One of the most frequently asked questions I get around these parts is just how comics are created, and specifically, how I write my scripts. Even more specifically, I often get requests to see one of my scripts. Since I’m currently in production on DOCTOR WHO: PRISONERS OF TIME #10, collaborating with my longtime partner-in-crime Elena Casagrande, it felt like the time was right to pull back the curtain on one of our favorite little stories we ever did together, our goodbye to Joss Whedon’s ANGEL, and our two favorite characters from the Angelverse, the star-crossed lovers Wesley Wyndham-Pryce and Winnifred “Fred” Burkle.
Following is my script for “All the Time in the World,” based on a story by the two of us, from the ANGEL YEARBOOK (May 2011), followed by Elena’s pages. Careful readers will notice places where she altered or refined the storytelling, which is one of my favorite things about the process: being able to be surprised by my own stories.
“All the Time in the World”
Story by Scott Tipton and Elena Casagrande
Script by Scott Tipton
Establishing shot of Fred and Wesley having dinner in a restaurant. It’s a warm, classy Chinese restaurant, rather upscale-looking (see photos for reference). There are several dishes of food on the table, rice dishes and noodles and such. Fred and Wes look contented and happy. There are only a few other diners in the restaurant.
1. CAPTION: Once upon a time, in happier days…
2. FRED: I can’t believe we’re actually out on an honest-to-goodness date! I feel so…relationshippy!
3. WESLEY: It’s long overdue.
Zoom in close on Wes, staring fondly at Fred.
4. WESLEY: When I think of all the time we wasted getting here…
5. FRED: Oh, hush, now…
Wes and Fred turn suddenly at the sound of a young woman who comes running in the restaurant’s front doors, screaming.
6. WOMAN: Somebody call the police! Please! It’s a maniac, he tried to rip my throat out!
The restaurant’s maitre d’ has stepped forward to help the woman, while a vampire appears in the doorway, following her. He’s in full-vamp face, and dressed in slightly out-of-style clothes, a Members Only Jacket and skinny slacks.
7. VAMPIRE: Darlin’. Where are you going? We weren’t finished yet. It’s a shame you had to come a’runnin’ in here.
The vampire steps further into the restaurant, now only a few paces away from Wes and Fred’s booth. Wes and Fred both are watching the vamp silently, preparing for action.
8. VAMPIRE: Now I’m gonna have to kill everyone in here, just to be on the safe side.
Small inset panel. Zoom in close on Wes’s hand, now gripping a single wooden chopstick.
Wes lunges toward the vampire and stabs him in the chest with the chopstick.
9. VAMPIRE: AAAGHH!
As the vampire crumbles to dust, Wes takes Fred by the hand and drags her away from the table. Disappointed, she’s still picking at the Chinese food plates with one hand.
10. WESLEY: Time to go, before we have to start answering questions. The police are undoubtedly on their way.
11. FRED: But…but … my Sweet and Pungent Shrimp is coming!
Wesley and Fred are sitting in the back row of a movie theatre, waiting for the movie to start. Fred has a jumbo bucket of popcorn, a giant soda and a box of Red Vines. Wesley is nervously checking his watch.
1. CAPTION: The First Date, second try — three days later
2. WESLEY: I swear, it should have started by now…
3. FRED: Will you relax? Here, have some popcorn.
The theatre goes dark, and Fred and Wes are now lit by the light from the screen. Fred is looking at the screen, while Wes is distracted by two silhouettes that have just entered the theatre from the emergency exit to the left of the screen.
4. FRED: See, it’s starting. You’re such a worry-wart.
5. WES: Fred, look down there by the screen. Do you see what I see?
Close-up on the two silhouettes now sitting down in the front row. They have distinctively demonic horned profiles. No one is sitting in the row behind them.
6. CAPTION (FRED): “You mean the two decidedly horned moviegoers taking a seat in the front row?”
7. CAPTION (WES): “Yes, precisely that. Look familiar? Those are the Ratcliffe demons Gunn briefed us about this morning, the ones responsible for the rash of murders on the Westside.”
8. CAPTION (FRED): “Should we call Angel for backup?”
Fred and Wes move down the aisle of the theatre toward the demons. Visible on the wall behind them are a pair of fire extinguishers in a glass case.
