I thought this was a very interesting story. Ben and Rachel became very well-developed, three dimensional characters by the end of the issue.
My only concern is where the story might be going. Is it vampire? Horror? Keep up the good work.
Sign on the dotted line, m'boy!
Work on a few things and we'll talk.
No, but you've got potential, keep it up!
Don't quit your day job.
Hey all. Here's the full first draft of the LOW LIFE script. I'm going to be meeting with an editor this weekend, so any crit would be greatly appreciated.
LOW LIFE #1
Written by Charles "zan" Christensen
===== PAGE ONE
We are in a nightclub at its peak hour, around 1am. The club is populated with hardcore night-lifers, and it's definitely not a place for first-timers. The clientele is diverse, raw, sexy and cool. Daring fashions, lots of skin and sweat, laughter, drinking, smoking and drugs.
These panels are widescreen... painting the nightclub like a cinematic feast.
----- Page One, Panel One
On the dancefloor, a crowd of blissed-out dancers of different genders and ethnicities pay attention to nothing but the music pounding all around them. Several couples can be seen in the crowd, pressed together and gryating, especially one in the foreground. He is dancing behind her, his pelvis firmly planted against her backside, straining to make as much contact as he can with the rest of his body, and she is as well. She has her head thrown back, he's leaning forward to meet her. Their lips are touching, mouths open, eyes closed.
----- Page One, Panel Two
A male drug dealer with a pomaded faux-mohawk is hanging out by the bathrooms, handing a small, neatly wrapped paper packet to a sexy young woman, who smiles back at him. Two other women are headed into the bathroom, with similar packets in hand, talking animatedly about something.
----- Page One, Panel Three
A male and female stripper dance on the bar. She is shirtless and standing behind him, pressing her breasts against the man's back. He is toying with the straps on his g-string as he dances.
Next to them, a bartender is trying to hand two martinis to a heavily-tattooed, muscular man on the other side of the bar, but he's distracted by the couple dancing above.
----- Page One, Panel Four
In the DJ booth, a male latino mixmaster in his late-20s is pressing buttons on a black rack-mounted device, scrolling through track names to work into the mix. Titles like "Piledriver (Xstasi Mix)", "A Billion Kisses (feat. Ani)", "Infanticide (Bonus Beats)". These must be made-up names; this club has stuff that's more cutting-edge than anything the reader knows.
There's a dual CD-mixing station on the counter below the rackmounted device, on which rests an open foil packet with some white powder piled in the center. In the booth behind the DJ, a lean, shirtless young man with a lollipop in his mouth and headphones on is checking out the DJ's ass.
===== PAGE TWO
----- Page Two, Splash
In the middle of the chaos and debauchery, at a small table near the dancefloor, sit BEN and RACHEL. They are a white couple, both in their mid-20s, both with chestnut brown hair. Ben's hair is cut short and simple, and Rachel's is shoulder-length with a bit of a wave to it. They're wearing the right clothes, but unlike the other denizens of the club, they're ill-fitting and awkward on the pair. Attempts have been made to impose a slick, casual style on their usual look, but it didn't take.
Ben is looking at his watch, and Rachel is holding her purse with both hands and looking around. All around them, the party rages on.
(Leave some room at the top for the logo and story title and some room at the bottom for credits.)
1) LOW LIFE
2) Part I: WALLFLOWERS
3) Credits : Charles "zan" Christensen - Writer
_________________ - Penciller
_________________ - Colorist
_________________ - Letterer
_________________ - Editor
===== PAGE THREE
Later that night, on a deserted city street of walk-up townhouse apartments. For this entire page, the POV does not shift, only the figures do, moving through the frame.
----- Page Three, Panel One
Rachel and Ben are in the distance, walking down the street towards their apartment. Both seem tired and pensive. Neither speaks.
----- Page Three, Panel Two
The pair are closer in the frame, about halfway down the street.
RACHEL: I think that went okay, don't you?
Page Three, Panel Three
They've arrived at the steps to their apartment, and Rachel follows Ben as he climbs the steps. Neither speaks.
----- Page Three, Panel Four
Ben has unlocked the door -- which has a brass mail slot -- and opened it. He turns back to address Rachel.
BEN: Did you have fun?
RACHEL: Sure. Yeah, I had fun.
