No worries mate, I’ll definitely give your script a look!
It’s great that you set up this thread, and I’ve had fun writing my entry. After I submitted it, however, I re-read that submission thread and realized that it would probably fall under what’s defined as “prequels” (I thought it didn’t… guess it should teach me not to submit too early; the question about what qualifies as a prequel for Empress appeared after I submitted).
So, I didn’t really expect to win. But like I said, it was fun. In case anyone has any advice about style, storytelling, or whatever - my proposed Empress script can be read here:
Thank you, Mr. Millar and everyone else for setting up this amazing competition.
THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR
by Andrew Williamson
Your script really captured that Norman Rockwellerian spirit that is the Huck comic. I loved the opening of Huck shoveling the snow. I’ve always liked movies and comics set in a winter backdrop. I liked the the Christmas tree angle. It may have been better to address that the town did not have a Christmas tree at the beginning, or Jimmy’s sick mother could never afford one for Jimmy or her. It would have been great to have been introduced to Jimmy’s mother early on in the script, so the pay off at the end would have had more of an emotional impact. I knew it’s a challenge with just a few pages. All in all, it was an entertaining and well written story that I would like to see drawn. Thanks for posting it!
Hey Michael I just gave your script a read.
I have a couple big takeaways from it.
In reading your story, it feels like a couple stories mashed together to make a single 5 page script. You’ve got a story to tell between Chris and Simon/Superior. That could have easily been expanded to fill the page count and really said something. After all since this is presumably placed early on in the events of volume 1. You’ve got Chris coming to grips with the radical paradigm shift in their friendship. After all it wasn’t long ago timeline wise that Chris was running off and leaving Simon behind, while also wanting to make sure Simon was okay before he did. There’s a lot there for a kid to have to process. Whether it’s Simon and his still new abilities he wants to utilize and show off, or Chris now realizing he can’t keep up anymore.
In a pinch the bit with the helicopter crashing could likely be done as an all in one 5 pager as well, but I think I like it better as what pulls Superior from hanging with his friend.
Also then you’ve got the last scene. And honestly, I think this was your biggest missed opportunity here. The sequence with Patrick given the space to breathe and really shine over the course of 5 pages could have been really strong. There’s a ton of things you could do with this. Considering Simon’s origins of course he’d do everything he could to make this kids birthday party.
In my opinion something like: page 1 showing Patrick looking out the window lonely. Then maybe page 2, and maaaaybe 3 show Superior saving a crashing helicopter. The 4 being Superior showing up at the window. And page 5 shows the family and Superior sitting around eating cake or something party related. I feel like instead of feeling like a collection of scenes, you could really build the narrative, and push an emotional reaction to the story.
Everything I’ve mentioned is already in your story, it’s just crowded out because it’s all in there at the same time.
Beyond that, my other main advice would be to maybe do another polish round on your dialogues and captions.What the characters were saying didn’t feel very naturalistic at times.With dialogue the how something is said is sometimes more important than what the character is saying. I’m not sure if that makes as much sense as I want it to, but I’m not sure how else to say it.
In the end I think you had your story (in fact you had TWO stories). But I also think another round of edits and some really tough cuts could’ve taken this one to the next level.
Like I’m mentioning in all my posts, hopefully something from what I’m saying will prove useful to you. Take care and good luck.
Thanks for doing this again. If you get the time I would really appreciate feedback on my KickAss script:
WarrenB thanks a lot for your helpful review. I honestly did feel my dialogue was not up to snuff, and could’ve done better. As for the two stories in one deal, thank you for pointing that out. I honestly felt they flowed together (and in my head it didn’t seem crowded) I should’ve just stuck to one story and gone with it, but then again, I wouldn’t have learned what I did today. There’s always next time and your suggestions have been invaluable thank you.
Yesterday on a totally unrelated thread you referred to yourself as 90% writer/10% artist. I think that 10% has done you fairly well here. It’s clear you were really considering the visuals as you wrote this. You vary up your shot calls but leave enough room for an artist to work within. (And what kid riding their bike didn’t pretend to be a super hero? That’s a strong feel good last image.)
Though with Huck being so hyper capable and super strong, I’m not sure how much I buy the wind blowing the note from his hand. Granted it’s a story about a super powered being that does good deeds, but it just felt a little too convenient. You could likely get to the same place just by having the paper fall out of his pocket.
Hardy to the come running up behind Huck to give it back. Allowing for their meeting to be more of an active action in the story than a passive one. (Admittedly this one is 100% opinion/preference based. I don’t know that many people would look twice without just accepting the moment as presented.)
Though, I think if I had a major critique for this one, is that a lot of the dialogue felt a bit stilted. Tonality wise it just didn’t feel like characters having conversations, as much as characters saying lines.
As an example your first conversation panel on page 2 reads:
HUCK: Thanks for grabbing my TO-DO LIST. I usually write them down in my book, but I left it at home today. Nice suit.
HARDY:The LEGEND is my FAVORITE HERO
Huck’s line is saying nearly everything the potential drawing would as a kind of play by play, before it gets to the parts you want him to say. The reader sees that the paper in Huck’s hands is his To Do list. No need to repeat it in the word balloons. A simpler more conversational tone likely can say everything here, but feel more natural.
HUCK: Oh Thanks for grabbing that before it got away. It’s easier when I don’t leave my book at home.
HARDY: I’m Legend., he’s my favorite!
