Thursday, July 18, 2013

Four episodes for the series I suggested (and do you think we could make this work?)

First off: the original post.  Second, the concept in short: Imagine an action movie.  Car chases, shoot outs, explosions.  Now imagine a series that wasn't telling that story, but instead the story of everyone who those things had an effect upon.  One person per episode.

That' It should be its own post. And if you can actually write the stories, you could make a cool book. Or graphic novel, or comic series or whatever. 
I know that might be devilishly difficult... 
Alternately, you could put up the story skeleton for the episodes and maybe other people could flesh them out, if you wanted to give permission for that... whether as a fun pastime or the inaugural Stealing Commas ebook or something else...
So I am making it into it's own post and I'm putting out the question, do you think we could make this thing?  Stealing Commas first (presumably only) graphic novel.  The other people would need to be involved.  Plots from start to finish are things I'm singularly bad at doing, I can't draw for shit.  Very few people know less about the way to go about making a story to fit a comic book format than I do.

It would be an undertaking.  An undertaking that would depend not just on me but also on other people.  People to help at basically every stage of the process.  So I put out the question: does it seem possible?

Anyway, onto the four plots.

From the "action movie" perspective all that happens is a foot chase turns to a car chase outside a flower shop (via the stealing of cars) and two street vendors carts are destroyed by the ensuing car chase because car chases do that.

Now plots:

We've got the two people who have their cars stolen.  At first glance their stories seem nearly identical, they're two guys who are trying to pull of the perfect date with their respective girlfriends.  When looked at in detail, it becomes apparent that the stories are completely different.

One of them is in a healthy happy relationship that just seems to be plagued by minor mishaps and slip ups and what not and is trying for the perfect date because he wants, one time, for everything to go right and his reason for wanting it to be perfect is entirely his own impetus.  His girlfriend isn't pressuring him to get it right this time or putting her foot down or any such thing such thing.

He's running late and leaves his car idling and unlocked because he thinks he's just going to run in and run out, the heroes steal it.  Now without a car, pulling off the perfect date becomes even more difficult, but that's his story.  How he manages to pull it off.  That's one episode/issue/thing.


The other is in a toxic relationship.  His girlfriend is controlling and he's trying to do everything perfectly because perfection is the constant unattainable demand.  The villain steals his car at gunpoint as he slows down to park.  He chases after the car (not very smart but people do not smart things all the time.)

Because he never made it into the flower shop he stops at the wreckage of a flower cart the the car chase destroyed, picks out his girlfriend's favorites, and then buys them from the very surprised vendor.

"How much?"

"Are you serious?"

"Yes. And in a serious hurry. I'll pay you double, triple, whatever." *beat* "Name your price."

He buys the flowers and runs off, completely oblivious to the fact that people behind him have started buying from flower cart woman at highly inflated prices, and preordering when her stock runs dry, thus giving her the capital necessary to get a new cart. Her cart isn't insured, you see.

He continues, like his counterpart, trying to pull off the perfect date, interactions/flashbacks/whatnots showing how toxic the relationship is and in the end his girlfriend blows up at him for things not being perfect which finally pushes him to admit he's in a toxic relationship and leave it.  He goes to the insurance office to make a claim on his car where he meets the owner of the other ruined street cart (Fruit Cart Woman) who is putting in a claim on her cart (unlike Flower Cart Woman hers was insured), talks to her while waiting (because the insurance office* is crowded post action movie), and asks her out on a date before they part company.

That's his story: Realizing a relationship is toxic, getting out of it, going out on a limb to start a new relationship.


The other two stories also seem similar at first glance (street vendors resurrecting their run-over businesses) but are completely different because one was insured and the other was not.

Flower Cart Woman has the idea sparked by Car Stolen At Gunpoint Guy to crowd fund the restoration of her business.  It's not exactly selling slightly run over flowers at highly inflated prices, it's more like a pledge drive.  Something like:

"I'm not asking you to overpay for a flower, I'm asking you to remember all of the times I've helped you pick out good flowers and give me some money to get back on my feet and I'll give you a flower, free of charge, in thanks."

