Awesome, thanks for reading and for your notes! Yeah I agree, and i’m kind of kicking myself, because i know better. I think i was focussing on a fun romp than creating conflict, thinking that one cancels out the other, but that’s just not true at all.
Hey, at least you got the fun romp part right – it’s an important aspect of the source material, and you captured/depicted it well.
I think the best compliment that I can give this is that I forgot to look for flaws when I read it, I was too wrapped up in the stories. You’ve got a great sense of storytelling and this is packed with cool moments that play on the source material really well.
Looking back, the only criticism I really find is that it feels very wordy. That may be a false impression (I haven’t actually counted words or captions) but it does feel like you’re trying to cram a lot of dialogue on the pages.
Thanks a lot, David. Nice of you to take the time and I’m glad you enjoyed it.
I agree that it’s wordy, I tried to cram too much in. Sanjay kindly gave me some feedback, saying the villain didn’t ring true for him and the swearing/London slang was a bit over the top and came off as a parody - all of which I would also agree with.
I very much appreciate the feedback. It goes a long way in motivating me with a new project I’m writing. Did you submit something to the competition? Love to take a look and return the favor.
I normally dig Michael Shannon, but he looks like he’s pissed off in the trailer, like someone was holding his loved ones hostage, and he was forced to play Elvis. He could have least attempted the accent.
Sanjay’s obviously the man in the loop so his feedback counts for more than mine I didn’t have a problem with the villain, and though I agree about the swearing I thought “parody” fitted with the Kingsman ethos so I gave it a pass. I’d have picked you up on it if you were writing Starlight, for example.
I’ve put my submission as a pdf on my web site http://dmeadows.co.uk/submissions/index.html and I’d be delighted if you wanted to read it, and please be as harsh as you like with the feedback.
Ok you already apologised for the grammar so there’s no need for me to point out the problems… but you really do need to work on the grammar
The main problems I had with this script was that your panel descriptions were sometimes confusing. I suspect that if I was your artist, I’d be on the phone to you all the time to ask you to explain something, and that’s not good. You need to think more about how you can precisely describe the scene you can see in your head, because your artist can’t see into your head, he’s only got the words you’ve written.
Here are some examples for you to think about:
“It is not known exactly what is written.” What do you mean by this? If it’s there in the panel, how is it not known? And if it’s not in the panel, why did you mention it? Maybe you meant to say “Something is written on the wall, so don’t show the wall, we’ll see it in the next panel” or something?
Ok, how are you going to show the reader it’s two days later? Maybe it’s not important and you’re just making conversation with your artist, but if it is important then you need a caption or something, because there’s no way your reader is going to know it.
Not sure what her “usual clothes” are. Her costume? Her school uniform? It’s best to be specific.
I just can’t visualise this at all. Where is the saw? Is it going to cut the rope on his legs? (What’s the point of that?) Is it going to cut his legs off? (What’s the rope on his legs got to do with it?) How is it closing on his legs? I think a better “trap” would be having the saw cutting the legs of the chair (so he falls and is killed by the noose). Is that what you mean? Whichever, you need to explain better. There’s nothing wrong with writing really long panel descriptions, and if something is important or complicated to describe then go ahead and write it out in great detail. Treat your artist like an idiot if you need to, that’s better than assuming he’s psychic and can see what’s in your head.
Ok, after all that negativity I’m just going to end by saying that “you’re not fucking Jim Gordon” is probably the funniest line I’ve read in any of these scripts so far
thank you a lot David.I will follow your advices in future and try to be better next time.I’m not a native speaker so i do make mistakes :/.I have a lot to learn,this is my 4. script and first in Marvel style,I tried to give space to artist so he can be creative,usualy my descriptions are better.
@davidm I took a look at your script. Firstly, I have to admit I’m not familiar with Starlight so I may not be the best judge. I will say that your story piqued my interest and I’ve given it a cheeky order on Amazon so that’ll change in the near future.
I think your script was really clear and well-formatted. I imagine from an artist’s perspective it would be considered instructive with plenty of room for creativity. But I wonder if you should have a bit more confidence about what you want to see on the page. While you want the artist to bring their own creativity and interpretation, if we’re writing visual stories I think we can be clearer in what we want to see on the page in terms of composition. Similarly with the characters, I think you’d want them to have their own unique voices so they jump off the page and justify their own existence rather than “it doesn’t really matter who says it”. I would say ideally you should know who’s speaking without having to delineate it on the page because the characters contrast.
