07-06-2009, 03:43 AM
Hi again guys
not posted here in a while but I've been working on a script for a pitch I posted here (http://www.penciljack.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1034164&postcount=10) and I figured I may as well put it up as a work in progress.
It's getting quite long now so excuse the wall of text after the break.
07-06-2009, 03:43 AM
Page 1. 4 panels.
The scene is a wide angle shot of Prague from above- the view of a low flying helicopter or a bird. It is about 5 O’clock in the evening; the light is not gone but a muted, late spring haze is over the city. A heavy sunset is reflected in the water of the city’s river. Dotted throughout the classical architecture of the city as we know it are newer, fictional buildings. This is Prague in the future (though not ages away)
CAPTION: PRAGUE. THE CZECH REPUBLIC.
We have zoomed in on the city. We are at street level.
Across the street a man sits alone at a street café table. A coffee is in his hand and a rolled up newspaper on his table. His build is slight, unimpressive. His clothes are equally unimpressive- a meek businessman’s suit, though he is not cheaply attired. Clearly, he is not a man of action. He should be seen through a gap in a loosely defined crowd: Perhaps they are not as detailed, perhaps the colouring draws our eye.
CAPTION (HQ): Last night at 22:00 hours our man in Prague made contact on the darkest line in the city.
CAPTION 2 (Cont): Requested a top clearance crash meet today…
Close up, eye level with the table.
There is a small black case- a hard drive - inside the rolled up paper, hidden from view.
CAPTION (Cont):…says it’s important. Considering what it takes to use that line in the network, we believe him.
Our view is returned to the man at the table. His head is turned down the street and from behind his shoulder we follow his eyes. A figure is walking down the street towards him, a man. He is in the distance and remains indistinct. Little more than a silhouette, he nevertheless draws the attention of this frame. Like the man at the table, we are expecting him.
CAPTION: (Michael): So why us…
Page 2. 5 panels.
In contrast to the man at the table, this second character looks far more dramatic. It’s Michael Heller. Dressed in civilian clothes (but let’s add a few layers. A top and a jacket we can use to look dramatic in the foot chase coming up.). He should also be wearing a leather satchel. His pose should be conveying an alert, measured stride while his eyes don’t miss a thing.
CAPTION (Cont)…why bring our people in on this?
A static repeat shot of the table: In sequence, the second man sits down, asks the first man a question,(though we don’t hear it, it should still be obvious they’re talking) and leaves with the newspaper in his hand. They have exchanged the hidden package (in to the satchel).
CAPTION (HQ): If the network code is even half true then the package is hot as hell.
As if through the eyes of a third customer at the café, we can see across the street past the tables and our attention is drawn to a van parked across from the exchange. With a non descript look, its placement is nonetheless loaded with meaning: they have been observed by a third party.
CAPTION: And that means somebody knows it’s missing.
Page 3. 6 panels
Michael has rejoined the crowded street and begun to leave the area. Our view is above street level, looking over the cusp of buildings. He does not know it yet, but he is being followed. While the pedestrians should be indistinct, the man and a number of cars or men should be made clear. The effect should be, as is the case across the page, that we are viewing the world as he would- noticing the covert agents from amongst the crowd.
CAPTION: (Michael) And if I am compromised?
These panels convey that Michael knows that he’s been followed. A reflection in a shop window, a discreet shoulder check for a passing car, then a close up on his face as he confirms his suspicions
CAPTIONS (HQ): If it goes South, Moscow won’t play nice. Get out.
Note: this dialogue should be spread through the snap shots to flow with the action as fits
Action! Michael bolts- The shot should be from behind, partially silhouetted by the setting sun as he barges past pedestrians heading down the street.
The shot pulls back- now, from below the rear passenger window, we see a car accelerating towards Michael in the distance. In the middle ground we should see one, perhaps two, men chasing on foot.
Wide angle profile shot of Michael running full pelt past some shocked civilians: This time the crowd should be in full detail, with one having just been pushed towards the ‘camera’ by the fleeing man, who should be turning his body back in to a sprinter’s stance after shoulder barging the bystander out of his way.
Snapshot sequence again. Michael should slam on his breaks after an SUV cuts off ahead of him then, either with a face reaction shot or a cut to his legs turning, he should bolt in to the busy road
CAPTION (Michael): If it gets bad...
Overhead wide angle of the road: at the top of the frame, we have the side of the road our fugitive is running from and at the bottom, his destination. Michael has weaved in between speeding traffic. The road is wide and cars are fast! He should be about half way, with cars swerving to avoid or skidding out of control where he has dashed across. Back across the street, it should be obvious some of the pursuing men aren’t quite that crazy and they’ve stopped by the roadside. Finally, Michael should be lined up to be sprinting towards a car that’s parked in front of a distinct alleyway entrance.
Wide frame again but this should be close up to capture a totally sweet Beastie Boys ‘Sabotage’ old school bum slide over the bonnet. Michael should look stressed, full of motion as, arms flailing he just flung his body weight over the car as hard as he can- towards the alleyway entrance out of shot.
