Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Comic Scripts: West, Part 4

And so the schedule gets back on track with the next couple of pages! These were extremely difficult to plot out in the end, because there's a fair amount that I needed to communicate about Stacy, Kearn, and Frank's motivations and outlooks, even though I REALLY did not want to resort to straight exposition. The result is a lot of space spent in the panel descriptions, but I think a good artist could make it clear what's going on.

Then again, not being an artist, I could be totally wrong. Either way, here are the pages.

Page Eleven

Panel 1: Establishing shot of the hotel, come nighttime. It’s almost completely dark, except for a section of shuttered windows on the top (Second) floor, and some glass fronted doors leading out onto a rickety balcony. down below, we can barely see Frank making his way to the front doors.

Hub (From inside): Ah, ah, Mister Kearn, Bill, the, ah, um, the leatherman, just dropped off some bags for you. He, ah, said yours looked pretty, um. Pretty, um. um.

Kearn (From inside): Worn down, why yes, that is AWFUL thoughtful of him.

Kearn (From inside): Would you kindly put it with the rest of the generous donations? I suspect that will be the last of them for the night.

Panel 2: Kearn’s room is looking significantly more opulent. evidently, while he was at the saloon, Hub spent some time cleaning up. the writing desk is now in place, the floor is swept, and around the room are various gifts from the townies: Handmade blankets and pottery, food from the general store and butcher, stuff like that. It’s clear that Boneshade took his message of “generosity” to heart, and is practically paying him tribute to help their chances in this “New Boneshade” he’s promising. Hub is ducking out in this panel, still peeking back with a sincere eagerness that’s almost painful. Stacy and Kearn are sitting at a table, lit by a hurricane lamp, as they share bread with cheese and the bottle of spirits that the barkeep furnished him with. Stacy is leaning forward, evidently enraptured by Kearn’s very presence, and Kearn, for his part, seems to be less flustered by Stacy’s interest. Kearn is also wearing a new-er suit.

Hub: O - okay, Mister Kearn. I’ll just close up downstairs, then?

Kearn: I don’t know what I’d do without you, Hub.

Stacy: So, Mister Kearn... I want to say thank you kindly, for having me over tonight. I guess I hadn’t given much thought to where I’ll be staying...

Kearn: Oh, my dear, think nothing of it, I could hardly leave a charming young woman like you out in the cold.

Stacy: Hee. Well, Like I said...

Panel 3: Stacy, her eyes sparkling, raises her glass of brandy, with a smile.

Stacy: Thank you kindly.

Stacy: So, where are you headin’ on from Boneshade?
Kearn: On? Ms. Quinn, I intend to stay for a while yet...

Stacy: Yes, Yes, but you’ve gotta get back to your bank eventually?

Kearn: Er... I suppose I’ll... erm... wire them, from Carson City.

Panel 4: Side shot, evenly weeing both of them at the table. Stacy is leaned eagerly over it, but kearn is sitting back a bit now, uncomfortable with the line of questioning.

Stacy: But... even Carson city must be so small and crude to you, compared to New York...

Kearn: Hah! I daresay so. Your town doesn’t...

Kearn: Er... I mean...

Stacy: No, I understand! It’s nothing like back east, I guess. Still... isn’t there ANYTHING here that you wish you had back home, Tom? I can call you Tom, can’t I?

Kearn: Oh... Well... my dear, are you -

Panel 5: the two of them start at a noise from the door.

SFX: bangbangbang

Hub (Through the door): Mister Kearn?

Kearn: Eh? what? What is it?

Hub (through the door): I -it’s just, uh, the uh, uh, Sheriff Frank, I mean, Borrig, is here. He wants to see you.

Page Twelve

Panel 1: Kearn has risen from the table with a start, heading towards the door and looking suddenly flustered. Stacy is looking at him with curiosity, and an empty sort of smile, which we see from near her face.

Kearn: Is - I -

Kearn: Tell him I’ll be right down...

Hub (Through the Door): Yes, Mister Kearn.

Panel 2: Kearn is at the door, holding it open and looking back to Stacy, who is wearing a sort of seductive, adoring look on her face. It’s the same shot, basically.

Kearn: Er - Stacy, I’m sorry, I need to -

Kearn: I’ll be back soon.

Stacy: I’ll be right here, Tom.

Panel 3: same shot again, but now the door has closed, Kearn is gone, and Stacy’s look of vapid adoration is replaced with bored distaste.

Stacy: ...ugh.

Panel 4: Stacy pulls something out of a pocket, a piece of paper, still looking distasteful.

Stacy: Steady, Stacy. Steady.

Panel 5: She looks down at the unfolded paper - a faded, worn, torn photo, with a label in the bottom center: New York, 1860. The picture, as you might expect, is of just that.

Panel 6: Reaction shot of Stacy: a wistful, hopeful, but somehow melancholy look. This is her ultimate goal, as we learn now - to get clear of this graveyard town, to be part of something bigger than her father’s nonexistant ambitions.

