Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Script: DARK BAY THREE (page 2 of 6)

These one-sided conversation pages are my favourite ones on Dark Bay. Not sure why.

They are easy to setup, I guess.

They are fun to layout.

They are fun to write.

I guess that's why then.

Below is the original, very minimal script. Obviously I edited as I went.

Page TWO
One-side phone conversation, again.

Yes, sir.

No. I'm sure they're suns, not flowers .

I think it's a easy mistake to make, sir.

No, sir. No ID yet. But at least ...

No. I don't think she was local.

Yes, that does complicate matters.

Yes, sir. I'll get on it.


What was that, Ma'am ... Sal?
We've got some work to do, Pukey

We need to go talk to some old hippies.

Continued tomorrow ...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Script: DARK BAY THREE (page 1 of 6)

The limitations of using Playmobil are apparent in this page. Bernie could not be persuaded to take his jacket off and show his scar. Playmobil are shy creatures. So I went with the flashback frame reprise instead.

At least we had a female figure with something that passed for a hippie outfit, necklace and sun tattoo. That was something of a find in the big box of assorted people.

A wee box of Playmobil sized rugby jerseys was delivered to me today. One step closer to the Utterly Rucked almost comic.

Page ONE

Bernie showing his scar.
Bernie: She got me good. Completely mental.
TITLES: Dark Bay
Part Three: Old Wounds

Sal: Why did she try to kill you, Bernie?
Bernie: No idea. Never saw her before or since.

Sal: Was she on drugs?
Bernie: It was the sixties and she was at a psychedelic rock concert. What do you think?

Sal: You wouldn't know her name I suppose.
Bernie: Nope.

Bernie: She did wear a cool necklace though. Lots of suns.

Bernie: And she had a sun tattoo as well.

Bernie: Maybe she was called Sunny?

Continued tomorrow ...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Script: DARK BAY TWO (page 6 of 6)

The final page of this episode. More soon.

Page SIX
Hi, Sal.
Hi Bernie. You never told me you were a guitarist.

Long time ago, Sal. Hardly anyone remembers.
You played a concert down in the Hobson's bottom field once.

Back in the sixties. Yeah. Just about electrocuted the band, it got so wet.

Anything odd happen that day?
You mean apart from the torrential rain? Don't remember much happening. We just dried off and went home.

Really? Cause I did some research ....

Oh wait ... yeah, I do remember something a little bit weird.

There was a crazy chick who tried to kill me.
(show crazy attacking girl)

Next episode soon ...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Script: DARK BAY TWO (page 5 of 6)

Okay, so the script calls for readable newspaper text ... but I'm lazy.


Sal and Niel (the other cop) talking in Margret's house over newspaper archives.

Sal :The Lemon Tongues and the Capricorn Medicine Show.
Neil: What's that, Ma'am?

Sal: Sal. Call me Sal.
Neil: Sorry ... Sal.

Sal: Two bands played in that field on a rainy day in 68.

Sal (pointing at photo in paper): Hey! I know this guy. He's a local.

Headline reads ... rain and violence at music concert

Continued tomorrow ...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Script: DARK BAY TWO (page 4 of 6)

As I've said before, my typed scripts for this strip are minimal, especially once I realized I was going to be making it into an almost comic. The typed script became a starting point, which was then heavily edited as I used the Macs little Comic Life software to lay out the story. The layout was then edited several times, the final time being when the pictures were added.

So below is my original, very minimal script.

It was them hippies.

Oh yes. Before the current crop of artists and sculptors it was the damn hippie counter culture invading the Bay.

In New Zealand?

Oh yes. Weirdos know no international boundaries. There was even a music festival here.
Like Woodstock?

More like Rainstock. Hardly anyone came and the field was flooded. My late husband's idea to let them use the bottom field. He always was a sucker for a pretty face.

They only had two bands booked anyway.

Continued tomorrow ...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Script: DARK BAY TWO (page 3 of 6)

I'd like to thank my hand model for this page, my darling wife. There are just some things you can't get a Playmobil to do.


Large frame of the new kid with takeout coffee.
Neil: Here's your coffee, Ma'am.
Sal: Call me Sal. You get sugar for me.

Neil: Eight. As requested.

