Subj: Re: Episode 4 rough outline
Date: Sunday, June 2, 2002 11:02:11 PM
From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine
In a message dated 5/30/02 10:49:02 PM, Lloyd writes:
<< Howdy all –
Attached please find the first rough outline for TMNT episode 4 in which we
meet Casey Jones for the first time! The outline needs a “logic-polish,”
but I think you’ll see that this episode is gonna be a lot of fun!
As always, comments asap are greatly appreciated!
There's some cool stuff in this outline, but it felt kind of flat to me. Hard for me to articulate why, exactly. Maybe it's because it take a lot of the interesting one-on-one Casey/Raph stuff from the RAPHAEL comic "micro-series" and turns it into a more generic "four turtles and Casey" story. Also, a lot of the heart of that story is missing, specifically the motivations and character development. Anyway, here are some comments:
1.) Pg. 1: Is Donatello also on a skateboad? It's not clear -- he just kind of appears to help Mike up. Also, the line "It's getting pretty crazy up there" (said by whom...?) -- what's being referred to here? What is getting crazy?
Also, Raph's sulking and surliness (especially his dissing of Master Splinter) seems a bit abrupt and unexplained. Why is he being this way? Maybe a line or two from the other turtles about "Raph gets this way sometimes" could help, indicating that these foul Raph moods are not a new thing.
2.) Pg. 3: "Get away from me, you big weird gecko." This line felt really cheesy to me the fist time I read it, and if we keep the scene as is I'd like to see something different. However, as I re-read it to make these comments, I was struck by the idea that it might be fun to do a take on the old Frankenstein bit of the monster being befriended by the old blind guy. What about making this crime victim a blind person, who, instead of reacting in horror to Raph's appearance, is grateful to have been saved? And if we did this, would it make any sense to in a later episode, bring this person back as someone who becomes friends with Raph (a la the Frankenstein story)? Am I getting too corny?
Also on page 3 -- do they REALLY need to get the armored car actually into the lair? I'm The scene with Mike driving it through the wall didn't really do much for me. It seemed superfluous -- and if it's in there because something is needed to reveal the hidden door, I'm sure we could come up with something better.
3.) Pg. 5: I'm not sure if I'm reading this right -- "Casey Jones pulls into Central Park on his motorcycle and disappears down a flight of stairs." Does this mean that Casey rides his bike down the stairs? Seems a bit much if so. Aren't there paved roads which go through that park? And is the "big battle wagon action... in pursuit of Casey" going to take place on these roads or is the intention here to have this chase going over the grass, through the trees, etc.?
4.) Pg. 6: The way Raph stops Casey (throwing a sai through his front tire, causing Casey to wipe out "... flying over his handlebars") seems almost homicidal. Maybe there's a better way to do this. One thing I just thought of -- do you know what a "stoppie" is? It's a motorcycle trick done by applying the front brake (right hand lever on handlebars) really hard, causing the bike to stop so hard that the rear wheel actually comes up off the ground pretty high (think of it as a kind of backwards wheelie). It's pretty cool and dramatic to see... and I was thinking that it's something Raph could do to both his bike AND Casey's -- zooming up alongside Casey, he could grab Casey's front brake lever at the same time he grabs his own, causing both bikes to screech to a halt, as both of them rise up on their front wheels to an alarming height -- then they slam back down, throwing Casey off his bike (Raph is ready for it and better prepared). Just a thought.
Also, it seems way too convenient the way Casey knows about the Shredder's "dark tower", and that it can be seen from Central Park. Is it necessary to make this kind of connection? And come to think of it, is it really necessary to have the Purple Dragons is this story?
That's all for now!
In a message dated 6/1/02 3:36:54 PM, Lloyd writes:
<< Howdy all –
Although we haven’t gotten a first draft script for TMNT episode 2 yet,
attached please find a first draft script for TMNT episode 3! This script
picks up where the episode 2 outline left off, and finishes up the Baxter
I look forward to your comments.
Just read the first draft script for Episode 3, and generally like it. I do have a few comments (for some reason my printout of this file didn't have page numbers, so I'm calling Page 1 the page which has the "Preview" on it):
1.) Pg. 1: Instead of "...watching cable again..." I would say "... watching TV again..."
