Sunday, July 8, 2012

Blast from the Past #562: February 12, 2008: Re: TMNT165SuperPowerStruggleOUTv2, February 13, 2008: Re: TMNT163 Second Draft, and February 14, 2008: Re: TMNT166WeddingBellsandBytesOUT

Subj: Re: TMNT165SuperPowerStruggleOUTv2
Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:36:24 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

P. Laird comments on Ep. 165 "Super Power Struggle" version 2

First, thanks to whoever was responsible for reworking this outline -- I think this version works much better than the last one.

1.) Re: the following:

"Meanwhile, the Hooded Man is trying to purchase the cape from the vendor who’s displaying it.  But having no luck.  As the vendor tells him, the cape has been in his family for generation and is strictly a showpiece.  It’s not for sale.  But the Hooded Man won’t take no for an answer and soon grabs the cape!"

If this is indeed a cape which bestows super powers upon the person who wears it, are we to assume that this guy who is displaying it, and who says it's a family heirloom, DOES (or DOES NOT) know its special nature? It strikes me that someone (especially a comics fan) who owned such an artifact would be likely to try it on, in which case that person would discover the marvelous nature of the cape. Perhaps we could do a quick bit where the vendor in question is boasting about how this cape has been sealed in its air-tight case since he came into possession of it years ago (much like those "slabbed" CCG comics are these days) -- he could even say something about it being in "near-mint condition" or words to that effect.

2.) Re: the following:

"Back at Justice Force HQ, the JF doesn’t quite know what to make of the recent developments.  There are so many questions: where did this cape come from?  How did Malignus know about it?  What should they do with it?

Turtle Titan: “You should give it to me!”

But that idea is quickly overruled – after all, if not for Raphael, this cape would be in the hands of Dr. Malignus right now.  It seems only fair that Raphael should maintain possession.  Besides, the cape seems to suit him."

It might be good here to show (briefly) HOW the cape "seems to suit" Raph. I'm thinking perhaps some scenes of him lifting huge weights, practicing flying moves, etc. would be appropriate. Maybe these actions could take place in the backgrounds of scenes of the JF members talking about the cape.

3.) Re: the following:

"Raph: “Ya know, Mikey.  I gotta say, you’re taking this really well.  I thought you’d put up a fight for that cape.”

Mikey: “Nah, it’s back with its rightful owner!  Besides, I managed to keep a little tear off it.”

Mikey shoots a quick laser beam out of his eyes at Raph!  Raph jumps
out of the way chases Mikey over the rooftops as we…"

Hmm... this is kind of a funny denouement, but it only really works if we see this "laser beam eye" power displayed earlier in the story. Also -- are we setting up a problem for later episodes here? I mean, will Mikey want to hold on to this piece of the magic cape and thus be shooting laser beams out of his eyes in future episodes?
Actually, just as I finished writing that last line, I had this wacky vision of the following scene: Raph chases off after Mikey, and as they go leaping off over rooftops, Mikey accidentally drops the little torn-off piece of cape. He can't stop to go back for it, because an angry Raph is on his tail. So as they go running off over the rooftops, we follow the little bit of cape flutter down, down... finally landing in an alleyway... where it is picked up by a curious bug (a roach, maybe?), which becomes a SUPER BUG!!!
Or maybe that's too silly.

-- Peter


Subj: Re: TMNT163 Second Draft
Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 1:16:26 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

P. Laird comments on Ep. 163 Virtual Reality Check second draft

1.) Re: the following:

That doesn’t make any sense.  I just ran a diagnostics before we went in."

Should that be "diagnostic" (singular)?

