Friday, June 22, 2012

Blast from the Past #549: November 23, 2007: comments on TMNTTempusFugit First Draft, November 24, 2007: Re: comments on TMNTTempusFugit First Draft, and November 30, 2007: comments on TMNT Episode 155 Outline and comments on TMNT Ep. 156 Outline

Subj: comments on TMNTTempusFugit First Draft
Date: Friday, November 23, 2007 11:20:26 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my comments on the Ep. 154 first draft "Tempus Fugit":

1.) Re: the following:

Well, Donny said we needed to get to the future…and I knew Viral wouldn’t send us any place that wasn’t really scary and dangerous so… 
So you dared her to send us to some twisted future with three Shredders?!"

At this point in the script, the Turtles have only seen TWO Shredders.

2.) Re: the following:

Well, on the bright side… we are in the future now, so Donny can recalibrate Serling, right Donny?
ON SERLING – suddenly, a razor sharp CLAW <SLASHES> through his front metal plate.
CLOSE ON SERLING – the lights of his EYES dim and he collapses to the ground in a wrecked heap revealing behind him, yet ANOTHER SHREDDER!
ON DON – horrified.
At least, I would’ve been."

Don's last line here -- "At least, I would’ve been." -- doesn't seem to make any sense.

3.) Re: the following:

"WIDE – the three Shredders close in on the Turtles, Splinter and an out of commission Serling.  
We PAN UP to Viral as she watches from the sky, thoroughly enjoying the Turtle’s plight.
Welcome to the future, Turtles.  A future not so distant from your own time.  Welcome to…the Shredder Wars!"

Not that we need to get TOO much into it, but if we are going to imply something like "The Shredder Wars", it would probably be a good idea to have these warring Shredders actually act like warring Shredders might and not just start all attacking the Turtles en masse. In fact, it might be cool to have them NOT attack the Turtles directly, but have the Turtles' peril in this scene come from being caught in the crossfire of this titanic battle among the Shredders.

4.) Re: the following:

"Leo leaps up and jumps into Viral’s MOUTH.  Raph, Mikey and Splinter follow suit.
OTS DONATELLO – Viral’s head is beginning to fragment and decompile – but Donatello, still inside Serling, manages to jump into the MOUTH just before it <BLIP!> disappears completely.
A beat as the Shredders look at each other wondering exactly what just happened."

And then the Shredders should all go back to fighting one another.

5.) Re: the following:

"Serling’s ARM TURRET then rises up and takes aim at the Turtles and Splinter.
Looks as though I’ll just have to destroy you myself!  
ON THE TURTLES – still hurtling towards the LAIR…getting closer and closer.  Splinter is strangely missing.
Out of the way, guys!  She can’t hit us all!
Leonardo struggles to get front and center and make his way to Viral (still possessing Serling).
No, Leo!  I’ll take the blast!
Raph struggles to get to Viral.
I’ll do it!
Let me!"

This "Let me take the hit!" stuff doesn't make a whole lot of sense, at least as rendered in the present context, i.e. -- Why would the Turtles be worried about taking a blast from a "decompiler gun" which should only have an effect on cybernetic entities (like Viral)? Also, it seems completely silly that they would all be jostling for position to take the blast in any event -- wouldn't it make more sense that they would be acting like ninjas and actively trying to simultaneously AVOID the blast as well as find a way to defeat Viral?
Here's my suggestion for the first part of this problem: Have one of the Turtles -- Raph springs to mind -- respond with something like this when Viral threatens them with the decompiler gun: "Hah! That only works on cybernetic freaks like you!" To which Don would shout out this cautionary rejoinder: "Raph, no! While we're in the time stream, our physical bodies are converted into temporal data flows -- so we're vulnerable to the effects of the decompiler!"
The second thing is a little trickier, but I think with more clever staging of the struggle, Splinter's ultimate sacrifice could come off as less of a "Let me stand in front of the gun" suicidal bit and more of a desperately courageous act to save his sons. Remember, just because you force Viral to use up a shot because you're standing in front of her gun, it doesn't mean that she can't fire again.

6.) Re: the following:

A TIME PORTAL appears high in the sky and out of it drops the Turtles!  
Just as before, our heroes fall from the sky and land HARD on the ground in an awkward pile.
ON RAPH – his head sticking out awkwardly from the pile.
No matter how the times may change…some things just don’t."

"High in the sky"... while IN the lair? Wouldn't that be, at MOST, ceiling high?
Also, the landing in a pile gag is already tired.

7.) Re: the following:

"WIDE – Leo leaps out from the pile to his feet and begins frantically searching the LAIR.
Master Splinter?  Where are you?!
The others quickly get to their feet and join Leo in looking for their beloved Master.
He’s got to be here somewhere!"

