May 29, 2016
PANEL 1: Vertical panel running down the left hand side of the page. We see a leafy mountain face running the height of almost the entire panel. The locale looks South American. It’s day, a sweltering sun somewhere above rains down its heat. Barely noticeable, close to reaching the summit is a single human figure scaling the mountain. No ropes, no equipment. Just a backpack.
CAPTION: “Again. Tell me how it felt.”
CAPTION: “Repetition is key.”
PANEL 2: CUT TO a CLOSE UP looking down at the climber as she ascends. She looks up at us, face beaming with joy and excitement. This is ANDERS. She’s olive skinned with black hair pulled back tight into a ponytail. She’s somewhere in her late 20s, wearing a dark green climbing vest and black shorts. She has the physique of a gymnast and her hands are flush with white chalk.
ANDERS: It felt like I could touch the sky.
PANEL 3: CLOSE UP on ANDERS’ hand as she reaches for the next hold.
ANDERS: Like I was untouchable.
PANEL 4: Back to the view looking down at ANDERS as her hand slips free of the hold and she begins to fall backwards, away from the mountain face. Her brain hasn’t registered what’s happening yet. She looks confused.
CAPTION: “And then?”
PANEL 5: ANDERS falls in a black void. No background. She reaches towards the side of her head as she falls, as if she was about to pull off a climbing helmet that isn’t there. ANDERS: Fuck!
PANEL 6: CUT TO: ANDERS pulling a VR style helmet from her head. She looks older here. She’s lost a bit of weight. She sits on a device that sits somewhere in between a designer couch and a CT scan. She’s angry and exasperated. Other than this bit of tech the room looks like any other therapist’s office.
ANDERS: This is bullshit. What do you want me to do?
ANDERS: I fell. I failed. I’m here.
PANEL 7: CUT TO: the other voice we’ve been hearing, sitting across from Anders. This is ISAACSON, Anders’ therapist. She’s a studious looking woman in her late thirties. She has dirty blonde hair, cut short. She’s wearing a simple plain t-shirt and a pair of slacks. ISAACSON doesn’t have the time for frills and flare. She’s all business.
ISAACSON: No, we keep going.
ISAACSON: We will reach the top.
May 22, 2016
Somewhat related to this series of posts is this post by Ryan K Lindsay over at Loser City. Here he talks about the importance of writing shorts, keeping those writing muscles warm and the whole ThoughtBalloons endeavour.
Go check it out. It’s definitely something I’m subcribing too with these shorts. They’re here for two reasons:
- To break down the idea of perfection and just posting something and getting it out there.
- Improving my writing game.
Talking of the second point, I think my weakness is my dialogue. So, from here on in, a lot of these strips will have an emphasis on that aspect of writing. I’ll mix it up from time to time, but I thought I best get some deliberate practice out of this too.
PANEL 1: CLOSE UP on a WOMAN’s face. She’s wearing swimwear and vacantly looking out towards the horizon, her face set in a stony smile. Around her we can see we’re in a cheap-looking department store. Yeah, it’s a mannequin folks.
JO (OFF): She’s a stony one.
CAL (OFF): You mean stoic.
PANEL 2: We CUT TO two GREEN ALIENS looking up at the mannequin. The one on the left is tall and lean, like a mucus covered runner bean with tiny eyes and a mouth. This is CAL. The one on the right is small and rotund - anthropomorphised snot basically. This is JO. CAL, as much as his expressions allow him, looks annoyed.
JO: That’s what I said.
CAL: Ugh. You find them?
JO: FInd what?
PANEL 3: CAL holds a crumpled LEAFLET out towards us/JO. The leaflet shows us various diamond rings, necklaces and brooches as advertised by “HUCKERBYS DEPARTMENT STORE”. The leaflet is advertising a half price sale on jewelry promising “OUT OF THIS WORLD DISCOUNTS”.
CAL: The diamonds, Jo. For the warp --
CAL: Castor’s taint! What is it now?
PANEL 4: We CUT TO outside the department store, looking towards the front of the building. We can see that a POLICE CAR has pulled up and TWO POLICEMAN have got out of the vehicle and are approaching the front doors.
POLICEMAN: Dispatch, we’re at that possible 459 in progress, over.
RADIO: Copy that.
PANEL 5: CUT TO CAL looking down at the new arrivals from the shop windows up high.The lights of the siren reflect off the glass. He’s drawn a LASER PISTOL from somewhere and clutches it tightly.
CAL: Father is not going to like this.
JO (OFF): Don’t worry, Cal.
PANEL 6: CUT TO JO armed with a LASER PISTOL. Under his right arm he is carrying the MANNEQUIN from the first panel. He is incredibly pleased with himself.
JO: We got ourselves a hostage.
