cemetery at night, summer. We look down the barrel of EDMOND KILLEYís gun as he takes aim. KILLEY is typically muscular and physically disciplined, a soldier, but looks half crazed and cracked from grief. There is stubble on his chin and dark circles under his eyes. His eyes are wide and glossy, an almost distant look to them. His clothes are askew, messy and untucked. He has black hair. (Never in this description do you define the time period of the story. Thatís a problem, to say the least. Does it take place in the old west? Is it a tale of the distant future? You seriously need to set this up right off the bat. Not only does it establish setting and set pieces, but more importantly on this page, it defines what theyíre wearing and the type of gun he may be using. By the way, is it a pistol or a rifle (or a revolver)? That will also guide the artist in the right direction. Think about all the questions that could be asked based on your lack of information and then fill in the blanks.)(I'm having another problem, right off the bat. When I look down the barrel of a gun, I'm looking downrange. I'm looking at a target. This isn't looking at a target. This is looking up the barrel, not down it. The way this is described, it cannot be drawn.)



KILLEY 1:

Iím going to kill you in about ten seconds, Patrick. Best make peace with it.



Just as an aside, Iím seeing the strength that the above visual has with the above dialogue if it were a splash page unto itself. Nice hook for a first page if it were to stand alone.


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Old 03-15-2014, 01:28 PM   #2
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Thanks!

I asked Russell Crowe. He agreed it may have been a bit extreme on His part, but refused to acknowledge whether he'd classify it as "mad" or not. Russ was more apt to call the "blotting out every living substance which was on the face of the ground" a simple cosmic redo of a universal kerfuffle.

Seriously though, thank you for the time taken to critique my script. I will put more work into it.

And, Steve, thank you for sharing your feelings.

Cody
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:18 AM   #3
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You're welcome.

This story has major problems. There is a lot of work to be done. The opening sequence may need to be moved and/or extended, with the dialogue changed wholesale in order for it to make sense.

The biggest downfall of the entire script is the dialogue. You're trying too hard to be pithy, and it's coming off as overblown. Some of what you have here hasn't yet been earned by the characters. If this is the first time your bad guy is being seen, where does he have to go after proclaiming himself a god?

Take a page out of The Avengers. Loki shows up in Stuttgart, and after terrorizing the people, tells them to kneel, and starts talking about the human condition. He doesn't start proclaiming himself a god. Once you do that, there's nowhere else to go.

Buildup. You can start late, you can start in media res, but there still has to be some sort of buildup. You don't have any of that here, and the dialogue is destroying any chance of having the reader stick around to see what's going on.

I personally advocate a rewrite. Don't scrap the idea, but go back to thinking about the execution, and rip out the dialogue wholesale. When the only good piece of dialogue is the first thing said, that's a problem. Readers can forgive a lot of bad things, but they can't deal with bad dialogue. Dialogue is what stays with you. When you remember a movie or a good book, which do you remember: the action (whatever it is), or the dialogue? Most of the time, I'm willing to bet it's the dialogue. It's generally what makes us laugh, cry, get angry, or anxious. Generally, dialogue is what makes us feel things, because it highlights the actions of the characters.

So, yeah. Happy to help, and I hope you resubmit when you have another draft.
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