Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blast from the Past #558: January 20, 2008: Re: TMNT159IncredibleShrinkingSerlingDr2, and January 21, 2008: Re: TMNT164 Outline and Re: TMNT160IdentityCrisisDr2

Subj: Re:   TMNT159IncredibleShrinkingSerlingDr2
Date: Sunday, January 20, 2008 8:16:33 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Matt at 4Kids


I'll try to elaborate a little more on why I objected to the things mentioned below.

-- Peter

<<In a message dated 1/19/08 2:02:19 PM, Matt writes:

Hi Pete,

Thank you for the notes.
 Just wanted to make our case for four small items that you flagged:

"ON THE TIME WINDOW.  It PULSATES with power.  Force field/energy matrix start to SWIRL around Serling, enveloping him and... causing him to TOTALLY DISASSEMBLE!  His limbs, outer shell, nuts, bolts, anything, everything come UNDONE.  Serling now looks like an "exploded diagram" -- all his parts exposed in three dimensions, separated so we can see each one.  The parts hover, suspended mid-air, then fall to the floor in a pile.
Let’s try that again.
*Serling’s arm crawls towards a screwdriver."

     That's a painfully silly sight gag suitable for a Tex Avery cartoon... not this one.

"*ON THE TIME WINDOW: It PULSATES.  An energy matrix envelops Serling and <ZAP> he vanishes!  Then suddenly an energy matrix reappears. But completely discombobulated – his arm is where his head should be, leg where his arm should be, head where his but should be.  "

     And this is ANOTHER painfully silly sight gag. Both this and the previous one waste time and are -- as I see it -- unnecessary.
<< We feel like this (and the previous malfunction) were both necessary to set up that Serling’s Time Window is dangerously unpredictable, and therefore better sell the feasibility that Serling could be shrunken down and transported to various times that he did not intend to be transported to.
 That said, we’ve attempted to tone down the overall silliness in both these sequences. >>

I think that simply the fact that Serling is trying to make the Time Window HIMSELF, without the help of Donatello, is enough to imply that whatever he comes up with, it's very likely NOT going to work the way he wants it to. And as for the two ways that Serling gets tweaked by his faulty TIme Window (disassembing and discombobulating), either of them seems to be enough to completely Serling completely inoperative... which would make this a pretty short episode. However, I will reserve judgement until I see how you have "toned down" the silliness.

<<"ON RAPH: Toy Bots swipe at him with razor sharp, clawed fingers.  Raph leaps over one, and ducks under the other.  The claws slice through the metal stand of a gumball machine.  The stand falls, glass shatters, gum rolls.

ON MIKEY: pinned to the floor by waves of tiny Bots, crawling up his legs, arms, chest, like red army ants. "

     This is getting a little out of hand. WHY would the toymaker create a version of Serling with claws which can slice through metal? Not only that, but how COULD he? The same goes for the "waves of tiny Bots"... unless this guy has been to the future, I would think creating things of this level of sophistication would be beyond him.
 <<We’ve made a revision so that the gumball machine now has a plastic stand rather than metal.

As for the “waves of tiny bots” we’re thinking that these bots aren’t so advanced/sophisticated as they are plentiful, playing into the crazed obsession of Wendell who has spent so many of his days and nights obsessing on Serling and creating different versions of him.  We’ll definitely see to it that the bots don’t look like something from out of Fast Forward. >>

Hmm... maybe. I guess I am having a problem seeing how one of the Turtle Tots could be overwhelmed by what are essentially little wind-up robots. I mean, they can't weigh too much, right? Why can't he just brush them off? Maybe if they had some kind of simple grasping or gripping mechanism that allow them to grab and hold on to Mikey. Or maybe they have some kind of built-in spool of string or twine (perhaps meant as a cool "action feature" allowing the robots to lower themselves from high perches) with which they could wraph Mikey up and "pin" him down.