May 16, 2016
I wrote this one in a notebook on the train heading to London on Saturday. I didn’t post it up until this morning as I was exhausted from the trip back yesterday. This one takes pieces from an idea/project I’ve had simmering for a while. It’s been around for so long that large elements of the world-building are in place.
PANEL 1: We OPEN on a long vertical panel that runs down the left hand side of the page. The shot is similar to the picture above, with the focus on a FIGURE standing on top of the long pole, a rifle slung across their back whilst they are covered in robes. This is KIRAN. Due to the head wrap/scarf we can’t see much of her, but she’s in her mid twenties, dark-skinned, and built like a gymnast.
CAPTION: I see you.
PANEL 2: We CUT TO a CLOSE UP on KIRAN’s eyes looking back out at us. There’s something odd about them. They’re a strange colour and the pupil itself seems slightly unnatural and inhuman in its shape.
CAPTION: I see everything.
PANEL 3: We CUT TO a shot of a trio of ROBED FIGURES riding CAMELS on the desert dunes on the horizon.
CAPTION: I see the data nomads of Dakar hawking air-gapped machines to drone-proof desert communes.
PANEL 4: We CUT TO a shot of a pair of GUARDS wearing low-tech military garb and modified, but rusty-looking, AK47s. They’re both smoking near the wall of a low slung tin roofed supply warehouse. They both stand in the shade, sheltering from the sweltering desert sun.
CAPTION: I see comrades yet to upgrade, their lungs slowly turning black.
CAPTION: They can replace anything these days.
PANEL 5: CUT back to the horizon. One of the CAMELS from before is on its side, its rider sprawled across the sand. A HUGE BALL OF FLAME explodes into the sky from somewhere just beyond the horizon. Something is coming.
CAPTION: Then I see nothing. The explosion is so intense I have to switch filters.
PANEL 6: CUT back to a CLOSE UP of KIRAN. But this time she has her head wrap pulled down as she peers out at us. We see her eyes changing colour to almost a bright yellow now. We see the grin on her face as she prepares for battle. This is what she was made for.
CAPTION: For the first time since childhood, I cannot see.
CAPTION: But I am ready.
May 16, 2016
The Secret History of Bioluminescence
The part about the Japanese using bioluminescence in nature to read maps during WW2 is pretty cool.
Letter of Recommendation: U.S.G.S. Topographical Maps
Maps. Maps are the best. These ones happen to be pretty too.
Snowden interview: Why the media isn’t doing its job
Snowden and the CJR sit down to talk about the state of modern media.
Film Crit Hulk Smash: THE REVENANT, MAD MAX, And The Nexus Of Cinematic Language
Wecome back, Hulk.
THE WICKED+THE DIVINE, PRINCE & MODERN POP MUSIC
Nice essay on WicDiv and the late Prince.
How to be a better roleplayer
Good article accurately describing my play experience with Mass Effect, Skyrim and so many other games.
Hitman and the joy of playing it wrong
Another article accurately describing a play experience of my own. This one includes a few paragraphs about the virtue of toilets as tactical bottlenecks.
Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives
Psychology, mindset and the concept of development.
Great TedX talk attached to this one.
May 8, 2016
Panel 1: An olive-skinned man in his mid 20s, dressed in a dark brown t-shirt and green combat trousers peers through the scope of a SNIPER RIFLE somewhere on a deserted rooftop.
CAPTION: I'm just given a set of orders.
CAPTION: Go here.
Panel 2: We cut to a view through his rifle scope. We see a white Mercedes, grimy with sand, bouncing along the road somewhere below. The car is heading towards us and the scope is zoomed in on the man in the passenger seat. He is in his early 30s and dressed in a light green hooded jacket with a bright orange t-shirt underneath. He is wearing a pair of sunglasses and has some kind of important looking lanyard/badge hanging around his neck.
CAPTION: Wait for this man to appear.
Panel 3: A horizontal panel - two bullets in flight, cutting through the air from left to right. No background detail. Just the bullets against a simple black background.
CAPTION: Pull the trigger.
Panel 4: We cut to an angled shot of the windscreen of the Mercedes. Two bullet holes have been punched through the glass, the red mist of blood settling on the glass in places. Parts of the glass have spider-webbed with the impact. Inside the car itself we see a figure slumped forwards, but we’re unable to make out who it is.
CAPTION: I don't think about who they are, what they loved or what they feared.
Panel 5: Through the rifle scope we see the passenger leaving the car, screaming for help.
CAPTION: I'm here to take all of that away.
Panel 6: Cut back to the olive-skinned man on the rooftop. He looks up from his scope towards his target. He smiles with grim satisfaction.
CAPTION: Just point...
Panel 7: Wide panel. We cut to a drone feed. We’re looking down at the rooftops below. On one of them is the lone figure of the olive-skinned man, smack bang in the middle of a targeting reticule.
CAPTION: ...and shoot.