Friday, August 26, 2011

Blast from the Past #394: Apr. 8, 2004: Re: Ep. 72 (Planet Racers) final draft, notes on Ep.76 outline, and TMNT - Show 74 1st draft

Apr. 8, 2004: Re: Ep. 72 (Planet Racers) final draft

From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine


I'm pretty darn happy with the way this one turned out. I just sent it to Jim so he can check it out -- haven't heard from him yet, but I have a feeling he will like it to.

There is one thing I want to push a little more, something I suggested in the last email I sent re: this script. Here's the excerpt in question:

"2.) Before I forget, I had an idea which might be both fun AND maybe give Playmates a cool Turtle variant for the toyline. The idea is this: When Raph takes over as pilot of the #23 bike, Meth wants him to look the part as much as possible. There's no time to make him a real set of leathers in the Team Fitts design, but I'm envisioning some kind of "spray on" costume machine which essentially paints onto Raphael a decent replica of Fitts Racing leathers, complete with his name on the back (which Raph would love).And so as to not have any kind of continuity problem in the following reunion episode, this "spray on gear" is only good for a certain amount of time, after which it naturally degrades and sheds itself... which could happen near the end of the last race, or just after it, and before Raph vanishes."

I really think this would be a cool thing to do, and I have yet another suggestion for how it could be done economically and  unobtrusively. Somewhere -- I'd suggest around liine 75, when the Planet Racers are just about to begin the race on the ice world -- Raph and Falcon could have this brief exchange:

RAPHAEL (plucking at/touching the racing "suit" painted onto him, regarding it admiringly)
Hey, this spray-on temporary racin' gear is SWEET! Lookin' good!

Well, don't get too attached to it -- in a couple of days, it'll flake right off!

Those two lines would be, I think, plenty to get across the idea.

Plus -- it occurred to me that it would be really cool and fun if the suit didn't disappear until AFTER Raph has been summoned to the BattleNexus and joined the fray with his brothers. My reason for thinking it would be cool and fun is simply this -- when the fight's over, the racing suit would be Raph's "souvenir" of his adventure with Godman and Methania, something the other guys could remark on and he can comment on (briefly, of course) before the suit deteriorates and flakes/shreds off.
-- Pete


Apr. 8, 2004: notes on Ep.76 outline

From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my notes on the Ep. 76 outline.

       1.) Here I go again! Hopefully my computer won't crash and lose everything that I've already typed twice.

I like the idea of the sonic device which flushes (no pun intended) Splinter and all the rats out of the sewers, but it does raise a possible problem, i.e.: Given how well this thing works, what's to keep Bishop or one of his associates from using it again and again in future episodes? I have a couple of suggestions for how to resolve this:
--have Don figure out -- either in this episode or in future episodes -- how to (a) "soundproof" the lair to keep Splinter safe, or (b) create some tiny earplugs that protect Sensei from this kind of sonic attack, or (c) both.
-- have Bishop or one of his minions mention in passing that this is pretty much -- practically speaking -- a "one time" use device. The reason for this is that because it creates such a disruptive mass "rat panic" and forces legions of rats out of the sewers all at once, repeated uses of it would of necessity bring down some serious investigations of the causes, and perhaps lead to inconvenient revelations about the users.
On a related note, while there is nothing inherently wrong about one large device broadcasting this sonic attack, I wonder if it would be a cooler visual if done like this: Various vans and trucks, disguised as municipal service vehicles, park near/over open manholes and their operators dump hundreds or thousands of small (egg-sized?) devices, which fall into the sewers and are carried hither and yon by the various streams and currents, effectively spreading out in a huge net of "nodes". Each of these devices is a lower power version of the large unit described in the outline, but because they are more widespread they actually have wider coverage.
These things could also be, given Bishop's penchant for and abilities in genetic engineering, bio-tech based units -- and they only operate for a short period of time, then rot and decay away, leaving no evidence. Sneaky!

2.) I like the inclusion of the idea I suggested about the counter-extraterrestrial organization being begun a long time ago -- the Civil War-era soldiers and President Grant bit are perfect.