(Sal pockets it)

Neil: I thought it was for the coffee?
Sal: Nah. I'm sweet enough.

Sal: Or don't you think so?
Neil: Um ...

Sal: Right! I'm going to go talk to the family that used to own the land.
Neil: What About me?

Sal: You're going to go to the house of a single, educated woman and look through her ...

Sal: ... collection of newspapers.

Continued tomorrow ...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Script: DARK BAY TWO (page 2 of 6)

I got a little 'arty' with the panel layouts for this, but not as arty as I'd hope an actual artist would render this. As will a lot of the 'talky' stuff I write, as long as it's clear who is talking the art can focus on whatever it likes. Hence the dog in the foreground of two panels, and all the one-picture-across-multiple-panels stuff. The script intentionally makes no direction how these pages should be drawn.

Page TWO
Sal(ly) talking to the newspaper woman, Margaret in Margaret's house.

When did the paper close?

I used to write for it

Had to do something with all that education I got at Uni. Shame it closed.

I could spend weeks looking through this.

Is it okay if I send someone else over to look through this?
Sure. Who you have in mind.

There's a new cop in town, Margaret. And he's about to learn that real police work is unbelievably boring.

Continued soon ...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Script: DARK BAY TWO (page 1 of 6)

The scripts have got less and less structured as Dark Bay goes along. My current method is to write dialogue in a text file, then edit as I put it into the comic layout program. Editing is usually in the form of massive cuts and edits, reducing the amount of words in each frame and tightening up the speech. But for the sake of completeness I'll included a revised script page to act as a companion to each page.

I've been busy writing a silly parody comic for my own amusement, which will probably find its way onto the blog in the future.

There's a full-sized London KEA's rugby jersey being made as I type, and it looks great. So the epic project that is the Utterly Rucked almost-comic inches ever closer.

Page ONE

Looking at (not through) old newspapers in the old librarian's house.
Find what you're looking for, Sal?
No. But then I don't know what I'm looking for.

Something to solve a fifty year old murder I guess.

You remember anything odd from those days?
Like what?

Like someone going missing?
My brother ran of to Sydney in '74.

No, someone who was never seen again.
Doesn't ring a bell. Not around then. But I was just a kid.

Continued tomorrow ...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Script: DARK BAY ONE (page 6 of 6)

The final page of part one. That's my wife's hand in the penultimate panel. You try and make a Playmobil figure give the finger.d

One advantage of turning the script into a almost-comic is that I realize when I've put too many words, or the wrong words, into a frame. I get to edit as I got, modify the text, make improvements. Fiddle. Sometimes I even add words in, but usually I take them out.

As I've said before, the six-page length for these scripts is not completely arbitrary. They could easily be collected into a 24-page or 30-page full episode. But forcing myself to think of the story as six-page blocks makes it more focused. There can't be too many filler pages this way. Things have to happen. I think in a story like this one that is even more important. Stories set in sleepy towns have the danger of becoming ... sleepy.

Part two will be posted soon.

Page SIX

(Puking noise)
What's up with him?
Car sick. Didn't like the ride over the hill.

For fuck's sake.
Here's the initial report from the tech boys.

Jesus. What language is it in?
Geek speak.

She had a flower necklace.

A sixties woman with a flower neckalce. That'll narrow things down.

Well. Have fun. And go easy on the kid.
Pukey McPuke? I'll be nice. I promised the boss.

What did the poor bastard do to get tossed out in the wops with me anyway?
No idea ...

Probably nothing worse that what you buried yourself with.

(gives finger as car drives off).

C'mon, Vomitlad ... let's go fight some crime.

END of part one

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Script: DARK BAY ONE (page 5 of 6)

The 'cellphone' in this page ended up being the big police radio, as it was the closest thing to a cellphone we had in the toy box. Despite the 'retro feel' this give it is meant to be set in the present day.

This script contains the slightly cryptic note 'add in silent frames'. I wanted to convey the moments in a one-sided phone conversation where you are listening. I liked the idea so much it reoccurs in several episodes of Dark Bay (I've written ten episodes so far). The reader has to imply the other side of the conversation, which is something I always do in my head in these situations. Hopefully the next page (tomorrow) will make this page's 'missing' conversation side make more sense.