2.) Re: the following:

Do you want any help, Donny?
*DONATELLO is lost in thought looking at his ruined equipment.
*Donatello feels a little crowded and takes a step forward.
Oh … no thanks, guys … I have a lot of work to do, and in all honesty, I’m afraid you guys would just be in the way …"

I wonder if it would be good to have Don saying here that April and Serling will be enough help (as they know their way around tech stuff).
Actually, that just made me think that it might be fun for the three Turtles who are going out for a rooftop run to include Casey... and maybe even have something horrible happen to Casey when they're out! That could temporarily freak out the Turtles... and our viewers! (Of course, WE know -- and the Turtles will too, eventually -- that nothing happened to the REAL Casey, just his cyberspace duplicate.)
Actually, this could dovetail quite nicely into the scene already in this script, later on, when April and Casey show up in the Hauler and (apparently) suicidally run it into the side of a building. Imagine this scenario: During the Turtles' rooftop run/excursion, something horrible happens to Casey, something which kills/vaporizes him (could be any number of things). The Turtles are horrified and grief-stricken, and when April shows up in the Hauler, they have to give her the bad news. To their bafflement, she takes it in stride... right before she runs the Hauler into the side of that building and appears to perish herself!

3.) Re: the following:

"*CLOSE ON – DONATELLO as he waves distractedly (focusing on his melted equipment).
I won’t.
*PULL OUT TO INCLUDE – SERLING, APRIL AND CASEY are all three “crowding” Donatello a little … 
Do you want any help, Donny?"

As I mentioned earlier, I think it would make sense that Don -- who at this point thinks he has to basically rebuild the entire portal -- would gladly want and accept the help of April and Serling. Something else occurred to me, a smallish detail which is not vital BUT might be a nice touch: Because Don is being tricked into revealing HOW he built his physical cyber portal, it is important that all of the important details of the project are surreptitiously being transmitted to the Foot Techs so that THEY can build a duplicate portal for the Shredder to use. Maybe just observing Don isn't enough -- they have to know DETAILS, including things that are in his head but that he might not be sharing with anyone. So maybe the fake cyber-April suggests that they create a detailed record -- an owner's "shop manual", if you will -- of how Don built the portal... just in case anything like this happens again while Don is still in cyberspace, and April and Serling have to rebuild the portal by themselves.

4.) Re: the following:

It really doesn’t.  None of it … unless … we’re not where we think we are.
Come again?
Remember the Foot mystics and what they did to us?
Do I!  Those freaks!  [gets it]  Wait a minute …"

I'm pretty sure this is in reference to something that happened in a previous episode which I have only a vague memory of. Perhaps it would be good to give the viewers a bit more information re: what Leo is referring to.

5.) Re: the following:

Donatello’s rebuilding the Cyber Portal equipment from the ground up!  The Shredder can copy it to build his own!"

Just to get the idea over a little bit more succinctly, I suggest the following change to Leo's lines:

Donatello’s rebuilding the Cyber Portal equipment from the ground up!  If the Shredder is somehow watching him do it, he'll have all the information he needs to have the Foot build his own portal!"

6.) Re: the following:

Leo’s right!  Forget Mr. Cyber Pants!  We have to move!
The three turtles use their HAND HELD DEVICES to <MANIFEST> their CYBER VEHICLES.
THE THREE TURTLES <RACE> off in the direction of “home.”
THE CYBER SHREDDER watches them go with anger and gives chase …
… by DIGITIZING apart and becoming a <CRACKLING> WAVE of dark energy that <SURGES> along behind the turtles.
<ZOOM><ZOOM><ZOOM> THREE CYBER VEHICLES carrying Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo come racing by CAMERA …
WIDER – A <CRACKLING> wave of dark energy, Shredder in ENERGY FORM chases the three Cyber Vehicles."

I'm not completely sure if this would work, but because it might offer Playmates a cool toy opportunity, I'm going to suggest it. What if the Shredder had his own version of the Turtles' "cyber vehicles"? Imagine a cool, nasty-looking Shredder-style Ripper. This could be something that the Foot Techs have programmed and uploaded into cyberspace for the Shredder to use... and it might be a cooler visual than a wave of dark enegery (not that that is necessarily bad).

7.) Re: the following:

Khan!  What is the progress on the Cyber Portal!?"