3.) I'm not clear why the Turtles would think of taking Splinter to April -- why would they think she could help? Doesn't seem to follow logically, and I suspect that Don would be at least as capable as April of coming up with an on-the-spot theory about what might be afflicting their Sensei.
However, I do think it makes sense that they would take Splinter out of the sewers and aboveground... especially if we tweak the effects of this sonic attack a little bit, and have the Turtles themselves be able to hear, very faintly, the noise that is deafening to Splinter. This would allow Don to quickly come up with a theory about what might be happening, and thus lead to the plan to get the hell out of the sewers -- he could even use some kind of sensor gizmo that could show the sound waves propagating through the sewers.

4.) Re: the following:

"NOTE:  LeatherHead and Professor Honeycutt (a.k.a. the Fugitoid), who’s still “living” inside a palm pilot/computer, are both working building something with a little more space and mobility for the Professor (perhaps a hover disk with more memory and controls and abilities to link up to other systems and a round screen for a face).  They are doing this as the turtles arrive on the scene."

I need my memory refreshed -- what happened to the original Fugitoid body? Was it destroyed, or does it still exist somewhere? I can't recall.

5.) If someone could come up with a cool visual idea for how Bishop's subway car can quickly and easily change tracks -- I'm thinking of perhaps some kind of extending-arm system whereby the car's wheels would be on the ends of sturdy folding/telescoping arms which would allow the car to actually elevate itself several feet off the ground (and the tracks) and "crab walk" for short distances so that it could get up off one set of tracks, and "walk" over to another, then set itself down on those tracks, ready to roll again -- it would make me happy, and also add a lot more flexibility into the vehicle.

6.) Re: the following:

"Leonardo:  “Don’t let them seal that door!”

The commandos try to seal the door, but …"

Just so we're totally clear, the door in question is NOT the door of the subway car, but the door to Bishop's secret HQ. Yes?

7.) Re: the following:

"Meanwhile, Bishop is packing up DNA samples and hopes to accelerate Splinter’s “donation” of DNA; poor Splinter lies in unconsciousness having his life drained away."

There seems to be a somewhat strange treatment of science here, with the implication -- apparently -- that Bishop is "draining" Splinter of his DNA. I don't quite see how that could happen, unless he is literally sucking DNA out of Splinter -- which I think would cause severe physical damage -- not just lack of consciousness. Also, DNA -- being a basic part of cells -- can be replicated by culturing those cells. So Bishop wouldn't have to basically take Splinter apart cell by cell to get what he wants -- all he really needs is a substantial sample (which could be a vial of blood).
I think the writer was trying to do something which would work in parallel with the Turtles' struggles, a "ticking clock" which they needed to beat. Here's another idea: Bishop got the sample that he needed from Splinter, enough to perform all his future experiments, and while he has no immediate need for the rest of Splinter, the mutated rat is too interesting a specimen to just trash. So Bishop gives the order to preserve Splinter's body in a thick, clear, quick-hardening plastic -- a unique polymer of his own design, which preserves organic specimens perfectly without decay -- which is slowly flowing into the small chamber in which Splinter is imprisoned. As the clock ticks down and the fight rages, will the Turtles win out and rescue Splinter before he is encased in a solid block of clear plastic like an insect in synthetic amber?
If we used this idea, it might even be handy in the resolution of the battle if the Turtles or the Fugitoid can somehow turn the flow of the sticky polymer against their foes.

8.) Re: the following:

"Bishop finishes his leap … coming down right on Leonardo’s swords, which run Bishop through."

Cool -- but can we get away with it?

9.) Re: the following:

"With the DNA case in hand, Bishop makes it to an escape elevator, which takes him to the street above.  Close on, his wounds from Leonardo’s katana heal … almost vampiric in manner … his blood isn’t even red … it’s a greenish blue … there’s something about Bishop we don’t know yet …"

That's for sure! I hope we can at the appropriate moment bring this all together in a way which makes sense.

10.) Re: the following:

"The figure at the desk is upset … and perhaps a tad nervous.  Bishop has spent too much already.  There are a lot of questions that are being asked!