This seems quite silly. I mean, moments ago the Turtles watched as both Splinter and Viral appeared to be completely fragmented into data bits. WHY, then, would they believe that Splinter would be somewhere to be found, whole and hearty, in the lair? It makes little to no sense.
I think a better scenario would be that when the Turtles appear in the lair, they are all "shell-shocked" by what they had just witnessed (Splinter's apparent death), and the happiness of getting back home to the lair is tempered by this awful fact. But just then they hear something over in a corner of the lair, as in the following:

"Just then, from the corner of the lair, there’s a <RUSTLING> beneath a pile of BOXES and CRATES.
The Turtles all rush over and remove the DEBRIS."

... and their sudden wild hope is that this is Master Splinter... but those hopes are crushed as they discover moments later that it's just that damn Serling.

8.) Re: the following:

"VIRAL looks around the strange realm in an attempt to get her bearings.
Uhgh…these antiquated programming codes…these rudimentary data pulses.  I must have been zapped back in time with the Turtles…and in my decompiled state, beamed to cyberspace.
Viral manages to get up and start to walk around the vast realm, at all the various virtual techno-structures.
Surely, there must be some data vault in this time with enough power to repair my damages."

I think it would be fun to throw in a bit where Viral recognizes that she is trapped now in what the "primitives" used to call "The Internet". perhaps as follows:

Uhgh…these antiquated programming codes…these rudimentary data pulses.  I must have been zapped back in time with the Turtles…and in my decompiled state, beamed to cyberspace... what primitive humans used to call "The Internet".

Also, Viral starts talking about finding a "data vault" with "enough power to repair my damages"... which is kind of gibberish, as "data vault" seems to imply something that simply stores data -- how can this repair her? I know we need/want to get her to try to break into the Shredder's secret cyberspace data vault and become possessed by the Shredder's virtual self, but I think it could be done in a better way.
Part of the problem is that it all happens in such a quick, perfunctory manner -- Viral lands in cyberspace and within a matter of seconds she has found the Shredder's "secret" data vault. It just doesn't feel right. I would suggest doing this a little differently, as follows: Take the bit where Viral partially recompiles herself and discovers she's in cyberspace in the past, and make it a shorter scene which happens BEFORE the Turtles land in the lair. Have her recognize where she is, and realizing that she has to explore this primitive realm and try to find a way to repair herself completely.
Then do the scene in the lair with the Turtles.
Then go back to Viral in cyberspace, but now give her a frustrated line or two about how she has been searching for hours and hours and hours and hasn't yet found anything of use to her. And THEN have her stumble upon the Shredder's data vault.

-- Pete


Subj: Re: comments on TMNTTempusFugit First Draft
Date: Saturday, November 24, 2007 11:37:06 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 11/23/07 5:51:49 PM, Lloyd writes:

Hey there Pete –
 Once again, you and I are on the same page (it’s a little scary, actually).   Most of your notes depict the scenes as they were originally intended, but I guess something got lost in the translation from original idea to writer’s first draft.  As always, all we be made right by the final draft.
 Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!


I guess over the years we've exchanged brain cells or something! Or maybe we're actually long-lost psychic brothers... hey, do you have half of an amulet...?

I had a good T-Day. We had it at our house this year, and my parents (who brought the turkey) and my sister came (the usual suspects) and Emily (home from college for the first time)... but we also had a few first-time T-Day guests: Jeannine's niece, up from NYC, and Dan Berger (who I think you've met at Mirage) and his wife Jess. A nice crew. And I made a new kind of cranberry sauce with fresh whole cranberries mixed with apple and mango.
Hope yours went well too!

I look forward to more outlines and scripts and stuff.

Now I have to go out and freeze my ass off on my motorcycle, because I just can't admit that winter is almost here and I have to put the bikes away again (sob, sniffle, wail). But at least I have my new long-johns and balaclava to help keep me toasty.

-- Pete

P.S. Don't know if you were aware of this, but there is a new release of the first season of the original STAR TREK show, now in high def (and with regular DVD format included) with new and cleaned-up special effects. I watched "Man Trap" and "Charlie X" last night -- pretty cool!