Meanwhile the ideas are coming thick and fast ... I've another Dungeon's & Dragons inspired strip that will make an appearance at some point. I have a superhero story bubbling away. There's a SF idea that won't get out of my head, and there are a couple of other things jostling for attention (they just won't leave me alone at night!) And there are all those previously posted scripts that want to be draw or made into almost comics. Do Playmobil make a cockroach I wonder?

add in silent frames.

Talking on phone
Yes, sir. Sure.

No problem.

Yeah ... yeah, I get it.

No, I don't need a ...

I really don't need a ...

I really don't need a ...

Okay, okay ... Jesus.

Yes, sir. I will.

Damn. Just what I need.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Script: DARK BAY ONE (page 4 of 6)

I couldn't find a Playmobil meat pie, so I used a gold plate. It's not as if Sal could ever eat it anyway, her arms don't bend.

This almost comic is much quicker to do than the O&K stories, which took a lot of setting up. This strip is a lot of talking heads for the most part. However, there are some tricky bits coming up, so I'll have to enlist my wife to draw some backgrounds and props.

Meanwhile, prep-work continues on the Utterly Rucked almost comic, which is going to be epic in scope and detail. There's a rugby jersey making session coming up this weekend. Tiny little rugby jerseys. So cute. Soon to be tiny little, blood-splattered jerseys. So wrong.

Dave: Then the tourists started coming to the Bay.
That drove more away.

Dave: The Artists and Yuppies bought up everything.

Dave: The Bay's got no Post Office or Butcher anymore, but five art galleries. Go figure.

Sal: C'mon, Dave. There's always been artists around these parts, though. Jean Vernon lived here in the 50s. Jerry Mann.

Barry is just a perv who liked to pick up pretty girls in his truck and draw them naked.
Sal: That's a bit unfair, Dave.

Barry is a perv, through and through. But you're right, at least he's a local.

Dave: Now-days it's just out-of-towners, tourists and those who cater for 'em.
Sal: Which one am I, Dave.

Dave: How long have you been stationed here?
Sally: One and half years now.

Dave: Then you're a tourist. In a few years you'll qualify as an out-of-towner.
(phone noise)

Continued tomorrow ...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Script: DARK BAY ONE (page 3 of 6)

This episode features parts of a 1974 Franky's Hotdog Stand Playmobil set we were lucky enough to get for a reasonable price on TradeMe recently. Rearranged a little, and with a wooden bench and flowers from some other set the hotdog stand is magically transformed into a NZ Dairy (a corner-store). The 'Trumpet' ice-cream sign, something I'd assumed was a Kiwi icon, is international it seems.


Dairy (corner shop) exterior.
Sally (off): Steak and cheese pie, thanks Dave.
Dave (off): Three dollars ninety-five, Sal.

Dave (Shopkeep): The cop circus is in town I see.
Sally: They'll go soon enough.

Dave: Rumour is there's a body?
Sally: Yeah.

That's what brought the clowns over the hill. But it's old.

Dave: Old?
Sally: Yeah. From the 1960s they reckon.

Dave: Probably some hippie druggie that O.D.ed.
Sally: Could be.

Sal: How long have you lived here in The Bay, Dave?
Dave; All my life

Dave: Not many left that can say that these days. A lot pulled up and left when the dairy factory closed in '86.

Dave: Even more when the meat works went under.

Continued tomorrow ...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Script: DARK BAY ONE (page 2 of 6)

These Dark Bay episodes are all 6-pages long, although the story continues over many episodes. Six pages allows forces me to come up with something 'interesting' every six pages, and some sort of line-of-interest to go out on.

Since there are a lot of talking head shots in these stories I may attempt to photoshop some facial expressions on the Playmobil at some point. Otherwise it will just be endless shots of unmoving plastic faces with fixed smiles ... or just like a Hollywood movie.

Page TWO

A horde of cops and cars, tech boys, police tape etc. at the crime scene. A cop motions for a more senior cop, a Detective Inspector (DI) to look at the body, which is being examined closely by a forensic guy. All of these other police are male.
Cop: Over here, boss.
DI: Christ, that's been there a while.