It just occurred to me that if we could come up with a clever name for the physical cyber portal -- the one which is here in the real world and which is the instrument by which cyber things are converted into "real" things -- it would go a long way towards reducing confusion between this type of physical portal and the "virtual cyber portals" which the Turtles use when they are in cyberspace and need to leave. One name which came to me was "cybermat" (short for "Cyber/Matter Transfer"). I like it also because it reminds me of the Utroms' (or was it the Fugitoid's?) "transmat" device.

8.) Re: the following:

There’s no riding around that thing.
Then, we ride through it!
Shell yeah!
The three turtles <CRANK> the throttles on their Cyber Vehicles and go <RIDING> right at the massive sheer rock wall that faces them … they get closer and closer …
WIDE SHOT TO SHOW THAT IT’S A MASSIVE ROCK FACE (almost like a Tron-esque/stone Half Dome from Yosemite) as the three turtle race up to it and …
MICHELANGELO looks worried … he closes his eyes and grimaces readying himself for impact and …
Cowabunga …?
<WHOOSH!>  THE THREE TURTLES go into the massive rock face … 
<WHOOSH!> THE THREE TURTLES come riding out the other side of the rock face …
CLOSER ON – RAPHAEL grins ear to ear.  Michelangelo’s eyes are still closed.  He opens them.
Wow.  I knew we could do a lot in Cyber Space … but ride through mountains.
Like …?
Bending time and space!
And getting back to the lair a lot faster!
Both Leonardo and Raphael look at Michelangelo.
Let’s go home!
*They CLOSE their eyes and start FOCUSING and suddenly, they start to BEND and STRETCH and ELONGATE (WARPING) and <BLINK>!  They’re GONE!"

I'm sorry, but I hate this. As I pointed out in my previous notes, this "close your eyes and wish it" stuff leads nowhere, dramatically. Think about it -- from now on (if this is allowed) all the Turtles have to do to get out of a sticky situation is just close their eyes and wish their way out. That's lame.
And worse, I don't even see the NEED for it in this scene!

9.) Re: the following:

ON A CYBER PORTAL – The four turtles come out of the portal and into reality.
WIDER – CASEY, APRIL and SERLING are there.  Michelangelo rushes over and HUGS Casey and April.
You guys had me worried sick.  I was locked out of the system."

I think we need to have April say something a little different than that she was "locked out of the system", which implies that something was keeping her from successfully operating the cyber portal (which really wasn't the case). Given that the essence of the Shredder's manipulation of the Turtles was to keep them from knowing exactly where they where, all he needed to do (from his end, in cyberspace) was to interfere with the Turtles' ability to communicate back to the "real" world. This he could accomplish through some clever manipulation of the Turtles' "virtual" communications systems. So instead of April saying " I was locked out of the system", perhaps instead she could say something like "I lost all communication with you!"

10.) Re: the following:

At least we know that getting Master Splinter out of Cyber Space is possible … because of the Shredder …"

I don't get this bit. Why would Don say this? We already know -- from the Turtles' many trips to cyberspace and back -- that a physical person can be "digitized", sent to cyberspace, then "un-digitized" back into reality. We also know that Splinter was "digitized" In the first episode of this season), so logically all that needs to be done is gather up all of his essential "bits" and run him through the portal.

-- Peter


Subj: Re:   TMNT166WeddingBellsandBytesOUT
Date: Thursday, February 14, 2008 11:56:57 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

P. Laird comments on Ep. 166 Wedding Bells and Bytes outline

1.) Re: the following:

"ON SPLINTER – eyes bright: “I’ve left cyberspace behind, my sons.   For the first time in a long time – I’m my old self again!”  But just then, our <score> turns… ominous! Camera pushes in ECU through the PUPIL of Splinter’s EYE!  And there, shockingly, we see: BINARY CODE! Streaming 1s and 0s fall past CAMERA, Matrix style, dominating SCREEN!  <Dnn-dnn-DNNN!>  His old self again?   Not so fast! "

Hmm... not loving this. I have another idea which I will get to presently.

