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Old 03-29-2014, 02:14 AM   #1
Steven Forbes
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TPG Week 170: Comedy Needs To Be Paced (And Funny)


Hello, and welcome once again to The Proving Grounds! This week, we have a new Brave One in the personage of Dan Dayton. We have Steve Colle in the cooling blue, I'm in the “slap 'em around some more” red, and let's see how Dan answers the question



WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?

Page One (7 panels)



Panel 1: A busy Author Q&A. (I’m not sure what you mean here. Where is this taking place? An auditorium? A stage in a television studio? Let us know.) The turnout is good. In the foreground sit dozens of exited excited fans, their backs to us. A flurry of hands reaches up in the air, each person aching to be selected. Writer BARRY BENDALAC sits facing his audience on a raised stage in the mid-ground, the INTERVIEWER sits across from him. Both men grin profusely. Between them stands a chalkboard that reads "Author Q'n'A. Today's Guest... Barry Bendalac!" (This isn't going to work well. First, there isn't enough information here, as Steve has already pointed out, and secondly, this isn't deep enough. In order to put them in the mid-ground, you're going to have to push the people into the foreground. In order to get real scope of the audience, you're going to have to push this back more. The crowd is in the fore- and mid-ground, and the stage is in the background. This is what the artist is going to do. Help them out.)

1 INTERVIEWER: Okay, so who has a question for our Star Author?



Panel 2: Over-the-shoulder shot (Whose shoulder?) of the Interviewer. (Perhaps it’s the way that it’s phrased, but I thought the shot was looking at the interviewer, not at the fan. Might just be the way I interpreted it, though.) (Nope. It's not just you.)He points to the FAN, a rather bizarre, fanatic-looking young man. Bags around his eyes, a vacant stare, everything about him screams stalker. (I honestly don’t get “stalker” from this description. Someone who’s exhausted or maybe even stoned, perhaps, but not “stalker”. What are some other physical traits that could give the artist more direction?)(Oh! Okay. This panel description is just screwed up. It started out as looking at the interviewer, but then switched to the fan. Pick your point of view and stick to it. Either that, or understand that words have meaning, and you're screwing it up.)

1 INTERVIEWER: You (Missing comma) the - uh – (I’d suggest using ellipsis marks instead of single dashes around “uh” so that it shows a pause in his speech.) intense looking young man...

2 FAN: Mr (Missing period after “Mr”) Bendalac, where do you get your ideas? (I had to do some research on this for a client. The period after personal titles that begin and end the same word is generally a usage of the US. If you grew up here, Dan, then you're wrong. If you didn't, I can let it slide. Flexibility, thy name is Forbes. However, my willingness to give the benefit of the doubt only goes so far.)

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Old 04-04-2014, 01:58 AM   #2
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So, this was the email I got from Dan Dayton, since he hasn't been able to sign up for the forums yet.

Hey, Steven.

I'm emailing you now because I've tried with two separate email addresses to sign up for the Digital Webbing forum to respond to your critique of my script, but neither seems to be recognised as human. I don't want you to think I'm some non-responsive jerk who got upset with your critique.

I just wanted to say thank you to yourself and to Steve for taking a look at my stuff. I don't want to offer up excuses, the only ones I have are:

1: being British;

and

2: attempting to write the script on an iPad using the OneCloud online version of Word.

Both of these excuses only cover the odd grammatical mistake or difference (and even then only some of them), and do nothing to address the real issues with my script. It WAS rushed, I DID try to do too much with too little room and too little skill, the dialogue IS pretty trashy, the panel descriptions ARE all over the place and the script just is NOT funny (no matter how much I thought it was as I was writing it).

I think at least some of these problems - or, rather, the fact that I didn't spot them for myself - boil down to the first one. I'm angry with myself because I know I can do better. Perhaps not to a professional standard, but I am here to learn, and at the very least I owe it to myself (and to people such as yourself and Steve who take the time to work over my stuff) to take the time to at least craft a cohesive, tight story with clear panel descriptions, so I can then learn what areas genuinely do need the most improvement and hone my work accordingly.

As for now it's back to the drawing board, and when I DO submit another script to TPG* I vow that I will give it the thorough time and attention it deserves before sending it your way.

I do have one technical question though, regarding something Steve said, about the numbering of dialogue. He said "When numbering dialogue in a script, the idea is to have a running tally, basically, of the dialogue on the page as a whole, not in each individual panel. In other words, you actually have 13 pieces of text, whether dialogue, captions, or sound effects, on this page. You have a choice: Either number them properly or avoid numbering them altogether, but don’t do it the way you currently have it." I'm pretty certain the script I have always used as my template did it the way I was doing it. It has been a little while since I have looked at said template, so I may have muddled this up, but I wanted to know wether this was a hard-and-fast rule, and wether you suggest even numbering them at all?

Thanks again for your time, sorry I couldn't respond on the forum with this.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Dan Dayton.

*oh yes, there will be more. You can't scare me off THAT easily.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:36 AM   #3
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Great work Steves. This story was jaw-dropping, jumping so fast from idea to idea, without taking the time to allow any of them to really succeed.

I think the story probably works best if we stop at the curly straw. Make it a 2 pager, like a 2000AD Future Shock.

As a Brit, familiar with TOWIE, and born within 100 feet of Essex, all I can say is "Leave it ahht, Dan, iss not worf it!"
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