Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blast from the Past #374: More notes from the development of the 4Kids TMNT series: Feb. 2, 2004: Re: Tons o' stuff

Feb. 2, 2004: Re: Tons o' stuff

From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 2/2/04 12:00:55 PM, Lloyd writes:

<< Hi Pete -

So you should have received a lot of new stuff today.  Notes, notes,
notes is all I have to say to you mister!



So let it be written... so let it be done.

Here are some notes on 63 final script and 64 first draft script. I plan to get to the rest of the stuff either tonight or tomorrow. 

By the way, did you catch all the positive response to part 3 of "Secret Origins" on the Technodrome web site?

-- Pete


notes on final draft of Ep. 63

I have no comments... except to say that I like it and it's a go!


notes on Ep. 64 first draft script

1.) Re: the following:

"PAN CLOSE ALONG THE SIDE OF A TRICERATON TRIBASE, as we pass the various structures of its domed city, far enough away that we can tell it's a TriBase, but close enough that we can't tell whether we're in space or hovering in atmosphere or whatever."

I like this opening, but what if we start with the "camera" at an angle which makes it look like we're looking at the Tribase straight on, i.e. the Tribase is in its "typical" orientation of dome on top, pointy asteroid end on bottom. Then, as the "camera" begins to pull back, it also starts to rotate into "true" orientation, doing the reveal that the Tribase is actually lying on its side and is half-submerged in water.

2.) Re: the following:

Everything is on its side, the formerly horizontal network of tunnels now converging at odd vertical angles. "

I know it's more difficult to accomplish visually than simply turning everything in increments of 90 degrees, but I strongly suggest that instead of doing that and ending up with VERTICALS, we go for the more difficult -- but infinitely cooler, in my opinion -- DIAGONALS. I think it offers a lot more in the way of opportunities to do neat visuals and make a more interesting scene for the battle between the Turtles and the Amazon robots.

3.) Re: the following:

I assure you with no false modesty that I am none of these things.  I am merely a man fortunate enough to possess the means to rebuild this city.

CLOSER ON SAKI - The video screen behind him displays before and after pictures of New York in ruins from the alien invasion and New York reconstructed -- a gleaming metropolis with perhaps a hint or two of Japanese influence ala the old Foot HQ.  

My salvage and construction crews will restore New York to a shining palace of a city.  A city that will inspire the world.  And perhaps send a message to other worlds about the resilience of the human spirit."

I really like this whole thing of Saki hiding his evil nature behind the mask of benevolence, but I think it might be better if we toned down -- just a bit -- the extent to which he is planning to rebuild the city using only his resources. I would think that the scope of that task would overwhelm even Saki's wealth, and it makes more sense that while he may be "taking the point" (and as much credit as he possibly can) in this effort to rebuild NYC, there are other agencies and companies at work too. What I would suggest is that we change one of his lines to read something like as follows:

"I am merely a man fortunate enough to possess the means to jump-start the rebuilding of this city."


"My salvage and construction crews will be honored to lead the way in restoring New York to a shining palace of a city."

Also, a small design note -- would it be a good visual to have the Foot symbol placed somewhere on Saki's suit? I was thinking perhaps a small one on a tie, or a ring, or if it's appropriate for the type of suit in question, on a handkerchief in his pocket.

4.) Re: the following:

"SAKI - discreetly nods to Karai.

KARAI - nods back and discreetly works her way next to the Disheveled Reporter (so we can't quite see her arm).

Has your tech division ever conducted secret genetic experiments on human subjects?  What is your connec…


We hear an <O.S. ZAP> The Disheveled Reporter suddenly <CRUMPLES> to the ground as Karai walks away discreetly.

PUSH IN CLOSE ON KARAI turns and walks away."

The implication here is that Karai has "zapped" the reporter with some kind of taser or stun gun. I wonder if it would be better/cooler/more Karai-like if she renders him helpless/unconscious with a ninja nerve pinch or strike (done surreptitiously, of course). And what happens when the reporter "suddenly <CRUMPLES> to the ground" in (apparently) full view of the assembled crowd? Perhaps we should add a line here to address this, like have Karai or Saki himself say something like "It seems Mr. _____ has been overwhelmed by the excitement of this event!"
And on the subject of this "disheveled reporter" -- after the great success (with the fans) of those little humorous nods to the old show we put into "Secret Origins Part 3", what would you think of making this guy into "Vernon" from the old show? He was the somewhat effete, bumbling news reporter at Channel 6 who was April's nemesis. Maybe we could have the Mayor refer to him as "Verne". Just a thought.

5.) Re: the following:

Complete with police escort.  So now Shredder's buddy-buddy with the cops?

MICHELANGELO - rubs his fingers together in a "money" gesture.

Throw enough scratch at this city and you can make all kinds of new friends.

LEONARDO - looks up at the copters in disbelief.

Never thought I'd see the day when the Foot goes legit."

I believe that the Turtles (including Leo) know from past experience that the Foot -- or at least Oroku Saki in his "businessman" guise -- has long hid behind any number of "legit" businesses. So I would change this to reflect that, somehow. I think it might be good to throw in there a line for one of the Turtles something along the line of "They (meaning the rest of the city) don't know Saki like WE do."

6.) Re: the following:

"60. MAYOR
Was he wearing a Purple Dragons tattoo?

