Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Question - About Face - James McNeill

It's been business as usual in Gotham. One night, Renee encounters someone she's been hoping not to see for a while.

1. Renee stands with her back to us, looking down a dark alleyway. The only light comes from a dim streetlight, off-panel, to her left.


2. Same angle, lower down; Renee reaches for her gun. In the background to the right of the panel, the speaker leans against the brick wall at the end of the alleyway. We can't see anything of him but a silhouette, only dimly lit on one side by the streetlight -- not enough to identify him.

MYSTERIOUS SPEAKER: You had a face last time.

3. Renee draws her gun and aims it at the mysterious speaker. We now see her face, which is completely blank, hat drawn low over where her eyes would be.

RENEE: How do you know who I am?

4. The mysterious speaker's lit side. He's wearing a nice suit and tie from what we can see.

MYSTERIOUS SPEAKER: You'll need to hide more than your face to hide from me.

5. Large panel. Part of the mysterious speaker's face can be seen, dimly lit from the streetlight side. His face is handsome enough, and he's smiling. The real clue to his identity is his two-tone tie, and the faintest suggestion of a wide eye and no lips on the shadowy side of his face.

TWO-FACE: I know about changing faces.

(Subsequently Two-Face reveals he's been having her followed. He makes her an offer she'd normally refuse, but would give her a singular chance to infiltrate his crime ring. But will she end up in over her head?)


And as a sort of bonus... Whenever I write script, I first sketch out what the page will look like, as it's much easier to visually describe what I see than what I'm thinking. Usually I do this on scratch paper, but this time I did it digitally, and thought I'd upload it to show you lot a bit of my process. Click the preview for a larger image, if you're interested.


  1. James, this is a pretty cool script. It works nicely and plays on a lot of continuity, so that's cool.

    And I love the thumbnail below, you convey the page well, interesting to see how tight you get in each panel. You should share that sort of thing every week.

  2. With art skills like that, how is it that I was the first one to upload a page?

    Nice piece too. I love when a character is introduced via silhouette. I can just imagine this page as being high-contrast black, white and grey.

  3. Great script James! The whole conversation about identities relating to faces is very cool.

    I also loved the page sketch, and would like to see more of them in future. Well done duder.

  4. I love this, and moreso the layout you've included.

    HOWEVER, and it's a big however, you make a mistake that I too have done many a time.

    The script is NOT for a reader. it's for an artist and an editor. You don't need to play up that Two-Face is a mysterious stranger in the script, just that he look as such. both the artist and the editor don't need to be screwed around, they need to know who the character is to properly work with you.

    Not to say there AREN'T instances of this in professional comics and it being just fine. It's just a mistake that I've heard pros mention on more than a bunch of occasions.

    But seriously, other than that this is bitchin'

  5. I'm quite the fan of this. I really like the dynamic between Renee and Two-Face anyway, so this is right up my alley. The only problem I have is the same as Max's, but no need to reiterate. Very nice, and the thumbnail rocks too.

  6. Great script, James. I've always loved the Montoya / Two-Face relationship, superbly played here.

  7. I can't believe they haven't done this rematch yet - it seems obvious, given the characters' history and the obvious thematic connections(which you make good use of, James).

    I take on board Ben's point regarding the mysterious stranger bit... but I do have to wonder if, for the purposes of this site, such reveals should be keep exactly as you've written them. Purely from a reader's pov, if you'd told us that was Two Face in the opening panel, the story would have fallen rather flat. This opens up a bigger question about who we're writing for on this site... the average reader or an imaginary editor / artist?

  8. Good script, and I really like the layout you did, which works really well.

    If there is one nitpick is that the line "You'll need to hide more than your face to hide from me." irked me because it uses the word "hide" twice. Perhaps use "conceal" or some other synonym to avoid the repetition? Anyway, that's just me, other people may not mind it as much.


Feedback is what every good writer wants and needs, so please provide it in the white box below
If you want to play along at home, feel free to put your scripts under the Why? post for the week.