Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blast from the Past #577: May 20, 2002: Re: Script and outlines, and May 21, 2002: Re: TMNT Logos, Re: Our first backgrounds!!, and Re: First script

Subj: Re: Script and outlines
Date: Monday, May 20, 2002 8:55:21 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 5/20/02 4:10:27 PM, Lloyd writes:

Hi Peter -

Just a heads up that tomorrow morning I should receive the first draft of
our first episode!  And later in the week I should get outlines for episodes
2 and 3!

Hope ya had a nice weekend!



I look forward to seeing all of that stuff. Thanks for sending along the lineup of Turtles via fax today.  I think it looks pretty good, although Raphael may be just a smidgen too broad.

I did have a good weekend, even though -- can you believe it? -- we got SNOW!! In May! Give me a break! (It's all gone now, thank goodness.)



Subj: Re: TMNT Logos
Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 9:49:58 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 5/21/02 11:38:00 AM, Lloyd writes:

Hi all,

Here are a few 1st shot ideas we generated for Turtle logos.




While I like the organic style of the lettering of "Ninja Turtles" in the #3 logo, I'm afraid to say none of these do much for me. Logo #4 has some potential -- the gestural nature of the strokes in the word "TURTLES" is nice and strong, but the "TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA" lettering is weak (given that these words/letters in this type of layout are of necessity smaller than the word "TURTLES", might it be better to have more blocky letters as in the original logo?). Not sure the logo really needs a background, either.
Seeing these first shots makes me wonder what effect is being looked for here -- is the emphasis to be on the word "TURTLES" (as in the original logo) or on the words "NINJA TURTLES" (as in most of these logos)? And is there a rationale for either approach? One of the strengths of the logo that Playmates came up  with last time around was that the word "TURTLES" really stood out and became an iconic shape which was identifiable even at small sizes or from a distance (which is what you want in a logo, I think). I also think we should consider keeping the red/green emphasis of the original.
One thing that just occurred to me when looking at the asymmetrical shape of the words "NINJA TURTLES" in logo #3 -- would it be possible to tweak those shapes into ROUGHLY the shape of half of the classic "Yin/Yang" symbol (in green), and then do the words "TEENAGE MUTANT" in a similar fashion as the other half of the "Yin/Yang" symbol (in red)? It might not work, but maybe...



Subj: Re: Our first backgrounds!!
Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 10:10:23 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 5/21/02 5:54:09 PM, Lloyd writes:

Howdy all-

Here are our first background sketches!

This is for the scene in the first episode, page 15 - EXT. ALLEY - LOADING

001 is the wide shot of the alley.   002 is the Turtles' point of view from
the rooftop!

Please get back to me with any comments by tomorrow 2 pm NYC time!

Thanks mucho!



They look fine to me. Nice drawings. (I assume the finished art will show give more "grungy" detail to the alleyway...?)



Subj: Re: First script
Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 10:12:52 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


I just finished reading the first draft of the first script and I am generally quite pleased by it. It has good action, drama, and humor. My problems with it are few and listed below:

1.)  Pg. 1: I think the tense of Leo's "voiceover" thoughts in the "Preview" should be present as opposed to past (i.e., "We have" versus "We had", "they aren't about to" versus "they weren't about to", and "He's wrong" versus "He was wrong"). I think present tense sounds better, adds a nice immediacy to the scene, and just makes more  sense (this "Preview" is, literally, a preview of a scene seen later in the show, and isn't a flashback or at any time being told by any character in the past tense). Unlike a typical "teaser" opening to a show, this "Preview" doesn't really start the story -- instead it really does "tease" the viewer with some hint of what is to come (at least, that is my understanding of the way you described it).