SAKI - leads the Mayor to a table where a pile of blueprints are spread out, directing his attention away from Hun.   

61. SAKI
I hadn't noticed…"

I understand that we want Saki to deflect the Mayor's inquiries, but "I hadn't noticed" sounds a bit too flip and even silly. I would suggest replacing it with something like "The dragon is a symbol of great honor in the lore of my ancestors." This in effect shuts up the Mayor by putting him in the awkward position of appearing to criticize someone's culture, while at the same time not answering the question at all.

7.) Re: the following:

"HUN - steps forward, bowing apologetically.     
77. HUN
Master, please forgive my earlier interruption, but I thought you'd want to know we encountered the Turtles near the Central Park salvage operation.

SAKI - holds out his hand, his face betraying no emotion whatsoever.  Hun takes the hand.  Saki grips it hard <CRUNCH>, forcing Hun to the ground painfully."

This is a cool scene, but something about it seems a little off. Why does Saki hold out his hand, and why does Hun take it? Is this some secret ritual they have? It SEEMS as if Saki is offering Hun a congratulatory handshake, but that makes no sense in context. Perhaps it would work better if Saki says something like "Your hand..." or "Give me your hand..." Or maybe even better, if we show Saki's speed by having him move in on Hun quickly, perhaps while Hun has his hands out in the gesture of apology. He could then grab one of Hun's hands and do the thing he does.

8.) I'm not sure if this would be cool or stupid, but I'll throw it out there anyway. What if the Foot Techs in their Geo-Spheres (by the way, any reason that they are called that?) control the Amazon-Bots via controllers that look like eight inch action figures with wires coming out of their bodies (or maybe not -- might be better as a wireless thing, perhaps with some stubby antennas), which they move like kids playing with action figures, and the real bots follow these movements?

9.) Re: the following:

CLOSE ON A LARGE CONSTRUCTION CRANE - lowering a huge hoisting cable and hook down into a deep vertical hole that has been bored deep into a rocky surface."

Minor point, but are we saying that the Foot crews have bored this hole, or is this "battle damage" from the war between the Triceratons and the Federation? I think it might be more logical as the latter.

10.) Re: the following:

Why'd we have to swim all the way out to this thing?

CLOSER ON THE TURTLES - hoisting themselves onto the space dock. 

Besides, we didn't want to attract any attention with the ShellSub.

How does a sub attract attention?

Just move, will ya?"

Something a little odd here. Does Leo mean to say "Because" instead of "Besides" in line 104, or is there a line missing that his "Besides" would refer to? Also, Mike's "How does a sub attract attention?" is a little obscure. On the one hand, if he's referring to the fact that the sub travels underwater and thus out of general sight, it makes sense. But on the other hand, the sub is bigger, bulkier and considerably noisier than the four Turtles, and thus WOULD attract attention.

11.) Re: the following:

Are you kidding?  There's enough juice in that thing to wipe out the entire Eastern Seaboard."

Don's line here in reference to the power core of the Tribase seems a mite extreme. I would suggest changing the entire Eastern Seaboard" to "the whole city and parts of New Jersey".

12.) Re: the following:

Can we chat about yer girlfriend's career choice later?"

ALERT! ALERT! CHEESY "GIRLFRIEND" REMARK!!! I suggest changing "your girlfriend" to just "her".

13.) Re: the following:

"DONATELLO - throws away his severed bo halves, dodging as the PP Foot <THRUSTS> his chainsaw.  Don backs off the edge of the scaffold and drops out of sight."

I think it's cool that Don's bo gets cut in half, but I think it would be better if he didn't throw the two pieces away, but rather kept them and demonstrated his skill (one of the many taught to him by Splinter) with escrima (I believe that is what the Filipino martial art of fighting with two short sticks or batons is called -- I suspect there is a Japanese equivalent, but I'm not sure what it is). If anyone doubts that these can be dramatic and exciting weapons, check out Bruce Lee's use of them in "Enter the Dragon".

14.) Re: the following:

The Turtles haul out explosives, passing them up and along to one another bucket brigade style.  

A few well placed explosive charges in the Tribase's asteroid underbelly should open up the floodgates and short out the Power Core."

While I would be among the first to say that Don is one smart Turtle and is rarely wrong, perhaps here he should not be so totally sure that blowing a hole in the side of the Tribase and flooding the power core with millions of gallons of seawater will accomplish their goal and NOT blow up the whole city. I think it would be appropriate for one of the other Turtles to question his theory and have Don then say "Well... it SHOULD work!" or "Well... I calculate that it has a 73% chance of working!" or words to that effect.

15.) Re: the following:

"RAPHAEL - thrusts his sais into the Bot's hand.  This time they penetrate, sending up <SPARKS>.

Hey!  I think we softened this one up."

So these bots are made out of a kind of metal that "softens" when immersed in water? Silly.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Girlfriend? Is Raph talking to Donny?

  3. "margui118 said...
    Girlfriend? Is Raph talking to Donny?"

    If you are referring to the following:

    "120. RAPHAEL
    Can we chat about yer girlfriend's career choice later?""

    ... I am pretty sure Raphael was talking to Leonardo about Karai, and being sarcastic. -- PL

  4. Aha!! Pretty interesting :), It looks like those two (Leonardo and Karai) had something between them. I think the same about Donatello and April.

    Thanks for your answer!!