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Old 07-04-2014, 01:31 PM   #1
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TPG Week 184: A Study In Not-Good


Welcome back, one and all, to The Proving Grounds! This week, we have a Brave One who's no stranger to TPG: Schuyler Van Gunten!

This week, unfortunately, will be the last week that Yannick Morin will be with us. He's stepping away for his own reasons. We'll miss you, Yannick. The door is always open.

So, we have Yannick in the sad green, my eyes are rimmed in red, and we'll all see how Schuyler does with his rewrite of

Mystiker



TECHNICAL – Misplaced information: Just before page 1 were two whole pages of a combination character description/story bible/location description, which I don’t think Steven is going to include here for the sake of brevity. While very useful, this kind of information has no place in a script; put it in a different document. (Meh. It was short, and possibly things that the artist needed/notes for himself. At the beginning, before the script, is fine. It gives enough separation from the script itself and doesn't bog down the panel descriptions. Basically, what readers need to know is that Golgoth is a skull.)



PAGE ONE (seven panels)



Panel 1. Big panel. In the foreground Golgoth sits next to Ambrogio’s corpse on a small hill at the bottom of a mountain, in what would be modern day Iran. The hill is covered in desert grass. In the middle ground there is a river that runs at the base of the mountain. Kuga was walking by the river. He was a little surprised and stopped when Golgoth called out to him. In the background beyond the river is a lot of desert grass. The sun is setting. This can be on panel or off.



CAP (Editorial):

Fall, 1512 A.D. Safavid Empire



GOLGOTH (yells):

Hello!



KUGA (yells):

Did you just say something to me, corpse?!



GOLGOTH (yells):

No, I am the skull! My name is Golgoth!

Click here to read more.
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Old 07-04-2014, 05:08 PM   #2
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From a process standpoint, a copy of the script is not provided in unpolluted form. You really should consider providing a link to the script, isolated out from the comments of Steven and Yannick. Otherwise, the comments of The Proving Ground staff could influence the opinions of others that chime in, unnecessarily.
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Old 07-04-2014, 05:29 PM   #3
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It's an idea to consider, Charles. Thanks.
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Old 07-04-2014, 09:18 PM   #4
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It's an idea to consider, Charles. Thanks.
You're welcome. If you just post a link to the script, then others can comment on it, before reading your and Yannick's (or whomever's) comments. It won't preclude discussion of TPG comments. Rather, it would simply allow others to judge the script for themselves, if they wanted to, prior to reading TPG comments. No one would have to read the script, that way, but for those who do, it would be a low key way to have access to the script, itself.
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Old 07-04-2014, 09:57 PM   #5
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My only real problem with the idea is having a writer's excerpted, but otherwise I modified script up somewhere. That isn't what they originally signed up for.

Like I said, I'll give it some thought.

And how many of you really want to read a script twice?
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:15 PM   #6
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Thank you, Yannick! Thank you, Steven!
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:48 PM   #7
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Yannick.

I am not sure what is wrong with the sentence "Teodor set his pen down as the children entered the room."

Teodor has just set his pen down and his children just entered the room. The past tense stuff comes from me trying to avoid writing panels with movement. I am not tying to split hairs. I was told to write panels that described movement in a specific way and I want to hear your thoughts about this.
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Old 07-05-2014, 05:08 PM   #8
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Yannick.

Yes, Golgoth sees the future. During the time that Kuga picks up the eye, Golgoth is caught in a blind spot. This gets explained in little bits throughout the story.

I am not sure why you gave me a hard time about the Editorial marker. It was clear and consistent.

I disagree that comics are a purely visual form. Many people will mispronounce the names. It does not matter that they are not actually saying the names aloud.

Crossbows existed in many forms in the early sixteenth century. As a matter of fact, firearms already existed in crude forms.

I am sorry about the typing of my characters names. I think my names are awesome.

It is really funny that you would not ask me to film your wedding ceremony because I actually get paid to run audio-visual at weddings. The feet shots I get are incredible! In all seriousness though, I was trying to build some tension with the showing of his feet. I like your suggestions for that panel though.

Steven.

You gave me a hard time about my panel descriptions only at the end. I have no idea if you are saying that every scene-setting panel was bad or if it was just most of them. If you could tell me what is wrong with a particular scene-setting panel description, then maybe I could learn to write a better one.

