Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Aguadilla Autumn"

(8 Page Script, Genre: Drama)
**Revised on 11/25**

“Aguadilla Autumn”

Page One
Panel 1.  A hospital room in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.  JUAN holds up a fat, palm-sized white seashell with sparkly-eyed glee for bedridden ISABEL.  They are both eighteen years old, and while Juan is fit and handsome, Isabel is approaching the end stage of cancer.  Her frame is frail and her hair is all gone, but she still has a pretty face and big, dark eyes.  Juan’s enthusiasm elicits a meek grin from Isabel.  There is a window opposite the door to the hallway, and across from Isabel’s bed hangs a standard analog clock.  It is roughly 6:00pm.
The best shell I ever found!  Can you believe my luck?*
But it looks the same as all the others.
*Translated from Spanish.
Panel 2.  Juan raises a finger, a mischievous smile accompanying it.  Isabel crosses her arms, her head leaning to one side to suggest playful doubt.  We’re going to keep the true nature of their relationship purposely ambiguous, but they are not brother and sister.
Isabel, I’ve been collecting one shell a week since we were five years old.
Let me tell you--not a single one of them looks the same.
Panel 3.  Isabel snatches the shell away from Juan in a sudden burst of energy, all of which makes Juan nervous.
And when do you plan to return them all to the sea?
Well, I don’t know.
Panel 4.  Juan closes his hands around Isabel’s hand, which still contains the shell.  They lock eyes.
But I want you to have this one.  I found it for you.
It reminds me of you, actually.

Page Two
Panel 1.  Isabel inspects the shell in her hands more closely, depression apparent in her features.
Of me?  Am I so pale?
Panel 2.  Juan grimaces, disgusted with himself, a hand resting on Isabel’s shoulder.
Of course not!  And neither is the shell.
I see so much color.
Panel 3.  Isabel gives Juan a pensive stare.  He doesn’t really know what to make of it.
Like with leaves?
There are places where the leaves turn beautiful colors in autumn.  The leaves never change color in Aguadilla.
Panel 4.  Isabel rolls over in her bed in the foreground, facing toward the window (and us) and away from Juan, but she continues to clutch the shell.  Juan, feeling disconnected from her now, has backed up closer to the doorway.
I wish I could see the leaves change color.
Panel 5.  The hospital hallway.  Juan stands in place with his head down, his eyes and mouth scrunched tight, a single tear headed down his cheek.  “Pabellón del Cáncer” (cancer ward) is printed on a sign on the wall.  Children’s drawings colored in crayon litter a pin board.  There is a calendar displaying “octubre” (October, naturally).  No dialogue.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Black Magic Mastiff"

(6 Page Script, Genre:  Humor)

“Black Magic Mastiff”

Page One

Panel 1.  JOE watches incredulously as STAN holds up a dusty book in one hand to read in the corner of the school library.  Stan stands before a large piece of poster board on the floor that has a pentagram circumscribed by a circle all drawn with black marker.  A lit candle resides at each of the five points of the pentagram.  Joe and Stan are otherwise in the dark, but Stan holds a flashlight in his free hand to read the book.  In general, Joe is more practical whereas Stan is wily, and they both wear name tags as participants in the science fair.  That’s really all you need to know to design their looks as fifth graders.

1 JOE:
Will black magic really help us beat Will and Keith?

It will when it summons up a devil dog that only likes to eat kids’ homework!
You know a mutt like that will treat a science fair project like it’s a T-bone steak--

Panel 2.  Pan in on the spine of Stan’s book.  “100 Spells for the Junior Satanist” is discernible as the title.  Maybe include a cute little kid holding a bloody sacrificial knife on the cover if there’s room.  Stan himself might be slightly off-panel with his dialogue.

 4 STAN:
--and good luck winning the fair when your project’s been swallowed up by Cujo!

Panel 3.  Joe gestures with a hand for Stan to get on with the ritual, though he is still pretty skeptical of the whole concept and rolls his eyes.  Stan gives him a confident smirk in return.

5 JOE:
If you say so, Stan.  Just make it quick.  It’s almost our turn to present.

Ten-four, good buddy.

Panel 4.  Stan spreads his legs out in dramatic fashion as he reads from the book.  A malevolent mist starts to grow and spiral around his legs and the pentagram.  Go melodramatic with the word balloon!

Oh, black lord of the netherworld, king of deceptions, take mine lust as seed and sire forth a fiend made great on youths!

Page Two

Panel 1.  An enormous, quasi-demonic mastiff explodes into existence over the pentagram (sound effect), mist spewing in all directions.  Let’s just call him the DEVIL DOG because it’s simpler that way.  The devil dog has eyes that almost seem to burn, underscoring a ferocity that can never be sated.  Joe and Stan are both understandably terrified at the sight of the creature, even though Stan had thought it was a great idea only seconds ago.

1 SFX:

2 JOE:

Panel 2.  Stan looks back at the open page of the book with intense, bulging eyes.

3 STAN (small print):
Oh, no.  Oh, no.  Oh, no.

Panel 3.  Joe takes Stan by his shirt collar in a frenzy.  Stan’s confidence has disintegrated.

4 JOE:
What?  What’s the matter?  Your spell actually worked!

Sure, but, uh, my thumb covered up the last word of what I was supposed to read.

Panel 4.  Flip the angle.  The devil dog’s furious head looms just behind Stan and Joe with narrowed eyes.  Stan and Joe share the same blank, mortified expression as they look at each other.