Page Thirteen

Panel 1: Frank Borrig is standing in the parlor of the hotel, which has benefitted from none of Kearn’s con, with his hat in his hand, the picture of friendly conversation, as Kearn enters with a guarded stance. the banker is all too aware of what’s at stake here - If he fails to get in good with the sherrif, or if the sherrif is here to arrest him outright, he doesn’t get a chance to gain back his losses. this conversation is for keeps. Hub slinks away subserviently through a side door, and a fire is lit in the pitted, cast iron firebox.

Frank: Oh, Mister Kearn, how d’you do?

Kearn: I, uh...

Kearn: Quite excellent, Sherrif! The lodgings here seem more than adequate!

Panel 2: Frank glances after Hub, his arms folded. Kearn is having a little trouble slipping into his routine, and stands awkwardly by the door. the fire casts long, deep shadows.

Frank: Yep. Seems like you’ve got Hub scuttlin’ all about servin’ your efforts.

Kearn: Well, you see, economic restoration is difficult work.

Frank: Yeah, that’s actually what I wanted to talk with you about, Mister Kearn.

Panel 3: Frank is stroking his chin thoughtfully, with a puzzled look on his face. He’s not actually accusing, just genuinely confused.

Frank: I mean... Boneshade’s never been PROSPEROUS. Not really. It grew up around the well, had folks stoppin’ in before they hit the desert off west, to the ‘59 gold rush...

Frank: I won’t parse words, Mister. I - I was pretty sure the town was dyin’ off. It’s just wastin’ away, till there’s nuthin’ left but a couple a boards in the sand.

Panel 4: Similar shot, but Frank’s expression has changed to one of regret and wistful remembrance.

Frank: Took me a long time to realize that that was where the town was headed. I was ready to start tellin’ people to clear out... no point in prolongin’ the inevitable. no point in them goin’ down with the town.

Frank: An’ now you come ridin’ in, all flush with cash an’ reassurin’.

Frank: What makes you think the town can be saved, Mister Kearn?

Panel 5: Reverse shot. Kearn is still standing awkwardly, with Frank partly visible in frame. Kearn himself wears a look of realization, as if he’s gotten a deeper sense of who Frank is. It’s his first twinge of true regret about what he’s doing to Boneshade. But it’s not enough for him to want to give himself up.

Kearn: …

Kearn: I... um... I’m known as something of an optimist back east. There are all sorts of... trends, and analyses that the bank has done, about settlements popping up, and routes of trade...

Kearn: I think that’s the less important part, though.

Panel 6: Close in tight on Kearn, who is steeling himself for possibly the worst lie of all. he’s putting on a reassuring, inspiring demeanor, but he can’t bring himself to look Frank - or the reader - in the eye.

Kearn: I think the town can be saved because it’s full of good folks, Sheriff. And that’s what’ll make the most difference.

Panel 7: similar closeup on Frank, with an expression of sadness, but possibly hope. he wants deeply to be inspired.

Page Fourteen

Panel 1: Wide shot, with the both of them in silhouette, lit by the woodfire.

Frank: Might be so, Mister Kearn.

Frank (Quieter): Might be so...

Kearn: Is there... anything else I can help you with, Sheriff?

Frank: Naw, I think that about does it, though if I might offer you a drink? It’s been a long ride, an’ I confess, I could use one myself.

Panel 2: Pull back further, so we’re now looking at the scene from outside the building.

Kearn: Oh, but of course, my good man! Here, let me pour...

Kearn: By the way, what ride are you referring to?

Frank: Oh, just checkin’ out somethin’ near a homestead a ways from here. somethin’ about lions or wolves. Don’t worry, though...

Panel 3: Establishing shot of the Benjamin homestead. most of the lights are out, except for one in a window. It’s nighttime, and the homestead is lodged up in the hills, a run down place, as any homestead around Boneshade would be.

Caption (Frank): …turned out to be nuthin’ particularly troublin’.

Benjamin (Inside house): AAAGHH! Oh, Lord!

Benjamin (Inside house): Oh, Lord, what do you WANT?!

Panel 4: Interior of the house. it’s still largely dark, this scene lit only by a hurricane lamp, though it provides sufficient illumination to get the main thrust: A man in his late forties or mid fities, muttonchopped, is suspended upside down from the rafters, so that his head is at about chest height to the four outlaws that have done this. the room around them has been ransacked, and one of the brothers is still casually looting a box, tossing something over his shoulder. Zeb Smith is stooped down to bring his face to an equal level with the man (Benjamin,) and he has a pleasant look on his face that contrasts with the savage, bloodied knife that he casually gestures with. blood is streaming down the side of Benjamin’s face, and he has a look of utter terror that overpowers even the pain. Behind Zeb, Obediah and Cooke are standing, looking sinister. This is really the establishing moment of the brothers, so make sure it’s sinister, dastardly, and frightening. place the camera nearest to benjamin’s face, so we get an imposing up-shot of the scene, as well as an intimacy with Ben’s suffering and fear.

Zeb: Want? Aw, Benjy, why cut to the business so quick?

Zeb: Now that the lawman’s headed back, all we meek little boys want is a chance to chatter a bit. You know. Undisturbed.

Benjamin: I - I - I -

Zeb: Shhh, shhh. No need ta git all excited. You must be exhausted from your ride from town, so we’ll jes’ be posin’ our queries, then headed on our merry way.

Zeb: Now... what can you tell us about the FAT man?

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