I love that you’ve written a rescue sequence that involves plenty of action and reduced the dialogue - something I should have done myself. While I appreciate it’s part of the narrative you were going for, I think perhaps the captions take away the drama somewhat. Duke doesn’t appear to be in any real danger or have any serious obstacles. If what the captions are saying actually come to pass, then the reader is being told, “Hey, don’t worry about Duke. He’s got this” rather than “Whoa, Duke’s in some serious shit right here. How’s he going to get out of this one?”. For me, the latter would create more drama and a more engaging story.
Overall I enjoyed it and I’ll be picking up the book.
Hope that helps, buddy. Look forward to reading more from you in the future!
Thanks, I really appreciate that you took the time to read it and comment. It always helps to know how other people view a story, and I can see the validity in all the things you mention – things that never occurred to me since I’m too close to “my” way of seeing it.
But the thing that makes me happiest is that you’re interested in reading Starlight. It’s my favourite MM work, and if I’ve made you interested in it then that’s the best* possible result I could get from this whole exercise!
. * second best, best would have been winning
Right! I reckon if you want to write stories, at its core it’s because you want to effect positive change in people’s lives, no matter how big or small; and you achieved that. But I also want to make it clear I enjoyed your story on its own merit and I think you’ve got it in you to knock out something really great.
Ok guys, here’s my submission for the contest. I’m still a newbie when it comes to these forums, but I’m trying to get the hang of it. I’d appreciate any feedback you can give me…
Starlight - “Stand by Me”
This is a very somber emotion coming from this scene. We have a family missing their father, who is off fighting in a war… Possibly never to return. Bring that out in these pages. I’m playing of off several scenes that take place in issue 1, so you can use that for a reference. Also, this story takes place during the 70’s, so keep that in mind.
An alarm clock goes off. It’s 6:59. A woman’s hand turns it off.
Joanne sits up out of bed, dazed.
She stares at the empty spot next to her, where Duke would be sleeping. There’s an indention where his body used to lay.
We see Joanne during the day, at a grocery store. She sees a newspaper headline “TEST PILOT STILL MISSING” at the checkout aisle.
She holds it together as she makes it to her car. Her whole body is clenched, even her face as she tries to be strong in front of everyone else.
Once inside the car, she breaks down with her hands over her face.
Later that night, she and the boys are eating dinner together. Duke’s absence from the table is noticeable to everyone, & they look upset.
Larry - Mom, when’s Dad coming home?
Joanne - … Soon, Baby. Soon.
She looks at a picture of the family, as she wipes a tear from her eye.
DUKE CAPTION: Honey…
More than anything else, Duke is a family man. We are going to see in this page that is where his focus is – the thing that’s driving him.
We see the picture of the family, but this one is not framed. It looks worn and discolored. It’s been through a lot. It’s also being held by a man’s hand.
DUKE CAPTION: I look forward to nothing more than to see you and our boys again.
We see Duke’s face, as he looks at the picture. It’s full of pride, and longing at the same time. This picture is Duke’s most precious possession.
He looks up at the dresser in his room, as he puts the picture in his pocket. There are multiple things on & around the dresser.
DUKE CAPTION: That’s not to say there haven’t been things trying to get in my way.
His eyes are drawn to a calendar. Pinned to it is a note left from the queen.
DUKE CAPTION: A lot of people really want me to stay.
We see a close up of the note: “DINNER, TONIGHT?” (Make this look flirtatious in tone). Duke moves the note to the side, not really giving it a thought.
DUKE CAPTION: But I can’t. The Breach closes in a few days, and that’s my only ticket home.
He marks out a date on the calendar. Five days from now, a date is circled.
Duke is startled by an unexpected visitor.
This page will show off Duke’s bravery, & his willingness to jump in & help people. Him being a hero. Also, this dragon is taken from a single flashback panel in issue 1, again use for reference. I know there are many panels on this page, so make them small. It’s action packed, & fast paced.
A servant is at Duke’s doorway, standing straight, with the upmost respect.