2.) Re: the following:

"Mikey leans back and smiles: “I can’t wait, dudes.  I love weddings!”  Asks Leo, incredulous:  “When were you ever at a wedding?”  Offers Mikey:  “Been to?  Never.  Seen on TV?  All the time.  Every series has a wedding episode eventually, dude.

That's very funny! (And pretty true as well!)

3.) Re: the following:

"The hauler pulls up to CASEY’S GRANDMA’S HOUSE.  Everybody spills out.  The last one being Splinter - held up by Don. Suddenly: “SPLINTER!!!!!”  April & Casey run out the front door - ecstatic!  April hugs Splinter tight!  Casey pumps his hand!  They’re THRILLED to see him alive & well!  Alive, yes.  But well?  Nope!  Splinter keels in PAIN!  “Arrgh!”  Everybody REACTS!   Shouts Don: “Let’s get him inside!  Quickly!”  Everybody rushes Splinter inside as we.. DISSOLVE TO: 

THE LIVING ROOM – LATER.  Splinter sits in a chair, wrapped in a blanket; he’s recovered, but weak.  Don stands at his side, scanning intently, all business.  Beside him, tech equipment from the hauler.  His brothers and April watch concerned.  Casey steps in with a cup of tea: “This should help ya feel better Master S.  I found an old tea bag in Grandma’s cabinet.  Almost missed it under all that dust.”  “Er… thank you, Casey,” says Splinter.  He sips: “I’m not sure what came over me.”  Raph states the obvious: “What came over ya?  Master, you were just put back together again! Yer bound ta feel some aches!  Right, Donny? <Beat> Donny?” But Donny doesn’t answer. He remains focused on the scanner.  Casey scrunches his brow: “Man, livin’ in Cyberspace as a bunch a broken up data bits! What was that like?”"

All of this stuff with Splinter keeling over in agony from some mysterious problem doesn't work for me. The major reason is that if Splinter was in such obvious distress, the wedding would be put on hold -- at the very least, Donatello wouldn't bother himself with such a relative triviality if Splinter was seriously ill.
And with my alternative idea (which I will get to shortly), this isn't even necessary.

3.) Re: the following:

"Meanwhile, in the ATTIC, Don has set up a lab.  He’s running a more thorough scan – but he can already confirm what the teaser hinted at.  Splinter’s data bits are all together, but he’s not completely organic. Says Don: “Master, you’re showing residual effects of cyberspace! On some subatomic level you’re still… digital!"

Once more, not loving this "not completely organic" stuff.

4.) Re: the following:

"Downstairs, Casey rushes past Leo and Raph to open the door. A priest stands in the doorway.  Casey envelops him in a bear hug: “Father Pete– you’re here!” He spins to introduce Pete to Leo & Raph – only to find that they’re now wearing… disguises?  Yup.  Wigs, beards & glasses.  Casey laughs: “Guys, Pete is here ta marry me; he’s known me since I was born. And he knows all my secrets!  Dontcha, Padre?”  Pete smiles: “I can’t say.”  Casey grins: “No stickin’ ta the shadows today, guys!  Today, everybody is – <winks>- in the know!”  "

I don't think we need this "Father Pete" character. Instead, why not use an existing character ("Stainless" Steve Steel comes to mind... though it might be even cooler/funnier/more unexpected if Casey and April were married by the Fugitoid -- maybe Prof. Honeycutt, prior to becoming the Fugitoid, had religious training) and reveal that he is also an ordained minister in some appropriate faith? That way, we can (a) enhance an existing character, and (b) keep it in the family.

5.) Re: the following:

"Indeed!  CUT OUTSIDE – as the GUESTS pour in!  Mortu!  Leatherhead! Justice Force members! Angel! The Fugitoid!  Usagi/Gen!  Sid!  Ancient One!  And the Ninja Tribunal!"

I love the idea that all these guest stars will be attending, but... Sid? I can't remember -- did we do a story where he and Casey became friends again? Otherwise, I don't see him being invited.