There’s an uncomfortable silence.  Then …

Bishop:  “You don’t want to get on my bad side, Mr. President.  It wouldn’t be good for your health.”

The President stays calm … “All right, Agent Bishop.  I’m going to ignore that threat because I know your work is important.  What is it that you need?”

Bishop:  “Give everything I ask for and it’s all going to be just fine.”"

While this is a little better than the original, I strongly feel that Bishop's behavior here is way too overt and not anywhere near subtle enough. I suppose we can address this at script stage, to get across the creepiness and menace of Bishop without the President looking like a wimp, or Bishop looking like an overly aggressive idiot.
Part of how we could accomplish this might be to have the President's finger hovering near a hidden "Panic Button" while he is talking with Bishop -- the pressing of which would bring in a whole squad of heavily armed commandos.

-- Pete


Apr. 8, 2004: Re: TMNT - Show 74 1st draft

From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine


comments on EP. 74 first draft

This one is looking good! Please bear in mind that regardless of any comments I make here, I defer to Stan Sakai in the matter of whether or not the UY characters are IN character, in actions and dialogue.

1.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE ON LEONARDO and USAGI, looking out over the view.  They both know what their up against, and it isn’t pretty."

"Their" should be "they're".

2.) Re: the following:

Are you alright?  You came out of nowhere and-"

"Alright"should be "All right".

3.) Re: the following:

Ninja SCUM!

You’re… a CAT?

CLOSE ON - Tomoe Ame, now on her feet, both hands tightly gripping her sword as she glares at Leo.

You won’t have him!  I don’t care how many ninja clans come!

Wait… are you a mutant, too?"

I'm not sure if it really works to have Leo doing the "You're an ANIMAL?" thing here. He's already (in "Big Brawl") met Usagi and Gen, so anthropomorphic animals should be no big deal. (This comment also applies to this line later on: 

It’s a panda!?!")

I think it would work better if we use this time for him to try to convince Tomoe Ame that he means no harm, to try to forestall a battle with her.

4.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE ON LEO – as he ducks, Tomoe’s blade cutting the air where his head WAS.  His head pops back up into frame as he pleads with her."

Hmmm... I need some reassurance that this won't somehow end up animated in a way which shows or implies that Leo has ducked his head into his shell.

5.) Re: the following:

I am not your enemy!  At least… I don’t think I am!  Let’s just talk about this!  Seriously!

ON LEO – still on the defensive, blocking Tomoe’s attacks.

Ninja TRICKS!"

I wonder if it would be better if instead of "Ninja tricks!", she says "Ninja deceit!"

6.) Re: the following:

Wait… is this JAPAN?  You don’t by any chance know a samurai named-"

This line raises an interesting issue. Stan's UY characters live in what is clearly an analog of feudal Japan, but Leo -- who comes from our world with the "real" Japan -- would know right away (or at least shortly) that given the fact that this world he finds himself in is populated by a variety of anthropomorphic animal characters, he is NOT in Japan (at least his world's Japan). SO... I think we could lose that first line ("Wait... is this JAPAN?"), and either just have the second line, or replace the first line with something different that indicates his dawning comprehension that while this is not the "real" Japan of his world, he is beginning to suspect that this is where his friend Usagi comes from.

7.) Re: the following:

"TOMOE swipes out with her katana, which one mole ninja blocks with its claws, but the mole is knocked over by the force of the blow."

I know that in a previous line the moles' claws are referred to as "hard as steel", but... given that this is a katana we are talking about, would it make more sense if the moles had some kind of ninja tool thing on their claws, or hands, that was LITERALLY made out of steel? I'm just thinking that it might seem weird that these mole claws could deflect the super-sharp blade of a katana.

8.) Re: the following:

"65. USAGI
There’s only one swordsman who fights with such honor… and always against such terrible odds.  Welcome to my world, Leonardo-san."

It's really nice of Usagi to say that about Leo... but is it really true? What about Usagi himself? Doesn't he fight with at least as much honor as Leo? I have to say the line sounds a WEE bit too gushy. I think either some other line would be appropriate -- maybe some kind of pleased surprise from Usagi that Leo has popped up out of nowhere -- or just lose it entirely.

