Here’s what I just submitted for the November Challenge at Comics Experience. “In a three page script, write one story with parallel storytelling in which two separate stories are happening back and forth, as you cut in and out of them both. BUT, the stories intersect in ONE PANEL and one panel only. That panel can appear anywhere in the three pages, but they must intersect once.
For the purposes of this exercise, intersecting means that some “story element” must appear in the two parallel stories. It can be a character, location, thing, or even pertinent dialogue.”
This is loosely inspired by a visit a few years ago to a distant relative who lived all her adult years in New York. She was a spunky lad and had many great stories to tell.
GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT
By Amy Chu email@example.com
PAGE ONE – SIX PANELS
In a tiny, sparsely furnished studio apartment ROSIE, a twenty-five year old Chinese-American woman in bathrobe and curlers is holding two dresses up against her body in front of a mirror. One looks more conservative with long sleeves, the other is sleeveless with a shorter hem.
1. CAPTION: December, 1958
2. ROSIE (humming in small letters with music notes): rockin’ around… the Christmas tree…
Flash forward to today. JACKIE, an African-American woman in her late twenties/early thirties returns home from work. She’s just inside the door removing her coat which reveals a waitressing uniform underneath. Her apartment is small, plain and frugal. Her headphones are on and there is a bag of groceries next to her. She’s in a rush.
3. CAPTION: December 2011
4. JACKIE (singing): All the single ladies…doo doo doo
ROSIE now wearing the sleeveless dress, is fixing her hair in front of the mirror.
5. ROSIE (continues humming): … the Christmas party hop
JACKIE is in her small kitchen. She has one arm stretched out and pulling a green top over her head with the other hand. The bag of groceries is on the counter.
6. JACKIE (singing): put your hands up..up
Rosie, with her hat and coat on, gets into a old style yellow cab. A man in his twenties, also in hat and coat, holds the door open for her.
Jackie has her coat back on and she’s rummaging through the bag of groceries.
7. JACKIE: Where are you, pumpkin? It’s Friday night. I gotta go. People are waiting on me.
PAGE TWO – SIX PANELS
Rosie is sitting in a red banquette at swanky “21” style restaurant surrounded by older, slightly more elegantly dressed couples. The waiters are in black tie. She is looking around, clearly excited and impressed by the scene. Her date is making goo-goo eyes at her.
1. ROSIE: So where are we going after dinner?
2. YOUNG MAN: If I told you it wouldn’t be a surprise.
Jackie puts out a bowl of cat food on the floor. A cat’s head is peeking out from the edge of the panel looking at the food.
3. JACKIE: There you are- playing hard to get, huh? See you manana. Don’t make any trouble while I’m gone.
Rosie and her date are out on the city sidewalk. She is gawking at the beautiful Christmas display in a department store window. Her date is tugging at her.
4. YOUNG MAN: Rosie, not now- we’re going to be late.
Jackie is outside her dilapidated Bronx apartment building. There’s a bum on the curb holding a bottle in a brown paper bag. She’s running and waving at the bus pulling away from the stop.
5. JACKIE: Hey! Hey!
Rosie and her date are running arm in arm up to a brightly lit Radio City Music Hall. The marquee reads “The Nutcracker Suite”
6. YOUNG MAN: Tada! Happy Birthday!
PAGE THREE – FIVE PANELS
Jackie, panting from running into a building, clocks in to work by sticking her timecard in the machine on the wall. A coworker in a coat is just leaving.
1. COWORKER: Cutting it close there aren’t you, Jackie?
Rosie and her date are sitting in the packed theater audience. The light from the stage illuminates her excited face.
JACKIE is standing with another aide Al in the drab community room of a nursing home. A few old folk in hospital gowns and pajamas are listlessly hanging about staring into space. She’s wearing the green hospital scrubs she was putting on earlier and checking her clipboard.
2. JACKIE: Look at these folks. Gotta feel sorry for them, stuck here on a night like this.
Same scene as PANEL TWO but close in on ROSIE shivering in her sleeveless dress. Her date looks concerned and starts taking off his jacket.
JACKIE tucks a blanket around a frail eighty year old Chinese lady in a wheelchair. She shows signs of dementia – her face is illuminated by the TV screen showing a broadcast of the Nutcracker Suite, but her eyes are blank and unseeing. She has a slightly crooked smile.
3. JACKIE: Rosie, hon, are you cold? Hey Al, look, she’s smiling.