----- Page Three, Panel Five
Ben has stepped inside, and Rachel is halfway through the door.
----- Page Three, Panel Six
The door is closing, but through the opening we can see Ben taking off his jacket, Rachel closing the door behind her.
BEN: We'll just try a new place next week.
RACHEL: Right. Back on that horse.
===== PAGE FOUR
Interior, Rachel and Ben's bedroom. On the wall is a framed engagement picture of the two of them, in nice street clothes, staged to display her hand and engagement ring. On the dresser below the picture sits a gift teddy bear and a kitschy pottery piece with dried flowers in it.
Ben's in bed and Rachel isn't in the frame. He's reading a hardcover of "The Golden Compass."
----- Page Four, Panel One
BEN: So you don't want to try Jerry's suggestion?
----- Page Four, Panel Two
Same shot as panel one, except Ben has tilted the book down and is looking offpanel toward Rachel in the bathroom.
BEN: The cruise thing? The riverboat?
RACHEL (off-panel): He was the one who suggested "Swingles" night.
BEN: That wasn't so awful.
RACHEL (off-panel): It WAS so awful.
----- Page Four, Panel Three
Ben returns to his reading.
BEN: It was just an idea.
RACHEL (off-panel): Do you not REMEMBER that night?
BEN: Yes, I do--
----- Page Four, Panel Four
Ben continues reading. Rachel comes into the bedroom and heads for her side of the bed.
RACHEL: Who else do we know?
BEN: Stephen and Sheila? Mike and Beth?
RACHEL: Suburbs. Barbecues. In bed by ten.
BEN: Then... nobody.
----- Page Four, Panel Five
Rachel sits on side of the bed, pulling back the sheets to get underneath them. Ben has closed the book and put it on the nighttable, and is reaching to turn off the lamp.
RACHEL: Speaking of which, we've got plans with my parents Tuesday night.
----- Page Four, Panel Six
A panel of black, as Ben's turned out the light.
===== PAGE FIVE
Rachel's at work at a downtown law firm, where she's a paralegal. There are several desks setup without partitions between them, and one wall is completely covered in shelving, full of hardbound law books.
----- Page Five, Panel One
Rachel's desk has a picture of Ben on it, in a paper, heart-shaped greeting-card frame. She also has a clunky CRT monitor, a keyboard and mouse. She has an inbox that's got a few items in it, and an outbox with several large folders with rubber bands wrapped around them.
Rachel has her lunch spread out on the desk, browsing a "CitySearch" type website for nightlife options. She holds a sandwich in one hand and has her other on the mouse. There's also a news website open, off to the side, prominently displaying the date: September 20th, 2003.
----- Page Five, Panel Two
Similar to panel one, except the midsection of a female coworker, JUNE, appears in the frame behind her, purse at her side. She is wearing a nondescript brown women's business suit.
JUNE: Whatcha up to...?
RACHEL: Hey June.
JUNE: Ooh, Club Neo, I've been there.
----- Page Five, Panel Three
Rachel, who's now turned to face June and still sitting, and June facing each other talking. We see that June is holding a small, white wrapped gift box with a white ribbon. June is a smiling, perky blonde woman in her early thirties with a bob haircut. She's heavier than Rachel, but pretty. Comfortable. Rachel is gracious about the unexpected gift.
RACHEL: We wanted to... heyyy--!
JUNE: I know you said you didn't want --
RACHEL: No, I think it's really --
JUNE: A bunch of us chipped in and --
RACHEL: That's really sweet. Really.
----- Page Five, Panel Four
Rachel has leaned forward in her chair, unwrapping the gift, while June stands behind, leaning over onto the high back of the chair, watching.
JUNE: Do you guys go out a lot?
RACHEL: We're trying to stay young and hip.
JUNE: I hear you. We never go anywhere. Wait til you're MARRIED.
----- Page Five, Panel Five
Rachel has finished unwrapping the gift and taken it out of the box: a crystal swan votive candle holder, which we've zoomed in on so it almost fills the frame.
RACHEL (off-panel): Oh... hey... it's --
JUNE (off-panel): If you don't like it, I can --
RACHEL (off-panel): No! No, it's great.
JUNE (off-panel): Really?
RACHEL (off-panel): Really. Thank you SO much. I know just the place for it.
