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Batdog

 After writing the script for Becky, while working on "Frown" a forthcoming creator owned project you will find information about elsewhere on this site, I stuck around Gotham for awhile. I cooked up an idea to continue to write Batman shorts with a variety of artists in mind. My goal is to pair familiar characters and artists and try to write scripts that would play to my favorite elements of the artists work.

    So, I contacted Chip Zdarsky, artist on the smash hit Sex Criminals from Image Comics. Zdarsky has proven in this book, penned by Matt Fraction, that he can blend humor and emotion expertly, so that was the direction I decided to go with Batdog.

    Zdarsky allows the characters expressions to do a lot of the heavy lifting in his art, so I wrote a script that exploited that talent. In writing this one I realized quickly that were Chip to legitimately be drawing this story, as in the case of the other scripts, I would leave more of the paneling work in his hands upon request. I generally feel like my scripts function as a visual outline, and that on projects it is important to establish with the artist how much script works best for them to communicate their end of the storytelling.

    Upon receiving the script Chip send through some great compliments and some ideas to punch up the script. His suggestion included having the "bad dog" moments ramp up a bit more as the day progresses, which I agree, would up the stakes and allow for potentially a stronger resolve. At some point I will return to this script and make some edits to reflect his quality suggestions, but in the interest of getting material up for you guys I am sharing this in its raw form.

    This one was fun, because I think someone like Chip would give us a Batman that is true to form, while incorporating a tongue in cheek realism that could make a story like this one pop. I would love to see Chip explore Gotham and give us his unique visual take on the city we all love, as well as its colorful inhabitants.

 



"BATDOG"


CHARACTERS:


TITUS: TITUS is a German Shepherd/Great Dane mix, sometimes referred to as ACE. TITUS was given to DAMIAN WAYNE as a pet, but as of late much of that responsibility has fallen on ALFRED.


ALFRED


BRUCE WAYNE/BATMAN




PAGE 1


SCENE: EXT. MORNING, WAYNE MANOR NEIGHBORHOOD


6 panel grid


P1- Mid range shot from the side as ALFRED (in his typical butler clothing) walks TITUS on a leash down an idyllic neighborhood street. Their entire bodies are shown, ALFRED appears to be being dragged a bit by the large dog. They are on a sidewalk along side a suburban street, some trees grow in the area between the sidewalk and the street.


CAP1: MORNING.


CAP2: THE YARD IS BIG ENOUGH, BUT THIS IS A GOOD EXCUSE FOR ME TO GET A FEW MILES OF WALKING EACH MORNING.


P2- TITUS is shown center panel from ALFRED’s POV. ALFRED’s hand is seen holding the leash in the bottom left of the panel. TITUS is facing away from us, poised to take a crap, tail up, back end lowered toward the grass beside the sidewalk. There is a tree in the panel just beyond the spot where TITUS has chosen to have his moment.


CAP: GREAT, I HAVE FORGOTTEN MY DOGGIE DOO BAGS…


P3- TITUS has finished the deed and is shot in the same location still from ALFRED’s angle. TITUS has turned and now sits facing us (presumably directly into ALFRED’s eyes) and is contentedly panting. Beside him is a mound of dog shit.


CAP: THAT IS BIG…


P4- A close-up shot of ALFRED’s face, his pupils shifted to the far corner of his eye as if he is scanning the area. ALFRED has a cocked eyebrow and a frown.


CAP: NO ONE AROUND…?


P5-The shot drops back behind ALFRED and TITUS, several paces behind them. TITUS remains seated looking back at ALFRED, whose head is now turned to the right looking at a large house to the side of the panel.


P6- Filling the majority of the panel is now a window from the house shown in the previous panel. Looking through the venetian blinds with a sneer is a bespectacled old woman with a harsh look on her face, disgusted by what she has seen happen in front of her home.


CAP: FABULOUS, TIME TO THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX PENNYWORTH.




PAGE 2


SCENE: EXT. MORNING, WAYNE MANOR NEIGHBORHOOD


6 panel grid


P1- The shot has now moved to face ALFRED from the waist up. He holds the leash with one hand while the other snaps a limb from the tree shown in previous panels. ALFRED’s eyebrows are turned up in embarrassment as he does so, his lips still pursed in a small frown.


CAP: THIS ROTTEN MUTT…


P2- Shot again from ALFRED’s POV looking down his arm, he has stabbed the dog shit with the stick he broke off of the tree.


CAP: THIRTEEN YEARS OF FENCING LESSONS CONTINUING TO PAY OFF IN THE AUTUMN OF YOUR YEARS EH, OLD BOY?


P3- Similar framing and shot as P1 on PAGE 1, only now ALFRED and TITUS head in the opposite direction, ALFRED holds the dog shit stick in front of him as they go, TITUS continuing to drag him along. ALFRED looks disgusted and peeved.