2.) Pg. 2: Just to be more grammatical (which he would be) I would have Don say "This isn't going VERY well" instead of "This isn't going REAL well."
I thought it might be funny to have Mike say (maybe in his last line on this page), because of how April keeps talking about sleep and being asleep, etc., something like "Man... she's making ME sleepy..." as he stifles a yawn.
3.) Pg. 7: The sight gag of Leo not being able to get his legs into the lotus position doesn't work for me. Maybe it's just harder for him to do so.
4.) Pg. 11: When Splinter is telling the origin story about how he washed the ooze off the turtles, it made me think -- what if Splinter has SAVED some of the ooze (without telling the turtles, maybe?)? Could make for the basis of an interesting story later on.
5.) Pg. 16: The script has the Mousers "cough up" the swag. I was wondering if we could get away with them "pooping" it out. (In the original idea for the mousers, I had designed them with a nice little hatch in their butts, from which would come the neat plastic-wrapped remains of the rats they had killed.) If we could do it, I think it would be cool AND funny.
6.) Pg. 17: I don't get Mike's line about "... a laser shooting out of my sewer." Huh?
7.) Pg. 18: The turtles are looking at "footage of them as seen from a Mouser's POV". Where did this come from, and why is it showing on this monitor? Also, a few lines later, April describes some files as "read-only" -- are kids going to get that? Maybe there's a better way to describe them: "protected", "locked", maybe?
8.) Pg. 22: "Baxter ducks out the door." If it's that easy for him to get away, why can't the turtles and April? Should he duck out a secret emergency door/hatch which he locks behind him, instead?
9.) Pg. 24: The Mousers' self-destruct thing... hmmmm.... while I can appreciate the pyrotechnic potential, what would the reason for such a thing be? And exactly HOW "monstrous" is the resulting explosion? Does it damage the lab, or destroy the whole building, or what?
Also, in the typo dept. -- Leo says at the bottom of the page "We'll help you get back on HER feet."
That's it for now!
Subj: Re: 26 episodes, no waiting!
Date: Tuesday, June 4, 2002 10:54:55 PM
From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine
I just finished reading your rough arc for the first season, and there's a lot of good stuff there, as expected. I have a few comments:
1.) About the way Don defeats the "stealth tech" Foot ninjas -- you have him basically taking their tech and using it for the Turtles. I think it would be cooler for him to figure out his own way to counter this threat, and one idea is that once he figures out what sort of technology the Foot are using, he comes up with a system which uses VR goggles linked to a portable computer and sensors which, by measuring the displacement of dust particles in the air, can track and simulate in real time the movements of the turtles' adversaries. OR... in a classic bit of LOW tech, maybe Don can get really frustrated trying to figure out how to counter the Foot invisibility tech, and then Mike or Raph chimes in with the simplest (and perhaps most effective) solution -- spray paint! (Spray around you, and your foes are revealed, in whole or in part!)
Another issue raised here is this -- once the Foot start using this tech, and the Turtles figure out their solution to it, will both sides continue to use it from now on? In other words, would the turtles EVER go out again without their cans of spray paint or stealth tech-cancelling goggles or whatever? Seems like we should figure out a way for that NOT to happen. Maybe the Foot just drop the idea once they see how easily it is countered.
2.) You mention that Splinter may have some knowledge of the Utroms -- did we talk about this before? I can't remember, but it seems that whatever knowledge he has should be, as you put it, "not much". Maybe in fact all he "knows" is some kind of legend about weird "half-men" or something.
3.) A couple of times you mention a teasing reveal of a strange compartment in the chest area of the Shredder's armor. I think we have to be VERY careful about this if we want to keep the Utrom/Shredder bit secret until we do the deliberate reveal, because I think it I were a fan of the comics and saw that kind of thing, I would get it IMMEDIATELY.
4.) I know that you are still developing the whole "underworld city" and "secret origin of the lair" stuff, but I just want to re-emphasize my feeling that we should think REALLY carefully about this to make it as COOL as we possibly can.
5.) In 1488-04, mention is made of how much Casey knows about the Purple Dragons and their connection to the Shredder's skyscraper HQ. As you and I discussed this on the phone on Monday, I think Casey should not be making that connection.