<<     12.) Re: the following:

"DRAMATIC LOW ANGLE ON THE ULTRA TOY BOT – stomping toward the Tots. It’s a massive, terrifying Robo-monster.  It’s right arm capped with an enormous, mounted, pulsating LASER CANON. "

     A "laser cannon"?!?!?! Come on....!
 <<Here’s where we were coming from on this: you made a good point earlier when you said that unless Wendell had been to the future, creating things of this level of sophistication would be beyond him – we agree and were operating on the idea that since Wendell saw Serling use a similar laser cannon (back when he was a boy) he had at least some knowledge of future-tech and, as he explains, “worked off memory” to create something similar here.  Of course, Wendell didn’t have the opportunity to study the tech beyond that laser cannon he saw, so we’ve seen to it that this laser cannon is not as hi-tech as Serling’s (as we see when he actually blasts the Turtles with it and it merely dazes them).>>

I'm still not loving the idea of it being a "laser" cannon. That seems to be getting REALLY far away from a "toy" concept. Could we make it a cannon which shoots something else? Something that would be dangerous but not quite as destructive?
 <<Thanks again for the notes, Pete!  You’ll be receiving a 3rd draft soon.  As always, if you’re still have concerns (on any of the above items or anything else) just let us know and we’ll happily make further revisions!




Subj: Re: TMNT164 Outline
Date: Monday, January 21, 2008 1:32:50 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

P. Laird comments on Ep. 164 outline "City Under Siege"

1.) Re: the following:

"Don: “Anything in the entire city that’s linked to a computer is under their control.  Everything from rail switches to ATM machines to—“

Leo: “Water valves...?”

With a horrifying groan the old pumps are blasted open by water pressure, and the lair starts to flood!  Everyone piles into the new BattleShell and they escape."

I am always cautious about doing anything that trashes the Turtles' lair without a VERY GOOD REASON, and that includes flooding it. But more than that, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me that an antique pumping station, one old enough to be ABANDONED (so that the Turtles could make it their own) would be connected to the city's computer network.
We should find some other thing that affects the lair -- perhaps the power grid is being messed with, and the Turtles lose power to most if not all of the things in the lair that are electrically powered. (Don may have installed some back-up generators to run critical gadgets.)

2.) Re: the following:

"Once on the streets, the Turtles notice something really creepy: every public telephone in the city starts to ring.  They stop the vehicle, and Leo gets out to answer one of them.  A familiar voice is on the other end:

Shredder: “I’m back.

Just then, every video billboard in the city displays an image of the Shredder!  He glares down at the Turtles and laughs triumphantly...


The Shredder tells the Turtles that he is now in total control of the city... and he intends to use it to finish them.  Leo appeals to him:

Leo: “But innocent people could get hurt!

Shredder: “Have you already forgotten that I don’t care about innocent people?”>>

The Shredder in this series was always working BEHIND the scenes, growing his power base without being overt about it like some wacky Marvel Comics supervillain. Given that, it seems more than a little weird that he is doing all these very public things to announce his return. And what is it going to mean to most of the city to have this guy that they never knew about in the first place saying "I'm back"?
Also, are we saying these are "two-way" video billboards -- the Shredder can see and hear the Turtles as they watch him on the billboard? That's a little odd.
And Leo's "But innocent people could get hurt!” line is really pretty naively goofy and pointless.

3.) Re: the following:

"April: “And Master Splinter?  What happens to those data bits we just found if we bring the grid down?”

Don: “Erased.  Forever.”

Raphael says that’s not an option.  There has to be a way to rescue them.  Mikey suggests using Serling.  They could hook Serling up to the network and download the data bits before they cut the power.  Don says it could work... but it would have to be done from the main server."

Just to be clear here -- are we saying that these are the last bits of Splinter that need to be gathered? If so, then the next episode should feature the return of Splinter.

-- Peter


Subj: Re: TMNT160IdentityCrisisDr2
Date: Monday, January 21, 2008 2:39:51 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

P. Laird comments on Ep. 159 "Identity Crisis" second draft

1.) Re: the following:

"*MIKEY’S POV – Something strange is happening to Cyber Space.  A wave DARK ENERGY is coming at them … a black wave … almost the opposite of cyberspace … a POWER DRAIN …
*April is monitoring the system … she looks concerned.
Guys, are you seeing this?  There’s some kind of massive power drain … or something … it looks bad …
*WIDER DOWN ANGLE - The strange menacing wave <RACES> at the peak where the four turtles are.  It’s coming from all sides."