SERVANT - –Excuse me sir, but Queen Attala would like to see y–
BOOM! Big explosion, as Duke races to the balcony in his room. I think it’d be cool if you have the BOOM! Be the panel, and have a silhouette of Duke running inside of it, but that’s entirely up to you.
A red dragon can be seen from there, wildly causing destruction some nearby buildings just outside the window.
DUKE CAPTION: Until then, I’m going to do what I can to help these people.
Duke jumps out the window with a rope in hand.
DUKE - Hold that thought, Jeeves!
Duke lands on a hovercraft, & begins throwing a lasso over his head.
He throws the lasso into the dragon’s mouth, and it snags on a bad tooth. As Duke swings from it.
Duke swings under & over, onto the monster’s back, and gives the rope a pull, trying to steer it away from the buildings.
DUKE - Hope this works!
Both the dragon and Duke pause, looking confused as Duke holds a lasso with a tooth dangling from it.
Same shot as before, except the dragon looks happy, and Duke begins laughing.
He flies the dragon away from the city, into the sunset.
DUKE - Good boy…
This is important, because here Duke is litterally offered the world in exchange for his family. He cannot – WILL NOT cave in here. Be sure that, even though Duke rejects the Queen, he has the upmost respect for her. (Yes, I named the dragon Gordon, after Gordon Parlov… Also my cat…)
Duke flies the dragon back to the Queen’s castle, clearly having complete control at this point - after several hours.
DUKE - Easy, now… Steady.
He lands it on the steps of the castle, dismounting, giving the reins to some servants who lead the dragon off panel, & Duke shouts to them:
DUKE - Take care of Gordon, now! Turns out, he likes his ears rubbed.
Queen Attala comes out to see Duke, excited to see him.
QUEEN ATTALA - Duke, my Darling! How wonderful it is to see you! And I see you’ve made a friend. Come, now. I have a proposition for you.
She stretches her arms out, in an attempt for embrace.
Duke bows to her instead, as the Queen’s arms are still stretched out to him. She looks confused.
QUEEN ATTALA - …?!
Have this panel looking over his shoulder. Duke walks away from her, as the Queen looks confused as to why he refuses to accept her advances.
QUEEN ATTALA - But…
DUKE - I told you Attala, I can’t stay.
Duke walks toward his balcony – loosening his clothes, like you do after a hard day at work; kicking off shoes, untucking your shirt… Stuff like that – as he pulls the picture of his family out of his pocket, and looks down at it.
This is our big finish, so this panel & the next should take up most of the page. Joanne, & the two boys look up at a stary night sky from their backyard, looking up at their father.
Duke also looks up at a stary night on Tantalus, as if looking back at his family. He holds their picture in his hand. I had the idea of splitting these panels down the middle, so that it seems like they are all together, and yet not, because of the crazy backdrop Duke is looking at.
DUKE - I’m going home.
I enjoyed your “Starlight” submission quite a bit. I felt I might be able to offer some worthwhile commentary because your story strongly reminds me of some of the issues and choices that I ran into in writing my own submission.
At the outset, it is worth noting that you made the opposite assumption about Duke and Joanne that I made. Your story assumes that they were already married with children when Duke taken to Tantalus. I don’t think that’s correct–but the source material was not 100% definitive on that question.
I liked how your opening functions as a “companion piece” to the original “Starlight” series (this time with Joanne missing an absent Duke). The half-empty bed is the single image from the original series that has stuck with me the most. So revisiting that emotional beat is entirely worthwhile. I do think your first page (with 8 panels) is a little crowded.
I enjoyed your action sequence with the dragon. The fact that the dragon was only attacking because it had a bad tooth was a nice surprise. However, based upon your panel descriptions, I am not sure that an artist would have been able to convey that idea visually. The first panel description that indicates anything about the dragon having a bad tooth is when Duke lassos it. How did Duke know to do that? Also, 10 panels on that page is too many. I am not sure that, once drawn, the action would have been clear to the reader. This one action page could have easily filled two or three pages.
Also, about the action sequence with the dragon, I didn’t think it had much to do with the rest of the story (i.e. Duke missing his family). It felt like you inserted an action beat out of a perceived need to fulfill the genre expectations of the Flash Gordon/Buck Rodgers-derived original series. As an aside, the structure of my story was very similar (three pages of emotional content, one page of an action beat, and then one final page of emotional content). A five-page story doesn’t leave much room for digressions. So I would suggest trying to find a way to make the action scene resonate more with the emotional scenes that surround it.