===== PAGE SIX
----- Page Six, Panel One
Similar shot to the last panel on the previous page, except the candle holder is now surrounded by dozens of other tacky crystal knickknacks, in a cardboard box.
----- Page Six, Panel Two
We zoom out to reveal Rachel, holding the cardboard box full of crystal crap, which she's closing the flaps on. Rachel's wearing a nice cream-colored sleeveless dress. She wears an irritable expression.
RACHEL: Have these people lost their ****ING minds?
----- Page Six, Panel Three
Ben has the front door open, ready to head out to dinner. He's wearing a casual suit and is amused at her mood.
BEN: It was a nice gesture, though.
RACHEL (off-panel): Everyone thinks I'm turning into Glinda the Good Witch or something. Did I EVER like crap like this?
BEN: You give stuff like that to people who get engaged.
----- Page Six, Panel Four
Rachel has opened the closet door and is putting the box up on a shelf.
BEN: We could just return them--
RACHEL: Everyone SAYS they don't mind if we return them, but they DO. We've just got to keep them and put them out for parties when they'll actually see them.
----- Page Six, Panel Five
Rachel reaches for her coat, hung on the rack near the door. Ben is looking at his watch.
RACHEL: Are we late?
BEN: Only ten minutes. Fashionably.
===== PAGE SEVEN
Within the hour, Ben and Rachel are seated with her parents, TREV and ELIZABETH. TREV is a rugged, outgoing man who's nearly fifty and wearing a tight black t-shirt. He is in great shape. ELIZABETH is a slender woman in her mid-fifties, more reserved. She wears a classy pale pink women's suit and has her graying hair cut short, pixielike.
------ Page Seven, Panel One
Ben is sitting next to Rachel's father and smiling attentively while he tells a story. Rachel is boredly watching the bubbles in her champagne. Elizabeth is taking a bite of her steak.
BEN: How long?
RACHEL: Just tell him, dad.
BEN: No, I can guess...
BEN: Two? Three Days?
----- Page Seven, Panel Two
Trev holds up four fingers to Ben with a knowing grin.
BEN (off-panel): Four days?
RACHEL (off-panel): WEEKS.
BEN (off-panel): That's AMAZING!
TREV: Never did forgive that guide.
----- Page Seven, Panel Three
Rachel downs the remainder of her champagne with a wicked grin. Elizabeth wipes at her mouth with a napkin and titters.
RACHEL: Getting lost in a jungle is not AMAZING, Dad, it's STUPID.
BEN (off-panel): What did you do for food?
TREV (off-panel): I'd like to say I lived on my wits, but truth is we came across a cannery.
TREV (off-panel): To this day I can't eat canned peas.
ELIZABETH: Trevor, you NEVER liked PEAS.
----- Page Seven, Panel Four
Elizabeth mock-whispers, conspiratorially, across the table to Ben, who sips at his champagne.
ELIZABETH: Of course, that was before we met. A woman doesn't let her husband go wandering around Argentina by himself.
BEN: I'm sure she doesn't.
----- Page Seven, Panel Five
Rachel fills Ben's glass and gives him a peck on the cheek.
RACHEL: If you want to go to Argentina it's fine with me.
BEN: That's a relief.
TREV (off-panel): Can't tour South America if you've got mortgage payments.
----- Page Seven, Panel Six
POV over Rachel's shoulder at Trev, who is shrugging, smiling.
TREV: I'm just SAYING. It's not like there's any hurry.
RACHEL: Six months is not HURRYING, Dad.
===== PAGE EIGHT
----- Page Eight, Panel One
Elizabeth takes Rachel's hand and scolds Trev. Rachel is blushing, a little irritated and embarrassed.
TREV (off-panel): It's not the length of the engagement, I'm just SAYING--
ELIZABETH: Let's not get into THIS again. We're having a nice dinner--
TREV (off-panel): --that it wouldn't kill you to LIVE a little before--
----- Page Eight, Panel Two
Elizabeth turns to Rachel and smiles, continues to hold her hand.
RACHEL: Dad, my life is not going to END once we get--
ELIZABETH: Don't listen to him, Rachel. You're a grown woman and you know what's best for youself.
TREV (off-panel): This one time, I was in Prague...
----- Page Eight, Panel Three
Ben listens to Trev's latest story.
