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Old 11-07-2014, 05:03 AM   #1
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TPG Week 202: Wasted Effort (It's Not Pretty--You Were Warned)



Welcome back, one and all, to another installment of The Proving Grounds! This week, we have a new Brave One in Andrew Burgess. We also have Liam Hayes in blue, and I'm the frustrated guy in red. You'll see why as we see Andrew write about

Edgewood Goes Mad Scientist

First, a little “behind the scenes.” You all know I generally don't do this, because it isn't necessary. I have the rules for submitting set up, and there are obvious loopholes there to be taken advantage of by those with just an inkling of imagination.

Andrew wrote to me, asking if his format was going to be a problem, since it was closer to a film script than a comic script. He read a book that said that there's no exact format for scripting. I said in no uncertain terms that I'm not dogmatic about format. Things have to be gotten across to the writer, but that he should also do his research because I'm not afraid to skewer a writer. I also told him that I wasn't going to look at his format first.

That's all setup for the travesty you see before you. There's no Flawless Victory for format. More like Epic Fail.

Also, this came in at a font size of 11. I raised it to 12 for all of you. You can thank me later.

And now, let's get to it.



SO-CAL SURVIVORS (The script is called “edgewood goes mad scientist”, but the title within is “SO-CAL SURVIVORS”. I'm confused already. That's not a good start.)

(I need to make a point of your format. I'm sure Steven's already said something about it, or is going to, but I'd like to have my say. I know there are no strict rules when it comes to comic scripting. But the end goal remains the same; you need to effectively communicate with your artist. This is not effective. It's like the Marvel Method through the medium of screenplay. You aren't even numbering your pages. You're going to leave how many pages your comic book is up to the artist? That's giving up a silly amount of control. It's your story. Why are you sacrificing the telling of it?)


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Old 11-07-2014, 08:55 AM   #2
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I think Vaas summed it up well: Jesus.

I actually took out all of the comments and was shocked at how unreadable this was. I mean, this was pretty dire and a pure demonstration of that Plot Style scripting just can't be done in the same way as a movie script.

I felt really sorry for you having to wade through that.

In one sense though, it does give rise to a potential B&N column about respect - to your editor, to submission editors, your fellow creators and the team you'll hopefully be working with.

I couldn't see any of that here and that saddens me.
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Old 11-07-2014, 11:22 AM   #3
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It's not a Marvel style script, it is absolutely a film script. Whichever book said that the two are basically the same is a pile of bullshit. (I'm reasonably well qualified to comment on this, as my day job involves screenwriting.)

It's about as much sense as saying that a film script would make for a good poem.

Rip up whatever book said this weird idea.

Steven asked Felix to fix a moving panel. On the assumption that I can speak for Mr F, my solution involves a flushing sound and probably a blocked U bend.
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Old 11-07-2014, 11:38 AM   #4
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Plumbing jokes from Felix!

This is a good day.

(I need sleep.)
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Old 11-07-2014, 11:41 AM   #5
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I just had to point this out as best picture forced into my head today:

" Liam is wrong. This isn’t lazy. This is as right as a unicorn doing a sixty-nine with a manticora over the grave of Mother Teresa.)"

I managed to read the first page of this....CHUD?Mutant? Inbred child kept in the basement? After page 1, I just focused on the red and blue text. I knew it was the only entertainment value I would be getting out of this.
I'd like the last 20 minutes of my life back please!
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Old 11-07-2014, 01:28 PM   #6
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This one was easy. Like how passing office furniture is easy. And how easy it is to stitch up the shredded remains after a computer chair falls out of you. And other metaphors that bring up my dinner.
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Old 11-07-2014, 11:27 PM   #7
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I will say, in Andrew's defence, that he has an instinct for comedy. He knows how to set up a joke with timing, feedline / punchline / reaction, and if the format wasn't so distractingly horrible I may have lol'd.

But I agree with everyone else, this piece has severe problems. If you're reading this, Andrew, I would encourage you to address these issues:-

- Why do the characters abduct Edgewood when she's already told them the nuclear reactor she's building will destroy their (what, house? Flat? Submarine cabin?) if she's not there to work on it? Is making sure that "comedy ensues" a higher evolutionary priority than "not being blown up?" Are the characters suicidal? Moronic? Either way, you need to tell this to the artist so they can draw, for example, Dumb n Dumber expressions / fanatic zeal / unsidetrackable lust.