I am disappointed that you did not like page 2. Originally this issue started on page 2. This is issue 2 so the reader would hopefully already be familiar with Golgoth. But this issue starts with an invisible character referred to as Old Ghost. Thus it would throw the readers a little curve ball. They would all of a sudden be wondering who this Old Ghost is. Or they would be happy to be on the inside knowing that Golgoth is the Old Ghost. What it comes down to is that I was proud of that page. I want to rework it and make it page one again.
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Old 07-05-2014, 06:18 PM   #9
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Hey, Schuyler.

I'm not Yannick, but I'm going to attempt an answer at some of the questions you want him to answer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schuyler View Post
Yannick.

Yes, Golgoth sees the future. During the time that Kuga picks up the eye, Golgoth is caught in a blind spot. This gets explained in little bits throughout the story.
If the story isn't interesting, the reader will never get there.

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Originally Posted by Schuyler View Post
I am not sure why you gave me a hard time about the Editorial marker. It was clear and consistent.
Clearly and consistently unnecessary.

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Originally Posted by Schuyler View Post
I disagree that comics are a purely visual form. Many people will mispronounce the names. It does not matter that they are not actually saying the names aloud.
I know how you feel. Some names need an explanation. I do believe that you took it a bit far, though. Two to three accent marks is a lot. Just saying.

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Originally Posted by Schuyler View Post
Crossbows existed in many forms in the early sixteenth century. As a matter of fact, firearms already existed in crude forms.
I got nothing. Anyone can look up weapons.

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Originally Posted by Schuyler View Post
I am sorry about the typing of my characters names. I think my names are awesome.
As well you should. Why use them if you didn't think so?

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Originally Posted by Schuyler View Post
It is really funny that you would not ask me to film your wedding ceremony because I actually get paid to run audio-visual at weddings. The feet shots I get are incredible! In all seriousness though, I was trying to build some tension with the showing of his feet. I like your suggestions for that panel though.
That one, I'm not touching. That's between the two of you.

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Steven.
Hey! Questions for me!

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Originally Posted by Schuyler View Post
You gave me a hard time about my panel descriptions only at the end. I have no idea if you are saying that every scene-setting panel was bad or if it was just most of them. If you could tell me what is wrong with a particular scene-setting panel description, then maybe I could learn to write a better one.
Look at any panel, and then ask yourself if you've described it from left to right, and if you've included all the important information in it. Most of them, you haven't.

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I am disappointed that you did not like page 2. Originally this issue started on page 2. This is issue 2 so the reader would hopefully already be familiar with Golgoth. But this issue starts with an invisible character referred to as Old Ghost. Thus it would throw the readers a little curve ball. They would all of a sudden be wondering who this Old Ghost is. Or they would be happy to be on the inside knowing that Golgoth is the Old Ghost. What it comes down to is that I was proud of that page. I want to rework it and make it page one again.
I can't help you with your disappointment. It wasn't a good page, for reasons already given. By all means, rework it, but as you're doing so, make sure it's interesting. (And that, my friend, is the both the trick and the hard part.)
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:17 PM   #10
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Hey, Schuyler.

I'm not Yannick, but I'm going to attempt an answer at some of the questions you want him to answer.




If the story isn't interesting, the reader will never get there.
Totally.

Yannick asked me a question and I responded. I was not trying to say that it was the one factor that would redeem my story. I, also was not trying to say he was wrong for asking the question.



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Originally Posted by Steven Forbes View Post
Clearly and consistently unnecessary.
Some article about writing scripts taught me to do that. I did not really expect Yannick to explain this one to me. Maybe that word is there for me. The letterer might not need it but I like it to be there. I appreciate you guys trying to save me a little time but I am going to continue to use it.



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I know how you feel. Some names need an explanation. I do believe that you took it a bit far, though. Two to three accent marks is a lot. Just saying.
Hehehe. Well you know me, I just love to add extra accent marks for flare. I guess I did not really expect a response from Yannick on most of this. I can see that this is something that he and I disagree on. I think Yannick can find it himself to forgive me if I continue to put in pronunciations.



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I got nothing. Anyone can look up weapons.
Which is why it would be totally lame if I didn't do that, right? Again, I am not trying to say that Yannick should not ask these questions. He did ask a question though. I was just trying to answer.


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I can't help you with your disappointment. It wasn't a good page, for reasons already given. By all means, rework it, but as you're doing so, make sure it's interesting. (And that, my friend, is the both the trick and the hard part.)
Thanks, Steven! I appreciate you!