RACHEL (off-panel): He's just being Dad, I know.
ELIZABETH (off-panel): You'll always be his little girl.
ELIZABETH (off-panel): Have you two thought about the ceremony?
RACHEL (off-panel): We're thinking about a non-church wedding, something non-traditional. I read this book of Irish folktales--
TREV: ...and so she tells me there won't be another hotel for a hundred miles, and I think she's EXAGGERATING...
----- Page Eight, Panel Four
Same shot as last panel, except Ben's eyes dart over to Rachel and he smiles and winks to her.
ELIZABETH (off-panel): Nonsense. We're talking about a day you're going to remember for the rest of your life.
RACHEL (off-panel): You haven't set foot in church in ten years, Mom.
ELIZABETH (off-panel): That's not the point. Are you saying you want a wedding like Melissa's, with knights and minstrels and whatever?
RACHEL (off-panel): Of COURSE not. We just want it to be special.
ELIZABETH (off-panel): Darling, this is something you've got to take SERIOUSLY, and it WILL be special.
RACHEL (off-panel): I know.
TREV: ...so the next thing I know, my passport's been torn in two and the border guard's telling me ...
----- Page Eight, Panel Five
Ben takes Rachel's hand and they pay attention to one parent each.
TREV (off-panel): ...I tell you, this woman was stronger that I was. She lifted me right over her head...
ELIZABETH (off-panel): That godawful medieval dress Melissa wore made her look like she was nine months pregnant.
RACHEL (off-panel): Eight months.
ELIZABETH (off-panel, whispered): No! Really?
----- Page Eight, Panel Six
Close-up on Rachel and Ben's hands entwined.
===== PAGE NINE
----- Page Nine, Panel One
Ben is sitting up in bed, reading his "Golden Compass." Rachel is lying on top of the bedclothes next to him, flipping through a copy of "Under: a magazine of nightlife and culture", with a wild-looking goth couple on the cover. They read in silence, illuminated by the lights from their night table lamps.
----- Page Nine, Panel Two
Ben glances over at Rachel, putting his book on his night table.
BEN: Any luck?
RACHEL: I think so.
BEN: Let me see.
----- Page Nine, Panel Three
Rachel leans over toward Ben, showing him the magazine spread. Ben leans in, his eyes widen a bit.
BEN: I've never seen a piercing THERE before.
RACHEL: I bet she has trouble running for the bus.
RACHEL: The club's great, though. There's a special event on the 21st.
RACHEL: Tomorrow night!
----- Page Nine, Panel Four
Ben leans back against the headboard. Rachel puts the magazine on her night table and sits up.
BEN: On a SCHOOL night?
RACHEL: We'll sneak out.
----- Page Nine, Panel Five
Ben switches off his lamp. Rachel gets out of bed to head to the bathroom.
----- Page Nine, Panel Six
Ben watches Rachel as she heads into the bathroom
===== PAGE TEN
----- Page Ten, Panel One
Rachel is in the bathroom, brushing her teeth thoroughly. We can see a glimpse of Ben's feet on the bed in the other room, which is dark except for a low light from the lamp on Ben's night table.
----- Page Ten, Panel Two
Rachel continues to brush, attending to her molars with vigor. Ben speaks from the other room.
BEN (off-panel): Are you sure you want to get married?
----- Page Ten, Panel Three
Rachel gets a startled expression on her face, her mouth still full of toothpaste foam.
RACHEL: Wad ayoo talkig aboub?
BEN (off-panel): Everything's gotten so weird the past few weeks. Your dad...
----- Page Ten, Panel Four
Ben is sitting up in bed, looking at Rachel as she comes in, wiping her mouth with a towel.
RACHEL: My dad doesn't know what he's talking about.
BEN: You're suddenly so interesed in... adventures. Maybe you HAVEN'T seen enough of the world yet, I don't know--
----- Page Ten, Panel Five
Rachel lays down on top of Ben and kisses him, pressing her body against him.
----- Page Ten, Panel Six
Rachel rests her head on his shoulder, hugging him tight. She has her eyes open, looking at the copy of "Under" on the night table. Her expression is blank.
RACHEL (whispered): You're all the world I need.