CAPTION (Cont)…if this goes to shit
Michael has entered the alleyway. He is running towards us, dominating the lower half of the panel- but looking back over his shoulder as two silhouetted G-men block his escape and begin to draw their guns from holsters under their jackets- raised but not aimed.
CAPTION (Cont): Are we talking breaking the Post Protocol? [N.B. PP is an operational code under which post human abilities are reserved for only the direst situations in order to maintain secrecy etc]
Michael has stopped and turned: he screwed up and ran in to a dead end. In a reverse of the previous panel, the foreground is dominated by the silhouette of one of the men blocking off the exit- we should see his leg and lower arm as the low angle shot throws the fugitive in to stark relief against a blank brick wall. He has pirouetted to face his enemies (who by now should be levelling their guns to aim but not firing) throwing his arms down and away from his body as he spun. We see him at the end of this action. Along the floor, various newspapers and urban detritus litter the ground.
CAPTION (HQ): rest assured you have permission.
Almost from the same angle, only tilted sharply to the rooftops of the buildings penning in the scene. The twist of this sequence is revealed! With a force that has smashed the concrete under his feet, Michael jumps up to the rooftops. He should be at the apex of his jump in ‘hang time’ with the agents below him reeling in shock.
CAPTION: If you do what you do
Michael lands on the rooftops in a crouch. His landing should be heavy and dramatic, with maybe one hand on the ground, one out stretched for balance. The effect of this page should be to create massive contrast: he needs to look as super human as possible because on the next page he is back to his previous, unpowered life and it needs to show.
CAPTION: Those Kremlin ****s won’t know what hit them.
Overhead shot of Michael waking up in bed. Because the previous pages should be full of warm brick reds and sunset colours and the old architecture of Prague, this bedroom should be very clean, modern and dominated by cold colours like blue and white. Pale light crosses the bed in beams, coming through the curtains.
CAPTION: Berlin, Germany. Six months ago.
CAPTION [Michael]: Good Morning.
Michael in the shower. Close up of his head and shoulders with his head bowed under the showerhead and one arm against the wall. His hair should be coming down over his face. Again, cold colours dominate- metallic silvers and white ceramics.
CAPTION: The Name’s Michael Heller. I’m a graphic designer.
We’re in the kitchen/ dining area of Michael’s apartment. In the foreground, a newly delivered newspaper carries the headline EU RALLIES AGIANST MOSCOW or words to that effect- depending on how the paper is drawn. (It should be folded)
Michael getting ready- dressing in trendy summer/ spring smart casual clothes. A polo shirt and light work trousers.
CAPTION: I came to Berlin for a job and a woman. The job’s great…
Side on profile (wide angle shot maybe) Michael is standing, leaning back, half sitting on the edge of the kitchen surfaces reading the front page with a coffee in his left hand (we’re on his right) with a tech looking TV in the wall. The News is on.
TV: Nearly two years after the establishment of the Civil Quarantine Zone, the U.S State Department today announced…
CAPTION: …and I try and keep out of trouble these days.
Michael is leaving his apartment building. He should appear full of motion and early start energy, swinging a satchel over his right shoulder (to hang on his left hip). He is already making work calls on his phone as he goes. We should be looking straight on to Michael, or slightly off centre from his right, capturing more of his apartment- a cleanly designed brick and glass sort of building about 4 storeys tall.
MICHAEL : Karl? Karl, listen to me. We’re fine. The ministry project is being finalised today – what? Yes, of course. Yeah.
CAPTION: Graphic design. Government projects, mostly.
Now our view point has changed to Michaels right. We now see him in profile walking down the street. He is dialling a new number, looking down at the phone. Michael is not paying attention but the panel should be dominated by a large billboard across the street. It is a PSA on vaccines reading: FAMILY FIRST: VACCINATE TODAY. Vaccinate today should be repeated in French and German. Next to the text, a protective father figure should be standing by his wife and son. Think wartime propaganda for the tone of the image.
CAPTION: We keep busy.
Angled aerial shot from ‘street light height’ of Michael crossing a pedestrian plaza towards a busy traffic junction on the other side. He’s back on the phone, walking fast and wrapped in his call.
Louis! Hey man, can you get Friday’s focus report to me ASAP? Yeah I wanna read it before the twelve o’clock. Uh huh. Yeah, thanks. Great.
View point is back down with Michael, face on we see him walk straight through a bunch of pedestrians waiting by the side of the road. In the edge of the frame, there should be a DON’T WALK light (Check what they look like in Berlin). Michael should look unfazed but several of the pedestrians should be looking shocked and panicked, calling out to Michael as he ignores them and listens to his phone.
CAPTION: I keep busy.
Maintaining the same camera angle, a bus hits Michael. The Bus should be blurred by speed, smoke coming off the wheels as the driver brakes hard. Michael has been smashed off panel by the bus (heading left)
SFX: CRUUNCH! (Metallic)
CAPTION: And I keep out of trouble.
Narrow wide shot. Totally black.