9.) Re: the following:

Usagi!  So this IS Japan… sort of.  I wonder why-  the panda!"

As noted earlier, I think Leo should say "So this IS your world" instead of the bit about Japan. Also, instead of "the panda", I would prefer that he say "the child".

10.) Re: the following:

"Leo looks to his feet, bowing his head as well.

I… am sorry, Lord… Noriyuki.  The moles, they took her down into the tunnels.  I tried, but…"

I have no problem with Leo bowing to Noriyuki, but I thought it would work better if before this line he has a brief "Oh...!" moment where he -- somewhat belatedly -- picks up on Usagi's gesture of respect for the prince, and follows suit. Only because in Leo's world, the only person he bows to on a regular basis is Master Splinter.

11.) Re: the following:

…and then I woke up in that valley.  Next thing I knew, I was fighting alongside a sword carrying cat against ninja moles."

Again, I think the animal references are too much -- I would just have him say:

…and then I woke up in that valley.  Next thing I knew, I was fighting alongside Tomoe against those Mogura Ninja."

12.) Re: the following:

"118. GEN
Wait – you’re joking!  I can’t-

Usagi pushes Gen off the cliff, as four ARROWS <THOK!> into the cliff path where he was.  Usagi leaps off after him.  

119. GEN (O.C., CONT’D)

I know that the "I can't swim!" is the classic line in this situation from a character whose ONLY choice is to dive into some body of water to escape a threat, but I think we should pose the question to Stan -- can Gen swim? And do you feel the answer to that question is important enough to change his lines here? For example, he could say he hates cold baths or hates high dives, etc..

13.) Re: the following:

I’m glad I’m not allergic to cats."

Another animal reference, which I think we should lose. Maybe instead Leo can make a "Phew!" gesture or comment and say something like "Don't these Neko Ninja ever do laundry?"

14.) Re: the following:

"139. USAGI
Hrm.  I feel cloaked in dishonor… Let us speak of this to no one.

Oh, there’s no going back now, ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Rabbit!’

Leo moves forward.  Frowning, Usagi follows.

141. USAGI
Leonardo-san… I hope you have a back up plan.  And I am NO teenager!"

Hmmm... Leo's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Rabbit" comment is KIND of funny, but not a whole lot. I could see him saying "Ninja Rabbit" -- but why add the "Teenage Mutant" bit? I would lose it.

15.) Re: the following:

"158. USAGI
I am no NINJA!  I am a SAMURAI!"

Would this read/sound better if we lost the "a", so it went like this:

"158. USAGI
I am no NINJA!  I am SAMURAI!"

16.) Re: the following:

"160. USAGI
Your lord is safe, Tomoe Ame.  Please, hurry – we have little time.

Grabbing her hand, Usagi leads her out into the corridor… only to find them surrounded by DOZENS of Hebi’s SOLDIERS.



WIDE – the SOLDIERS escort Usagi and Tomoe down the corridor, away from the cells.  CAMERA DRIFTS UP to the ceiling – in the shadows above, LEO’s EYES open in the blackness, watching."

Because Usagi has demonstrated his ability to handle groups of armed foes quite successfully in the comics, this seems a little weird to me without some kind of explanation of WHY he would surrender so quickly and without a fight. Perhaps it is because Tomoe is unarmed and at the guards' mercy? I don't know, but I would prefer SOMETHING.

17.) Re: the following:

It’s creatures like YOU that give us HONORABLE reptiles a bad name!"

I suggest changing the word "creatures" to "guys".

18.) Re: the following:

"ON USAGI and GEN, who simultaneously SLAM their heads back, knocking the already surprised guards back.  Usagi grabs one of his swords from the downed guard, cutting through Tomoe Ame’s bonds." 

Aren't Usagi's hands still tied together at this point? Maybe Leo could give Usagi's bonds a quick slash to free him.

 -- Pete

1 comment:

  1. Regarding the Battle Nexus..was there any talk of doing a Fast Forward Battle Nexus tournament? IT'd be pretty interesting to see how Traximus, and some of the other potential longer lived characters had been doing over the last 100 years....and the Ultimate ninja would have been older again.