P4- The shot falls several yards behind ALFRED and TITUS, shown from behind ALFRED holds the dog shit stick behind his back as an attractive young woman in jogging gear runs past them toward the camera.


ALFRED: G’DAY MADAM.


P5- Central in the shot is a trash can, open with tied off trash bags inside. ALFRED’s hand is seen to the side, the dog shit stick now rests atop the trash bags that are in the can.


P6- Long shot as ALFRED and TITUS at the front door of WAYNE MANOR. ALFRED holds the door as TITUS moves toward the interior.




PAGE 3


SCENE: INT. NOON, WAYNE MANOR


2 square panels up top. widescreen, 2 square panels below


P1- ALFRED is shot from ¾ above in the kitchen. He wears an apron and is near a large sink. In one hand he holds a drying cloth, in the other a teacup. There is a dish drying rack next to him with several saucers and bowls waiting to be wiped down.


CAP: NOON.


P2- Extreme close-up of ALFRED’s face, his eyes wide with alarm.


SFX: CRASH


P3- ALFRED’s POV, we see to the side of the panel his hand holding the kitchen door open showing a lounge that is located in the next room. There is a fine antique couch with ornate wooden armature on either side of it tall lamps with glass shades. The rest of the room is decorated in a fine Gothic/Victorian fashion, paintings on the wall, and tasteful statues.

One lamp has been knocked over on its side, the glass shade is shattered, bits of glass scattered across the hardwood floor. In the far corner of the panel opposite from the lamp we see TITUS sitting head cocked in a “I am totally guilty” kind of way.


ALFRED (OFF PANEL): SHAME ON YOU TITUS… SHAME ON YOU!


P4- ALFRED’s entire body is center panel, he holds a broom and is sweeping the glass into a little pile. TITUS is not seen in the panel. ALFRED’s eyebrows are tight, clearly ALFRED is displeased in this moment.


P5- Tight shot of TITUS, shot front on laying with his head atop his paws eyes wide and guilty.


ALFRED: I SAY SHAME ON YOU BOY.



PAGE 4


2 square panels up top. widescreen, 2 square panels below


P1- Tight shot from the side, in the kitchen. ALFRED is seen from the legs down, one foot stepping on  the little lever that opens kitchen trash cans, the lid open. ALFRED's hand can be seen dumping a dustpan full of glass into the can.


P2- The shot has pulled back and we now see ALFRED’s entire body as he stands in the kitchen next to the now closed waste bin. In one hand he still holds the broom, in the other he holds the dustpan. His eyes are wide as he looks to the side, toward the lounge in the adjacent room.


SFX: CRASH!


P3- This panel should look almost exactly like P3 on PAGE 3, only now the other lamp is down and shattered, and TITUS has now moved to the other side of the room in a similar suspicious posture.


ALFRED (OFF PANEL): BLOODY HELL…


P4- Again this panel should look almost just like P4 on PAGE 3.

ALFRED: REALLY TITUS? REALLY?


P5- Again, see P5 on PAGE 3, similar shot and posture should be used here.




PAGE 5


SCENE: INT. NIGHT, THE BATCAVE


5 panels, 4 in grid, 1 widescreen below


P1- BATMAN is center framed here showing his whole body as he strides forward in a determined manner. He is pulling his cape around to where he can look down at it. Visible are several chew holes and tears in the fabric.


CAP1: NIGHT.


BATMAN2: ALFRED, I HAVEN’T GOT ANY TIME TO DISCUSS THIS, BUT TITUS IS NOT TO BE IN THE BATCAVE UNATTENDED. LOOK AT WHAT HE DID TO THIS CAPE… THE WHOLE SUIT SMELLS FUNNY…


P2- Shot from the side, both BATMAN and ALFRED shown from the waist up. BATMAN holds the cape out and both men inspect the damage as they speak.


ALFRED1: I APOLOGIZE MASTER BRUCE, HONESTLY TITUS HAS BEEN OUT OF HAND ALL DAY…


BATMAN2: IT WILL BE FINE, JUST… ITS MY CAPE…


P3- BATMAN now dashes away from the shot toward the BATMOBILE that is parked several yards away. The back of ALFRED’s head is shown in the corner of the panel giving some perspective of the distance.


BATMAN: THIS SHOULDN’T TAKE LONG, I WILL BE BACK BY MORNING.


P4- A long shot of the BATMOBILE as it sends a cloud of burned rubber up from the back tires, peeling out as BATMAN starts it up.


SFX: SKREEEEEE!


P5- The back end of the BATMOBILE is shown to the far right of the panel as it rips along out of the cave, sending a dust cloud up in its wake. Contrasted in the dust is the silhouette of TITUS as he gives chase several yards behind, leash flapping behind him. The cave is very darks and shadows play heavily, light being provided solely by the taillights of the BATMOBILE.


ALFRED (OFF PANEL): TITUS NO! STOP TITUS! TITUS!