LOUIS (over the phone- use jagged speech bubble):
Michael? Michael, what was that? What happened?--
Using the same frame, this is a P.O.V shot from Michael. He has opened his eyes and the pitch black is replaced by an out of focus view of his mobile on the road. He should be viewing it as if he was lying with his head on it’s side against the tarmac.
--You there, man? You alright? I heard—
I’m here, Louis. I’m fine—
This should dominate the page. Our view has pulled back and we see what has happened. Michael is lying on his side, half propped on his elbows and forearms next to his phone on the ground. He is looking up at the bus that just hit him, looking completely amazed. Although the view is largely behind Michael, he should be posed as to allow at least an element of his facial expression.
As for the bus: it’s trashed. The whole front of the vehicle should be smashed in like it has wrapped around a solid concrete pillar. The windscreen should be cracked up and the radiator burst open. The front axel should be done in too.
Passers by should be stood in amazement and, importantly, one of them should draw our eye as he takes photos of the scene on a big, professional looking SLR camera.
Small cutaway of the photographer- just a headshot of him holding his camera to his eye and taking shots.
Shot of a newspaper on a desk. The front page is covering the bus accident and runs a headline of “ ‘MICRACLE’ MAN SURVIVES BUS COLISION ’’. The accompanying picture should be the previous page as covered by the photographer seen at the accident.
If the desk is featured much (really it’s optional) it should be very expensive, antique.
Portrait shot of a well suited, ministerial looking man in his late 50s. He should be in good shape and look a quintessentially English like Jonathan Pryce. He is Charles De Montford, head of D.I.C.E.
Montford should be sat behind the desk in P1 in an impressive, executive chair; passing the paper towards the camera as he is talking to someone out of shot. [N.B- the wall behind the desk should be dominated by a large window- the office is pretty high up]
Berlin Station picked this up 3 hours ago. God knows how the media got to this before Monitoring but, regardless, I’m fast tracking this to your headhunters and I want this man in a safehouse [N.B- an otherwise civilian house used by intelligence groups stocked with espionage gear etc] by the end of the day.
The shot has switched 180 and now focus’ on Lars Mortensen. In contrast to Montford, Lars should be casually dressed in fairly nondescript civilian day wear that, although we see him in a fairly tight torso portrait, should highlight his physically capable build next to his older superior. He should be looking down at the paper he just received.
This is legitimate? Baseline humans don’t survive that kind of accident, Charles. I can scramble a team inside of an hour; Have research send through what they have on this Heller kid and I’ll have Collins handle the pickup.
Switch back again to Montford. He has left his chair and is looking out of his window with his hands clasped behind his back. Montford, incidentally, is going slightly bald at the crown, though it is only visible from behind.
Actually, Lars. I want you there in person. Heller could prove to be exceptionally valuable to this organisation and, frankly, I’m concerned about how this information came to us in the media. It’s loud, messy and won’t be missed by Moscow or New York--.
In comparison to the newspaper on page 10, we’re now seeing the same story from the paper’s website. The shot is further back, too. And includes a silhouetted man with glasses in a suit shirt reading the computer screen (we should be looking over his left shoulder.
The room should be quite lowly lit by a desk lamp on the right and, while his body remains shadowed, his left arm is lifting a telephone off the hook.
-- And you never know who might be watching.
Interior shot of a room in a ‘safehouse’. Two men are stood up. One of them (lets call him Garry for convenience) is just finishing his phone conversation with glasses guy from the panel above or someone more senior. Like Lars on Page 10, they should be in casual dress though their build, hairstyle etc should betray their real roles: covert American operatives with military backgrounds.
Garry should be furthest away from the foreground in full view, while the second man, Williams, has his back to the camera at point black so he should just be a silhouette edging in to shot.
Understood.—Williams, get Anders. Now. We’re on priority intercept.
The camera switch again. Now we’re looking at Williams as he gets a jacket down off a stand by the door. He should look worried, tense.
Shit; one of them right here in Berlin? Never thought we’d see another--.
Back to Garry. He’s moved to a hidden weapons draw in a cabinet- there should be a variety of small arms and an SMG in moulded holdings and Garry has chosen a meaty handgun and is inspecting it while he drives home a fresh clip with the palm of his left hand. The barrel should be snapping forwards as he does so.
--Yeah well we’re about to. New York wants a secure rendition on this one, too. Word is the Europeans are on the chase too so remember; this is their home turf. We need to move fast and hard if we’re gonna get this chump on a plane by tonight.
07-09-2009, 10:58 AM
Good stuff from a technical standpoint. Very thorough panel descriptions. I like the dialogue when it's referring to protocol, organizations and other details that are central to your story. They sound very established and credible with the tone you've established.
As it is, if I bought this (and the next 11 pages I'm assuming comprise Issue #1) I would most likely buy the next issue to find out what happens next, but I would need something fairly significant to hook me into #3. Even though I like it, it reads like a standard set-up, something that's been depicted routinely in movies especially. Basically, whatever it is you've got planned to separate it from the pack, it needs to hit the scene sooner than later.
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