6.) Re: the following:

"CUT TO: Low, sinister angle on Splinter. He smiles wide, his posture changing: “You’re right, fool, I’m not.”  We can see the rafters above him as he raises his arms high and calls out – “I AM THE SHREDDER!!” And with that, an endless swarm of ninjas rappel from the rafter, pour in thru every window, step out from every shadow… and ATTACK!!!!!!!! The heroic guests and Foot Soldiers fight!  It’s chaos!!!!!"

Hmm... somehow, Foot ninjas have managed to arrive AND hide in the rafters unnoticed by ANY of the heroic guests? I seriously doubt it.

7.) Re: the following:

"Splinter stands – triumphant!  “And now, behold!  Your beloved father is – NO MORE!!!!!!”  They watch in horror as their once beloved and trusted mentor digitally morphs before their eyes.  His body spasms & mutates into something dark & wrong until ‘Splinter’ is phased out of existence all together – and in his place, standing fully realized before them, is…THE SHREDDER!"

This is probably as good a time as any to talk about my main problem with this outline. I have never been a big fan of the "good character possessed/replaced by evil character" story line -- it's a staple (unfortunately) of many a comic book or tv episode or movie, and to my way of thinking it's lazy drama.
Coupled with that, I really, REALLY don't like this kind of mixing of the digital and non-digital worlds, ESPECIALLY this bit with Splinter transforming into the Shredder! No doubt it would be a cool visual, but to my mind it just doesn't make any sense. It flies right in the face of what I have been harping on for the last couple of months. i.e. going from cyberspace to real space requires special technology (like Don's "cybermat" portal, or the one which the Shredder copied from Don's design) -- it can't just happen ANYWHERE!
It also disappoints as the way to wrap up the final episode of the season. After all of the effort that has gone into finding Splinter's data bits and carefully storing them, we want to see Splinter whole again, back to normal in the real world. What we DON'T want to see is a Splinter who is somehow "corrupted" and still partially digital... and thus forever suspect ("Is he really Splinter?"). And it really doesn't say a lot for Donatello's smarts, does it -- that he allowed the Shredder to so manipulate Splinter's "code" without even noticing it?
There are a lot of other goofy things that I won't get into (although I have to give special mention to the bit where Don sends out "an electro magnetic pulse – strong enough to wake the dead!" -- WTF??!!), as I think serious reconfiguration needs to happen with this outline.
That being said, I have an alternative idea which would satisfy me as well as allow us to have the big blowout wedding/battle that we want. Here it is: Yes, the Cyber Shredder DID do something to one or more of Splinter's data bits, but in a small way, and too subtly even for clever Donatello to pick up on it. What he did was to reconfigure a few of the data bits so that when Splinter was reassembled and converted back to reality, a tiny homing device -- perhaps smaller than one of Splinter's hairs (maybe hidden INSIDE one of those hairs... and you know he has a lot of them!) -- was also created. This homing device allowed the Shredder to locate and track down Splinter... and, by extension, the Turtles. And how delicious it is for the Shredder -- it just so happens that when he tracks them down, they have all gathered for Casey and April's wedding, along with a number of other past enemies of the Shredder, all in one place so he can conveniently dispose of them at one time!

Anyway, that's my idea. I am certainly open to other, perhaps better ones. But I am not happy with the outline as it stands.

-- Peter


  1. that's another thing that bothered me. i know it's thirty minutes or less and tough to fit in. but Mortu and Karai had no reaction at all to The Shredder. At least we saw Mortu fighting the foot, but for Karai, she just sort of vanished..

    I also didn't care for all the screaming when the bar came down. seasoned warriors wouldn't make that noise :)

  2. Re:
    "The Turtles are horrified and grief-stricken, and when April shows up in the Hauler, they have to give her the bad news. To their bafflement, she takes it in stride... right before she runs the Hauler into the side of that building and appears to perish herself!"

    This was a fantastic idea, and I thank you for recommending it. That was probably the most memorable part of the whole episode for me.