Forensic: Fifty years I'd say, give or take ten.
DI: Typical. All this way for an old skeleton. Should've guessed it was nothing.

Forensic: I wouldn't say nothing, sir. Obvious signs of violence. Something odd happened to her.

DI: Yeah, but fifty years ago. It's hardly going to be a career-making case.

DI: So can we pack it up and take it back to the lab?
Forensic: Sure. Crate it up.

DI: Now, is there anywhere good to eat in this dump?

Continued soon ...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Script: DARK BAY ONE (page 1 of 6)

The start of another 'almost comic'. Dark Bay, a rural NZ cop drama.

Just to clarify, the idea behind the 'almost comic' is just to have a way of making the scripts more visually appealing. They are in no way meant to be a finished product. Also, some things are difficult to do in the medium of photos of toys. An artist would be able to make some of the visual jokes in the scripts much clearer.

Basically, I just wanted a way of making the blog something more than a bunch of words, and this gives us a chance to play with our toys.

Ideally, someone will take the scripts and actually drawn them. And then someone will publish them. Money changing hands would be good. Or someone could hire me to write something else. Go on ... you know you want to.

Dark Bay ONE
Burying yourself

A murder mystery / cop drama set in some unspecified but generic bay area in the back of beyond in New Zealand. My attempt at getting around that perennial problem of cop shows ... how to have dozens upon dozens of murders in a sleepy place without you starting to wonder why anyone would live there, and how to have your low-ranked cop still remain in charge of the investigation. This is the first of two ideas that popped into my head in answer to the Midsomer-has-a-murder-rate-twenty-times-higher-than-Baghdad syndrome.

Page ONE
Skeletal remains that can be shown over three panels. The remains are in a dirt hole at a building site, but we can be quite close in so it makes a visual impact.
Mike: So what'd we do, Sal?
Sally: Call it in and wait for the boys over the Hill to get here.

Mike: I've got a cement truck coming at two to pour the foundations.
Sally: Not going to happen, Mike. It's a crime scene now.

Mike: You sure, Sal?
Sally: I may be a rural cop, but even I can tell it's a human skeleton ...

The two people, Mike the builder and Sal (Sally) the cop looking into the hole with the skeleton.
Sally: "... and people don't bury themselves."
Dark Bay
Episode One: Burying Yourself

Continued tomorrow ...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox THREE, page 6 (of 6)

The final page of Opportunity and Knox. The tall dwarf and short giant may make a reappearnce at a later date.

Coming soon, a rural police drama 'almost comic' (seriously). Then the bloody glory of Utterly Rucked, once some sets are built, jerseys made, backgrounds painted, Playmobil purchased, and large quantities of tomato sauce procured.

Page SIX

Knox commands the rose bush to wrap ...

... a small dragon flies through the whole thing ...
Knox: What? That can't be right? it's tiny.
Opp: Run!

Large frame
Roar!!! Flames everywhere.

Inset frame
The two running away, somewhat singed.
You owe me a new shirt and trousers!
It barely burnt your trousers.
Trust me, I need new trousers.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox THREE, page 5 (of 6)

Finally, the fifth page. The universe seemed to be conspiring to stop this page ever being completed (I figure if you are going to have a conspiracy theory you may as well make something big the conspirator). Illnesses in the family, a dental procedure, poor lighting, and prickly rose thorns. But we got there.

The last page will be posted tomorrow ... universe willing.


I'm sorry I ever doubted you, my tall friend.
No offense take, my short companion.

They sneak ...

They place ...

Knox pours ...

The plant grows ...

Knox has the headband on ...

You'll notice I ignored the script. But hey, if I can't who can?

Concluded tomorrow ...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Script: Opportunity & Knox THREE, page 4 (of 6)

The household has been sick with a virulent cold the past few days, but we managed to get one more page done. Those are real rose stems, and very real thorns (ouchy).


Knox outlines his plan ...

Listen up and learn, my friend.

We sneak up to the dragon's lair.

We place the rose bush at the opening.

I pour this plant growth elixir onto the rose ...

then I use this headband of plant control ...

the dragon rushes out of it's lair ...

and I command the giant rose bush to wrap itself around the dragon

... thorns penetrating it at every angle.


Continued soon ...