Thanks, Yannick! If you could just take a minute to talk to me about the past tense thing. I see that there are panels where it was unnecessary but it seems that you were entirely against it. I feel that describing actions that have just happened, especially when I'm setting the scene, help the artist understand how the story is unfolding. It also helps me to not write moving panels. Just wanted to see what your ideas were on that.
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Old 07-06-2014, 03:17 AM   #11
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Schuyler! I'm gonna attempt to lend some advice, with all the nooby wisdom I can muster. I do make the disclaimer that I haven't slept in... well, let's not talk about that... but if I don't make any sense at all, I apologise in advance.

Dialogue, like the dudes up top mentioned, needs reworking. I suck with dialogue, but something that's helping me a lot (I think) is reading scripts from hit movies. Thrillers are particularly good, given that the dialogue is often very layered. Shoot me a PM with your email and I'll send a couple PDFs your way as soon as I can. Just remember to focus on the dialogue. Emulating their descriptions will have you writing moving panels in no time.

One thing that might help analyse your dialogue is to paste each line of dialogue into a new document. Nothing else but the dialogue. Patterns should start to jump out at you. For example, the overabundance of ellipses. But it'll also help you with making sure that each character's voice is consistent, and that it also stands as unique against other characters in the script.

Here's some random lines of dialogue. You'll agree that each individual "voice" is pretty unique:

Quote:
"I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it." (On The Waterfront 1954)
Quote:
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die." (Blade Runner 1982)
Quote:
"You hear me talkin', hillbilly boy? I ain't through with you by a damn sight. I'm gonna get Medieval on your ass." (Pulp Fiction 1994)
Quote:
"Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye."(2001: A Space Odyssey 1968)
This is something you need to strive towards. Research how people spoke in the time period your story is set in, and make sure they stay consistent to that. Then make sure that each individual character's voice stays consistent to their individual character.

Regarding panel descriptions, I'm going to take a stab at explaining the issues. Steven, if I'm not right with anything here (or anything else I'm writing, for that matter, feel free to set me straight).

Quote:
Panel 1. Big panel. In the foreground Golgoth sits next to Ambrogio’s corpse on a small hill at the bottom of a mountain, in what would be modern day Iran. The hill is covered in desert grass. In the middle ground there is a river that runs at the base of the mountain. Kuga was walking by the river. He was a little surprised and stopped when Golgoth called out to him. In the background beyond the river is a lot of desert grass. The sun is setting. This can be on panel or off.
I think this is an example of what Yannick was saying about describing what happened BEFORE the panel. Look at the sentences I bolded. Kuga WAS walking by the river. What is he doing in this panel now, though? Standing still?

Don't tell a story in your panel descriptions. Just describe what's in the panel. The story will become clear in context.

If you want Kuga to be standing still by the river, looking towards Golgoth with surprise, then write that. If it's important that Kuga WAS walking by the river before he was surprised by the voice, then another panel should be added, showing Kuga walking peacefully by the river.

Quote:
Panel 1. Heironomo is running past Íñigo headed for the front door. Íñigo has just stabbed Teodor as he tried to rise from his chair. The sword entered right in the center of Teodor’s abdomen blood flowing around the wound. Teodor is slumped in his chair looking dead already.
You already showed that Teodor was starting to rise from his chair in the previous panel. Mentioning it again here is only confusing things. From what I can figure, what you ACTUALLY want to show in the panel is Teodor slumped in his chair, not rising from it. Don't describe what happened in the past. Describe what is happening in this panel.

A couple other points regarding this panel, though I'm aware I'm TOTALLY nitpicking.

William Strunk & E.B. White, Rule #17 (If I'm remembering correctly): "OMIT NEEDLESS WORDS".
You wrote, "right in the center". Remove "right in" and the sentence maintains its meaning, only more clearly.
"The sword entered the center of Teodor’s abdomen"
I think that this kind of clarity is probably even more important when the chances are pretty high of hiring an artist with English as his/her second language.

My other nitpick with this panel is kinda touching on what was already said regarding choosing the least impactful moment. In the previous panel, we have Teodor rising from his chair. In this panel, he's dead and slumping. You could argue that having a sword with blood oozing is pretty significant, but not as significant as the moment the sword is driven in. The moment where Teodor's eyes are wide, muscles tensed, hands grasping. The moment where Inigo's movement has the most energy. To get to the point where Teodor is already dead and slumped? The critical moment has passed. I'd also argue that Inigo's sword wouldn't still be in Teodor's gut at this point. Ever witness a stabbing? The attacker doesn't just stand there holding their weapon in someone's gut- they pull it straight back out again (presuming it doesn't get stuck in a bone).