2.) Pgs. 2-3: Groan! The "balance training with a pencil" thing is a bit which as far as I'm concerned has sadly hopped the line between silly (sometimes acceptable) to stupid (not acceptable). I think I understand what the writer was trying to do, but the rash flouting of basic physical laws for the sake of a sight gag is one of the things that really bugs me. I mean, not only are these turtles trying to balance on PENCILS, but on pencils that have SHARPENED POINTS! Gack! Not to be too literal, but I think our whole Turtle world will work better if we avoid ludicrous stuff like this. (Ninja training does not involve anti-gravity lessons.) I might accept the scene if changed to something like this: As Splinter is doing his voiceover lesson-stuff, we first see set on the floor a dowel about three inches around, then we pan to see one about 2 and 1/2 inches around, then 1 and 1/2 inches, then half an inch... and each one is quivering slightly. We pull back to reveal that it's the four turtles doing the finger-stand thing on these wooden dowels, with varying degrees of difficulty (I could see Raph on the largest dowel, Mike on the second, Don on the third, and Leo -- of course -- on the fourth and smallest). The dialogue in this scene could go much as is written in this draft, except that I think it might be better to have Raph be first to fall off his dowel (which could maybe start a domino effect which has the other three toppling off their perches). The turtles (except for maybe Leo) grumble about how difficult this training exercise is, then we hear Splinter sigh... and then we pan over to Splinter -- and HE is doing his finger stand on a pencil (but please -- not one with a point!).

3.) Pg. 4 and elsewhere: Mike uses "nunchaku", "nunchakus" or "nunchuks" -- not NUMchucks. (Whenever I hear that I think "DUMBchucks"). Actually, I think the word "nunchaku" may actually be both the singular AND plural forms.

4.) Pg. 6: Mike says "What in shell are these tings?" Is "tings" a typo, or some kind of wacky Brooklynese pronunciation? Also, would it work better if he says "What THE shell..."?  And Raph says "I don’t know what they were, but they’re so many spare now." Was that meant to read "I don’t know what they were, but they’re so many spare PARTS now."?

5.) Pg. 7: The scene with Splinter and the "Shell Phone" is right on the edge between silly and stupid. I get the idea that it might be funny to show that Splinter is not into or totally comfortable with modern technology, but the way it plays out here makes him seem dopey and numb, which I think is not what we want Splinter to come off as. One possibility: Splinter holds the phone correctly, but he can't remember which button to push to answer a call, and so keeps pushing different ones, causing all kinds of beeps and boops as Leo is trying to talk to him -- until Donatello yells something to remind Splinter that when he answers the shell phone, all he has to do is open it... no button pushing necessary! Or we could just lose this bit and I don't think the episode would suffer.

6.) Pg. 9: I would lose the phrase "Huddle up." in Leo's line (kind of extraneous). Also, the bit where Splinter overhears Mike imitating him via Don's shell phone which Don has apparently not only left on but kept the line open is KIND OF funny, but only works if you believe that (a) tech-head geek Don would forget to turn his phone off (unless there's some reason he would leave it on, which isn't clear) and that (b) even though their conversation with Splinter ended about a page and a scene ago, Splinter himself still has his phone on and has not cut off the connection (this is all after they've already made their plan to meet somewhere down the tunnel). Is there a reason for Don and Splinter to keep that line open the whole time? Also, if Splinter is listening in the whole time, doesn't this mean he knows about Leo's plan to go above ground to street level -- and if so, shouldn't/wouldn't he make some comment about that?

7.) Pg. 11: I think Leo's "Nice work on the manhole cover, Raph." is out of line -- Raph had no control over the truck parking atop the manhole cover (and unlike Raph or Mike, Leo uses sarcasm sparingly). I would suggest instead that Leo just say (referencing Raph hitting the side of the truck with his fist and leaving a dent) "Nice, Raph." Also, in the same vein (i.e. it's really not Raph's fault!), I would lose Mike's next line ("Looks like you’re really on top of it … or at least that truck is.").

8.) Pg. 13: Instead of Splinter saying "Where are those turtles?", I think he would more likely say "Where are my sons?" Sounds more like Splinter.

9.) Pg. 23: I think Don should be the one to hotwire the truck.

10.) Pg. 26: I believe the proper spelling is "Banzai".

11.) Pg. 28: In this scene, would it be cool to have the Foot logo tattooed on the backs of the Shredder's hands (so we see this as he holds his cup of tea)?

That's all I've got for now!


P.S. Just remembered one more thing -- some thought should be given to exactly how hard it is to take out a Mouser. After all, these are tough little machines made to dig their way through concrete, brick, etc. -- so they can't be TOO fragile. I think our heroes should be shown to be exerting significant effort when they smash/slice the Mousers.


  1. So, standards and practices had NO problem what soever with Shredder Killing an underling at the end of episode one? :)