Subj: comments on  TMNT Episode 155 Outline
Date: Friday, November 30, 2007 11:22:04 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

comments on Ep.155 outline "Something Wicked"

1.) Re: the following:

"But, they’re also staying focused on finding Master Splinter’s data bits.  Several of them light up on the tracking device screen.  Plus, a really big energy signal is coming from one section of cyberspace.  That might be a large grouping of Master Splinter data bits.  It would be a good place to start. "

I know that we need a way for the Turtles to run into CyberShredder when they get into cyberspace, but this seems a little bit nonsensical and vague. If Don is able to track down and pinpoint lots of tiny little bits of Splinter, even while still in the "real" world, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense that the Turtles would head towards a signal just because it's a "really big" one. It stands to reason that there are an almost infinite number of energy signals in cyberspace ranging from tiny to huge, but to track one particular type (in this case, those bits that make up Master Splinter) I think you need something better to discriminate his bits from the rest of Cyberspace... NOT just "it's a big signal".

2.) Re: the following:

"The Shredder will indulge his “victims” with the “how” via a set of FLASHBACK sequences:

Sometime not so very long ago, the alien Utrom criminal known as the Shredder created a digital engram of himself, a perfectly encoded backup copy of everything that made him him, and locked it away for safekeeping in a data vault.  The very same vault that Viral unwittingly stumbled upon.

Of course, Viral is no more.  Her code has been subsumed by the Shredder.  Now, this digital Shredder, with all the memories and skills of the Utrom Shredder, as well as the capabilities of Viral, is free!"

An interesting implication of the above would seem to be that this particular incarnation of the Shredder would only have the memories of the original Utrom Shredder up to the point at which this cyber-version was created and stored. Do we have an idea of when that was? 

3.) Re: the following:

"Donatello’s almost done … when suddenly, Cyber Shredder takes shape coming up out of the ground in a <crackling> electrical surge!  He blasts Donatello first focusing on crushing Donatello’s control pad/wrist guard so that the turtles cannot escape him this time."

Logically, this should lead to a change the next time the Turtles venture into cyberspace -- namely, that there is at least ONE back-up control pad and at least one other Turtle so that they don't get stranded if they have only one and it gets destroyed.

4.) Re: the following:

"Our heroes are trapped.  It looks like the end!  The Shredder is more than ready to deliver the finishing blows to his old adversaries when …

… we hear the ghostly voice of Splinter (ghost-in-the-machine-Splinter): “My sons.”  And, a different power surge <crackles> through Cyberspace and …

… Serling can open the portal.  “An energy surge just cleared the way.  Opening Cyber Portal now.”"

I don't know about this. It seems a bit "deus ex machina". I'm concerned that we could be setting a precedent where anytime the Turtles get into a jam in cyberspace, the "ghostly voice of Splinter" will help them out of it. That seems to me to be a bit too convenient and easy. I think this bit would work almost as well without any "ghostly voice of Splinter", and just have the jeopardy coming from Serling being temporarily unable/unwilling to open the portal for the Turtles.
This bit also raises a question I think we ned to answer -- is Splinter "alive" and conscious within cyberspace, even though his data bits are spread all over? If he is, why doesn't he gather all of his bits into one place?

-- Pete


Subj: comments on TMNT Ep. 156 Outline
Date: Friday, November 30, 2007 11:42:39 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

comments on Ep. 156 outline "The Engagement Ring"

1. Re: the following:

"Casey falls!  But with his last strength, he opens the valve on a fire hydrant – blasting April with water.  She falls to the ground.  Her demeanor softens.   She has a moment of clarity…"

That's some "last bit of strength"! Does he carry a wrench around with him? Might be good to make this bit a little more believable.

2.) Re: the following:

"Jin explains.  It is called the ring of Yin.  It is over 5,000 years old.  And its powers are great.  The ring harnesses the evil that lies buried deep inside everyone and makes it real.  It taps into your darkest fantasies, fears, desires – and gives them form.  The longer you wear it, the greater its power.  Your former goodness will fade.  You’ll become your own inner demon.  Literally.  And the thought of Hun’s inner demon is too frightening to imagine.  “That’s crazy,” says Raph.  “Is it any crazier than a talking turtle?” asks Jin.   Point taken.  But what can they do about it now?"

I'm not exactly sure HOW to address this, but if we accept the explanation that Jin gives for the way the ring works, it might be a good idea to think about exactly WHAT April's "darkest fantasies, fears, desires" are, and let them inform what shapes and powers she manifests. Right now, everything that ring-transformed April does seems to me to be more of a generic "evil demon" nature, with nothing particularly April-specific.
For example, one wacky thing that just popped into my head was -- what if one of April's darkest fantasies/desires was to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? We could have some fun with a weird, twisted version of April as a TMNT... hey, maybe even a sly slam on the silly "Venus" female Turtle character from the "TMNT/The Next Mutation" live action show.

-- Pete

1 comment:

  1. a evil turtle april would have been fun. she was only turned into a turtle once in archie, I think.