9. WES: Nonsense. Just follow my lead.
Wes and Fred stand behind the two demons in the row behind them, each holding a fire extinguisher over their own heads, about to bring them crashing down on the skulls of the demons.
Very narrow panel between Panels 5 and 7, filled with the sound effect:
10. SFX: KRAK!
Both the demons are slumped over, unconscious, having been whacked on the head with the fire extinguishers. Wes is looking behind him, whispering to the shocked moviegoers in the row behind him. Fred is still clutching her fire extinguisher in one hand, looking down at the demons, and is talking on her cell phone with the other hand.
11. WESLEY: Ever so sorry for the disruption. This establishment has very little tolerance for those who sneak in to the theatre.
12. FRED: Charles? Fred. We’re going to need a clean-up team at the Cineplex Odeon on the Promenade.
13. MOVIEGOER (off-panel): Hey, no cell phones!
The interior of a beautiful restaurant/lounge with a dance floor. Fred is dragging Wesley onto the dance floor. Fred is wearing a sleek black dress (see reference), while Wes is wearing a white dinner jacket with a tuxedo. Very classy.
1. CAPTION: The First Date, third try — four days later
2. FRED: Come on, you’ll enjoy it!
3. WESLEY: Really, I never have been one for this sort of thing…
Wesley and Fred are dancing, close together, Fred looking up at Wesley. Very romantic.
4. FRED: See, not so bad, is it?
5. WESLEY: Not at all…
A large, more beastlike demon suddenly bursts out from the double doors of the kitchen.
6. DEMON: RRRHRAAARRGGGHHH!
Wesley and Fred have stopped in their tracks, frozen on the dance floor. They don’t look scared; instead they look annoyed. Fred has her head resting on Wesley’s chest. Her lips are slightly pursed, as if she’s exhaling in exasperation.
7. FRED: Aaah, fiddlenuts.
Wes opens his jacket to reveal a large array of daggers, short swords and handaxes stashed away in the lining. Behind, in the background, we can see the demon beginning to smash up the place.
8. WES: Sadly, I’ve begun to anticipate this sort of thing. Care to partake?
9. FRED: Why, thank you, sir.
From the demon’s perspective, as Wes and Fred leap toward it, brandishing their weapons, Wesley a short sword and Fred a handaxe.
10. FRED: And I just bought this dress, too…
Fred and Wes are sitting side by side in what looks like some sort of boat, in a dark tunnel. Fred looks very happy, Wesley a little less so.
1. CAPTION: The First Date, fourth try — three days later
2. FRED: I can’t believe all the time you’ve lived in L.A., and you’ve never been here! Isn’t it great?
Pull back to reveal Wes and Fred in Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, or at least a close enough approximation that we won’t get sued. (see reference images) Wes and Fred are alone in their boat.
3. WES: Charming.
4. SFX (with musical notes to indicate singing): Yo ho, A pirate’s life for me!!
Close-up on two of the “Pirates” in the village backdrops to the left approaching the edge of the water. They look more animated than the other pirate robots, and beneath their pirate hats and eyepatches, the trademark vampire face can be seen.
5. CAPTION (FRED): “The animatronic pirates look so realistic!”
The vamp pirates leap from the edge of the backdrop onto the boat in front of Wes and Fred’s, which holds another young couple, who scream in fright.
6. WESLEY: A little too realistic — those aren’t animatronics! They’re vampires! This would be the perfect place to feed — forever dark, and who’s to notice a couple of missing passengers?
Fred leaps out of the boat, onto the village backdrop, toward a pair of swordfighting robot pirates. Wesley leaps to the boat in front of them, where the two pirate vampires have begun to feed on the young couple.
7. WESLEY: Think you can get me a weapon?
8. FRED: I’m going!
Fred has pulled a broadsword from the hands of one of the pirate robots, and throws it to Wesley.
9. FRED: Here it comes!
Wesley has caught the sword, and swings it at the pirate vamps, neatly slicing their heads off.
10. WESLEY: Just once, I would like to finish this date!
11. SFX: WHIZZZZZZZ
Fred stands by a set of stairs that lead upward to a door with a red EXIT sign above it, as Wesley runs toward her. Fred is yelling at Wesley.
