Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Enemy Ace - In His Cups - Grant McLaughlin

1 - Establishing shot.  An outside shot of a barracks.  Night time.  The majority of the men are out at the bar for the evening, celebrating a recent victory.  A candle shines in one of the windows.  The captions are written in the style of a handwritten journal.

CAPTION (VON HAMMER): In one sense, I cannot fault their misunderstanding.  My initial act was rather grossly ostentatious.

2 - Move the shot in closer to the window.  Through the gloom cast by the shadow of the candle, a figure (Von Hammer) is visible writing at his desk.

CAPTION (VON HAMMER): And yet it is something I continue to do.

3 - Move into Von Hammer's room.  While it is dark, you can make out Von Hammer writing at his desk.

CAPTION (VON HAMMER): I cannot say what my original intention was, although I know it was not to celebrate death, as their words would suggest.

4 - Von Hammer looks up from his writing, towards something off-panel.  He looks determined, believing the words that he writes.

CAPTION (VON HAMMER): Individually, they are a marker.  Taken together, a reminder.  Of my past actions.  Of the burden I must carry for what I have done.

5 - Von Hammer looks away from the off-panel object.  Glancing back at his writing, he now wears a look of frustration.

CAPTION (VON HAMMER): I would explain this to the others, but I know they would not understand.  Nevertheless, I wish they would refrain from using that word.

6 - The panel turns towards where Von Hammer has been looking.  One of the silver cups (those that he orders after each confirmed kill) sits atop a shelf.  Others are almost visible in the gloom, but the panel is really focusing on only one.  The light of the candle illuminates it from below, giving it a dark, possibly nefarious, appearance.



  1. A moody page Grant, it oozes atmosphere. Its a quite moment of character reflection that you so often see in war films and comics, a character reading or writing just clearing his thoughts whilst they have a second to breath.

    I really liked the tone and slow pace of this.

  2. I like this script a lot. Just a quick question, if you have time to reply: Why do YOU think he orders those trophy cups?

    1. The cynic in me says it's because the actual Red Baron orders those cups.

      The writer in me is a lot more conflicted about it. I've always felt like the silver cups don't quite mesh with the rest of Von Hammer's character. While he fights with honour, I've never seen him as a man who relishes the need to kill the other side's pilots. He does it because that's the only way their deadly dance can end.

      So I wrote this as a way to examine what those cups could represent, beyond simply celebrating the deaths of his opponents. One detail I feel is important, but couldn't fit in the page, is that the cups were always made of silver. The real life Red Baron actually stopped ordering the cups once the silver supply ran out due to the war, and I assume that Von Hammer would have done the same.

      Since Von Hammer is an aristocrat without family or friends, all he has is his money. Therefore, I saw the value of the cups to be a kind of penance, as he gives up some of what he does possess in a token of reparation.

      Long story short: they are his small attempt at punishing himself / making right the wrongs of killing.

  3. This is a slow build that effectively builds a sense of place as the page unfolds.

    On top of that you peel back some of the layers on Von Hammer, taking a look at the man himself rather than his actions.

    Nice work.


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