Granted this is a super quick effort just used for an example, and is more of a preferential thing on my part. I’ve just never been a big fan of panels where characters tell me exactly what they’re doing in the panel they’re doing it in.
I feel like the plot was there, the thought for the visuals was there, it was just the nuts and bolts of telling the story that felt a little flat at times for me. A dialogue polish pass would make this one feel a whole lot stronger to me.
Good luck to you, I look forward to getting a chance to read your horror script.
No worries, glad you found something useful in my ramblings!
Have at it, everyone!
Great observations! Thanks for reading!
It’s been a while since I read Nemesis, so I hope I make sense…
I think you’ve captured Nemesis’s character perfectly: arrogant, cocksure, spiteful, etc., and having a Fix News type reporter as a victim is a good idea. The directions are clear and the dialogue fits well.
The only downside I can see is that there isn’t much action - I seem to recall a lot of pages with teeth, eyeballs and heads flying everywhere. So this piece feels like part of a larger work rather than a standalone 4-pager.
Definitely on the right lines though. Keep going!
Isn’t Huck just the greatest to write for?
I really enjoyed your take on Huck with this ‘helping out’ fable.
The set-up is great with cumudgeon Mr Whittaker get more and more annoyed, and moves on nicely to him giving Huck a talking to, and Huck teaching the townsfolk. The pay-off is spot on with the tree falling on Mr Whittaker’s place so ironically. The dialogue was good and the pacing excellent.
My only (minor) cricism is that you explain in the directions that Mrs Corso comes in and asks for Huck, then in the dialogue Mrs Corso asks for Huck.
Overall, this story could easily be part of the Huck canon. Nice work!
Wow, thanks for the detailed critique.
Yes, when I reviewed the script after sending it, I thought I could lose page 1 altogether, which would leave room for clarification of the child-minding reasoning. And I’ll certainly look again at the hospital scene to clarify it.
As for the technical stuff, I understand the panel description comment, and I think in the real world it depends on the artist/writer combo, so if the artist wanted more I’d do so (have you seen Alan Moore’s directions - sheesh!). And the formatting is up for debate - unlike screenwriting, there is no standard in comics. I used a commom pre-formatted Word document. I think the writer would adopt the ‘house guidelines’ where necessary - I’m certainly not precious about it.
Thanks again for your kind words.
Thanks again for the feedback. Here is mine, hope it’s as useful to you as yours was to me.
First off it’s obvious that you know how to structure scripts and tell a story. You managed to tell a mostly clear story with a beginning, middle and end within the 4 pages. That set’s you apart from a lot of people.
You totally nailed Nemesis both verbally and in the way you described his theatrics within the panels. It’s great how much information you managed to convey within your short panel descriptions (something I am going to try and emulate in future). The way you moved between different shots to show the environment and perspectives kept things visually interesting and I’m sure this would look great on the page.
With regards to the story, here is a bit of critique that I hope you will take in the spirit it’s meant.
I agree with some of the other comments. As she’d not been established elsewhere it was hard for me to find Katie an interesting victim or care about her plight. Her husband and the lover didn’t seem very concerned about her as she was humiliated either ;-). For a spunky reporter that’s interviewed dictators she seemed a bit naive not to know whether or not she was live on air. Also I was not clear about what had happened at the end. Were they then going to go live to the public after he’d humiliated her?
I’d perhaps have established her more at the beginning, big her up so you can tear you down. Have her or Nemesis mention on page 1 that she is a media darling that has interviewed despots and has been specially chosen to have this exclusive interview with him. I’d also have just had it streaming live and had her humiliated in front of the whole City in real time.
Anyway that’s my two penneth.
Regardless it’s a very well executed script and I look forward to reading what you come up with next.
Thanks Warren. After I submitted I realized I should have at least had huck using his powers when showing them how to get their work done, as that could have been fitted in without changing anything else. The whole idea was that huck is a hero not because of his powers but because of what he does, which is something that we could all do, and that’s why I kept everything fairly mundane. But at the end of the day that’s probably not going to excite many readers!
I’ll be honest I didn’t even consider the no powers thing until you just said it.
Adding to the pile of Huck submissions, lol… I think I may see where I went wrong, but an extra eye or two certainly helps the cause.
In all seriousness, folks, this is outstanding you all donate your free time to evaluating and helping us grow. Thanks to all of you.
Yep, totally valid feedback about the lack of action. As I’ve mentioned further up the thread, I tried to avoid Nemesis putting on a huge public display (figuring that would have been noticed during the original story), but that doesn’t necessarily preclude his special brand of comic violence. I would’ve found that tough to setup, execute and resolve in four pages, but that’s the challenge I guess.
I took some cues from the Chrononauts short in the annual last year, which was light on action -the property’s USP (time travel) was on display though so perhaps I should’ve gone with my concept in which Nemesis secretly recruits for a sidekick only to murder all the candidates (how dare they think he actually needs a sidekick!). Cheers for taking the time buddy!
Cheers man, I think you and the other posts have nailed it about establishing the new character a little bit before throwing her into the mixer with Nemesis. I could definitely have done with giving myself some time away from the script and doing a proper second draft. Interesting what people take away versus my original intentions - that she willingly agreed to put herself in danger and exclusively interview Nemesis from a secret location live on TV (possibly with awards and plaudits in mind), except it wasn’t actually being broadcast because Nemesis wanted to tear down her ego (and then her professional/private life). Appreciate the other comments too, nice one!