I’m wondering if something is missing in the final panel on page 2. It looks like the servant is going to say something–but there is no dialogue.
Regarding dialogue, I like the fact that your script lets the visuals do most of the “heavy lifting” for the story, with many wordless panels. It would be easy to over-write just how much Duke misses Joanne–but you avoided doing that.
One idea that I had in reading your story was to make Joanne more of a presence throughout the story (rather than just on the first and last page). Maybe the Joanne panels on page 1 could have been divided up throughout the story–so that what she’s doing has some connection to what Duke’s doing. When Duke’s flying the dragon, maybe Joanne could be walking Duke’s dog. Something like that. Just an idea…
Anyway, that’s my input–from one unsuccessful contest entrant to another. I hope that you keep trying and participate in next year’s contest (assuming there is one).
I appreciate the feedback! Buy no means did I think my script was perfect, but I was very pleased with the ending result. I’ll try to answer some of the questions you had, not really in defense, but to explain where my mind was at on the process.
This page is the reason why I thought Duke was married with kids while away. Duke looked to be near the same age, and that’s why I made that assumption.
The whole dragon tooth incident was just good luck on Duke’s part. He had no idea that was the problem.
As for the panels… I could see how it may have been over crowded at times. That was a concern I had, so I did the panel layouts on my own. The lack of dialouge in those scenes would make it work, but I tried to leave it as flexible as I could - as I didn’t know who would be drawing it, or how they like to work. I usually only have about 3-5 panels per page normally, so this was different than I was used to.
There was some dialouge from the servant on the bottom of page 2… Well, kind of… He coughed there, spooking Duke. I had it in the script I sent, but I don’t know why it was missing here, when I copied & pasted it on the forums.
I appreciate the compliment on me not overwriting dialouge. That’s something I feel like I do well on most of the time. My original script has Joanne writing Duke a letter while he was away, but it just felt cheap… And corny, like a crappy CW romance show. I felt as though just seeing her reaction to Duke being gone would have more of an effect than any words I could put down on a page.
I really like the idea you had of showing clips of her throughout the story… That thought never crossed my mind while making it, and I kinda wish I could have got your opinion beforehand.
Thank you for your help, I really appreciate it!
Great idea @Tresson.
Here’s my Chrononauts script:
I look forward to checking out what others have posted. I’m sure there’s some very impressive stuff to be read.
Hey man, this is a fun story.
I have a few notes if you are interested. Just my opinion, you know.
In panel 1, it might be necessary to specify what the wheels you refer to belong to so that the artist knows right away that this is a dune buggy. Not a big deal but I just thought of that.
Overall, I think you have way too many panels.
I would have done a fourth small panel on page one actually, depicting the spear hitting the tire (in insert perhaps) so that you invite the reader to want to turn the page to see what happens next.
Then, you might have been able to get away with three panels on page 2: 1. Splash panel: The buggy crashes, 2.Cavemen surrender Quinn and Danny. 3. Bones and fire or perhaps we see them being brought to the village on a stick.
Page 3: 1. Undo the ropes 2. Danny is free. 3.Danny falls. 4. Danny Grabs phone close up. 5. Danny is surrounded, holding phone… or you know, something like that.
Page 4: that page is fine but you might want to cut the progression panels to just one focusing on the artist drawing and then switch angle in the final panel for the reveal.
Anyway, just my two cents. Again, fun story but I think having too many panels might have hurt your submission. Also, you might not need to specify the page layout unless truly necessary. Give the artist some more freedom that way.
Great notes, thanks for taking the time, @NicoIzambard .
After looking over it, post-submitting, I had a lot of the same thoughts. Really appreciate the feedback.
Hey, thanks so much. Sorry I’m getting back so late but I really appreciate you reading, and even more that you enjoyed it! Any criticisms or things you’d recommend I work on?
Here’s mine Hit-Girl script:
When I think about it, I could’ve done better. And certainly not start writing two days before the deadline.
Anyway, any words of wisdom are graciously appreciated.
I illustrated this as an exercise. Feedback, questions?