===== PAGE ELEVEN
----- Page Eleven, Panel One
Wide establishing panel. Once again, we're in a busy nightclub. Clientele is similar to the first club we saw, except there are a few more "ordinary" looking people mixed in. Two of these ordinary people are Rachel and Ben, who are bumping and grinding on a busy dance floor, Rachel is holding a tall, nearly empty mixed drink and is smiling. Unlike their last club appearance, they actually seem relaxed and like they're enjoying themselves.
----- Page Eleven, Panel Two
Similar POV to panel one, though closer. Rachel leans in and tells Ben something, though we can't hear because the music is so loud.
----- Page Eleven, Panel Three
Ben heads off the dance floor, towards the background, a railing where several people are leaning, watching the crowd. There's an empty spot where he plans to lean. Rachel sucks the last of her Long Island Iced Tea through the straw as she heads to the foreground.
----- Page Eleven, Panel Four
Rachel reaches the bar and puts her glass down. The BARTENDER -- a muscular, bleach-blond with tattoos covering both arms -- says something to her, though we can't hear it, either. TEX, a rough but handsome man in his mid-30s with a shaved head and silver earrings, smiles at her from further down the bar as she arrives.
----- Page Eleven, Panel Five
Close shot of Rachel. The bartender starts preparing a new drink. Rachel smiles back perfunctorily at TEX and takes a seat while she waits.
----- Page Eleven, Panel Six
Same shot as Panel Five, only Tex is now sitting much closer. Rachel doesn't see him, as she's paying attention to the bartender as he makes her drink.
----- Page Eleven, Panel Seven
Profile of Rachel. We hear Tex speaking from off-panel.
TEX: Your first time here?
===== PAGE TWELVE
----- Page Twelve, Panel One
POV from behind the bar, so we can see Rachel and Tex sitting at the bar, with Ben far in the distance. Rachel turns to address Tex directly.
RACHEL: Yes, actually.
----- Page Twelve, Panel Two
Closer shot of the two of them. Tex is leaning in and smiling at Rachel, showing teeth. She smiles back, faintly, but now is back to watching her drink get made.
TEX: What do you think? Pretty wild?
RACHEL: It's all right.
TEX: Things can get pretty out-of-hand.
RACHEL: I'm sure.
----- Page Twelve, Panel Three
Tex checks Rachel out. Rachel continues to avoid eye contact, though she still smiles, coyly.
TEX: You look like the kind of woman who likes a good time.
RACHEL: I'm engaged.
----- Page Twelve, Panel Four
Tex laughs, and Rachel smiles again.
TEX: Can't a guy give a woman a compliment without it being a come-on?
RACHEL: Not that one.
----- Page Twelve, Panel Five
Tex puts a twenty on the bar as the bartender brings Rachel's drink.
TEX: It's on me.
RACHEL: You don't have to--
TEX: Though you'll probably want to pace yourself for the after-hours party.
----- Page Twelve, Panel Six
Rachel picks up her drink and idly plays with the straw. The bartender takes the twenty off the counter.
RACHEL: Don't you need an invitation for that?
TEX: Consider yourself invited.
RACHEL: We'll see.
----- Page Twelve, Panel Seven
Tex winks mischievously at Rachel.
TEX: Oh, tell him he can come, too.
===== PAGE THIRTEEN
----- Page Thirteen, Panel One
Rachel and Ben sit at a small table a bit away from the dance floor, where it's quieter. Several other club-goers stand around, drinking, posing, smoking.
BEN: Just like that?
RACHEL: Just like that.
BEN: Did you show some leg, or something?
RACHEL: No, I blew him.
----- Page Thirteen, Panel Two
BEN: Well, at least I didn't have to.
RACHEL: He just invited me -- us.
RACHEL: Don't tell me you're not up for it?
----- Page Thirteen, Panel Three
Ben doesn't answer for a moment, looking out over the overly-hip clientele. Rachel waits for an answer.
----- Page Thirteen, Panel Four
BEN: I'm not getting anything pierced.
BEN: That's how it starts. First, you start going to "after hours" parties, the next thing you know you're a pincushion.
----- Page Thirteen, Panel Five
RACHEL: Okay, tattoos and scarification only, then.
BEN: Ha, ha.
===== PAGE FOURTEEN
----- Page Fourteen, Panel One
Ben is coming up to the bar, alone. In the background, the crowd looks like it's thinned out and mellowed somewhat. Instead of standing around, most of the people are at tables, smoking and talking.