As I mentioned in my last set of notes, this "power drain" thing seems to be a weird way to represent the cyber-virus that the Shredder is using to infect the Turtles' cyber-identities. I would imagine a virus being something a lot sneakier and less overt... I mean, doing it this way, the Shredder is actually giving the Turtles warning that something bad is coming.

2.) Re: the following:

It was like they didn’t even know me.
Lucky them.
April shoots Serling a look … Serling is repentant …
Sorry April.  I can’t help the sarcasm.  It’s simply part of my programming.
You got anything in that programming that will tell me why my friends kicked my butt seven ways from Sunday?!"

It might help here if Casey mentions that he noticed the odd fact that the Turtles were wearing Foot gear/insignia.

3.) Re: the following:

Of course.  Logic dictates that they were effected in Cyberspace … probably by the Shredder.
Duh.  Did you check their brains?
If you mean, some kind of cerebral tampering, the answer is yes and yes."

First, it should be "affected", not "effected".
Second, Casey's line here is very odd. How is Serling expected to be able to "check their brains"?

4.) Re: the following:

It infected the turtles in Cyberspace … 
Casey is behind them looking over their shoulders.
… wiping their brains clean reprogramming them to think they work for the Foot.  We’ve already started upgrading the anti-virus …"

Rather than have to deal later with the tricky problem of how the Turtles' brains get un-wiped, perhaps it would be better to have April say something about their minds having been altered or blocked in some way to make them forget key information. "Wiping clean" implies the wholesale destruction or elimination of information... and if that is in fact what happened, how is that information supposed to be restored?

5.) Re: the following:

"April uses a TRACKING DEVICE that is <BEEPING> …
I’m picking up the residual energy from Cyberspace.  It has to be the turtles … it’s faint … that way …"

I think it should be the "residual energy from the Cyberspace portal" that April is picking up.

6.) Re: the following:

Which means, that if we can somehow trigger a memory, a strong memory, a favorite memory in the turtles subconscious mind, that should help break the virus’ hold on their brains and the virus should simply vanish."

I think that should be "the turtles' subconscious minds" (plural).

7.) Re: the following:

""*ON – TURTLE X gets back to “his” feet with April inside.
April, the full download could have been interrupted.
We’ll just have to wait … and hope."

"The full download..."? Huh? What does that mean?
Uh-oh... reading further on, I can see that the intent here is to somehow have April downloading specific memories into the Turtles' heads. That is, as I see it, a big problem... as in "How the heck is that even POSSIBLE if they are not in cyberspace?" And then the second big problem is -- where did these memories that April is supposedly downloading into the Turtles' head COME FROM? Does she have some kind of back-up hard drive where the Turtles have stored their favorite memories? More than a bit ridiculous, I think.
It occurs to me that it might make more sense if April is using Serling's "blasters" to somehow physically affect the Turtles' brains. Perhaps she has figured out a specific frequency which will stimulate the memory centers in their brains.
And when you think about it, those memories don't necessarily have to be the best or happiest ones... but the ones which most powerfully remind the Turtles of who they are.

8.) This draft is significantly better than the first one, but I am disappointed that one point I brought up before has been ignored. The point is as follows (quoting from my previous comments):

"Why, after successfully rendering the Turtles so vulnerable, does Master Khan pretend -- and work to make them believe -- that they are actually servants of the Shredder? Why not just eliminate them once and for all? Isn't that what the Shredder has been trying to do for a long time?"


"I still think it would be more logical -- and interesting -- for the Shredder to send the mind-controlled Turtles after the Purple Dragons rather than waste their incredible fighting abilities doing relatively silly things like rob banks, steal jewelry, etc.. But this more pedestrian stuff MIGHT work if it was emphasized that the Turtles are being used this way in large part to humiliate them. In fact, it might be good to have a line or two where Master Khan asks WHY the Shredder isn't sending them up against the Purple Dragons, and the Shredder could make his reasons clear."

It would only take a few lines between Khan and the Shredder to make this clear. It would also serve to make the Shredder seem more diabolical (always a good thing, right?).

-- Peter

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