What's this, Steven? Pacing? Amiright? Or totally off-target?

Quote:
Panel 5. Íñigo’s feet land hard on the ground after he dismounts his horse. The panel shows just his feet where they landed and horse hooves behind them.
Particularly for panels like this, that are likely difficult to draw while retaining the intention of the writer, you gotta be more descriptive and less prose-y. "Inigo's feet land hard". How do we know they've landed hard? (Disregard the lettering instructions for "THUMP". You need to focus on the artist at the moment). "After he dismounts his horse". How do we know he's dismounted his horse? I'm not sure just showing horse hooves behind him is enough. Consider that the last time we saw Inigo, he was riding his horse full-tilt, aiming his crossbow. I don't think there's enough segue to make sense of this panel. I could be wrong.

Of course, is this all important enough to put in the extra work to make it clear? I'm not sure.

Quote:
Panel 3. Íñigo thrust his sword into Heironomo. The panel only shows Íñigo from the knees up. He and his sword hilt are covered in fresh blood that sprayed from the artery that he struck in Heironomo’s throat.
Sorry, I think this is all sacrificing believability for the sake of having your characters posed in ways you reckon look good. You wanted to have the panel with Inigo holding his sword up, ready to make a "plunging" motion. Therefore, you HAVE to make Inigo plunge the sword, rather than slashing it. But plunging the sword is unlikely to lead to a strong spray of blood (unless 1) this is the umpteenth time he's stabbed, therefore blood is everywhere, or 2) he's withdrawing his sword, leading to backsplash). So you want a strong spray of blood, but a stab, not a slash. To fix this little conundrum, you state that he's struck the atery in Heironomo's throat. But the problem with this is that we can't SEE Heironomo in this panel. The throat information is irrelevant.

So this is a kind of no-win situation:
1) You show him being stabbed in the throat with a sword (which, by the way, would be pretty awkward), and people wonder why he would stab him there (when slashing of the throat is a bazillion times more believable).
2) You have Heironomo stabbed elsewhere (off panel, as you currently have), and any significant blood spray would be unbelievable.

I think something that might help you with your "violent scenes" would be to watch more crime shows. Have you got the Crime channel where you are? I often watch those forensic shows (not the dramatised hogwash- I'm talkin documentaries). They'll say things like, "We can tell the killer pulled the knife out, swinging it up above his head, because the spatters on the walls look like THIS." Or, "We know the killer cut himself (which often happens when people stab using knives without hilts, because their hand slides down the handle when they make contact), because there's perfectly round drip marks of blood, rather than the directional flecks that appear over HERE."

All these little pieces of information float to the back of your brain, ready for future use. I think it helps when it comes to writing scenes that- obviously- you've never experienced yourself.


Just three more nitpicks before I call it quits:

When I hear the name "Vittoria", I instantly think of coffee. I mean, this is probably an Aussie thing (which shouldn't concern you too much, considering Aussies are gonna be far from your biggest audience), but it sticks out to me A LOT. Vittoria coffee is EVERYWHERE.

Inigo. Seriously, I think you can ditch all those little squiggly marks. I know it looks more fancy, but I reckon your letterer is probably gonna hate you, readers are gonna be confused, and it's just not necessary. Inigo (without the marks) is a real name. It's still exotic without the marks.
Also, I'm gonna be an ass and add my vote to get rid of the pronunciation footnote. I've read heaps of books where I haven't had a clue on how to pronounce the names. I mean, I've read a book where the main character was an African bushman. His name literally had a tongue-click in it, signified by an exclamation mark. And that was possibly the least difficult thing about his name. I'm sure my brain butchered the pronunciation. Did I care? Not one bit. My brain just came up with a mental pronunciation that worked and I went with it.
When I see "Inigo", I instantly think, "In-ee-go". With or without the squiggly marks, that's what I'm gonna read. And you know what? Even WITH the little footnote, I'm STILL going to pronounce it that way in my head, because that's easier for me. Except, now every time I read it, I'm going to read it as "In-ee-go", and then follow that with, "Dammit, what was that pronunciation again??"
I think it's kinda like how Steven (rightfully) harps on about not putting too much emphasis (bolding) in your dialogue. It slows the reader down, throws them out of the story, while they try to read it how YOU want them to read it. Why put them through that? As writers, we want readers to get the message as we have it in our heads. I feel that way too. But it's totally unnecessary (at least, regarding minute details). Your reader is more important than you, unfortunately. Make things more enjoyable for them. Let me pronounce it In-ee-go.