6.) I'm still not sold on the "Borgification" of Baxter Stockman. Also, in 1488-07, you have him being, in the presence of the Shredder, both "skittish" and "oblivious of how his egotistical manner continues to grate on the Shredder's nerves" at the same time. Is this possible? Am I missing something?
Also, about the new Foot Tech bio-enhanced Ninja -- maybe it would be cool that these guys are Foot soldiers who have failed or disappointed the Shredder, and are offered a choice: Death... or bio-enhancement.
7.) I was inspired by the short description of 1488-08 to suggest the possible introduction of the "Sewer Scraper" (go to http://www.planetracers.com/blast/blast52.html to see art and a description) as a bad guy vehicle. I originally intended it as a Foot vehicle, but now that I think of it it could be the tool of another enemy of the Turtles.
8.) I really like the 1488-12 idea of the superhero bit. That could be a lot of fun!
9.) In 1488-13, you have the turtles taking along some of the strange crystals they found in their new lair on their trek into the deep underground. My question is (aside from the obvious use of the crystals later on in the plot of 1488-15): Why? It seems somewhat odd that they would take this stuff with them. How about this: Through a little bit of experimentation, Don has observed that bringing a couple of the crystals together causes them to glow. When they get ready for their big underground excursion, he figures that a couple of crystals might be an excellent and reliable "back-up" source for illumination if all their flashlights fail on them. (Of course, they prove, unexpectedly, to be much more than that...)
10.) In the short arc of their deep underground exploration, I thought it might be cool and suggestive in a nifty way if at some point along the way -- and without dwelling on it to any great extent -- the Turtles encounter (a) an old, beat-up and empty Utrom robot body, and (b) a fossilized or mummified body of a Triceraton! (But only if it makes sense... I haven't thought it through, but I think we can imagine various reasons why these things might be there.)
11.) I'd love to do the "Kirby" story, but I'd like it more if it could be more of a solo Turtle (Don, in this case) adventure. I really think we shouldn't be afraid to do episodes which focus mostly on just one of our major characters. (The Mikey/Superhero story comes to mind as a good example.)
12.) The story in 1488-17 appears to be inspired in part by the events in the "Leonardo One-Issue Micro-Series" and issue #10 of the original TMNT comic series. I'd love it if we could follow that story even MORE closely, i.e. while Leo is out training, he is ambushed by the Foot in a running battle, all the while in a parallel story, April and the other turtles, while waiting for Leo to get back, are working on some kind of special (holiday? Thanksgiving? Christmas? Hanukkah?) meal. Lots of opportunity for cool action AND lots of little character bits between April and the three Turtles. (I'll admit it -- I always liked those two issue a lot, especially the juxtaposition of Leo's violent, desperate struggle and the homey stuf fin April's apartment.)
Also, in 1488-17, you have a line (I think said by Leo, after he comes crashing through the door) that goes "It's Shredder... he's back!" It was unclear to me how, at that point, Leo knew this, as in the second paragraph following we have cut away scene of the Shredder "ceremoniously" putting on his armor, which implied to me that he was doing this at his HQ.
13.) Does 1488-18 seem like a really short episode, or is it just me? Does enough happen here to fill a whole episode?
14.) In the first part of the "return to New York" arc (1488-21), you have the turtles first attack the Shredder's tower HQ. Would they do this before they look for Splinter... or is there some reason that they think Splinter is there? Do they go to the lair first?
15.) I'm not too crazy about the "tricks" built into the Shredder's armor in episode 1488-23. I like his armor better just as it is, and the tricks seem -- I don't know -- sort of "unworthy" of the Shredder, especially as we have previously played him up as incredibly skilled in the fighting arts.
16.) This is a minor point, but in 1488-26 you describe the Utroms as "cube-headed aliens", which sort of surprised me -- I've always seen them as roughly gumdrop-shaped.
17.) And of the "ideas that haven't found a place yet", I don't like the first one (Shredder tries to get the Turtles to work for him), and wasn't too hot about the last one (Hun gets turned into an ally of the Turtles). However, one of the things you mention is the Guardians", the good ninjas we discussed before. I really think there should be some kind of encounter -- even if it's mysterious -- with these good guys in the first season.
That's all for now. Good work!