BEN: Whiskey and Coke and a Long Island.
----- Page Fourteen, Panel Two
Ben leans against the bar, facing out, noticing something to his right (left side of the panel) while the bartender disappears below the bar to fetch something.
----- Page Fourteen, Panel Three
Same shot as panel two, with two people walking left to right in front of Ben: a woman in black leather with breasts exposed holding a silver chain. The chain is attached to a man with a dog collar around his neck, who's wearing only a leather thong and rubber t-shirt. He watches, transfixed.
----- Page Fourteen, Panel Four
Same shot as panel three, only they two have passed and Ben's gaze has followed them. The bartender is placing two green glass bottles of mineral water on the bar, unseen by Ben.
WOMAN (off-panel): Pervert.
----- Page Fourteen, Panel Five
Shot of Ben and the Bartender. Ben is turning around, reaching for his wallet to pay for his... water?
BEN: How much do I--
BARTENDER: Drinks are paid for.
BEN: But I ordered--
----- Page Fourteen, Panel Six
The bartender laughs and turns away.
BARTENDER: New guy.
===== PAGE FIFTEEN
----- Page Fifteen, Panel One
Ben returns to the table with bottles of water in hand, grumpy expression on his face. Rachel is looking with great interest at something off-panel and doesn't notice Ben.
BEN: The good news is they were free.
----- Page Fifteen, Panel Two
A large panel, giving a grand introduction to the title character of the piece. MOHAN is a tall, handsome man of indeterminate race -- Hispanic? Indian? Caucasian? -- with short, black hair and movie-star looks. He looks to be in his late twenties, smiles frequently and exudes a mix of attraction and danger. He's wearing a simple black suit with no tie; his elegance and confidence makes those who dressed to impress feel self-conscious.
Though everyone's attention is on him, most are trying to act nonchalant and sneaking glances with their eyes only. Rachel is the most obviously transfixed.
----- Page Fifteen, Panel Three
Mohan stops and talks to Tex, though we can't hear what they're saying.
BEN (off-panel): Hello?
----- Page Fifteen, Panel Three
Shot of Rachel and Ben, as Rachel finally turns and notices him with his two bottles of water.
RACHEL: I think that's the owner.
---- Page Fifteen, Panel Four
Rachel notices what he's brought them to drink and doesn't approve.
RACHEL: I'm hardly even buzzed, yet.
BEN: He wouldn't give me what I ordered.
===== PAGE SIXTEEN
----- Page Sixteen, Panel One
Same shot as the last panel, except a figure in black is standing beside them
RACHEL: Why, were you slurring your words?
BEN: Yeah, and I puked on the bar. Of course not.
----- Page Sixteen, Panel Two
Same shot, except Rachel is looking up at their host.
BEN: I've only had a cider and a wh--
MOHAN (off-panel): Welcome.
----- Page Sixteen, Panel Three
Ben and Rachel are rising to their feet and Mohan shakes Ben's hand in introduction.
MOHAN: Tex told me you two were in search of some excitement. I'm glad you could stay.
RACHEL: Nice place you've got here.
----- Page Sixteen, Panel Four
Mohan kisses Rachel's hand and gives her a big smile.
MOHAN: Well, if there's anything you need, don't hesitate to let me know.
----- Page Sixteen, Panel Five
Ben holds up his water bottle as Mohan goes to fetch something from his suitjacket pocket, still looking at Rachel.
BEN: Actually, I had a little trouble getting a drink.
----- Page Sixteen, Panel Six
Mohan produces a tiny, brushed aluminum case with a button on top, still not looking at Ben.
MOHAN: He knew you were new. You wouldn't want to dull the trip, would you?
===== PAGE SEVENTEEN
---- Page Seventeen, Panel One
Rachel has her hand outstretched. Mohan has depressed the button and a tiny pink pill is dropping into Rachel's palm. Ben looks on disapprovingly.
BEN: No thanks.
----- Page Seventeen, Panel Two
Mohan chuckles good-naturedly.
MOHAN: It's complimentary, don't worry.
----- Page Seventeen, Panel Three
Rachel nudges Ben and laughs as well, mostly for Mohan's benefit. Ben looks at Rachel with a questioning look.