- If your character has a prosthetic arm, your artist / readers need to know BEFORE it is ripped off. That is basic storytelling, regardless of comics vs screenplay.

- Specify just what type of "madness" Edgewood goes through. Is it the zany / kooky kind (as could be inferred from the looking-through-Coke-glasses)? Or is it the Charles Manson kind of mad (as could be inferred from her inventions)? Either way, your artist needs to know what expressions and demeanour to draw, and your readers need to understand why the other characters are so determined to intervene.

(PS - in a screenplay, beats go BEFORE the dialogue, NOT in the stage directions. They modify the actor's timing / delivery of a line, not their actions.)
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:03 AM   #8
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Oh dear. I knew when I saw all the coloured text that this wasn't gonna be great, but wow.

Andrew, if you're going to submit a script to a comic editor, at least TRY to make it RESEMBLE a comic book script, kay? What you just did is akin to sending a novel editor song lyrics. It's a waste of everyone's time.


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It's not a Marvel style script, it is absolutely a film script. Whichever book said that the two are basically the same is a pile of bullshit.
I harp on about The Story Solution by Eric Edson a lot. I really like it. It's a book on how to structure screenplays, but the principles can be applied to writing novels and comics, too. However, just because the PRINCIPLES stay the same (i.e. a character the audience is sympathetic to, defined "acts", relevant dialogue, etc), doesn't mean the FORMAT stays the same.

When I first started going to artist communities, one thing that would rub me the wrong way was the lazy artist. This is the kind of artist whose work is rife with mistakes, and they defend against negative criticism, saying, "Man, that's just my artistic style!"
Nope. That's an excuse. Even freakin' Popeye was restricted by basic anatomical paradigms. Stuff that up, and people are going to call you out on it. Saying it's a style is just an excuse to not learn your craft.

I'm seeing the same thing here. Andrew defended his format by quoting from Mr Famous Comic Writer's book. That's just an excuse for being lazy. There's different ways of getting things right, then there's just plain wrong.


There's one more thing that bothered me about this script that the others haven't mentioned.

Quote:
A fucking mess of gadgetry, overflowing work bench, concert posters, clothes, etc.
Quote:
Smoke flows out underneath her door until she stumbles out, coughing in a plum of shit.
I'm against personalising scripts too much with language like this. At best, it's a waste of words. Not necessary to get the point across. At worst, it's potentially confusing to the artist. There's a good chance that most of us writers will be working with an artist whose first language isn't English. Could you imagine your artist LITERALLY drawing a "plum(e?) of shit"?

I recommend Andrew study Bolts & Nuts, as well as some things like Yannick's old Points of Impact and the older TPG entries. Learn what WRONG is, and how to avoid it.
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Old 11-10-2014, 06:52 AM   #9
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I'm intrigued to know what this guide is. Is it one from the Big Two?
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:04 AM   #10
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Bendis wrote a book. That's what Andrew read.
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Old 11-10-2014, 02:56 PM   #11
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Bendis wrote a book. That's what Andrew read.
Is this book that bad?
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:03 PM   #12
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I have no idea. I've never read it. I've heard great things about it.

I would say his understanding about what he read was imperfect.
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:45 PM   #13
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Amit, like Steve implied, I think it's more a case of using Bendis's advice as an excuse to be lazy, rather than understanding the direction as intended.
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Old 11-11-2014, 01:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Forbes View Post
I have no idea. I've never read it. I've heard great things about it.

I would say his understanding about what he read was imperfect.
Quote:
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Amit, like Steve implied, I think it's more a case of using Bendis's advice as an excuse to be lazy, rather than understanding the direction as intended.
Okay. I bought this book a few hours ago because it really interested me... I'll tell you how it is when I'll finish reading it.
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Old 11-11-2014, 09:26 PM   #15
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Andrew, if you're reading this -- take a deep breath. It's not ALL bad, you have a knack for comedy. You can hang your hat on that. Comedy is hard.
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