PAGE 6


SCENE: INT. NIGHT, THE BATCAVE


5 panels, 4 in grid, 1 widescreen below


P1- Tight shot of ALFRED’s hand grabbing a flashlight off of a desk in the BATCAVE.


CAP: JUST FANTASTIC…


P2- Long shot from above as ALFRED walks down the channel of the BATCAVE that TITUS took off down following the BATMOBILE. There is a visible skidmark left behind from the tires, but little else is seen due to the dark. In front of ALFRED is a ray of light from the flashlight, generating enough illumination to make out the rough stone walls of the cave.


ALFRED: TITUS… COME ON BOY…


P3- Closeup of ALFRED’s face, ghoulishly lit by the flashlight, his eyes shifted to the side fearfully. ALFRED is visibly spooked by the darkness.


ALFRED: TITUS, COME ON… WANT A BONE? COME GET A TREAT BOY…


P4- The shot has drawn back a bit, but is still straight on at ALFRED. Shown from the waist up, ALFRED is leaning hard to one side, his free arm up defensively, while the other continues to hold the flashlight. A small group of bats fly close over ALFRED’s head, the cause of his defensive movements.


ALFRED: DAMN IT TITUS, COME HERE THIS INSTANT!


P5- Shot wide from the side, a silhouette of ALFRED being pulled back in the opposite direction (to the BATCAVE proper) by TITUS, the leash in one hand, the flashlight in the other.




PAGE 7


SCENE: INT. MORNING, THE BATCAVE


4 panels, 1 widescreen up top, 2 box panels in the middle, 1 widescreen along the bottom


P1- Shot from ¾ above, the BATMOBILE has returned and is parked cockeyed in the BATCAVE. There is a skid mark from the tires showing how it pulled a “Tokyo Drift” into the spot, as well as residual dust in the air.


CAP: MORNING.


P2- A mid range shot of the side of the BATMOBILE from slightly above standard level. The focus is on the driverside door, which is ajar, BATMAN is halfway out of the car and is visibly beat up. His lip is split badly, and he is buckled over in a way the indicates some injury to the midsection.


BATMAN1: I AM GOING TO NEED SOME STITCHES…


ALFRED2: WE ARE ALL SET BRUCE.


P3- ALFRED and BATMAN and shown, waist up as ALFRED assists BATMAN in getting on to a medical gurney. BATMAN’s lip drips blood, while ALFRED provides support to him from the side.


ALFRED1: LET’S PUT YOU BACK TOGETHER, ARE YOU OK?


BATMAN2: NOTHING TOO SERIOUS, BUT YOU ARE GOING TO NEED A STEADY HAND IF I AM GOING TO MAINTAIN MY SMILE.


P4- Filling the widescreen panel is a full body shot of BRUCE now stripped of the BATSUIT wearing only boxer briefs laid out on the gurney. ALFRED stands beside him with a small dolly covered with a variety of minor surgical tools and first aid supplies. BRUCE looks to be in terrible pain, teeth gnashed and eyes pinched shut. BRUCE has a large gash on the side of his abdomen and a very visibly split lip.


ALFRED: I WOULD SUGGEST A TOPICAL ANESTHETIC. I KNOW YOU DON’T LIKE-


BRUCE: NO.




PAGE 8


SCENE: INT. NIGHT, THE BATCAVE


6 panel grid


P1- A tight shot of ALFRED’s latex gloved hands as he pulls tight, clean stitches through the wound on BRUCE’s midsection.


BRUCE (OFF PANEL): OUFF...


P2- Another tight shot of ALFRED’s hands as he stitches up the lip wound. BRUCE has his teeth gritted and his eyes squeezed tightly, closed in pain.


BRUCE: GRRRRRD!


P3- BRUCE is now shown seated on the edge of the gurney, he has medical tape covering various small wounds and a large gauze patch across his abdomen. ALFRED stands beside him holding a stethoscope to BRUCE’s chest. BRUCE looks miserable, a sad and painful expression on his face.


ALFRED: APPEARANCE ASIDE, YOU ARE IN FINE CONDITION MASTER BRUCE. I DID A FINE JOB WITH THE SUTURES IF I MAY PAY MYSELF A COMPLIMENT.


BRUCE: THEY GOT AWAY...


P4- Similar framing, now BRUCE looks down, TITUS is visible in the panel. BRUCE and TITUS have locked eyes as ALFRED speaks, the stethoscope now hanging loosely around his neck, his hands shooing TITUS away.


ALFRED: I’M SORRY MASTER BRUCE… OH TITUS, BACK IT UP!


P5- The shot has drawn in on BRUCE’s face, he is leaned over getting his cheek licked by TITUS, a big smile across his face.


BRUCE: OH, HE IS ALRIGHT ALFRED. GOOD BOY!


P6- Closeup shot on ALFRED as he smiles.


CAP: A GOOD BOY INDEED.