RACHEL: I'll have yours if you don't want it.
RACHEL (whispered): Just say thanks and take it.
----- Page Seventeen, Panel Four
Ben and Rachel holding their pills and their water bottles as Mohan heads off into the crowd, laughing.
MOHAN: Watch that one, Ben.
----- Page Seventeen, Panel Five
Rachel and Ben stand with pills in hand, looking at each other. Neither speaks.
----- Page Seventeen, Panel Six
Close shot of Rachel, still looking at Ben.
RACHEL: It's okay to try it once, Ben.
----- Page Seventeen, Panel Seven
Even closer shot of Ben, looking back at Rachel.
RACHEL (off-panel): I'll be right here with you.
===== PAGES EIGHTEEN & NINETEEN
The panels on this page and the next grow increasingly abstracted, both by zooming in and by using an extremely wide or narrow panels that show only a sliver of the action. By the end of the two-page bacchanal, we can't recognize anything we see as anything but curves and dark color.
-- Rachel and Ben are on the dance floor, eyes closed, faces together so the bridges of their noses are touching. Rachel's arms are resting on Ben's shoulders and his hands are on her waist.
-- Medium shot of Ben's hand caressing Rachel's hip
-- Someone in elaborate drag -- facepaint and fake jewels applied to her face, a brilliant, voluminous blue wig and tight, white bodysuit -- stands on the stage, doing a fire-eater act
-- Tex walks by and hands two plastic bottled waters to Rachel and Ben.
-- Rachel kisses Tex on the cheek.
-- Close-up on Ben as he looks up at the lighting setup of the high-ceilinged club, smiling.
-- Close-up shot of a spinning, multicolored light-rig.
-- Tex continues on to give water to the next partygoer.
-- Ben and Rachel sitting on a leather loveseat, giggling
-- Close-up of Rachel's hand playing with the hairs on the back of Ben's neck.
-- Several different hands, as evidenced by the different shades of nail polish (and an unpolished man's hand) play with Ben's hair as he closes his eyes and laughs
-- The drag queen stands on a stage, now in a white leather bondage costume, swigging vodka from a bottle
-- Close-up of Ben whispering something in Rachel's ear. They are at the bar. We can see one of her eyes and the corner of her broad smile.
-- Extreme close-up of Rachel and Ben about to kiss.
-- Extreme close-up as the drag queen fires a ball of fire into the air from her mouth
-- Even closer as they kiss, hungrily.
-- Extreme close-up of Rachel's eye, and we can see the reflection of the flame in it
===== PAGE TWENTY
There are wide panels the whole way down the page, all identical composition: Rachel and Ben's are in bed, under the covers. The pants Ben was wearing are haphazardly thrown over the covers near the foot of the bed. Rachel's panties are wadded up on the nightstand. Her cell phone and keys are there as well.
----- Page Twenty, Panel One
The room is lit by morning sunlight coming in through the window. The digital clock on Ben's side of the bed reads "7:59 AM".
----- Page Twenty, Panel Two
Ben's clock now reads "8:00 AM".
SFX: VRREEP. VRREEP. VRREEP.
----- Page Twenty, Panel Three
Ben's hand rests on top of the clock. Rachel's grabbed her cell phone, holding one button down. Otherwise, they don't move.
SFX (clock): VRREEP. VRR--
SFX (phone): Boop
----- Page Twenty, Panel Four
Ben's hand still rests on top of the clock. Rachel's pulled her cell phone back under the covers.
RACHEL (faint, from under the covers): Hi, I'm not going to make it in today.
RACHEL (faint, from under the covers): Yeah.
RACHEL (faint, from under the covers): See you Monday.
----- Page Twenty, Panel Five
Ben's hand comes back under the covers.
SFX (phone): Boop
BEN (faint, from under the covers): I'm not going to make it in today.
BEN (faint, from under the covers): See you Monday.
----- Page Twenty, Panel Six
Ben's puts the cell phone back on the nightstand. Ben's clock now reads "8:01 AM".
----- Page Twenty, Panel Seven
The light has changed. Ben's clock now reads "1:00 PM".