Regarding the changing dialogue tags (yell/roar/etc):
You're treating the tags like prose. That is:
"I hate you!" he roared.
"Where are you?!" she yelled.
Nope, we don't do this in scripts (arguably, we don't even do this in prose... I'm with the "he/she said" crowd). If you want the letterer to do something other than a generic word balloon, give the treatment a label. Loud. Shout. Soft. Whisper. Whatever, as long as you keep the labels consistent. Personally, I think consistency and clarity is guaranteed if you stick to super generic "loud/soft". If the letterer is any good at all, they'll make your bubbles suit the context perfectly even with these more generic labels. No need to bog down your script with prose-y things.


I hope this helps! Keep it up dude, Steven and Yannick (*sniff*) have given you some great tips to go with.
Lookin forward to seeing what you cook up next time 'round!
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Old 07-06-2014, 03:26 AM   #12
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My only real problem with the idea is having a writer's excerpted, but otherwise I modified script up somewhere.
This sentence confuses me. Am I just tired and dense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Forbes View Post
And how many of you really want to read a script twice?
I can understand where Charles is coming from, regarding not wanting to taint his view of the script until he's written down his thoughts. But the editor comments are in another colour. And the way you guys have been writing things lately (that is, blocking comments together rather than scattering throughout the sentences) makes following the original content even easier.

I'd also have to wonder whether posting the full original script (as was submitted) might pose 1) minor bandwidth problems, and 2) copyright/sharing rights problems. Some folk seem to think that any content made available online in its complete and original form (in this instance, as a word document) makes it public domain.

Perhaps folk submitting to TPG, if they want to help out us unqualified critics leave our 2 cents, they could post a link to where folk can download their Word document?

Last edited by Alyssa; 07-06-2014 at 03:28 AM. Reason: Edit: I just realised I use the word "folk" a lot. No, I'm not editing them out. READ AND SUFFAAAHHHH!
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:37 AM   #13
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Thanks Alyssa! I appreciate your input and advice.

I have never heard of Vittoria coffee.

Íñigo. My character is Basque and that is how his name is pronounced. Inigo without the accents is not a Basque name. The reader can pronounce it however they want. At least I am giving them an opportunity to pronounce it right.

There are other characters that have the pronunciation too. Indian fella name Damodara. African fella named Ngouabi. A Spanish fella named Martín. Pronounced Mar-teen.

The letterer can hate me and the reader can ignore me. My name is Schuyler, pronounced sky-ler. It's Dutch.

Thank you for your advice on my dialogue and moving panels.
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:41 AM   #14
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The letterer is really going to hate the story about the Vietnamese fellow.

His name is Lê Lợi. Bwahahahahaha!
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Old 07-06-2014, 11:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyssa View Post
This sentence confuses me. Am I just tired and dense?
Nope. It made no sense. Stupid iphone autocorrect. It should have said "un-excerpted".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schuyler View Post
I can understand where Charles is coming from, regarding not wanting to taint his view of the script until he's written down his thoughts. But the editor comments are in another colour. And the way you guys have been writing things lately (that is, blocking comments together rather than scattering throughout the sentences) makes following the original content even easier.
It's a model that Yannick adopted because he's a wordy bastich.

The rest of us, not being as wordy, do it right where the problem is at. It's not something that I'm going to change, because we have our own styles that we're comfortable with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schuyler View Post
I'd also have to wonder whether posting the full original script (as was submitted) might pose 1) minor bandwidth problems, and 2) copyright/sharing rights problems. Some folk seem to think that any content made available online in its complete and original form (in this instance, as a word document) makes it public domain.
Bah. I can put a copyright notice care of the creator at the bottom of the script. That's no problem. It's just extra work (as is posting the pristine script).

Now, not to be lazy, but it isn't something I'm willing to do unless there's an overwhelming call for those who want to see the pristine script.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schuyler View Post
Perhaps folk submitting to TPG, if they want to help out us unqualified critics leave our 2 cents, they could post a link to where folk can download their Word document?
That's an idea.

Or, they could just create a thread in the Writer's Showcase right here on DW.
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