12. FRED: I found the emergency exit! We’d better get out of here!
13. WESLEY (small text, to indicate he’s muttering under his breath): “Happiest place on Earth,” my posterior…
Nighttime. Fred is standing outside a movie theatre waiting for Wesley, who walks up, coming from the box office.
1. CAPTION: The First Date, fifth try — four days later
2. WESLEY: I’m afraid we won’t be seeing the movie.
3. FRED: What?! What is it? Werewolves? Zombies? The ticket-taker is possessed, isn’t he? I knew it! He had that look about him last time!
Wesley looks down at Fred, slightly smirking. Fred looks embarrassed and sheepish.
4. WESLEY: Sold out.
5. FRED: Oh. Heh. I guess that could be it.
Small inset panel. Wesley’s hand, holding Fred’s.
6. CAPTION (WESLEY): I have a better idea. Come on.
Big full-page width horizontal panel — long shot of Wesley and Fred walking hand in hand on the beach, barefoot, each holding their shoes in their other hand. A long trail of footprints can be seen behind them. They’re walking just on the edge of the water coming in, the full moon is shining. Very romantic.
7. FRED: When you’re right, you’re right. This is much better.
Fred and Wesley, about to kiss, their faces just barely apart. Fred’s eyes are closed.
8. WESLEY: Isn’t it, though…
The same shot, only now both Fred and Wes look irritated, at the sound of both of their cell phones.
9. SFX: RING RING
10. SFX: BREE-DEET BREE-DEET
Full-page width horizontal panel. Fred and Wesley, both talking on their cell phones, looking at each other kind of sadly, resigned to the fact that they’re going to have to go to work.
11. WESLEY: Hello, Angel.
12. FRED: Hey, Gunn, it’s me. What’s up?
13. WESLEY: Subterranean lair, you say?
14. FRED: You have my attention. “Giant demonic insects” sounds interesting.
15. WESLEY: No, of course you’re not interrupting. We’ll be along directly.
16. FRED: Yeah, he’s with me. We’re on our way — I just need to make a stop first.
Interior of Fred’s apartment. Fred and Wesley are coming in the front door. They’re talking as they enter.
1. WESLEY: Explain to me again precisely why the flamethrower is at your apartment?
2. FRED: After we took down that nest of vamps in Culver City, I just came straight home and crashed, and I haven’t lugged it back down to the office yet. It’s heavy!
Fred appears in the doorway from her bedroom with the flamethrower on one shoulder. She has noticed Wesley, who’s staring dejectedly at the floor, looking depressed.
3. FRED: All set!
4. FRED: Wesley…what’s wrong?
5. WESLEY: It’s just demoralizing, that’s all. Is a simple evening to ourselves too much to ask for? I feel as though fate is conspiring against us.
Fred has set the flamethrower down and moved close to Wes, lightly touching his face affectionately with her fingertips. Wes looks at her, and you can see in his eyes how head over heels he is over her.
6. FRED: Hey, relax…There’s no rush. We’re together, right? So we haven’t had that mythical “perfect first date” yet. It’ll happen when it happens.
Wesley and Fred kiss, finally.
Wes and Fred walk out of the apartment, hand in hand, with Wes carrying the flamethrower slung over one shoulder. They look really, really happy. As they leave, Fred’s phone in the apartment starts to ring.
7. SFX: BRRINNGG! BRRINNGG! BRRINNGG!
8. FRED: Now, let’s get a move on! Demon insects! Aren’t you excited?
9. WESLEY: Over the moon, actually. Say, aren’t you going to answer the phone?
10. FRED: Nah, let the machine get it. Besides, I’m already with you. Everybody else can wait.
11. WESLEY: You flatterer, you. I am sorry about the movie, though.
View from inside Fred’s apartment. Fred’s phone and answering machine are visible on an end table, and we can see the front door of the apartment closing in the background as they leave.
12. FRED: I told you, don’t worry about it! After all, we’ve got all the time in the world…
13. SFX (Answering machine): KLIK
14. SFX (Answering machine): BEEEEP!
15. KNOX (coming from answering machine): Hey, Boss. It’s Knox. Did you order some giant sarcophagus-looking thing? Anyway, the guys just hauled it in here. I’ll leave it for you to take a look at when you get in. See you then.