And that is her story, rebuilding a business by convincing members of the community to pitch in so she can buy a new cart.


Finally we have Fruit Cart Woman.  The end of Car Stolen At Gunpoint Guy's story is the middle of hers, if not earlier, because her story doesn't end until her business is up and running again which requires navigating the difficult waters of post action movie insurance claims.

Compared to Flower Cart Woman's request for donation speech above she'd be saying things more like, "The policy clearly covers auto accidents, the explosions were two blocks away and have nothing to do with my claim."

Much of her difficulty would stem from the fact that she wasn't fortunate enough to get claims officer quoted in the footnote.


These four stories, really two stories each told in two radically different ways, leave the male characters the ones running through an action-movieifed city, possibly doing some parkour in an attempt to do things in a hurry while the female characters are doing less actiony things because they're business owners trying to save their businesses.  They also have only heterosexual romance, though Flower Cart Woman's sexual preferences, if any, don't play into any of the plots.

But ideally there would be more stories, many more stories.  Stories of males doing less actiony things like the Street Vendor Women of the above stories and of females doing more actiony things, and of relationships of all sorts, and whatnot.

The guiding light of the stories would be that when it comes to realism vs the desire to tell upbeat stories with happy endings realism loses every time.

A car chase led to an accident that caused the biggest traffic jam in history when you need to get to your job interview fast how do you make that story have a happy ending?  That's the implicit promise to the reader/viewer: This is the story of how an ordinary person managed to pull off a happy ending after an action movie smashed through their life like a bulldozer.

A gun fight caused parent and child (or older sibling and younger sibling) to be separated with one on the subway car and the other off after which the subway was shut down leaving child completely lost, parent/sibling in a panic, and an adventure through a city suddenly subject to gunfights car chases and explosions to reunite the two.  You know going into the story that it's going to have a happy ending, what you don't know is how or what the stops along the way will be.


* Random exchange at company between employees:
"The shareholders are NOT going to be happy." 
"Fuck the shareholders, I work for the customers."


  1. It's like ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD. Only with THINGS GOING BOOM PART 5 instead of HAMLET (and thus taking some of the pressure off the writers, because let's face it, most of us aren't Tom Stoppard). :hearts:

  2. Ah, yes, somewhat like that.

    This project would require artists. Are there some about?

  3. I'm very much not an artist (I fake it for my webcomic). But, because of said webcomic, I know a little about scripting for comics.

  4. How to make the big traffic jam a happy ending? Person would have got the job, but it's a wrong job for that person and a better one comes along the next day.

  5. Or they meet someone in the traffic jam who offers (or knows about) a better job.

    People stuck in traffic have started chatting because its clear they're not going anywhere any time soon. At all. A few have even gotten out of their cars, gotten coffee at the coffee shop they're stuck in front of, etc.
    A young person and a middle aged person have already had a little small talk, though the young person is getting increasingly frantic about their job interview.

    "This is awful! I needed that job! Augh, it's so hard to get anything right out of school!"
    *sips coffee* "What kind of job?"
    *less enthusiastically* "Advertising art. But Byem at least pays well and I could build my portfolio." *droops*
    "Oh, you're an artist."
    "A starving one, at this rate." *sigh* "Want to see? We're gonna be stuck here all afternoon."
    *pulls out portfolio, starts showing off work*
    *impressed* "Ever thought about doing character design?"
    *staring off in the direction of Byem, still kind of depressed* "I did some in school. That's not the kind of job you get right away. Damn it, I really needed that job."
    "My sister works at Adventurevision."
    *slightly confused* "The game company?"
    "She's in charge of something big - I can't tell you much because she couldn't tell me much, but she was really excited, and they're going to be hiring artists. She said something about character design, and a few other things. I could get you an interview."
    *stunned* "Really?"
    "Hey, you're good, and she needs artists. I can't promise she'll hire you, but I can get you an interview."
    "Really?" *grinning now* "I mean, yes! Please. Thank you!" *babbles semi-coherent happiness*

    Or something like that, anyway.

  6. Yay, I love it, depizan.