===== PAGE TWENTY-ONE
------ Page Twenty-one, Panel One
Rachel and Benjamin in their living room, having finished eating some delivered Chinese food, the remains of which litter the coffee table. Rachel is sitting on the couch and wearing a nightshirt that reads "Hug Me". Ben is standing, wearing a tank top and sweatpants. Both look extremely relaxed.
BEN: Did you think Mohan was sexy?
RACHEL: Are you kidding me?
RACHEL: That man could make the Sahara wet.
BEN: I think he was after you.
RACHEL (mischievously): Does that get under your skin, the thought of him lusting after me?
----- Page Twenty-one, Panel Two
Ben lays on top of Rachel, kissing her furiously.
----- Page Twenty-one, Panel Three
Close-up shot of Ben pushing Rachel's nightshirt up. Rachel pushes Ben's waistband down over his butt.
----- Page Twenty-one, Panel Four
Shot of Rachel biting Ben's neck as they entwine.
----- Page Twenty-one, Panel Five
Ben buries his face in Rachel's shoulder holding her close. Rachel's arms pull Ben tighter to her.
BEN: Ohh. Unh!
----- Page Twenty-Two, Panel Six
Rachel and Ben locked in a deep kiss, muscles tensed, eyes clenched shut. Rachel's mouth is slightly open.
BEN: Mmmm.... Mmmm...!
----- Page Twenty-Two, Panel Seven
Same shot, Rachel and Ben looking into each others' eyes, more relaxed, eyes half-open, still holding each other tight.
BEN (whispered): Rowr.
RACHEL (whispered): Man. Time for bed again.
===== PAGE TWENTY-TWO
----- Page Twenty-Two, Panel One
Ben reaches over and gets an opened 4"x5" envelope out of the brown paper delivery bag.
BEN: We got mail this this morning.
----- Page Twenty-Two, Panel Two
Ben takes a silver-accented invitation card out of the envelope and lays the envelope on the coffee table.
BEN: Mohan's invited us to a dinner party.
RACHEL: That was quick.
RACHEL: Did you get on a mailing list or something?
----- Page Twenty-Two, Panel Three
We zoom in closer on the envelope and we can see that it's postmarked like an ordinary letter.
BEN: I thought maybe you did.
RACHEL: Maybe he looked us up.
RACHEL: You up for it?
----- Page Twenty-Two, Panel Four
Closer still on the envelope. We can now read the postmark is SEPT 16th, 2003.
BEN (off-panel): We'll probably end up eating dinner off a stripper's chest.
RACHEL (off-panel): And I'm sure you'd just hate that.
----- Page Twenty-Two, Panel Five
Zoomed in even closer until the postmark fills the entire panel.
BEN (off-panel): Sure, what the hell.
BEN (off-panel): If there's one thing that guy knows, it's parties.
I thought this was a very interesting story. Ben and Rachel became very well-developed, three dimensional characters by the end of the issue.
My only concern is where the story might be going. Is it vampire? Horror? Keep up the good work.
"[H]uman rights groups are alright,
so long as they do not deviate from
the official line."
--Gen. Sudibyo, Minister of Information (Indonesia)
Whoa... you have a Ben in your story... and your last name is Christensen.... that's freaky!!!
As for the story, I thought it was really good. I do agree that the direction is a bit unclear, but it's a interesting concept.
I'd like to see more of it.
everyone covered any crits I wld make
but looking fwd to seeing more
I got back from New York last night. The meeting I had wasn't a formal pitch for a project but a request for a professional opinion.
Keeping that in mind, I thought it went very well. The editor, known for being tough, said the dialogue was crisp and believable, the characters were well-rounded and alive, and that by the end he wanted to read more. Since I always hold that last criterion as my definition of a successful piece, this was wonderful to hear.
On the downside, he said that he might not have stuck it out past the first few pages, but since he knew it was from me and I wanted his feedback, he stuck with it. While I got him hooked before the end of the script, there wasn't a major hook early on. In addition to grabbing the readers' attention and make them want to read the series, I need to grab the editor's attention and make him or her want to read the next 17 pages.
One thing I'd do differently next time is to send the work much earlier. I sent some scripts to him a few days before the meeting, and there was just no way he could get to them before meeting with me. Editors are busy folks. Next time I'll send work weeks ahead of the meeting time.
Back to the keyboard!
Last edited by zanSeattle; 10-07-2003 at 06:46 PM.