I stopped at youths.  I was supposed to say youth’s toil.

7 JOE:

This pooch gobbles kids like they’re potato chips.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Ideas

The below is printed here for posterity and as evidence of my ownership of this proposed work of comics fiction.

Black Magic Mastiff

Synopsis:  Joe and Stan, fifth graders, perform a black magic ritual out of a dusty, old book at their school’s empty library.  At the same time, the school science fair is going on, in which Joe and Stan are participating.  They intend to summon a dog from the netherworld that specifically subsists on eating kids’ homework, so that they can use it to hunt and eat the science fair project of their worst rivals.  The plan backfires when Stan accidentally skips a paragraph in the ritual, and they summon a dog that subsists on eating just kids.  The dog chases Joe and Stan into the science fair, where it starts eating kids whole left and right.  Just when it seems the student body is doomed, Joe takes their rivals’ science fair project—a stinky gunk developed to discourage rabbits from approaching garden vegetables—and dumps it all over Stan.  When the dog gulps up Stan, it gets nauseous and subsequently vomits up all the kids who had been eaten before they could get digested.  The dog is then caged by the teachers, who immediately award Joe and Stan’s rivals with first place in the science fair for developing an anti-killer dog sauce.  Joe and Stan resolve not to consult black magic to win the science fair next year.

Estimated Length:  Short story, five to eight pages.


Porcelain Prince

Premise:  Percy Palumbo is a motivational speaker whose nerves always get to him in the minutes leading up to a speech, incurring in him an unshakeable urge to poop.  In his desperate pursuit of a working bathroom, complications arise and wacky hijinks ensue as Percy races against the clock to clear his bowels and deliver a great speech.  This happens to Percy with such regularity that, in hushed tones, people have begun to speak of a mythical “Porcelain Prince” who conquers all manners of challenge in pursuit of a toilet.

Estimated Length:  Variable.  The basic concept lends itself to a limitless number of short, self-contained episodes—one story, two stories, eighty stories.  Basically until we get bored or I run out of ideas.

Miscellaneous Narrative Ideas:

·         Percy could be giving a speech in a low-income neighborhood, and the graffiti-covered bathroom that he needs to use is controlled by a local gang.  Percy must demonstrate his “street-ness” to the gang in order to earn the right to use the bathroom.

·         An alligator is occupying the stall Percy needs.  Alligator wrestling happens.  Seriously.

·         Taking an odd twist on scenes from Titanic and Metal Gear Solid 2, a basement-type area in a building could have a bathroom flood so severely that there is a foot of water through which to wade.  Percy cannot afford to get his good clothes wet, so he would need to procure the use of a conveniently-located canoe and paddle to traverse the basement and reach an accessible toilet that is just barely above water.

·         An ancient, decrepit bathroom at a shopping mall turns out to be haunted by a dead Valley girl.  Unable to do his business with a ghost watching, Percy must help the Valley girl move on to the next side if he is to use the toilet in peace.

·         A “rival/villain” will eventually appear in the guise of the “Party Pooper,” a fiend who is always clogging toilets and rendering them inoperable just before the Porcelain Prince arrives to use them.  Maybe the Party Pooper is even a fellow motivational speaker.


I Lost My Mind

Premise:  An amnesiac named Dr. X has literally lost his mind and needs to retrieve it.  He finds himself in an impossible fantasy world rendition of the Earth, where animals speak and create societies.  Being the only person in the world who lacks a mind, Dr. X uniquely possesses the “Power of Insanity,” which allows him to bring any object instantly into existence on a whim, ranging from spoons to giant monsters.  Anything Dr. X can imagine can be created through the Power of Insanity, but since his only goal is to retrieve his mind, he does not suddenly grow an army to conquer the planet.  This story would occur in three overall phases, one which occurs on Earth, one which occurs in outer space, and one which occurs paradoxically inside of Dr. X’s own brain.  A sabre-toothed tiger named Light guides Dr. X for the Earth portion.  A giant bat named Dark swallows Light whole, and Dr. X rides around on Dark for the outer space portion.  For the final portion inside his own brain, Dr. X is guided by Dr. Y, who looks exactly like Dr. X except with a slight change in hair style.  Dr. Y also possesses Power of Insanity.  Dr. X ultimately has to fight and absorb the essence of Dr. Y to retrieve his mind.

Estimated Length:  Ongoing series with a definite end in mind.
In a Nutshell:  I’ve had this idea in the back of my head for at least a couple years now, and at the risk of making you roll your eyes and back away from the computer, I suppose you could call this my “magnum opus” idea.  The whole story is basically an exploration of what it means to be human, except animals/aliens are used as stand-ins/metaphors for people.  Light and the Earth portion are basically a study on sociology, focusing on relationships between people.  Dark and reclusive outer space represent human psychology, focusing on why people behave as they do in the first place.  The final phase inside Dr. X’s head is all about “You” and would specifically focus on how a human sees him or herself personally.  In defeating and absorbing Dr. Y, Dr. X reconciles his self-image and gains a new understanding of himself.  The kicker is that, at least the way I see things right now, “Dr. X” himself probably never existed in the first place, and even Dr. X is just a cartoony avatar of the person really experiencing this dream adventure.  I think it might be amusing if the final page returns to reality to find that the person experiencing the adventure was just a girl in middle school or something like that.  I recognize it’s a really, really big and wild idea, and I know it’s not even smart of us to want to tackle something this big right now.  I thought I would mention it anyway though, just so that all my cards are on the table.